Sunday, January 30, 2011

Berkman Event: Whose choice? ICTs for “development” and the lives people value

ICT4D debates by Dorothea Kleine, Lecturer at the UNESCO Chair/Centre in ICT4D, Royal Holloway, University of London

Tuesday, February 15, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person to Amar Ashar (
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

Recognising that ICTs are powerful tools shaping people’s everyday lives, practitioners, policy-makers and academics in the ICT for development (ICT4D) field engage with these technologies in the name of “development”. Yet understandings of development differ and too often remain implicit and removed from participatory processes involving the intended users. Techno-euphoria and the focus on universal access distracts from the very individual choices people should have to integrate technologies in their everyday practices (or not). Working with Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach and its view of development as freedom, this open conversation will discuss the diverse and potentially conflicting ideologies embedded in state ICT policies and technical artefacts and the intended and unintended consequences. It will explore potential technological and process innovations which could lead to more participatory decision-making on policy and technology design – an area where all countries can be classified as “developing”.

About Dorothea

Dorothea Kleine is Lecturer in Development Geography at the UNESCO Chair/Centre in ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her work focuses on the relationship between notions of “development”, choice and technology. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the IBG) and has worked as a consultant/advisor to EuropeAid, DFID, GTZ and to NGOs. She is the author of Surfen in Birkenstocks (Oekom, 2005), a book on the potential of the Internet for the Fair Trade movement and has recently been managing action research using smartphones to assist socially and environmentally responsible consumption choices ( She is currently completing her new book, Technologies of Choice (MIT Press) which offers an operationalisation of the capabilities approach for evaluation and project design in ICT4D.
Statement paper: '“None but ourselves can free our minds” – Development, Technological Change and Escaping the Tyranny of Direct Impact
Theoretical paper: "ICT4What: Using the Choice Framework to Operationalise the Capability Approach to Development", Paper presented at ICTD2009, Doha, 19th April 2009
More on Dorothea

    Berkman Webcast: The Internet, Young Adults and Political Participation around the 2008 Presidential Elections

    Something that developing countries can learn from best practices, especially in light of Uganda's elections which is close to my hear now?

    Tuesday, February 22, 12:30 pmBerkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
    RSVP required for those attending in person to Amar Ashar (
    This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

    How are online and offline political activities linked? Using data collected soon after the 2008 presidential elections on a diverse group of young adults from Obama's home city of Chicago, this presentation will look at the relationship of online and offline political engagement. Thanks to detailed information about political participation, political capital and Internet uses in addition to people's demographic and socioeconomic background, we are able to consider the relative importance of numerous factors in who was more or less likely to vote and engage in other types of political action.
    About Eszter

    Eszter Hargittai is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Faculty Associate of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University where she heads the Web Use Project. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University where she was a Wilson Scholar. In 2006/07 she was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and in 2008/09 was in residence at Berkman. Her work looks at the implications of differentiated Internet uses for social inequality. She is editor of Research Confidential: Solutions to Problems Most Social Scientists Pretend They Never Have.
    About Aaron

    Aaron is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at UC Berkeley. His current research examines the effects of institutional variation in large-scale collaborative production communities online. In particular, he focuses on relations of power within online communities that create and share informational resources. Aaron has also conducted ethnographic research on political movements to promote access to knowledge in Brazil, a project which he plans to continue as part of a broader analysis of the global governance of informational capitalism.

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    The Potential of Mobile Justice

    A brief overview of why technology might help in justice, by Kate Krontiris (reproduced from the Huffington Post), where she identified the following three arguments for matching technology to justice.
    • First, there are technologies that can help a developing country leapfrog from no access to justice to some access to justice.
    • Second, these new technologies are not hard to use, are becoming ubiquitous in even the most remote corners of the globe, and are cheaper than ever to implement.
    • Finally, tech interventions focused toward one issue often have significant secondary benefits. 
    Article followsThe State Department is exploring how connection technologies might link rape survivors with the justice they seek.

    When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo one year ago, she met a woman who, in her eighth month of pregnancy, had been raped multiple times. Distant from any hospital, the woman was kept alive through the efforts of fellow villagers to stem her bleeding (they packed her wound with grass). Her fetus, unfortunately, died.

    "I've been in a lot of very difficult and terrible settings," Secretary Clinton remarked. "And I was just overwhelmed by what I saw."

