Inside the information 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: 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. What’s the question? The underlying question’s the relationship between national law and the international nature of the Internet. There’s an issue of philosophy in this, but also one of practice. Some Internet pioneers – most famously John Perry Barlow – saw the Internet as a way of escaping (...

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.   A more personal post than most, therefore, this week, leading to some general observations about Facebook and the future. Do I have a profile? In fact, what I’ve just said is not quite ...

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.   The more important the Internet becomes to everything we do, and the more societies become dependent on it, the more vulnerable we are to those who would exploit it to our disadvantage. Loss of trust in the Internet would pose a major problem to governments, online businesses and user...

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. Two attitudes Talk about the Interne...

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

Last week’s post concerned how best to measure the Information Society.  This week: a look at an important new source of evidence on access and use in developing countries. One of the most interesting sessions at last month’s Internet Governance Forum came right at the end.  The attendance was disappointing – too many people had gone home, perhaps, or shopping – but the conten...

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’. The Information Society is built on data. Strange, then, that we’ve so much difficulty measuring what’s going on and where we’re heading.   What do we need to measure – and why? The challenge here’s that we want to measure everything because, we think, the Information S...

Inside the Information Society: What's coming up in 2018
Inside the Information Society: What's coming up in 2018 08 January 2018 David Souter

Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that ‘Inside the Information Society’ took a break towards the end of last year.  It’s back today, with a long list of themes up and ready for 2018.   As before, this blog will raise questions and challenge assumptions about where the Information Society is heading.  It will reflect on major events around the Internet and its impact on s...

Inside the Information Society: What is the impact of the internet on politics?
Inside the Information Society: What is the impact of the internet on politics? 06 November 2017 David Souter

This week’s blog looks at the impact of the Internet on politics. Last week I wrote about the need for us to think about the Internet and social media in a more nuanced way. ‘Too much debate about the Information Society is binary,’ I said. ‘To advocates, anything digital looks good. Others are spooked by impacts that are uncontrolled and unbenign. If we’re serious, we need to be more...

Inside the Information Society: Social Media, saint or sinner?
Inside the Information Society: Social Media, saint or sinner? 30 October 2017 David Souter

Too much debate about the Information Society is binary. To advocates, anything digital looks good. Others are spooked by impacts that are uncontrolled and unbenign. If we’re serious, we need to be more nuanced. Some reflection on this where social media’s concerned this week; next week, the Internet’s impact on politics. One newspaper, two stories Let’s take two stories from the same n...

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