Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Information Society and Threats Thereof

The Information Society and Threats Thereof

By E.K.Bensah II


To the Guardian newspaper, it is "Discgate". To the rest of us, it is the loss of data of 25 million people—which included the name and date of every child; along with parent's national insurance numbers and bank details— by the UK's HM Revenue early last week, which is a serious wake-up call to aficionados of the information society who have come to believe that moving to an increasingly IT-related world is the way forward.


That the data was not encrypted and that a junior clerk is alleged to have botched his work brings into sharp relief two things: the need to fine-tune measures to protect important data, and a sensitisation of staff working with IT to the pitfalls inherent in the information society. Let's face it, sacking the clerk was to be expected, but it certainly does not bring back that data of 25 million people! What it does do, in my view, is remind us about the potential perils and pitfalls inherent in an information society.


The so-called Information Society, understandably, may represent yet another nebulous concept coined by the perceived behemoth of the UN. What it is, in effect, in my view, is a global society, where ICT tools--not just computers, but mobile phones; radios and whatnot –- serve as critical roles in our "development" --irrespective of where you may be.


This means, for example, that it is a society where mobile internet is a reality; where there is an always-on internet (broadband); where it is not just accessible, but relatively affordable for all; where Internet cafes are within the environs of major cities, hang-outs, and even the country-side, where life is that much quieter; and where blogging facilitates an openness unparalleled in the facilitation of the work of the fourth estate.

Given that Ghanaians are wont to over-do things, I believe in the same manner should Ghanaians pause to reflect over their role and responsibility in an ever-evolving information society.


Whether we like it or not, the information society is here to stay –and that necessarily is not a bad thing. It means that our access to information is increased and, better still, that access is to a plethora of information. To the degree that it makes or mars us is what we must grapple with, for the rapid explosion of mobile phones – both in urban and rural areas – while a positive development, calls for important safeguards of our privacy.


Already, we have become accustomed to going everywhere with a mobile phone—when we don't take it, most of us feel something is missing—and as we increasingly move towards a more sophisticated information society, where WAP-enabled mobile phones, PDAs, and smartphones become cheaper—and the norm, it behooves us to further pause and question not just the impact of such changes on our lives, work, and families, but how exposed it leaves us to attack by miscreants who can—and will—exploit our 24/7 access to our phones.


Without adequate regulation, we will see an information society running amuck, and where with our already-jammed and over-subscribed phone networks, personal information we input over our wap-enabled phones to access the Internet becomes cross-linked with other user's data.


A few months ago, I accessed my Yahoo mail through my mobile phone, only to see someone else's username, password, and email. I refreshed the page, but the person's username and password was all I saw. Rather naively, I selected "sign in", knowing that no-one else had been using my mobile –let alone access my Yahoo account online. In I went—to see that person's emails. I had to reset my phone before I was able to access my own account again. I failed to report it to my provider, believing it to be a one-off thing. What if it wasn't?


This, in my view, calls into question a need for, say, wap-enabled firewalls to prevent any personal data on our mobile phone getting out there. That one can even write a text message, and send it as an email, not only reflects how mobile phones have enhanced our convenience, but how we ought to be more responsible in how we comport ourselves online. We must all by now be familiar with the 419 emails, yet time and again, we hear stories of people having fallen foul of it. It's all about their choice and their responsibility—or lack thereof.


Mind your data

An attempt at a rules-based information society is one of the reasons why the first-ever Internet Governance Forum took place in Greece from 30 October to 2 November 2006. It might have gone unreported in mainstream media, but it certainly was an impactful event in the sense that it set the tone for how the information society could begin to be crafted and regulated.
In the UK, they have gone one concrete step further.


Recent data from the UK's data privacy watchdog – the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) – indicates that 4.5 million web users aged between 14 and 21 years of age are cavalier in the way they give up information on the Internet, especially when visiting social networking sites, such as the very-popular Facebook, or Rupert Murdoch-owned MySpace.


Even search engines, such as Google, are receiving complaints that information associated with web searches made under an individual's name brings up expressions that these individuals made in their youth but, which could be detrimental to their career. To this end, the ICO has recently issued new guidance for young people using the Internet that they have made available on a website: http://www.ico.gov.uk/youngpeople.