    In the Congo, incidents like these are not isolated; rather, there have been an estimated 200,000 reported rapes in the last 14 years and upwards of four million people killed as a result of the surrounding conflict and displacement. As recently as the end of last month, another 200 women (and some young boys) were gang raped by Rwandan and Congolese armed groups not very far from a United Nations base. While some enhancement efforts are underway, the Congolese judicial system needs a strong dose of capacity-building, anti-corruption efforts, and pure human capital to meet the overwhelming need it faces. Most rape survivors are so remote from centers of justice that they have no hope that their attackers will be held accountable for their crimes -- many do not even know that this kind of sexual violence is against the law.

    Flash forward one year to the National Geographic Society museum in Washington, D.C. A small but earnest exhibit about design objects for "the other 90%" features low-cost, durable design solutions from technologists and entrepreneurs for shelter, health, water, education, energy and transport issues in developing countries.

    At the back of the exhibit, a visitor will find the Internet Village Motoman Network, represented by two objects: a 33-inch satellite dish and a racy, red motorcycle. In fifteen schools, telemedicine clinics, and government offices in a remote province of Cambodia, students and teachers now have access to the internet and nurses can conduct medical visits and transmit information to Boston-based doctors for quick medical opinions and treatment recommendations. These improvements in education, health, communication, and governance have come thanks to five Honda motorcycles equipped with mobile access points and a satellite uplink.

    If Cambodian social entrepreneurs can put satellite dishes on schools, clinics, and motorcycles and see gains in education and health, why cannot Congolese civil society actors use the same technology to connect rape survivors to legal advice, medical and psychosocial assessments, and justice in court?

    In the spectrum of judicial engagement from initial incidence of violence to case resolution, 21st-century technologies could be used to report crime and capture witness testimony, educate citizens about rape law, train local police in forensic evidence collection and create a dialogue between judges and community leaders about nascent rule of law efforts. This summer, I was part of a team of people at the State Department that crowd sourced the best ideas for a "mobile justice" intervention, to be piloted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the coming months. Thinking systematically, we identified a few strong arguments for matching technology to justice.

    First, there are technologies that can help a developing country leapfrog from no access to justice to some access to justice. It may seem like a drop in the bucket for 100 new people each year to have their cases heard in court -- each of those cases, however, represents the collaborative efforts of survivors, community counselors, police, prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, doctors, technologists, local elected leadership, and telecommunications providers, among many others. Any means available to create, repeat, and expand patterns of interdependence among these stakeholders -- facilitated through technology -- will help to cement the permanent presence and responsibilities of a fully governing state.

    Second, these new technologies are not hard to use, are becoming ubiquitous in even the most remote corners of the globe, and are cheaper than ever to implement. They have largely evolved to the point that even technophobes can easily create and maintain a web presence, or use SMS-based reporting systems. For citizens with literacy challenges, it is likely that a friend or neighbor can lend a helping hand. Telecommunication companies have also shown a willingness to participate in technology development projects, given the significant market opportunities for a whole host of products and services.

    Finally, tech interventions focused toward one issue often have significant secondary benefits. Let us say that a remote local organization could be wired with satellite internet in Eastern Congo and linked to a court, a hospital, and a legal service center in the provincial capital. Conceivably, survivors and witnesses could then testify in court via video conference, receive on-site telemedical assessments much like the Cambodian case, and access legal guidance. Once that local NGO is wired with internet, however, the technology could be used to provide education and training to schools, police officers, businesses, and other NGOs. Video-conferencing tools could be used to develop networks of civil-society organizations, so that they could share best practices, discuss failures, and warn each other of pending violence. Blast text-messaging systems based out of those centers could rapidly expand the delivery of educational messages about health concerns, business opportunities, and recreational activities. Finally, the local NGOs themselves would be better able to shape and transmit their own messages, draw media attention to their successes, and express their opinions and experiences directly to policy makers in their own countries and among international governing bodies. With the right infrastructure investments, a fairly rudimentary set of technology tools has opened up a world of possibilities.

    What is exciting about this moment in American foreign policy is a commitment at the highest levels to the idea that connection technologies can have an appreciable impact on key diplomatic and development concerns. Mobile justice done right will require not only this culture of entrepreneurialism and collaboration across the public and private sectors. It will also require a sustained understanding of how the judicial landscape is evolving, and a concerted openness to gathering the best ideas, identifying successful solutions, and tracking indicators of effectiveness. If this intervention is successful in Congo, it could be re-deployed in other similar places in the future. I look forward to seeing the United States take a prominent and pragmatic role in bringing justice to the woman that Secretary Clinton met one year ago, and to the many others like her who deserve recognition and recompense for what they have endured.

