Posted November 8th, 2010 by Jasna Matic
In Serbia, we spearheaded the initiative to create a “Global Network of Women ICT Decision-Makers” with a proposal for amending Resolution 70 at the recent ITU Plenipot in Guadalajara, Mexico. The main idea behind the network is to promote careers for young women in ICT, as well as encourage women and girls of all ages to use ICTs for social and economic empowerment. The main promoters of women in ICT will be the women already working in the sector, as there are a growing number of women in the ICT field with decision-making power, including relevant Ministries, national regulatory authorities, and the industry itself. Our intention is to bring together these women, on a global scale, through the “Global Network of Women ICT Decision-Makers” utilizing the international coverage ITU provides; and we have made great progress -- Resolution 70 was adopted on October 18, 2010.
Also, there is an additional effort to establish international Girls in ICT/Girl's Day to be held on every fourth Thursday of April. This day would be a time when ICT companies, other companies with ICT departments, ICT training facilities, universities, research centers, government bodies, and all ICT-related institutions are invited to organize an open day for girls, where girls could see for themselves what a career in the field might bring, freely ask questions, or have speakers take part in a specially focused "women in ITC career days " at their local schools. These ICT companies could also organize shadow projects (where girls could shadow a woman-leader in ICT for one or several days). I would like to use this opportunity to invite you to join us in our initiative, as well as link in your initiative to the "virtual" network in an effort to create a "real" network for women and girls.
Ms. Jasna Matic is an elected Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society in Serbia. She has more than fifteen years of experience in public service, international organizations, Serbian and international business and political environment.Posted in Wisenet
Posted November 1st, 2010 by Phoebe Yang - Senior Advisor to the Chairman on Broadband
Most of the time, when commentators talk about the benefits of broadband, they focus on its impact on economic development, and for good reason. Jobs are a central concern for almost anyone in American public life today, and high-speed broadband can bring real benefits.
Consider Chattanooga, Tennessee’s recent announcement that it will offer 1 Gbps service to all 170,000 customers in its service area by the end of this year. Companies are saying that having access to a high-performance fiber network is a significant factor in their decisions to expand in the area, and Chattanooga is already seeing large business expansion and small business relocation.
But doctors, teachers and engineers are also showing that broadband can benefit our ability to achieve national priorities like improving health outcomes, educating our children and making our electric grid smarter. High-speed connectivity is allowing doctors to practice telemedicine, treating patients hundreds of miles away who would otherwise have little access to advanced care. It’s enabling educators to extend learning beyond mere words – from describing historic events like the first women to fly or enter space, to – at the click of a mouse – showing actual video and audio footage of events like Amelia Earhart's flight across the Atlantic or the launch of Challenger. And, it’s helping electric utilities manage energy use and reduce bills for their customers.
In short, broadband is the foundation both for economic opportunity and social prosperity in the 21st century. Like electricity or telephones in prior generations, it is hard to imagine an enabling technology more vital to our future.
Posted October 29th, 2010 by Linda HallerSloan
So you’re in another country, you stop for a cup of coffee at a café and plug in your laptop to an Internet connection. Or you’re at the airport, and you get an email that says: “Free upgrade now.” Or you’re in a hotel room and securing your passport in the safety deposit box and it asks you for a PIN number. “Ah hah,” you think to yourself, “that’s easy, I’ll use the same passcode I use at home, that way, I’ll remember it!” Or you live in a country like Haiti and one of the only ways to access currency is through a transaction on your cell phone. Stop before you act. BE AWARE. Cyber may be out of sight, but it is all around. Cyber abounds. And so do tactics designed to harm your electronic devices and to take information from you. In the United States, October has been National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. At the FCC, we’ve developed safety tips for consumers about Internet usage. And we’ve identified some precautions you can take when traveling internationally with electronic devices. Protect yourself. Take a look at these travel tips we put together to learn how.Posted in International Bureau , Consumers , Wisenet
Posted October 18th, 2010 by Serena Romano
On any day coming to the office, opening up my mailboxes at home, or scanning through my mail at the airport queue I come across an old friend who suddenly wants to link up with me, a vague acquaintance who wishes to see me at an exhibition, or an urgent petition that I need to sign.