Furthermore, in the light of the monumental blunder at HM Revenue and Customs, the British government has agreed to conduct what it calls "data security spot checks" across government departments, which is to be spearheaded by the Information Commissioner's Office; furthermore, data breaches of the magnitude of this loss will be made a criminal offence.


According to silicom.com, a UK-based site on IT that informs the business world on enhancing its work through technology, the Information Commissioner Richard Thomas who welcomed these new powers said in a statement that by making this data breach a criminal offence, it would "serve as a strong deterrent and would send a very strong signal that it is completely unacceptable to be cavalier with people's information."


Much closer to home, from West African Examination Council (WAEC) results to National Service placements online, Ghanaian data is already computerized and automatically made part of the information society, with attendant qualms over what happens with the data, notwithstanding.


With the imminent introduction of the National Identification Authority and its consequent issuance of ID cards for Ghanaians, the possibility of exposure and loss of our personal details will be more real than it is now where it is hidden among a maelstrom of papers at, say, the passport office.


Our reliance on ICT and its tools may be inevitable, but might we remember to complement it with traditional methods, which are deemed more reliable—lest we end up with a Ghanaian version of "Discgate"!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Emily Nyarko, of Ghana's TV3 // GHAJICT wins Award

Many thanks to Rubly Amable of GHAJICT for passing this information on !
CONGRATS!! Emily (First Prize in the Multimedia/ Web media category )
GKP Picks GK3 Media Fellows

Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) announces the selection of 16 Media Fellows to attend the GKP Event on the Future, Third Global Knowledge Conference. The GK3 Media Fellowship programme received an overwhelming response, drawing 53 applicants from 27 countries.

Selected fellows hail from all regions around the world - North and South America, East and South Asia, Oceania, Middle East and North Africa and Africa. They will participate in a one-and-a-half day media programme prior to the GK3 Conference. These pre-conference activities will enable them to nework and share knowledge and experiences with their fellow journalists as well as with local Malaysian media who will join some of the planned activities.

GKP congratulates the following successful Media Fellows and looks forward to welcoming them to GK3 in Kuala Lumpur:


1. Segun ORUAME, from Nigeria

2. Bamuturaki MUSINGUZI, from Uganda,  winner of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) - GKP Media Awards 2007 First Prize in the Print category with ""Taking ICT to rural communities"

3. Chabi Godefroy MACAIRE, from Benin, winner of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) - GKP Media Awards 2007 First Prize in the Radio category with "La gouvernance locale tisse sa toile"

4. Bayero AGABI, from Nigeria, winner of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) - GKP Media Awards 2007 First Prize in the TV Video category with "Why the phones are not bridging the divide"

5. Emily NYARKO, from Ghana, winner of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) - GKP Media Awards 2007 First Prize in the Multimedia/ Web media category with "Developing ICT enabled education - the future for Ghana"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Global ICTs: The Silent Development Revolution

(as appeared in last Sunday's edition of Sunday World: http://www.sundayworldonline.com):
Global ICTs—The Silent Development Revolution

By E.K.Bensah II


When the American poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron wrote the poem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", he perhaps got it right with regard to the development of ICTs in the context of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS).


Before 2005, WSIS had assumed an unclear UN process that had little practical connection to development. Now, it is virtually impossible to talk about the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) without talking about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


When world leaders met at the UN in 2000 to draw up the MDGs, one of the goals was to achieve universal primary education. Given that education is, in essence, a passport to one's future and opening up of possibilities for any child, UNESCO has led the way of hosting seminars on Knowledge Societies in the Context of WSIS. For UNESCO, its vision of knowledge societies is based on four principles: freedom of expression; quality education for all; universal access to information and knowledge; and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity. UNESCO is far from the only UN agency involved in the WSIS process, but its role as one of the pre-cursors of the WSIS is moot.


