APCNews No. 60 December 2005

APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
December 2005 No. 60
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RITS, Brazil: In Brazil, a threat to the telecentres turns into an opportunity…for improvement

When an initiative in Brazil to promote community telecentres was endangered, the threat was turned into an opportunity. Free software tools were re-engineered in a way that they became more powerful and useful. Telecentres that are part of a telecentre-network can use the new system to allow roaming accounts between telecentres. A user can create an account on a telecentre in one city and hop to another city and log into his original account, without having to make generate a new profile at the new telecentre. – APCNews

RITS, Brazil: Launch of Brazilian information and communication research centre and a book on internet governance

On December 13, the Brazil-based Third Sector Information Network (Rede de Informações para o Terceiro Setor – Rits) launched its Centre for Research, Study and Education (Núcleo de Pesquisa, Estudos e Formação – Nupef). The objective of the initiative is to organise and promote research, disseminate knowledge, and train and qualify people in various fields and on various subjects related to civil society’s position in terms of the challenges created by the dynamics of the information and communication society. – RITS
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=3029728 Translation by APC

ITeM, Uruguay: WSIS wraps up with mixed emotions

The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) took place in Tunis from November 16 to 18 2005. While heated debates on the future of the internet were taking place inside of the police-surrounded conference venue, citizens’ demonstrations reclaiming the host country’s compliance with international human rights agreements were being severely repressed in downtown Tunis. Analysis from Pablo Accuosto of the Third World Institute (IteM). – Choike.org

UNGANA-AFRIKA, South Africa: Strategic technology planning toolkit

Ungana-Afrika has been providing strategic technology planning services to the development community in southern Africa for nearly three years. The processes have been refined through experience and are presented here in their current form to assist other technology support providers to implement technology planning in their own context. – Ungana-Afrika

BYTES FOR ALL, South Asia: Taking to FOSS, Indian-style

APC member BytesForAll joined India’s (and probably Asia’s) largest free and open source software event, FOSS.in (http://foss.in). There were big names taking part, such as Welsh kernel hacker Alan Cox, as well as a real mixed bag of participants. This included women geeks from Brazil, Indian techies keen to enlarge their tech skills or see how IT can become relevant to the lives of their country’s one billion inhabitants, including a large percentage in the poverty sector, those keen to plug in its benefits to the world of education, mega-corporations and governments throwing in sponsorship dollars and rupees…

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ANNUAL REPORT 2004: APC’s latest annual report made public – Technology policy globally continued to dominate

When APC first got involved in the UN World Summit on the Information Society process in 2001, our key goal was to get civil society voices heard in an arena dominated by technicians, telecom policy experts and business interests. As work started towards the second phase of the summit, which would culminate in late 2005, our intention was to step back from global policy processes and instead focus on working on policy nationally and regionally, the spaces where policy change has most impact on people’s lives. – APCNews

CAMPAIGN: Open Letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan

In Tunis, at the World Summit on the Information Society, both inside and outside the official Summit, civil society organisations and observers have witnessed serious attacks on human rights and the right to freedom of expression. – Civil society signatories

ARTICLE: Global civil society refuses to embrace WSIS outcome wholeheartedly

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) concluded with claims of success by the United Nations, governments and the private sector, but many in civil society have refused to embrace its outcome wholeheartedly. ‘Success or failure is too strong to characterise the summit,’ declared Anriette Esterhuysen, executive director of the Association for Progressive Communications. – CIVICUS

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NEW WEBSITE: Observatoire d’APC de politiques des TIC en Afrique

APC launched its new-look Africa ICT Policy Monitor website in French on the final day of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia. This revamped and sophisticated new platform will document internet and telecommunication policy issues in Africa, with a deliberate emphasis on western Africa. This new initiative is part of APC’s recent move to make its expertise on ICTs accessible to francophone and Portuguese-speaking audiences. – APCNews

Assault on internet freedom in Egypt

State Security Intelligence walked out of private cars at 1:30 in the morning of Monday December 5, 2005, and surrounded the house of online journalist Ahmad Abdollah before breaking in. Abdollah, who runs the Center for Islamic enlightenment (video) – which aims at comparing different religions, and bringing them closer together – maintains the website Balady Net. He is also a staff writer in the al Methaq al Araby online newspaper. – APCNews

