Internet Freedom: Fighting Back Against Digital Authoritarianism

A surveillance system in Ecuador

(Originally published in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs)

One of the great challenges of cyberspace is defending freedom and human rights on the internet, all of which are in steady decline. In a decade, we have moved from a free and open internet to one dominated by closed platforms that are more centralized and easier to control. The internet has become a space where digital giants defend shareholder interests, authoritarian governments squash human rights, and private companies spy on politicians, activists, and journalists.

Cyberspace has become unstable, and the challenges faced by technologists and policymakers are more nuanced and complex. Authoritarian regimes have learned to use sophisticated techniques to establish their control in cyberspace, and democratic governments, technology firms, and other actors in cyberspace must push back.

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Les enjeux de l’eGouvernement dans les pays émergents

les enjeux de l’eGouvernement dans les pays émergents

Les services numériques ont une place particulièrement importante dans les pays développés tandis que la moitié de la population mondiale n’a toujours pas accès à Internet. La fracture numérique entre les pays développés et les pays émergents est toujours forte et les enjeux sont de plus en plus complexes. Nous allons commencer par faire un état des lieux de la révolution numérique actuelle afin d’en mesurer les enjeux. Puis, nous allons analyser les services qui permettraient d’apporter les bénéfices du numérique au plus grand nombre. Enfin, nous allons discuter des priorités à mettre en œuvre pour que l’ensemble des citoyens puisse avoir accès aux connaissances, aux infrastructures, aux équipements et à la connectivité permettant de bénéficier des services de eGouvernement.

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La défense des libertés et des droits humains sur Internet

Manifestation pour la défense des libertés sur Internet

(Publié à l’origine dans Mediapart)

La défense des libertés et des droits humains sur Internet fait partie des grands défis du cyberespace et décline chaque année. En une décennie, nous sommes passés d’un Internet ouvert et libre à un Internet de plateformes où les géants du numérique défendent les intérêts des actionnaires, les gouvernements autoritaires piétinent les droits humains et des entreprises privées espionnent des politiciens, des activistes et des journalistes.

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The Importance Of Balanced Partnerships To Defend Human Rights And Democracies In Cyberspace

Human Rights And Democracies In Cyberspace

(Originally published in the Counterpart International Blog)

In its early days, the Internet was often described as a Utopian technology in service of promoting and protecting of human rights. It represented a world of freedom that would liberate all knowledge, empower people, and weaken the state by making it more transparent and accountable, leading to the realization of democratization and human rights. Today, digital technologies are omnipresent in our lives. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, drones, self-operating vehicles, and robots can take on tasks ranging from driving support, household help, and companionship of sorts, to policing and warfare.

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The Social Security Data Governance Challenge in Mexico

The Mexican Flag

(Originally published in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs)

Mexico has a long history with social security; the country’s first social security law was enacted in 1943. Today, the social security system is fragmented into several institutions that coexist with each other, but do not operate in an integrated manner. A huge gap exists between lawyers, policymakers, and implementers who should be working together closely to design practical, efficient, and actionable policies.

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eBurkina : Vers une transformation numérique du Burkina Faso

Entrée du Ministère du développement de l’économie numérique et des postes à Ouagadougou

(Publié à l’origine dans le Rapport 2018 sur l’état de la Francophonie numérique)

Le gouvernement burkinabé, conscient de la nécessité de dynamiser l’économie numérique du pays, a lancé officiellement le programme eBurkina, le 29 juin 2017. Il est financé par un don de la Banque mondiale d’un montant de 20 millions de dollars sur une période de 5 ans. Ce programme vise à favoriser la capacité et l’utilisation d’outils numériques par les administrations publiques, à améliorer la fourniture d’informations et de services numériques, et à promouvoir l’entrepreneuriat avec un focus particulier sur l’agriculture et les zones rurales. Il devrait redistribuer les bénéfices du numérique dans un pays principalement rural où seulement 29 % de la population est alphabétisée. Les initiatives en découlant devront être fortement innovantes afin de combler une fracture numérique qui marginalise une large majorité de la population. Ces initiatives devraient permettre à l’administration publique d’adopter des plates-formes et des services numériques améliorant les échanges de données entre les entités publiques, fournissant des informations et des services numériques pour le bien-être des citoyens et stimulant la compétitivité des entreprises locales.

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Preparing for a Data-Driven Revolution in Liberia

George Weah during the presidential inauguration ceremony

(Originally published in the Columbia/SIPA Journal of International Affairs)

A coastal, West African country, Liberia was once infamous for civil war, so-called “blood diamonds,” and public health crises like the recent Ebola humanitarian crisis. But, soon, Liberia will be known more for its data transparency, management, and sharing than any of its past ills.

Since 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa and a Nobel laureate, has presided over the restoration of constitutional government and the consolidation of a lasting peace. Soon after her election, she started in on her promise of transforming the country into a more open nation, accountable to its people. To this end, the Liberian Anti-Corruption Act and the Freedom of Information Act were introduced. New public institutions were established, such as the General Auditing Commission (GAC), to ensure that Government accounts for public resources, and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), to prevent corruption and promote good governance. In 2008, the Government of Liberia joined the Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (EITI), bringing transparency over payments and revenues procedures to the mining, timber, agriculture, and nascent oil and gas sectors.

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The Rise of Entrepreneurship in France

Beautiful Morning in Paris

France is an old nation, which has been well known for luxury goods, French Riviera and its high standards education system provided in “Grandes écoles”. For a long time, these drive for excellence had an unexpected consequence because students learned there is no place for failure and want a secure job. This mindset is slowly changing because a job with a big company is not a guarantee of stability anymore and students have been encouraged to learn from mistakes. According to KPMG, a third of French students now say that they want to create or join a startup.

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Launching Private Non-Profit eHealth Micro Insurance for Migrants in Thailand

Focus group in Mae Sot

Focus group in Mae Sot

(Originally published in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs)

The first refugee camp along the Thai-Myanmar border was established in 1984 in Mae La to welcome refugees from worn-torn Myanmar. Since 1984, a total of 9 camps have been created along the Thai-Myanmar border, hosting approximately 120,000 people in close quarters. These camps provide refugees with basic amenities and access to healthcare by international organizations.

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