Despite the critical involvement of UN agencies, such as FAO and UNDP at WSIS, it is clear for many observers that the Second Phase of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) that took place from 16-18 November in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, was disappointing. It certainly was for civil society organizations (CSOs) who, after an alleged stabbing of a French journalist, were denied by the Tunisian authorities to hold a Citizens Summit on WSIS. For others, however, one of the more concrete things, to have emerged from the whole summit was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-sponsored One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), going for one hundred dollars.


The brainchild of the Professor Nicholas Negroponte of MIT, the lime-green laptop is made of rubber, so that when it closes, it will be sealed to protect it from environments, such as harsh environment in northern Kenya. It can be powered by a retractable crank that can be used to generate 10 minutes of power for every one minute of cranking up the machine.


Negroponte's team turned down Apple's offer to use its operating system, opting instead for a slimmer version that uses a 500MHZ processor and open source software under Linux. It is equipped with a 1GB flash RAM instead of a hard drive, a word processor, email application, and programming system.  


Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called it "an impressive technical achievement", adding that "it holds the promise of major advances in economic and social development."


Pressed on why laptops in place of "proper" development, MIT argued that laptops are tools to think with. More specifically, their relatively affordable price of hundred dollars is coupled with how they can be used for work and play, drawing, writing, and mathematics.


In October this year, Uruguay bought 100,000 of the machines for schoolchildren aged six to 12, with a view to procuring a further 300,000 for every school-going child in the country by 2009.


Here in Ghana, Finance and Economic Minister Baah-Wiredu announced in the annual reading of the budget that the laptops in question will be introduced to Ghana from next year.


For many observers of the WSIS process, the laptops have constituted not only something concrete coming out of WSIS, but something that can be used to facilitate development. In the long run, WSIS has highlighted the importance of using ICTS to facilitate development, and so rural areas being able to afford to use such ICT tools is moot in getting closer to the Millenium Development Goals of halving poverty by 2015.


The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has piloted studies, for example, where the use of ICT tools, such as mobile phones, has helped farmers in Senegal to obtain prices of goods.


Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary General of ITU and of the WSIS Summit, said that "the WSIS was not an end but a beginning." What the Tunis phase did was remind one about the much-talked-about Digital Divide; how to govern the internet, and how to use ICTS for development. Whilst the Digital divide—as evidenced by the chasm between those who have ready and steady access to computers and, by extension, the Internet – very much exists even within countries (such as the rate of using the internet cafes in Accra as compared to the rate in the Northern region, which is three or four times the cost), the use of ICTs for development, for example, is being facilitated by non-governmental agencies like the Accra-based GINKS, which aim to " provide information and Knowledge sharing that will facilitate capacity building for ICTs Products and services"


Other developments are also taking place. One notable one is that of a story in the Ghanaian Times of 1 April 2006, in which it was reported that Accra Girl's Secondary School has become the "first school in Africa to have an electronic learning (e-learning) center to facilitate the adoption of [ICTS] into its academic programmes." The issue of internet governance, however, is a murkier—and more technical affair that merits as much consideration and study as those issues that pre-dominate international development.


Internet Governance, concrete outcomes

The issue of internet governance has assumed similar dimensions characteristic of the North-South divide in, say, the international trading system. If at the WTO, it is the so-called QUAD (comprising Canada, the US, UK, and Japan) that have a major say surrounding the decisions made on the multilateral trading system, so it is that when it comes to the internet, the US is right at the heart of controlling how domain names, for example, are assigned.


A communiqué produced by the European Commission in late April 2006 has argued that this system of control by the US is slowly changing—and that is also thanks to the Tunis Agenda on the Information Society that came out of the WSIS Summit last November.


In the Agenda, paragraph 63, for the first time, recognises that "Countries should not be involved in decisions regarding another country's country-code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). Their legitimate interests, as expressed and defined by each country, in diverse ways, regarding decisions affecting their ccTLDs, need to be respected, upheld and addressed via a flexible and improved framework and mechanisms ".


