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.
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.
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.
Four institutions from Latin America — ICA, CEPAL, LIS and Colnodo — 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 www.protic.org. Currently, it contains information about over 850 projects and around 300 ICT professionals.
The Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet is currently conducting a study on the state of Korean National ID Number System. Its aim: to demo problems of Korean National ID Number System by contrasting how the same is abused in Korea, and comparing with cases of foreign countries. If you can answer some short questions by December 15, 2005, it would help the study immensely.
When an intiative 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. Telecenters that are part of a telecentre-network can use the new system to allow roaming accounts between telecenters. So, a user can create an account on a telecenter in one city and go to other city and login with his original account, without having to make another profile for him on the new telecenter.
APC member BytesForAll joined India’s (and probably Asia’s) largest Free/Libre and Open Source Software events, FOSS.in (http://foss.in). There were big names taking part, such as Welsh kernel hacker Alan Cox. There was a real mixed bag attended. 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 this country of one billion with a large poverty sector, those keen to plug in its benefits to the world of education, mega-corporations and governments throwing in sponsorship dollars and rupees…
APC member Ungana-Afrika have 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.
Training African community technicians to set up wireless internet access points, making the case for women’s involvement in technology policy, convincing the world’s governments that the internet should be considered a global public good. 2004 was another busy year for APC.
Groklaw, the web site, created and edited by Pamela “PJ” Jones, begun as an experiment in applying Open Source principles to legal research, is reporting the manipulation in Austria of the process that led to the WSIS.
During the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, one of my trips brought me to the Austrian booth in order to pick up some copies of the Vienna Conclusions to spread and advertise. When flipping through the text, I was quite shocked to find references to Free Software removed and a pro-DRM statement inserted in the findings of the “Digital Rights/Creative Commons” workshop (“To ensure ongoing innovation, Digital Rights Management (DRM) development and deployment must remain voluntary and market-driven.”). Also, references to the cultural and social significance of software as “digital cultural technique” were watered down.