News

High School Students File Petition Against Fingerprinting Requirements

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA 25 May 2004

Three high school students announced at a press conference that fingerprinting Korean nationals on their seventeenth birthday in order to obtain their national ID cards is unconstitutional. This is the first time teenagers have filed a constitutional petition against the fingerprinting system, says APC member, Jinbonet.

The system which enforces fingerprinting was implemented with the revision of the Resident Registration Act over thirty year ago and civil and social organizations have repeatedly asserted the fingerprinting system exists only in South Korea and should be abolished.

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Korean Government DNA Database Project Lacks Legal Guidelines say Human Rights Organizations

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA 22 May 2004

On April 7, 2004, the South Korean police announced the commencement of a project to aid in the search for missing children involving the collection of DNA in a massive database. Samples of the DNA of children presently under government care and the parents of missing children will be collected. Civil organizations have warned the goverment must follow strict protocols to protect the public from possible abuse of such a system, says APC member, JinboNet.

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WSIS: Much to Communicate on the Road to Tunis

TUNIS, TUNISIA 7 May 2004 (IPS)

A three-day meeting in Tunis last month sought to prepare the way for the next World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to be held Nov. 16-18 next year. But interest in this development has built up over the past 30 years.

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Chakula: Eye on Kenya's "ICT Week"

NAIROBI, KENYA 4 May 2004 (APCNews)

Conference-goers at a major multistakeholder event dedicated to discussing Kenya’s draft ICT policy were outraged to discover that the most recent government draft was ‘confidential’ and only being circulated to a select few. “Efforts to query the government representatives present did not bear fruit and incredulous delegates were advised to contact the relevant ministry and demand a copy as tax-paying citizens who have the right to access public policy documents,” informs APC’s Africa ICT Policy Monitor. Read the latest edition of Chakula, APC’s African ICT policy newsletter, just out!

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APC comments on the first draft National ICT Policy for Zambia

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 2 May 2004 (Chakula)

In a letter to the Zambian ministry for communications and transport, APC has commended the Zambian government for its efforts in drafting a holistic national ICT policy and for disseminating the draft online to make it possible for the public to submit comments. “We value the broad definition of ICT adopted early in the document,” says APC, but “Some important policy concerns are mentioned as action points for implementation without a clear enough policy position that would give direction during implementation. Some are left out altogether.” Read the full letter as featured in this month’s “Chakula” – APC’s ICT policy newsletter for African civil society.

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The complicated world of ICANN – part one

ROME, ITALY 1 May 2004 (Carlos Afonso)

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – the body that’s responsible for managing the registration and distribution system of domain names (eg. www.apc.org) in the internet – held its first meeting of 2004. More than 600 people from different countries took part in 27 fora. In attendance was Carlos Afonso, planning director of APC’s Brazilian member organisation, RITS. His fascinating report is essential reading for anyone trying to understand internet governance issues and has been translated into English and Spanish by APC.

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Foro Mundial sobre Gobernanza de Internet: No hay acuerdo acerca de qué no funciona y qué hay que reparar

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY 30 April 2004 (APCNoticias)

Un foro mundial sobre gobernanza de internet, realizado por la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) en marzo fue la plataforma más abierta e inclusiva que ha habido hasta el momento para tratar temas de gobernanza de internet, pero el tiempo fue demasiado escaso como para desglosar las diversas áreas de política y reglamentaciones que se agrupan bajo el título "gobernanza de internet". Hay una gran inquietud en cuanto a la responsabilidad y legitimidad de las actuales estructuras de gobernanza en internet, pero a la vez, el tono general es, como se dice en ingles, "si no esta del todo roto, para qué repararlo". Sin embargo, no hay acuerdo acerca de qué no anda bien, y por lo tanto, tampoco en cuanto a lo que hay de mejorar.

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Global Forum on Internet Governance: Not everyone agrees on what is broken nor on what fixing might involve

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 29 April 2004 (APCNews)

A global forum on internet governance organised by the United Nations in March was the most open and inclusive platform for addressing internet governance issues to date but time was too short to disaggregate the various areas of policy and regulation that are loosely grouped under “internet governance”. There are fundamental concerns around the accountability and legitimacy of current internet governance structures, but at the same time the overall tone is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But not everyone agrees on what is broken, nor on what fixing might involve.

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Global Forum on Internet Governance: Not everyone agrees on what is broken nor on what fixing might involve

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 29 April 2004 (APCNews)

A global forum on internet governance organised by the United Nations in March was the most open and inclusive platform for addressing internet governance issues to date but time was too short to disaggregate the various areas of policy and regulation that are loosely grouped under “internet governance”. There are fundamental concerns around the accountability and legitimacy of current internet governance structures, but at the same time the overall tone is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But not everyone agrees on what is broken, nor on what fixing might involve.

The challenges the Global Forum faced will now be faced by the working group which will take work forward to the next UN World Summit in 2005. The dilemma lies in having to both expand, and shrink the scope of “internet governance”, to get to practical proposals that also address broader concerns. And it has to work in a way that is inclusive of different stakeholders and perspectives, and actively tackles discontent instead of glossing over it, says APC.

