At a presentation at APC’s national ICT policy workshop currently going on in London, I was shocked to see a map in a presentation by Russell Southwood which shows how poorly connected Africa is with submarine internet fibre.
South Asia-based BytesForAll‘s newest member, Nalaka Gunawardene of Sri Lanka, who is a veteran journalist and observer of the “ICT4D” (information and communication technologies for development) field, was there at the launch of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN-GAID) in mid June 2006 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He wonders whether the newly-formed UN-GAID will manage to connect disparate initiatives, enhancing or multiplying their impact? Or might it evolve into another self-serving bureaucracy, competing with everyone else for limited resources, media attention and people’s time?
An ant, they say, can infuriate an elephant. That is, if the ant choose the right target, and goes into the elephant’s ear. In the Egyptian world of technology, an 24-year-old engineer is doing the same by giving a voice to protest that’s otherwise stifled in that part of the globe.
South Korea is seeing some conflicts between IPR and access to knowledge (or, A2K). Over-protection of IPR may hamper access to knowledge. It is unfair to use the copyright law to prevent the public use of digital libraries.
Reporting about the heat and dust of India, a GEM workshop, the Taj Mahal… and some links to colourful photos of the place too.
Where the Government in Pakistan, Intellectual Property Organization, Federal Investigation Authorities and the Business Software Alliance BSA are initiating a crackdown on Software Piracy in Pakistan, there is hardly any awareness of piracy and its implications within society apart from members of the IT Industry. It is crucial to the basic Human Rights of the citizens of Pakistan that they first be provided Anti-Software Piracy Literacy and trainings on Free and Open Source Software as an alternative to pirated software. ICT Software Freedom is their basic human right in the Information Society!
Here’s an early initiative to flow out of the APC South Asia Consultation: BytesForAll has just launched a new mailing list, specifically focused on Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS, or FOSS). Details of the group are below. We invite all interested to join.
"Whatever is the state of localisation in India, the government is definitely responsible for framing the policies. We have dreams of software superpowerdom, yet basic tools are not in place. They have spent crores (tens of millions by Government of India organisations) CDAC and TDIL, and that too all in the name of undertaking work in Indic computing and benefitting the people," says Ravikant of New Delhi, who has been closely keeping track of Free Software localisation efforts in India.
As far as radio waves go, South Asia could perhaps call itself the dark continent. This part of the planet has an almost-uniformly unenlightened policy when it comes to opening up its airwaves. Voices from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal….
Should people who illegally copy software onto their computer (probably because it’s so outlandishly priced) be called ‘pirates’? Is it fair to liken people who attack ships at high seas to those who make copies of digital products, though it’s against the law? Or is illegal copying of software "infringement of illegal property and unethical, crimal and