The prospect of friends suddenly springing up from old times used to thrill me. I was delighted to sign petitions that would guarantee my democratic rights, and basked in the idea of going to an art exhibition. As always with novelties they are delightful only if they are rare enough to continue to be pleasant.
However, today the acceptance level of intrusion has been surpassed, and I only get moderately amused when acquaintances who hardly recognize me at a conference, insist on becoming my “friends” on Facebook.
So, now more than ever we must rethink our personal communications policies towards our parents, friends, and colleagues. Maybe I want to send photos of the latest birthday to parents, but not necessarily start a discussion that would be best fit for Sunday afternoon tea-time. I want to share lots of fun –or even silliness – with friends on Facebook, but that does not replace face-to-face encounters. I may not want all of my colleagues as my friends on Facebook (depending on the above-mentioned level of silliness displayed), but I expect at least an acknowledgment from them on all Emails sent with a professional query.
The Internet is splitting our personalities and recomposing them in accordance with the community networks that we adhere to. Now more than ever we need to keep control of our lives, information, and ideas.
The Internet should be an opportunity for us to make better and faster judgments. It’s so easy to tell that a deal is bad if the photos of the item that you would be buying are taken at a distance. The same principle applies to people, their ideas, and their so-called friendships.
So, let’s remember that the Internet is only a piece of our society and that when the time comes we need to get out of it. A petition will never replace a street demonstration, and a Skype call will never replace a private encounter.
The Internet should be the conduit to improve and diversify our physical, real, and concrete world.
Posted October 15th, 2010 by Ana CristinaNeves
(Part of the ongoing WISENET Series)
Ana Cristina Neves, from the Knowledge Society Agency, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal summarizes key points from her November 2009 presentation at the Internet Governance Forum.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a unique platform that must continue for the sake of our own and future generations. It fulfills the United Nations’ mandate to convene a forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue. It is unique because of three features. First, it is strong and robust. One of the most powerful outcomes of IGF is the spontaneous creation of flourishing and diversified national and regional IGFs all over the world. Their existence is proof that the IGF process is a great and a powerful idea, because only a powerful idea could deliver such a result. It is possible that these national and regional IGF will become places to ripen ideas. History has shown us that when movements are spontaneous, it is because they are powerful and meaningful for societies and for their citizens. And it’s exactly these movements that can change the paradigm. The second unique feature is that it acts as the global conscience of the Internet and Information Society. This conscience is essential for the development of the economies and for societal improvement all over the globe. Finally, the IGF is sustained by multi-stakeholder cooperation. The IGF set up a remarkable, variable, and wide-ranging dialogue and cooperation geometry between different institutions: public, private and non-profit organizations, and countries. It provides space where the individual, the citizen, the civil society participate on equal footing along with more powerful entities. These 3 features are incompatible with any hierarchical formal structure; no existing structure of this kind has ever produced such deliverables. IGF should be allowed to continue to evolve as creatively as it has been evolving for the past 4 years. The public can visit the IGF website for more information.Posted in International Bureau , Wisenet
Posted October 13th, 2010 by Irene Wu
Posted in The last time I shopped for a laptop, I conducted an extensive online search. I read articles from computer shopping magazines. I looked at user reviews. Then, I started comparing prices online. I visited the manufacturer’s website. With regret, I learned that in Hong Kong they were selling the same laptop with a fancy Vivienne Tam design which was unavailable in the US! Finally, I found a big chain store with the best price. I clicked through to order. Then, a note popped up that the laptop (blue!) was in stock at the bricks and mortar store two blocks from where I live. I reserved it online and walked down the street to pick it up. Before online shopping, it was hard to know whether the prices in the neighborhood shops were better or worse than elsewhere. Finding the answer cost time, energy, and money. But, now the consumer has better access to information, there is a better balance between what the customer and the salesperson knows – the information asymmetry is mostly eliminated. How have ICT’s eliminated information asymmetries in your experience? … In the next post of this series, collective action and the impact of ICT on society... . International Bureau , Wisenet
