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Finding the "GEM" in the haystack - how the women and men are being affected by Africa's ICT revolution

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA 29 June 2004 (APC-Africa-Women)

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in collaboration with regional network, APC-Africa-Women, and the LINK Center, Wits University, Johannesburg, hosted a pan-African workshop to develop a multi-country action study in Africa to measure how people especially women are making use of the ICT sector since the popularisation of cell-phones, telecentres and other communications innovations.

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ICT policy work at global level sparks local action and collaboration, as civil society-driven policy websites are set up in ten

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 8 June 2004 (APCNews)

Ten APC members have created national ICT policy portal websites in their own countries in a joint initiative. The portals which are all uniquely adapted to address each country’s particular situation all use free software that allows content-sharing in different languages and between multiple information databases hosted in different parts of the world.

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Why did ten APC members from around the world decide it was time to set up ICT policy portals in their countries?

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY 8 June 2004 (APCNews)

10 APC members have created national portal websites tracking communications and information related policy in a joint initiative. The portals have been set up in Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, the UK and Uruguay.

APCNews asked some of the site administrators who were still putting last minute touches to their portals which were launched collectively on June 8 2004 to comment briefly on ICT policy in their countries and their hopes for the portals.

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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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