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La Ond@ Rural (The Rural Vibe): Workshop on radio, ICTs and rural development

QUITO, ECUADOR 28 April 2004 (APCNews)

This Latin American workshop considered a series of proposals for promoting the effective use of ICT and radio for rural development so that rural radio stations, networks, specialists in ICT for development and policy decision-makers, start to take into account the effectiveness of combining radio and internet.

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Free and open source software sweeps US non-profit tech conference

PHILADELPHIA, USA 28 April 2004 (Mark Surman)

Looking around at the recent Non-Profit Technology Enterprise Network conference in Philadelphia, it would have been easy to think that free and open source software is sweeping the non-profit world. With an attendance of over 700 people, this year’s NTEN event featured a full track of six workshops on free and open source software (FOSS) topics – almost all of which were packed.

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Are ICTs contributing to women's empowerment in Central and Eastern Europe?

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 28 April 2004 (APC WNSP)

This was an underlying question addressed in the evaluations of six information and communication (ICT) initiatives from Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, which participated in the field-testing of the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM). Evaluated initiatives varied from an employment training initiative in Croatia, to a network of women mayors in Romania, to media campaigns around violence against women in Slovakia and Bulgaria.

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IT skills for an alternative living for Cairo's former underclass

CAIRO, EGYPT 28 April 2004 (ArabDev)

Living on the fringes of society, the Zabaleen have been making a living from recycling what Cairo’s more affluent throw away for generations. However, the government is now contracting foreign waste-disposal specialists and the Zabaleen have found their traditional source of livelihood cut off. The young Zabaleen often have high-school diplomas but lack the self-esteem necessary to enter the regular workplace. To build up their confidence and their marketable skills, APC member in Egypt, ArabDev, has been training young people in computing and internet. There has been an unexpectedly high demand from young women.

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First anniversary for Brazilian civil society portal

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL 28 April 2004 (RITS)

‘Citizens Online’ (Cidadania na Internet), a Brazilian civil society information-sharing portal, celebrated one-year online on March 27. A multi-institution project managed by APC member in Brazil, RITS, ‘Citizens online’ started out life with twenty organisations on board. One year later, sixty people and groups work together daily to produce information to strengthen Brazilian citizenship in all its facets.

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CINSA - A new network of community technology projects in Southern Africa

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 28 April 2004 (SANGONeT)

The Community Information Network for Southern Africa (CINSA) aims to build a sustainable network of community ICT projects in the 14 SADC member states Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe through research, networking, facilitating training, service brokerage and more.

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Conference on ICTs in the service of good governance, democratic practice and development for rural women in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 28 April 2004 (Women'sNet)

Held just outside Johannesburg, the conference brought together about fifty participants from women’s organisations, government officials, and gender and development practitioners and researchers, involved in gender and information and communication (ICT) projects and initiatives tasked with finding ICT strategies to specifically benefit rural women. The Community Information Network for Southern Africa (CINSA) interviewed a selection of conference attendees including APC-Africa-Women coordinator, Jenny Radloff. The regional workshop was organised by Women’sNet with the support of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Listen to the interviews with Dimitra participants.

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Tea and internet security advice come in the same cup at recent Hungarian green meeting

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY 28 April 2004 (APCNews)

Once again, at the Annual Meeting of Hungarian Green Non-profits (OT2004) APC member Green Spider offered herbal teas and sound internet access, training and advice to participants. Raising awareness of environmental contamination and in support of free software, Green Spider collected up visitors’ old CD-roms and exchanged them for new GNU/Linux CDs.

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No computers means no alternatives for victims of domestic violence in Egypt

CAIRO, EGYPT 26 April 2004 (ArabDev)

Local traditions in Upper Egypt prevent battered women from seeking refuge in shelters so getting training and finding a job is often the only way out of a violent family home. APC member, ArabDev, has carried out a survey to identify the skills needed for potential employment and a training project is ready to go, but there’s one problem: lack of computers. The Egyptian Ministry of Telecommunications has been promising ArabDev ten computers for the project for the last two years and still none have arrived due to red tape. “We are in dire need of hardware to improve the harsh circumstances of these women,” says ArabDev director, Leila Hassanin.

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We will not obey the Internet Real Name Law

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA 23 April 2004

A new law passed in the South Korean parliament on March 9 requires internet media and press websites to verify the names and identification numbers of all visitors who post messages on bulletin boards or chat rooms and even personal websites regarding political elections. Civil society groups, including APC member Jinbonet, held a press conference pledging to defy the law which they claim is a violation of freedom of expression.

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APC elected to the executive committee of the Global Knowledge Partnership

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY 23 April 2004 (APCNews)

The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) is an international multistakeholder network committed to harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for sustainable and equitable development. Within the GKP framework, governments, civil society groups, donor agencies, private sector companies and inter-governmental organisations come together as equals to apply ICTs for development.

APC takes its place on the committee which oversees the direction of the GKP together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UNESCO, the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation and others. The Excomm as it is known was chosen by the members of GKP during online voting in April.

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