News

The case for “open access” in Africa: Mauritius case study

LONDON 26 September 2008 (Russell Southwood for APC)

As other African countries along the SAT-3 submarine internet cable struggle with the high costs of monopolised international bandwidth, Mauritius has encouraged a lowering of prices through price-setting. But Mauritius Telecom had lowered its rates even before the government scale came into effect. The Cyber Island has seen a significant increase in its call centre and outsourcing sectors. Can Mauritius provide lessons to countries that are looking to boost their economies? This study written by Russell Southwood for APC in May, and now available for the first time in French and Portuguese, examines the relationship between international bandwidth prices in Mauritius and the impact of its Cyber Island strategy.

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Why African governments need to listen to the case for "open access" to international communications infrastructure

SAXONWOLD 25 September 2008 (Lisa Thornton for APCNews)

Africa faces two serious challenges regarding internet connectivity – high prices and unreliable connections. The SAT-3/WASC cable, a submarine cable that runs from Portugal to South Africa, has the potential to help alleviate some of the connectivity challenges however, a study released by the APC in May 2008 and now in French and Portuguese written by Abiodun Jagun, reveals that the cable remains largely under-utilised. APCNews talks to Abi Jagun about her findings.

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New vision for computing in Africa: APC member Computer Aid featured in the BBC

LONDON 23 September 2008 (Computer Aid)

APC member Computer Aid has recently caught the BBC’s attention with its adaptive technologies in Kenya. The BBC’s Click covered Computer Aid’s new focus on making computers and their programmes available to everyone, including people who cannot see. You can read a the full BBC article, which examines how Computer Aid is helping Kenyans change their lives, and the challenges involved.

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World’s largest non-profit supplier of refurbished computers launches campaign for action against toxic trade

LONDON 23 September 2008 (Computer Aid)

APC member Computer Aid is urging the UK government to take action against the illegal dumping of e-waste (computers, hard drives, cd roms, etc.) in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and China. It is calling on the government to provide adequate funding for the Environment Agency to effectively police and prevent e-waste from being exported to the developing world. The campaign also targets commercial traders that are abusing re-use and recycling initiatives and computer manufacturers that are turning a blind eye to their equipment being dumped in these countries.

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Basic Capabilities Index reveals progress too slow for next decade

NEW YORK 23 September 2008 (Social Watch for ITeM)

The recent release of the 2008 Basic Capabilities Index (BCI) results, an alternative poverty estimate produced by Social Watch, revealed that the current rate of progress is moving at a snail’s pace. Out of 176 countries where a BCI figure is being measured, only 21 have made noticeable progress over the past 8 years. As such, the international poverty reduction goals for 2015 will not be met; in fact in certain areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, an entire century would be needed. Social Watch is an initiative of the Third World Institute (ITeM), member of APC in Uruguay.

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Internet in Africa: A well-organised racket

MONTREAL 16 September 2008 (Frédéric Dubois for Alternatives)

Africans pay five to ten times more than Canadians do to access the internet. It is even more costly in rural settings, where a connection is often hard to find. However, what is even more scandalous is the fact that the consumers have no say. A walk on the dark side of the internet.

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Why the internet’s future depends on the greens

BUDAPEST 10 September 2008 (Pavel P Antonov for APCNews)

Smelled like a revolutionary spirit around Popinci, central Bulgaria, when residents and activists raised barricades around their village. They believed that a planned gold mining project in the nearby hills would harm the environment and their health. They demanded it to be cancelled. The villagers’ impulsive action has put the project on hold for the last three years. But this, or any other community, might not have been as successful in attaining a concrete outcome, had it chosen to fight for access to high speed internet. And the reason is simple. Unlike the environment, internet is not widely perceived by authorities, legislators and policy makers as an essential common good.

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Short-listed GenARDIS III candidates announced

CAPE TOWN 10 September 2008 (Jennifer Radloff for GenARDIS)

The Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society (GenARDIS) Small Grants Fund is delighted to announce that twenty projects have been short-listed as possible GenARDIS grantees. The short-listed proposals come from sixteen countries in Africa and the Caribbean, ranging from the Dominican Republic and St. Vincent on over the Atlantic Ocean to rock-skip throughout western Africa in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Congo. Eastern Africa and Southern Africa also have their share of representation with projects from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Read the entire announcement

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Gender Centred this month: Cybercrime and women

PRAGUE 26 August 2008 (Various for GenderIT.org)

This month, APC women’s GenderIT bulletin investigates online crime, cyberstalking, and asks how women are being affected. In “Finding a difficult balance – Human rights, law enforcement and cyber violence against women” Mavic Cabrera-Balleza speaks to activists from South Africa and the USA. Wieting Xu looks at cybercrime in India. Argentinian lawyer Carlos Gregorio argues that “Cybercrime laws are not enough, there is also a need for education”. And Ramata Soré discovers that in Burkina Faso women are the perpetrators as well as the victims of internet fraud.