Put simply, this means that unlike before when countries needed the approval of the US Commerce Department before changing, say, ghanasundayworld.com to ghanasundayworld.gh, countries, exercising their sovereign right, can now go ahead and change it—ensuring that the existing non-profit ICANN (Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) oversees the change through regional registries, such as AfriNic, which helps, as its website maintains, to " provide professional and efficient distribution of Internet number resources to the African Internet community, to support Internet technology usage and development across the continent and strengthen self Internet governance in Africa by encouraging a participative policy development" .


Even the decision to create "ghanasundayworld.gh", before Tunis, would have meant seeking assent from the US! What this old way of doing things would have meant is that if Ghana were considered not strategic enough a country, the US Department of Commerce cold turn down that domain name.


Some of these technical issues were discussed at the first-ever forum on Internet governance, which the Greek government played host to in October 2006. This year, the second Internet Governance Forum was held in Brazil, where the issues of content regulation; the duty of states to protect freedom of expression online, including the protection of children online; a set of global public policy principles—including, inter alia, an Internet Bill of Rights were discussed.


The future of WSIS

At the UN level, monitoring what WSIS will do to the access to information is a key concern.   Malaysia's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Jamaludin Jarjis, said last year that "access to information should now be regarded as a utility and basic human right." He adds that conventional development means were no longer adequate in today's economic climate, where knowledge capital was the new currency and the new, raw material."


The UN, at a Geneva meeting, in July 2006, maintained the world body should continue to play a leading role in expanding information and communication technologies to promote development.  The World Summit requested that a UN group on the Information Society ought to coordinate the work of the UN system.


It bears reminding that although the WSIS process seems rather nebulous to many in the sense that linking ICTs to development seems rather tenuous, in the long run, what remains clear is that as long as the Internet and ICTS are with us, so, too, will WSIS. It is a process that remains critical to the MDGs, and like most revolutions, its legacy for posterity can only be for the betterment of society.


Emmanuel.K.Bensah is Ag. President of Ghanaian Association of Journalists in ICT (GHAJICT) ( http://ghajict.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Internet control by U.S. promises to be hot topic at U.N. forum

Internet control by U.S. promises to be hot topic at U.N. forum

By Jack Chang
McClatchy Newspapers

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — When hundreds of technology experts from around the world gather here this week to hammer out the future of the Internet, the hottest issue won't be spam, phishing or any of the other phenomena that bedevil users everywhere.

Instead, ending U.S. control over what's become a global network will be at the top of the agenda for many of the more than 2,000 participants expected at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, which begins Monday.

With the Internet now dominating nearly every aspect of modern life, U.S. control of the medium has become a sensitive topic worldwide. In nations that try to control what people can see and hear, the Internet often is the only source of uncensored news and opinion.

U.S. officials say that keeping Internet functions under their control has protected that free flow of information.

Issue of control

Yet to many foreign-government officials and technology gurus, the United States has too much control over a tool that's used by more than 1.4 billion people worldwide. Brazil, China and other countries have proposed transferring oversight to an international body.

"The Internet has become an everyday instrument of particular importance for the entire world, yet it's still under the control of one country," said Rogerio Santanna, Brazil's secretary of logistics and information technology.

Others worry, however, that transferring the administration of the Internet to the United Nations or another international body would make it vulnerable to censorship, especially by powerful countries such as China.

The most dramatic example of Internet censorship happened recently in Myanmar, when the ruling military junta cut Internet connections to stop dissident blogs and other sites that had distributed information about government repression during September's crushed pro-democracy protests.

China is routinely criticized for its censorship policies and its use of information gleaned from Internet providers to crack down on dissidents.

Even Brazil has inspired Internet privacy debates by demanding that U.S. technology giant Google hand over information about users who are suspected of posting child pornography and other offensive material on its social-networking site Orkut.

"Should the U.N. gain control of the Internet," the conservative U.S. research center the Heritage Foundation wrote on its Web site, "it would give meddlesome governments the opportunity to censor and regulate the medium until its usefulness as a vehicle for freedom of expression and international competition is crippled."

Debate for years

Such debates have dominated technology circles for years and are the spark for this week's meeting, the second of five such global forums organized by the United Nations.

The Brazil forum will feature panels on other key issues such as blocking online child pornography, expanding Internet access in less developed countries and an array of technical matters.