Forgotten agenda: Nobody’s talking about a democratised media

Civil society must lead the democratisation of the media, an issue that was barely touched on at the recent World Summit on the Information Society, participants said at an international meet in Santiago, Chile. Participants included the Italian-Argentine journalist founder of Inter Press Service (IPS), Roberto Savio, and sociologist-political scientist Valeria Betancourt, APC’s Latin American specialist in information technology and communication. – IPS

Frequency post: Investigating radio frequency allocation

Australian curator Andrew Garton explores radio frequency allocation as defined by the broadcasting legislations, technologies and economic pressures brought to bear on each of the countries or regions that the six artists and composers commissioned by internet radio station Kunstradio have chosen to draw inspiration from. The sound works are broadcasted, podcasted and netcasted until March 2006. – c2o

EU Parliament agrees to data retention

The European Parliament voted in favour of a backroom deal that had been made between the two big parties in Brussels and the Council of Ministers, currently chaired by the UK. The deal completely ignored the amendmends proposed by the Parliament’s Rapporteur and by the Justice and Civil Liberties Committee that was in charge of the process. After a hot debate, a majority of parliamentarians voted in favour of mandatory retention of telecommunications data.

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Wireless networking: New knowledge sharing material now online

Material to share internet knowledge on wireless networking were developed as part of the ‘capacity building for community wireless connectivity in Africa’ initiative which is funded by IDRC and coordinated by APC. This is the first public release of the materials, which will be undergoing further revision during a pilot workshop series. Additional materials will be released in English, French and Arabic during 2006.

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Women techies and activist training in FOSS

Women’s organisations and women techies from across Africa keen to learn more about free and open source software’s potential for women’s empowerment and social development jumped at the chance to participate in WENT Africa 2005, the Women’s Electronic Network Training in Kampala, Uganda. The workshop brought together 22 women from 12 countries in Africa for skills building in free and open source software (FOSS) solutions. – APC WNSP

Lessons from Vietnam: No quick fix to being ‘gender friendly’

Integrating GEM, or the Gender Evaluation Methodology, in the women’s health context, can be a daunting task and there are no quick answers to gender issues in their contexts. But tools like GEM could help one immediately know if their projects are “gender friendly”, suggests the experience of a mini-workshop held recently in Vietnam. – APCNews

A help-line, vocational CDs and e-homeworkers get thumbs up in Tunis

While negotiations on internet governance were taking place a few corridors down the hall on November 16, three projects received the honours of the 2005 Gender and ICT Awards. The 2005 GICT Awards focused on information and communication technology initiatives which promote women’s economic empowerment and development in the Asia-Pacific region. – APC WNSP

Gender an issue in ICT policy formulation: lessons from Zambia

Zambia, like many other African countries, has recognised information, knowledge and technology as major drivers of social and economic development. But Zambia’s national ICT policy framework still lacks gender integration. GenderIT.org’s writer, Brenda Zulu, shares the personal experiences from her active involvement in the gender sensitisation of the Zambian ICT policy framework. – GenderIT.org

OPINION POOL: post-WSIS reflections – WSIS gains & losses

The WSIS process is over, what we have gained and lost in terms of integrating gender as a relevant dimension into the ‘information society’ after this 7 years? What do we have? And where should we go from here? What is the importance of having these explicit mentions of gender and women here and there? Share your views, experiences and concerns with us. – GenderIT.org

NEW ISSUE PAPER: Paddling in circles while the waters rise: gender issues in ICTs and poverty reduction

Can ICTs help reduce poverty? This paper examines poverty from many different angles: from its definition to systemic causes of global poverty, as well as tools used to address poverty. The study is the part of APC WNSP issue papers series on ICTs for women’s rights. – APC WNSP

NEWS: Network for change: ICT can bring many benefits

An article by Indian journalist Paromita Pain visits the portal GenderIT.org and reveals questions posed by the APC’s Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) with regards to the way in which ICTs can be best explained and demystified in order to create opportunities for women’s empowerment – The Hindu Sunday Magazine

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APC launches this new APCNews section in response to priorities in ICTs worldwide highlighted by our members in a recent meeting in Bulgaria.

