Information Society

Inside the Information Society: A new tool for measuring the internet
Inside the Information Society: A new tool for measuring the internet 26 November 2018 David Souter

It’s been a busy month of international meetings around ICTs and internet.   The ITU - the International Telecommunication Union – held a Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai, agreeing its agenda for the next four years. The thirteenth annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was held at UNESCO’s conference in Paris. More on the latter, at least, in a later post.   But another international gathering of significance was held last week at UNESCO. The Council of its Inte...

Inside the Information Society: What happened to those liberal hopes?
Inside the Information Society: What happened to those liberal hopes? 30 October 2018 David Souter

Twenty years ago, the internet was expected to advance the causes of democracy and human rights. But is it turning out that way? The world today is less liberal than it was back then. What’s happening? Old expectations Let’s go back twenty years or so, when the internet was becoming widespread in the North, more available in the South, and widely seen as a source of new hope for development and human rights. We made assumptions then about the impact it would have on po...

Inside the Information Society: Naming the Information Society
Inside the Information Society: Naming the Information Society 25 September 2018 David Souter

The names that we give things make us think about them in a certain way. Sometimes that's valid; sometimes deceptive. Sometimes we end up using terms that are no longer relevant. Some thoughts this week on some of the names we've given phenomena in the world of ICTs - and whether what we mean by the biggest term of all (the 'Information Society') is changing or should change. Many wor...

Inside the Information Society: Back to the blog. Four starting points to think about the future
Inside the Information Society: Back to the blog. Four starting points to think about the future 17 September 2018 David Souter

It's been a while since Inside the Information Society's last outing - but now its Northern summer / Southern winter break is over. I'll be back and blogging here for APC each week until just before the turn of year. I'm at a crossroads, too. After 25 years of researching, report-writing and project management within the Information Society, and reaching that advanced age 63, I'm changing ...

Inside the Information Society: The impact of the internet on democratic politics
Inside the Information Society: The impact of the internet on democratic politics 23 April 2018 David Souter

One of the biggest news stories about the Internet in Britain and America right now concerns Facebook, a company called Cambridge Analytica, and the impact that they might have had on democratic decisions. Two decisions in particular: the narrow vote in Britain to leave the European Union, and the election of Donald Trump. This story’s about many things: the power that data gives to data comp...

Inside the Information Society: Whatever happened to competition online?
Inside the Information Society: Whatever happened to competition online? 15 April 2018 David Souter

The Internet, it used to be said, would let a thousand flowers bloom. The low cost of market entry would enable thousands of application and content developers to reach out to users. There’d be more diversity, more choice, more freedom for users to exercise that choice. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Sure, it’s easier for individuals and small companies to bring something ...

Inside the Information Society: Competition – what happened to telecommunications?
Inside the Information Society: Competition – what happened to telecommunications? 09 April 2018 David Souter

Last week I wrote about the relationship between innovation and regulation in communications. I identified six areas of that relationship which I said I’d write about over the next few months (along with other issues). First up, this week and next, is competition. This week some history and ‘points of principle’; next week, some implications for today/tomorrow. (The history, of course, mu...

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

Facebook’s leading the news again, at least in Europe and America. Its current ‘crisis’ – if that’s what it is – has focused attention on the desirability or otherwise of regulation: of itself, its peers, the Internet in general. Can online businesses be trusted to do what’s right (with data or in other ways), or should they be regulated like other economic sectors? This week: a f...

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.  I’ve been listening lately to AI experts talking of AI, and most of them rather w...

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. So...

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