Yet the fight over U.S. control promises to take center stage.

The forum, which was organized partly as a response to international debate about the issue, can't make binding decisions, but it can lay the foundation for policy changes.

At the heart of the controversy is a nonprofit company based in Marina del Rey, Calif., called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which the U.S. government has contracted to help it manage key Internet functions.

Those include regulating Web sites with popular domain names such as .com and .org and creating new top-level domain names. Critics say the arrangement makes internationally popular Web sites subject to U.S. policy on everything from user privacy to obscenity.

Through ICANN, the United States also assigns Internet protocol addresses, which identify computers, routers and other electronic devices worldwide.

Best for users?

U.S. government officials also argue that keeping the Internet under centralized control is best for users.

But for many critics of the ICANN system, the main problem is the organization's perceived lack of transparency. They say ICANN shuts out the public when it makes key decisions, such as when it nominates board members, and lacks accountability to the Internet users it serves.

"We feel there would be a very healthy check and balances if there was something independent of the United States and ICANN to oversee the system," said Syracuse University professor Milton Mueller, who's part of the academic policy group the Internet Governance Project.

"As long as the United States holds on to its control, there will always be questions about the system's transparency."

For Santanna, however, the need for change has been clear in the dispute with Google, which could make news while the U.N. forum is under way.

Google has said it can't meet Brazil's demands for user information because its servers are in the United States and are subject to U.S. privacy laws.

After months of dispute, both sides will meet this week in an attempt to reach agreement.

Santanna said the long dispute could have been avoided if there'd been an international body that, in addition to managing the system's technical functions, could resolve such cross-border controversies.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ICT Policy research on the web

From: http://www.ictpolicyreport.com/



A Weekly Report for Executives on International ICT Policies, Negotiations,
Regulations, Standardization, Judicial News and Trade Laws


ICT POLICY REPORT: International is a weekly report for executives on regulation, spectrum, policy, standards, judicial news and trade laws affecting information and communication technology (ICT).

Technology advances are merging ICT, public policy and regulation at an unprecedented rate.  Global convergence of technology is rewriting the rules. 

We cover IP (Internet protocol) networks, intellectual property, communications, broadcast, telecom, NGN, convergence, judicial news and trade laws with a focus on the intersection of regulation, standards and policy at the international level. 

ICT POLICY REPORT: International is for business executives, lawyers, policy-makers, regulators, standards-makers and government agencies.   It's for consultants and governments working on communications policy and businesses in the global market.

ICT POLICY REPORT: International is a 4-page fee-based publication delivered weekly by email, fax and postal mail subscription.

International public policy, standardization, regulation, judicial and trade rules.

Copyright 2006 - 2007  Gallatin Communications, LLC     Privacy Policy




Reminder to join the FACEBOOK Ghajict group


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

GHAJICT Executive Member Says "Form Ghana ICT Watch Group"

From: http://abissathfeatures-mawu.blogspot.com/2007/10/form-ghana-ict-watch-group.html

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


By Mawutodzi K. Abissath [Executive member of GHAJICT-Ed]

Wisdom of African ancestors is reflected in this proverb which warns: “If you rear a baby snake, it will grow up and bite you to death.”

In October last year, I wrote an article titled: “African ICT Gurus, where are you?” As matter of fact, my only motive for writing that article was to throw some kind of challenge to ICT experts on our beloved continent to stimulate them to come together to use their expertise to help combat poverty in Africa through ICT.

I cited some countries, especially India to illustrate my vision. My visualization of combined efforts of Africa ICT gurus could transform poverty stricken souls of th continent into robust feeding hands of the globe. Unfortunately it appeared I could not translate my thoughts into words properly so there was some sort of mistaken conception.


Undoubtedly, my readers know by now that I am not an IT expert myself and I never pretended to be one. I am a humble ordinary journalist only interested in the subject matter of information technology. So, in the said article (see Daily Graphic of Friday 30th October 2004) I innocently picked out Bill Gates of America as my global ICT role model and praised him to the blue heaven. The reason was that, for what I read about him on the Internet, he was someone whose formal education never went beyond first year university. Yet, his foresight, vision, ingenuity and creativity had made him one of the richest human beings through ICT on this planet (of understanding). I thought Ghanaian JSS dropouts must know this fact.