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APC and UgaBYTES join forces to evaluate gender and ICTs

BUWAMA 20 August 2008 (Francis Mwathi for UgaBYTES)

On the 6th of August 2008, Dafne Plou, an APC facilitator on the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) with telecentres, visited Uganda on a mission of evaluating how ICTs impact the community within gender lines.

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Breaking stereotypes about women, girls and technology in the Czech Republic

PRAGUE 14 August 2008 (Lenka Simerska for APC WNSP)

Taking control of technology for women’s advocacy took a different tack in the Czech Republic, where APC WNSP Europe introduced the project “Women into IT” to challenge stereotypes around women and ICTs and attract more women into the IT field.

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Software Freedom Day 2008

YAOUNDE 5 August 2008 (Avis Momeni for APCNews)

PROTEGE QV will join the rest of the world over to celebrate the Software Freedom Day 2008 taking place on September 20 2008. The innovation in this year’s free and open source software activities in Yaounde, Cameroon, is that they will be help in an open air setting.

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New APC series on equitable access

LONDON 4 August 2008 (APC for APCNews)

“Access to the internet is a thousand times cheaper in Scandinavian countries than in my village,” says Nigerian activist John Dada, who specialises in information and communications technologies (ICTs) for development. In order to contribute to the discussion on what can make access to the internet real for people, specially the poor and marginalised, APC is launching a series on equitable access that includes papers and commentaries on the themes of business models, policy and regulation, tools and technologies and people, networks and capabilities. We ask for your comments.

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EU directive paints alternative ISPs black

BUDAPEST 3 August 2008 (maxigas for APCNews)

Stencil for German campaign against the EU Directive on data retention. Licence: CreativeCommons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0Stencil for German campaign against the EU Directive on data retention. Licence: CreativeCommons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0A European Union directive on data retention is set to be implemented in all member states from 2009, requiring all telecom providers to hold on to your email’s destination, the subject line and the sending time. European internet service providers are requested to retain not only email, but any metadata of communication originating from their network. But isn’t that a violation of the fundamental right to privacy, as defined by our 60-year old Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Isn’t it in direct defiance of APC’s Internet Rights Charter? Groups associated with the APC community, academics and radical technology collectives converge onto Budapest in September to seek a way out of Fortress Europe 2.0.

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APC Annual Report 2007 – Building and strengthening networks for accessible, affordable, equal access to the internet

MONTEVIDEO 31 July 2008 (KAH for APCNews)

In existence as a virtual community since 1990, APC’s leitmotif is building and strengthening online networks for social change. The Association for Progressive Communications invites you to read our 2007 annual report. It describes the challenges encountered building networks to influence international internet policy so that more people have reliable and affordable access to the internet, networks of technicians who are taking wireless to parts of Latin America where there’s no internet, and networks of women concerned about keeping the internet safe but not censored.

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Defining the commons

SAPPORO 31 July 2008 (Andrew Garton for APCNews)

CC licenseCC licenseClick here to watch the Identifying the Information Commons sampler from Day 01 and that of Day 02 of the iCommons iSummit. The excerpt was produced and put together by APC.au’s Andrew Garton. APC’s Australian member ison the ground in Japan to offer the world a glimpse of what the iSummit 08 is about and to produce the joint APC and iCommons micro-documentary, Nailing the Commons. The composer, producer and media artist participated in the do-it-yourself video and Asia Commons tracks in Sapporo and along with and BlueLink’s Pavel Antonov, interviewed a cross-section of participants. Here is a selection of “report backs on the Asia Commons…”:http://www.apc.org/en/blog/freedom/all/diy-video-and-asia-commons

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Connecting South African rural paralegal advice offices

MONTEVIDEO 30 July 2008 (AL for APC)

Ungana-Afrika has for a long time been preaching the importance of bundling capacity building with any technology project. In 2007, they were able to demonstrate the value of this approach through their Rural Connectivity project in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

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Putting ICTs to work for Egyptian women artisans

MONTEVIDEO 30 July 2008 (AL for APC)

Handicrafts are an income-generating activity for many women in Egypt, but as producers these women often receive the lowest profit in the trading chain.

Violence against women documentation and reporting system from the Philippines

MONTEVIDEO 30 July 2008 (AL for APC)

Case documentation systemCase documentation system The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women employed the technical know-how of “WomensH

Blogging on the impact of multilateral finance institutions in Uruguay

MONTEVIDEO 30 July 2008 (AL for APC)

WatchdogsWatchdogs ITeM has been coordinating IFIwatchnet since 2005.

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