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.
Keeping track of ICT issues in the so-called “developing world” can always be a challenge, simply because these issues hardly get discussed in the ‘information society’.Here’s one report CTO CEO Sees Bumpy Rides in Roadmap for Networking the Commonwealth for Development that looks at technology issues in the network of nations linked by a shared history in (British) colonialism.
November’s World Summit in Tunis was overshadowed by the global argument over internet governance. Its biggest controversy came with the proposition put forward by the EU a month earlier that there be a new inter-governmental body that oversee ICANN. The US government — which currently enjoys unilateral control over the internet infrastructure — was furious and launched an enormous lobbying campaign, both public and private, across the board to retain its position. ‘The Register’ has published what it said was the first full-text version of a strongly-worded letter sent by the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to the UK foreign minister Jack Straw, acting in the role of presidency of the EU.
State Security Intelligence walked out of private cars at 1:30 in the morning of Monday 5 December 2005, and surrounded the house of online journalist Ahmad Abdollah before breaking in. His son Islam told five bloggers (Malek, Amr Izzat, Socrates, and Manal and Alaa) who visited him the day after that he noticed three machine guns during the break-in. "They woke the rest of the family, ordered them to line up under gun threat, then searched the house and confiscated computer hard discs, compact discs, and hundreds of books," he was caught as saying. Ahmad 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.
Michael Gurstein has penned this interesting analysis Networking
the Networked/Closing the Loop: Some Notes on WSIS II which is available on the archives of the incom-l mailing list. Prof Gurstein, who specialises in community based technology applications, raises critical questions about the “networking opportunities” thrown up by
the WSIS at Tunis.
Coming out in end-November 2005, a Panos London i-Witness update posted via the Global Knowledge for Development network offers a follow-up to the recent WSIS. An article from Murali Shanmugavelan in London is titled WSIS is over, but the debate has just begun. Shanmugavelan argues that building an inclusive information society will need civil society to hold governments to account — and that the media has a crucial role to play in ensuring this happens. There are also href=“http://panos.blogs.com/iwitness”>“reflections from (some of) our journalists”, as Panos puts it.