In fact I had observed in that article that if Bill Gates had been a Ghanaian or an African, he would have been referred to as a “DROPOUT”. Funny enough, one of the people who reacted to my article stated that “Bill Gates is not even an ICT expert”. That was a typical demonstration of the other side of African mentality. We almost always apply our ingenuity in a rather negative direction. That is why instead of our so-called “witches” and “wizards” engaging in inventions like some Black Americans, who are reported to have achieved in the past, they use their “thing” to destroy souls.

As you know, at the very moment Ghana was basking in global glory for having successfully hosted a World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in first week of February in Accra, news flashed across the globe that our beloved country has been banned from Internet Shopping because some people who have good knowledge of ICT have been applying their skills for fraudulent and negative purposes in their selfish interest without any consideration of the consequences to mother Ghana.


The objective of this piece is to attempt to put across some layman’s suggestions for the consideration of the experts. In the first place, it is reassuring that the Government of Ghana is not sleeping over the issue at stake at all. Investigations have proved that since the news about the ban became public a week ago or so, the national security agencies have put their strategies into high gear to arrest the situation. It does not speak well of Ghana at all that such negative news from Africa should emanate from our mother land.


While the security personnel are doing their own thing, it is suggested that ordinary citizens who make use of ICT, particularly Internet users should come up with some ideas or views or suggestions as to how the nation can combat cyber crimes in the way Ghana police are dealing with armed robbery with dispatch. God bless them! Ghanaian ICT gurus and other stakeholders of the industry must not sit on the fence at all. If they are not part of the problem then they must be part of the solution. ICT experts must be the first to identify the crooks among them and flush them out before the entire industry is taken to the dogs.

My layman’s suggestion is that all ICT gurus in Ghana, no matter their fields of specialty, that is, whether they are in networking, web designing , software development or hardware technicians, they must come together to form a body solely devoted to combating cyber crimes in the country. This body may be known and called Ghana ICT Watch-Dog Committee or simply Ghana ICT Watch Group. The main function of the Group will be the monitoring of ICT activities in the country, especially cyber café operators.


When the Committee is formed, it may elect its own officers and adopt the most suitable mode of operations. Right now most cyber cafes are supposed to be located only in cities, especially in Accra and Kumasi and perhaps the other regional capitals.

As Government is making tremendous efforts to extend and expand ICT facilities to all the districts and every nook and cranny of the nation, we should not be myopic in our approach. ICT gurus should indulge in strategic thinking for the next 20 years and beyond of ICT in Ghana. If only a few dubious characters in some corners in Accra or Kumasi can cause this havoc to the technological image of Ghana now, then one can imagine what will happen if cyber cafes spread like the Video Theatres in the country.


Ghanaian ICT gurus must not wait until Ghana is entirely banished from the web before engaging in blame games. They must take note of this African proverb which says that: “If you see a stick approaching your eye, you don’t wait for the eye to be pricked before you break the stick.” This is my layman’s view. Any concerned citizen with any idea should e-mail it to me and I will put it across. abissath3@yahoo.co.uk


Tuesday, October 23, 2007









UNITED NATIONS, 10 September 2007 – Representatives of government, the private sector, nongovernmental

organizations, the Internet community and the media will converge in Rio de Janeiro for the

second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, to be held from 12 to 15 November.


The conference, to be held at Windsor Barra Hotel, will focus on the overall issue of “Internet Governance

for Development”. Five main themes will be addressed – access, diversity, openness, security and critical

Internet resources.


Some 2,000 participants from more than 100 countries are expected to attend. In addition to plenary

sessions, there will be open meetings and thematic workshops to discuss specific issues and share best



The Internet Governance Forum is not a decision-making body, but a space for dialogue for all those

involved to discuss Internet governance issues. There will be no negotiated outcome, but the meeting will

seek to create a dialogue among all participants on public policy issues relating to the Internet and create

new dynamics between participating institutions.


