Inside the digital society

David Souter writes a weekly column for APC, looking at different aspects of the information society, development and rights. David’s pieces take a fresh look at many of the issues that concern APC and its members, with the aim of provoking discussion and debate. Issues covered include internet governance and sustainable development, human rights and the environment, policy, practice and the use of ICTs by individuals and communities.

Inside the Information Society: Permissionless innovation and the precautionary principle
Inside the Information Society: Permissionless innovation and the precautionary principle 02 April 2018 David Souter

This week: a fundamental question about the balance between innovation, commercial interests and the regulation of the Internet: between ‘permissionless innovation’, which has been the norm online, and the ‘precautionary principle’ which is the norm in other economic sectors.

Inside the Information Society: The road to artificial intelligence
Inside the Information Society: The road to artificial intelligence 26 March 2018 David Souter

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of this year’s hottest topics. Governments and businesses are investing big-time (China’s said by some to be best placed). Wide-eyed consultancies spell out the wonders they foresee ahead (with predictions of big dollars). Androids and robots stalk the silver screen. 

Inside the Information Society: Exploring Africa’s research priorities
Inside the Information Society: Exploring Africa’s research priorities 12 March 2018 David Souter

Last week I participated in / facilitated a workshop on Africa’s research priorities for the Information Society. What follows are some thoughts arising.

Inside the Information Society: The Internet – but whose jurisdiction?
Inside the Information Society: The Internet – but whose jurisdiction? 05 March 2018 David Souter

I’ve been attending the second Internet and Jurisdiction Conference in Ottawa.  This post is not a comment on the conference but on the context for resolving issues that it raises.

Inside the Information Society: W[h]ither Facebook?
Inside the Information Society: W[h]ither Facebook? 26 February 2018 David Souter

I don’t have a Facebook profile.  People ask me why I don’t.  After all, it seems, this puts me in the minority among users of the Internet worldwide.  Answering this question’s made me consider my relationship with social media, and social media’s relationship with our society.  

Inside the Information Society: It was twenty years ago today
Inside the Information Society: It was twenty years ago today 19 February 2018 David Souter

Twenty years ago, in 1998, the UK Department for International Development asked me to help it ‘determine the value of involvement in information and communication technology in support of its objective of eliminating poverty in poorer countries.’ I’ve just re-read the paper and the presentation that I gave in response to that invitation. They’re a telling reminder of what’s changed a...

Inside the Information Society: Cybersecurity
Inside the Information Society: Cybersecurity 13 February 2018 David Souter

Cybersecurity’s become the most important issue for many people working on the future of the Internet.  

Inside the Information Society: Growing up online
Inside the Information Society: Growing up online 06 February 2018

A third of the world’s Internet users, says UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report, on Children in a Digital World, are younger than 18. How they use it shapes their attitudes, behaviour, opportunities, and therefore shapes their futures. That deserves more – and more sophisticated – attention from the Internet’s stakeholders than it gets.

Inside the Information Society: After access - upgrading the evidence base on ICT access in development
Inside the Information Society: After access - upgrading the evidence base on ICT access in development 22 January 2018 David Souter

This week's instalment looks at an important new source of evidence on access and use in developing countries.

Inside the Information Society: Finding indicators for the way ahead
Inside the Information Society: Finding indicators for the way ahead 15 January 2018 David Souter

This week’s post looks at UNESCO’s current consultation on indicators for ‘Internet universality’.

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