Posted October 12th, 2010 by Doreen Bogdan-Martin - Chief, Strategic Planning & Membership Dept., ITU
To bridge the digital divide, content and connectivity must go hand in hand. We must ensure that the developing countries get the access, and applications they need to better their lives. The access and applications must be affordable. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) bring great benefits but must be used responsibly. ICT companies, Policy makers, educators, and parents all have a role to play to ensure that our children are protected and understand potentially harmful situations or materials on the Internet. ICTs are transformational and have the power to better our lives. Improved health care delivery, and provision of education are two good examples.Posted in International Bureau , Wisenet
Posted October 12th, 2010 by Linda Pintro - Senior Legal Advisor, International Bureau
Posted in It should come as no surprise that “mobile money” has taken off in the developing world because the need for it there is massive, and the opportunity it presents for network operators and banks is also huge. The term “mobile money” includes all monetary transactions done through a mobile phone. When I talk about mobile money in the developing countries, I am not talking about the advanced services in which you can wave your telephone at the vending machine for contactless payment of your candy bar. For the most part I’m talking basic services like getting loans and paying bills. This basic mobile banking is forecast to generate $5 billion in fees by 2012. In Africa, for example, approximately 80% of the people have no or very little access to banking services, but they are not alone in being “unbanked” or “under-banked.” There are a number of reasons why people are unbanked. They may not have one or more basic things that a bank may require to open a bank account: an ID card, permanent address, a job. In some cases, they may have all that is required but simply not live near a bank branch. Because most financial transactions in the developing world take place at the corner “mom and pop stores,” mobile money services allow these small shops to act like branches. Although they may not offer you a free toaster for signing up for banking services, these convenience stores are getting the job done. Let me tell you how in my next few blog posts. International Bureau , Wisenet
Posted October 8th, 2010 by Meredith Attwell Baker
As the push towards ubiquitous broadband continues in the United States, we must not forget about the digital divide that women in low- and middle-income countries still battle. According to a 2010 study by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), we account for 25 percent or less of Internet users in Africa and Asia. This disparity is even more striking in the Middle East, where only 6 percent of Internet users are women. As a result, women in these countries are generally less literate than the men and are more likely to hold employment with little, if any, job security, wages, or benefits.
Technological innovation provides women with an opportunity to combat these results. Specifically, increased access to broadband technologies in these countries will increase women’s economic independence and efficiency. For example, the Negros Women of Tomorrow Foundation’s (NWTF) Village Phone Program, launched in 2007, has created over 300 phone-operation businesses in low-income countries. Initiatives such as this play a critical role in closing the digital gender divide. In addition to increasing broadband accessibility, it is important to focus on the creation of training programs to ensure that women are effectively utilizing newly introduced technologies.
The study conducted by ICRW can be found at their website.Posted in Wisenet
Posted October 8th, 2010 by Veena Rawat - President, Communications Research Centre
(Part of the ongoing WISENET Series)
Previously we posted a blog noting that Dr. Rawat was the only woman running for a senior post in the ITU. We also began an introduction of Dr. Rawat, and in this blog we continue.
Throughout Dr. Veena Rawat’s career and in her personal life, she has enthusiastically supported women. In 2004 the Canadian Women in Communications organization presented her with the Canadian Woman of the Year in Communications Award. A spokeswoman stated “[Dr. Rawat] has been a tireless role model and supporter of advancement of women and under her leadership, the participation of women in engineering roles at Industry Canada has blossomed.” From 2003 to 2006, Dr. Rawat was a representative for Women in Science & Technology. Since 2007, she has been a member of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, Women in Technology group. In 2005 Dr. Rawat was included in Canada’s Most Powerful Women, Top 100 by Canada’s Executive Women’s Network, and was awarded Canadian Woman of the Year in Communications by the Canadian Women in Communications in 2004. Dr. Rawat has been a volunteer mentor with The Women’s Executive Network since 2007 and a member of the Heart Truth Leadership Council starting in 2008. The council is part of the Heart Truth campaign to raise awareness of women’s heart disease. During the 1990s, she worked with groups concerned with violence against women, and volunteered with sports teams for high school girls.Posted in International Bureau , Wisenet