The first Forum meeting in Athens last November saw the creation of a number of “Dynamic Coalitions” of

participants from governments, the private sector and civil society to address issues such as open

standards, spam, access, freedom of expression, privacy, digital identity and a proposed “Internet Bill of

Rights”. The meeting in Rio de Janeiro will allow members of these coalitions to collaborate further on

common concerns.


Hadil da Rocha Vianna, Director for Scientific and Technological Affairs in Brazil’s Ministry of External

Relations, has been appointed co-chair of the Advisory Group for the Internet Governance Forum, which

will assist in preparing for the Rio de Janeiro meeting. The other co-chair is Nitin Desai, the United

Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Internet Governance.


The 47 members of the Advisory Group, who serve in their personal capacity, come from government, the

private sector and civil society, including the academic and technical communities, representing all

regions (see list of members at http://www.intgovforum.org/ADG_members.htm).


A round of open consultations held in Geneva in May showed broad support for keeping the four themes

discussed in Athens – access, diversity, openness and security – and for adding the theme of critical

Internet resources. Participants agreed that the Rio de Janeiro Forum should retain the overall theme of

“Internet Governance for Development”.


The main themes to be discussed cover the gamut of the functioning of the Internet. The theme of access

includes infrastructure, connectivity and the role of government and the private sector to improve access

by all. Issues of diversity and openness cover promoting local content, cultural diversity and the number

of languages used on the Internet.


Security means among other things cyber-security, the safety of the Internet and the fight against

cybercrime. “Critical Internet resources” covers issues relating to infrastructure and the management of

key Internet resources, including administration of the domain name system and Internet protocol (IP)

addresses, administration of the root server system, technical standards, peering and interconnection,

and telecommunications infrastructure.


The Forum will hold its 2008 session in India and its 2009 session in Egypt.


Journalists interested in attending the Forum should register at http://intgovforum.org/register/index.php

For further information, please visit http://www.intgovforum.org and http://www.igfbrazil2007.br.


In Rio de Janeiro,

Valeria Schilling at the United Nations Information Centre,

Tel. 21 2253 2211, valeria@unicrio.org.br.

In Geneva,

Rolando Gomez at the United Nations Information Service,

+41 (0)22 917 23 26, rgomez@unog.ch.

In New York, Edoardo Bellando at the United Nations Department of Public Information,

Tel. 1-212-963-8275, bellando@un.org.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fwd: Centerpieces - An Online Glossary: Learn the Words of the Web

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Date: 17 Oct 2007 18:01
Subject: Centerpieces - An Online Glossary: Learn the Words of the Web
To: webjournalist@twnafrica.org

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An Online Glossary: Learn the Words of the Web
Add to your Internet vocabulary with a couple of words each week from the Orlando Sentinel staff.

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Is the concept of a "mashup" turning your brain to mush? Does the idea of "crowdsourcing" leave you feeling ... lonely?

A new feature of Poynter Online, WebSpeak, will help you get comfortable with the rapidly evolving lingo of online journalism.

Every few days, Staff Development Editor Dana Eagles and Online Producer Danny Sanchez of the Orlando Sentinel will explain one of those buzzwords you've been hearing, and the items will be compiled to form a growing glossary of online journalism. Before you know it, you'll be able to speak Web.

First term: Mashup


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The Umbrella Narrative
By Roy Peter Clark

Men's Room Adventure
By Roy Peter Clark

For Frontline Editors
By Jacqui Banaszynski

Why Divide Belo?
By Rick Edmonds

Don't Lose Touch
By Colleen Eddy

New Storytelling Tools
By Kim Pearson

"Missing" in Jena, La.
By Keith Woods

Digital Diversity
By Thomas Huang

Writer, Heal Myself
By Roy Peter Clark

'Virtual Reality'
By Chip Scanlan

The Great Turtle Race
By Jane Stevens

Reduce Unease of Hires
By Colleen Eddy

Believing is Seeing
By Sally Lehrman

Natl. Punctuation Day
By Chip Scanlan

Hyphens Are History
Chip on Your Shoulder

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