Following the initial rush of Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) projects in rural Africa, many did not yield the anticipated outcomes, and interest has been dying down. People then began talking about “sustainable ICT” projects, in which it was understood that projects would become self-sufficient after their initial donor-led investment and set-up period. But with the use of mobile phones gaining in popularity, popular rhetoric has begun to question the need of ICTs beyond the mobiles phone. While mobile phones certainly have had a great impact in rural areas, a new study by Ian Howard, commissioned by APC, through the analysis of two case studies he argues that the need for telecentres and affordable internet connections exists, as such centres cater to rural and niche markets the way larger companies cannot.
Non-profit internet provider GreenNet has recently released a new ultra-low power computer. The tiny computer can run on a car battery for hours and uses a maximum of nine watts of electricity. Sustainable in almost every way – from its fabrication, to its distribution and consumption – the E2 also comes fully equipped with free and open source operating systems. APCNews interviewed Sharif Fanselow of GreenNet to find out more about this revolutionary computer.
According to March 2008 statistics only 3.6% of internet users in the world were from Africa. Asia contributed to 37.6% of internet users globally, but this percentage is inflated by large numbers of users from China. The number of fixed lines has not increased significantly, and in some cases has even shrunk. And, in addition to this, a new divide is emerging: the broadband (or “high speed internet”) divide. In Manaus, deep in the Amazon jungle, “broadband” is available but at a cost. There, a 200Kbps connection (hardly considered speedy in better connected parts of the world) costs about $100 USD a month.
The recent release of the 2008 Basic Capabilities Index (BCI) results, an alternative poverty estimate produced by Social Watch, revealed that the current rate of progress is moving at a snail’s pace. Out of 176 countries where a BCI figure is being measured, only 21 have made noticeable progress over the past 8 years. As such, the international poverty reduction goals for 2015 will not be met; in fact in certain areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, an entire century would be needed. Social Watch is an initiative of the Third World Institute (ITeM), member of APC in Uruguay.
This month, APC women’s GenderIT bulletin investigates online crime, cyberstalking, and asks how women are being affected. In “Finding a difficult balance – Human rights, law enforcement and cyber violence against women” Mavic Cabrera-Balleza speaks to activists from South Africa and the USA. Wieting Xu looks at cybercrime in India. Argentinian lawyer Carlos Gregorio argues that “Cybercrime laws are not enough, there is also a need for education”. And Ramata Soré discovers that in Burkina Faso women are the perpetrators as well as the victims of internet fraud.
The new edition of GenderIT.org examines the issue of cybercrime legislation through a gendered perspective and its implication on women, in collaboration with the ICT Policy Monitor Latinamerica and
Click here to watch the Identifying the Information Commons sampler from Day 01 and that of Day 02 of the iCommons iSummit. The excerpt was produced and put together by APC.au’s Andrew Garton. APC’s Australian member ison the ground in Japan to offer the world a glimpse of what the iSummit 08 is about and to produce the joint APC and iCommons micro-documentary, Nailing the Commons. The composer, producer and media artist participated in the do-it-yourself video and Asia Commons tracks in Sapporo and along with and BlueLink’s Pavel Antonov, interviewed a cross-section of participants. Here is a selection of “report backs on the Asia Commons…”:http://www.apc.org/en/blog/freedom/all/diy-video-and-asia-commons