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.
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.
The e-Liberia office at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MoPT)
I spent 6 weeks in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, in November and December 2015 to design the eGovernment Web Development Strategy for the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MoPT). Liberia Faced 14 years of civil war until 2003 then they faced an Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015. Peace Nobel Prize President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf worked hard to put Liberia on the good tracks with the support of the international community and she is still in the office until 2017. There is not metropolitan fiber yet in Liberia or national fiber connecting key cities, but the ACE submarine cable is reaching Monrovia and should help to bridge the digital divide in this country.
The UN University – Computing & Society in Macao
I spent a couple of weeks in Macao after a kind invitation from the United Nations University – Computing & Society (UNU-CS) and I arrived during the Chinese new year. It was nice to see the city enlighten by three festive days!
UNU-CS opened last year under the direction of Mike Best who was the former director of Media Lab Asia in India and the former head of the eDevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab. UNU-CS defines itself as a new research institute at the intersections of information and communication technologies and international development (ICTD) focusing on the key challenges faced by developing societies through high-impact innovations in computing and communication technologies.
Mauritian National Computer Board reception
I have been lucky enough to spend six weeks in the beautiful island of Mauritius to work on their National Open Source Policy, Strategy and Action Plan. My colleague, Andrej Kositer, and I were based at the National Computer Board (NCB) in Port Louis. The NCB was set up in 1988 to promote the development of ICT in Mauritius and they expect to be the key enabler in transforming Mauritius into a cyber island and a regional ICT hub. Continue reading