NEW ISSUE PAPER: E-waste challenges in developing countries: South Africa case study

This discussion paper, by Alan Finlay and commissioned by the APC, aims to raise the profile of e-waste issues in developing countries so that the implications of ICTs for development initiatives can be better understood – particularly in the context of the increasing flow of old technology from developed to developing countries. South Africa is thought to be at the forefront of waste management in Africa, and practitioners aim to develop an e-waste model in the country that can serve as a blueprint for an approach to e-waste elsewhere on the continent. While the overall waste management strategies in the country are highly regarded by experts, this document suggests that South Africa faces a number of key challenges in dealing with e-waste and that its ‘e-waste readiness’ is mixed rather than certain.

Three APC members contributed to this document, and offered e-waste perspectives from the United Kingdom and the Asia-Pacific region. Summaries of these contributions are included in the appendices.

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Latino repository of ICT-focussed projects and professionals

APC member Colnodo and three other institutions from Latin America ICA, CEPAL and LIS have jointly launched an online repository of ICT-focused projects and professionals in Latin America and the Caribbean. The repository, Protic, can be found at protic.org. Currently, it contains information about over 850 projects and around 300 ICT professionals. – Colnodo

CAMPAIGN TOOL: Melt, now it’s software to build awareness on climate change

ICT consultant Rolf Kleef has announced his work on an unusual project – an online campaigning tool on climate change. This free and open source software tool is being shaped into Melt, an online movement to take action on climate change. -GenderIT.org

BOOK: Vision or hallucination?

The papers included in this volume as well as in-depth research papers on which they are based were produced in the context of the “WSIS Papers” project, developed by APC-member ITeM. Southern stakeholders need timely and appropriate information to have an active and effective role in global negotiations. “WSIS Papers” was aimed at contributing to the materialisation of an information society for the South by supporting well informed decision-making during the second phase of the WSIS process. Available since November 2005. – Choike.org

BRIEFING: eDevelopment – “Overestimating the Global Digital Divide”

The Development Informatics Group at the University of Manchester argues that the extent of the global digital divide has been seriously overestimated, leading to an inaccurate evidence base for ICT policy and strategy in developing countries. The group believes that a South-specific model of ICT access and use needs to be promoted – IPDM

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Abusing numbers: Is Korea going just too far?

The Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, an APC member, is currently conducting a study on the state of the Korean National ID Number System. Its aim: to demonstrate problems related to the Korean National ID Number System by contrasting and comparing with abuse cases in foreign countries. You are invited to answer short questions before the end of 2005, which would help the study immensely. Please contact Oh Byoung-il from Jinbonet.

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December 19-20, 2005, Tamil Nadu, India
Gender issues in e-Society: Women in Information Technology (WIT) 2005Conference

December 27-30, 2005, Berlin, Germany
22nd Chaos Communication Congress

January 8-15, 2006, Kalangla, Uganda
Africa Source II – Free and open source software for local communities

January 30-31, 2006, San Francisco, USA
Innovation Funders Network: Networks, Innovation and Social Change

February 25-26, 2006, Brussels, Belgium
FOSDEM 2006: Free and open source software developers’ European meeting

March 17-19, 2006, Lyon, France
Libre Graphics Meeting 2006

April 19-22, 2006, Porto Alegre, Brazil
7th international free software forum

May 25-26, 2006, Berkeley, USA
ICTD 2006

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Delicious: A social bookmarking, social software web service for storing and sharing web bookmarks. It allows you to easily add sites you like to your personal collection of links, to categorise those sites with keywords, and to share your collection not only between your own browsers and machines, but also with others.

ICT4D Wiki

Open Knowledge Network

United Nations Information Technology Service

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January 8-18, Kampala, Uganda
Free and open source software for local communities

January 19-23, Bamako, Mali
World Social Forum Africa

January 24-28, Dakar, Senegal
Atelier regional francophone sur les technologies sans-fil de APC

January 24-29, Caracas, Venezuela
World Social Forum Latin America

January 25-27, Katmandu, Nepal
BCO Alliance Meeting

January 30-31, San Francisco, USA
Innovation Funders Network 2006 Summit

January 30-February 1, Katmandu, Nepal
APC South Asian Policy Meeting

NOTE: APCNews will not appear in January due to APC’s shutdown during the vacation time. We will be back in February 2006.

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APCNews, in English, and APCNoticias, in Spanish, are distributed monthly by APC — a worldwide network supporting the use of internet and ICTs for social justice and sustainable development since 1990. APCNews
Archive: http://www.apc.org/english/news/apcnews/

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Attribution-NonCommercial Licence 2.0 – 2005 Association for Progressive
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