December 02, 2003E-commerce and development? UNCTAD's E-Commerce and Development Report is out. The report claims that "while the Internet euphoria of the late 1990s may have subsided, the economic gains of ICT have broadly permeated business and society alike."
It also identifies what impact the growth of the digitial economy is likely to have on developing countries, with India's experience showing that "the growing market for IT services and business process outsourcing offers poor countries a new development opportunity."
November 26, 2003In the news, the Washington Times reports that the "UN could restrict content on the internet", in its take on the ongoing battle between supporters of ICANN and those who want a UN-regulated internet.
In the UN corner are a number of big hitters from the developing world, including Brazil, China and India, complaining about US hegemony, and rising levels of junk mail and fraud.
Standing up for ICANN, those who think UN control could threaten the idea of free speech on the Internet. As Diane Cabell of Harvard's Berkman Centre for Internet and Society puts it: "You might get the lowest common denominator instead of the highest common denominator, and before you know it, you're restricted in terms of what content you can put online".
(Link via Lextext.)
David Steven @ 08:06 PM | TrackBack
November 25, 2003In the news, the India Economic Summit is receiving plenty of coverage. With 1 million people employed, the ICT sector is being touted as a model for other industries. However, there are worries about a backlash from rich countries losing jobs (some US comment here).
Meanwhile, Disney and Rupert Murdoch's Star India have plans for the sub-continent, with Star's CEO claiming that India "could become an important destination for production of entertainment software." Bollywood film makers agree, with one predicting that 70 percent of global revenue in the entertainment business will come from Asia over the next 10 years.
No summit is complete without demonstrations. In New Delhi, Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, is being compared to Hitler.
David Steven @ 08:10 AM | TrackBack
November 21, 2003In the news, One World East Asia carries an interview with Chetan Sharma on Indian preparations for WSIS. Sharma is "utterly dissatisfied with the government's response," but remains "certain the WSIS will help the poor."
David Steven @ 05:40 PM | TrackBack
November 19, 2003In the news, the FT reports on the perilous state of the negotiations, Angola prepares for the summit, and Pakistan plans 2,000 Internet labs planned for state schools.
David Steven @ 08:06 AM
November 16, 2003The IPR Hot Potato. There's little agreement over Intellectual Property Rights in advance of the summit. As ever, it's hardly surprising that ideas and information (specifically, who owns them and what does it cost to buy them) go to the heart of the "digital divide". To quote the WSIS draft declaration "a fair balance has to be struck between IPR protection... and... its use, and knowledge-sharing".
So, on one hand, WSIS-watchers will be looking closely at the attitude of big "advanced developing" countries like Brazil, Mexico, China and India - who have interests on either side of the IPR digital-information divide. Richer countries see a strict regime of intellectual property protection as essential to encourage innovation and creativity, while ranged between them are those who believe the "fair balance" concept is mean, misguided and based on a false analogy with ownership of physical property. Of course, those who promote communication rights believe "the best way to 'protect' creations of the intellect is to allow them to be used".
Andrew Taussig @ 02:58 PM
November 10, 2003The Sri Lanka government has started an ambitious e-Sri Lanka programme to highlight the issues to be raised at the World Summit on Information Technology. The five year pilot scheme is the island's first attempt to bring together all government institutions through networking and once fully implemented it is the man on the street who will benefit. The project will even allow fishermen to get weather forecasts!
Cara Swift @ 01:40 PMIndia's government is under pressure to bridge the digital divide in the country. Despite increasing investments in IT infrastructure the gap is still widening, according to a group of NGOs. The government is sending a sizeable delegation to WSIS in Geneva, but the director of OneWorld South Asia says there has been no dialogue between the government and people's organisations on ICT strategies and policies.
Cara Swift @ 01:39 PM