    Kate Krontiris is pursuing graduate studies in public policy and business at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the MIT Sloan School of Management. She spent time recently working for Alec Ross, the Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary Hillary Clinton.

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    Call for Papers - University of Amsterdam 7th Annual Competition & Regulation Meeting: Competition Policy for Emerging Economies: When and How?

    ACLE Conference - Call for Papers

    The Amsterdam Center for Law &Economics at the University of Amsterdam organizes its 7th annual Competition & Regulation meeting on the topic: Competition Policy for Emerging Economies: When and How?

    May 20, 2011
    University of Amsterdam

    The objective of this meeting is to bring together renowned specialists in emerging competition law enforcement and its interrelationship to economic development in conference to debate. We also welcome practitioners with a keen interest in this specialty subject, including (new) agency officials, government officials interested in competition policy as a development aid tool, competition lawyers and consultants and scholars working on these research topics.
    Keynote Speakers include:
    Frederic Jenny (ESSEC Business School)
    Daniel Sokol (University of Florida)
    Michal Gal (University of Haifa)

    Roundtable discussion chaired by William Kovacic (FTC) between the keynote speakers, joined by Andrew Gavil (Howard University), Ioannis Lianos (UCL) and Hassan Qaqaya (UNCTAD, tbc).

    Call for Papers – NOW OPEN
    Academics, private practitioners and competition officials, both with a legal and an economic background, are encouraged to submit their research for inclusion in the conference program. We welcome all original research (in progress).

    Submissions for inclusion in the program (full papers or abstracts) may be sent together with the author’s address information to:

    The deadline for submission is March 1 2011. Decisions on acceptance to the program will be communicated mid March.

    Call for Papers
    The scientific program committee, which consists of Maarten Pieter Schinkel (chair), Rein Wesseling, Benjamin van Rooij, Jeroen van de Ven, Kati Cseres and Jo Seldeslachts, will produce a full day program based on the response to this call. Local organizers are Martijn Han and Michael Frese.

    More Information
    For more information, please visit the ACLE conference website:
    Relevant information on the preliminary program, registration, fees and accommodation will be posted on this website as we progress towards the conference date.

    Berkman Event 25 Jan 2011: Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human

    Tuesday, January 25, 12:30 pm
    Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
    RSVP required for those attending in person to Amar Ashar (
    This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

    Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, and Jillian C. York will discuss the recently released Berkman Center report on "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites.

    About the DDoS Paper
    Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is an increasingly common Internet phenomenon capable of silencing Internet speech, usually for a brief interval but occasionally for longer. In this paper, we explore the specific phenomenon of DDoS attacks on independent media and human rights organizations, seeking to understand the nature and frequency of these attacks, their efficacy, and the responses available to sites under attack. Our report offers advice to independent media and human rights sites likely to be targeted by DDoS but comes to the uncomfortable conclusion that there is no easy solution to these attacks for many of these sites, particularly for attacks that exhaust network bandwidth.

    About Ethan
    Ethan Zuckerman served a fellow of the Berkman Center from 2003 through 2009. Since 2009, he's been a senior researcher at the center, working on projects that focus on the impact of technology and media on the developing world and on quantitative analysis of media. With Hal Roberts, he is working on comparative studies of tools for censorship circumvention, techniques for blocking-resistant publishing for human rights sites and on the Media Cloud framework for quantitative study of digital media.

    About Hal
    Hal Roberts is the long time geek in/out of residence at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. He is currently doing research in the areas of internet filtering circumvention, botnet and other grey forms of surveillance, and analysis of main stream and new/citizen media. Hal has worked on the technical side of many Berkman projects over the years, including H2O, Weblogs at Harvard Law, and Global Voices Online.

    About Jill
    Jillian York joined the Berkman Center in the summer of 2008 as project coordinator for the OpenNet Initiative. In that capacity, she works with ONI's many volunteers and contractors around the world to carry out ONI testing for Internet filtering. She also blogs for ONI, conducts research, and coordinates DDoS and Circumvention research.Jillian also works on the Herdict Web project, coordinating translation, blogging, and maintaining Herdict's social media presence. She is involved with Global Voices Online, where she serves as an author on the Middle East/North Africa team, as well as Global Voices Advocacy. She is also a member of the Committee to Protect Bloggers. Prior to joining Berkman, Jillian lived in Morocco, where she taught English and wrote Culture Smart! Morocco, a guide to Moroccan culture. She was also involved in digital activism projects there, and has given presentations on using online tools for activism. Most recently, she served as a contributing editor to Fodor's Morocco. Jillian studied at Binghamton University and Al Akhawayn University in Morocco.
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