Information Technologies and Social Transformation

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Private standard-setting organizations such as ISO contributed plans on climate change. One of them, the ISO , sets requirement for environmental management system EMS and obliges organizations to identify and systematically reduce any harmful effects it may have on the environment. Organizations must agree to practice energy saving, pollution control, waste management, and proper consumption of raw materials.

Utilization of ICTs can also pave the way to the conservation and responsible use of oceans and the marine resources that they hold. Satellite-based monitoring can improve overall monitoring and reporting efficiencies which results to increased liability. On a smaller scale, local sensors and other related systems can also deliver real-time updates to improve the accuracy and efficiency of data gathered from satellite-based monitoring.

Big data from the monitoring activities can be analyzed to look for short and long-term trends in terms of pollution, weather patterns and migration cycles. ICTs can play a role in the conservation of terrestrial ecosystems and prevention of biodiversity loss. Like on oceans and marine resources, global monitoring systems such as satellite-based monitoring can improve the monitoring efforts which would increase accountability.

As a result, several illegal activities such as poaching and illegal wildlife trade can be alleviated through this way.

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Data gathered from the monitoring activities can be used to analyze trends in terms of biodiversity, changes in ecosystems as well as to plan mitigation efforts. The portal aims to share verified environmental information to the public. One of the key feature of this portal is the ability of the public to interact with it by reporting environmental phenomena and illegal activities.

ICTs can help in strengthening the accountability and reliability of institutions. The emerging trend of governments opening their data to the public increases transparency ratings, enables citizens and helps stimulate financial growth.

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ICTs are also vital in areas such as monitoring and tracking government data and public demographics. ICTs are also important when natural or man-made disasters occur because it is responsible for retrieving, communicating and sending reliable and timely crisis information.

This allows efficient and correct solutions to be carried out. In the future, analysis of big data can also pave way to accurate forecasting and early warning systems which would be open to anyone. But with the three pillars of sustainable development namely economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability, it is no doubt needed in providing innovative and effective means of implementation in a global scale. It helps in enhancing international coordination, multi-stakeholder partnerships, data monitoring and accountability.

The Sustainable Development Goals is an opportunity for the world to work together to reach goals such as ending poverty, protecting the earth and ensuring prosperity for the planet. Technology if used effectively will accelerate the SDG's task of reaching its goals. In order for SDGs to achieve their goals, changes are required of each sector.

Development sectors like livelihood, agriculture, health, education, water, sanitation and power, infrastructure, disaster relief, government and human rights, environmental protection and crosscutting should achieve their goals of ending poverty by providing sustainable agriculture to ensure food security and improved nutrition for people to have healthy lives.

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Sustainable management of water, sanitation and modern energy should be achieved as well as the construction of safe and resilient infrastructure for communities. Laws promulgating equal rights should also be achieved. Lastly, protection of the environment should be undertaken. ICT can address the needs and provide benefits to various organizations and individuals.

These organizations include consumers, entrepreneurs or employees, businesses, government agencies and civil society organizations. ICT is at the forefront of development assistance and interventions to achieve poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth. Goal 17 of SDGs emphasizes the importance of global partnership and cooperation through sharing knowledge and experiences to foster innovation. Improving access to knowledge and technology through ICT interventions is crucial to the achievement of this goal. However, there are a lot of challenges in implementing SDGs at it focuses on many aspects.

Suggestions have been made on how the goals can be achieved at the desired timeline, such as decreasing cost in implementing ICT and increasing public awareness about ICT. Another hindrance is the hierarchy of organizations. There are reports that some agencies are treated as higher than the other, thus, making the development slower. Also, though there are a lot of talented leaders, not all of them are exposed to the real situation. The most contributing factor is that once they are pushed to do something, most individuals and institutions focus on their own sectors, thus, not being able to have a collective mind towards one goal.

SDGs also have a huge territory; they focus on too many fields, making it slower for the development of ICT to happen. Though they focus on the most crucial needs of the people, the progression is not at par with their previous goals. SDGs have a long way to go with its goal to be reached by Improvements are still on its way but there are challenges that needs to be resolved to be able to move forward, by having a collective mind.

Moreover, during the s, a pattern showed that ICTs had a strong drop down the international development agenda. It may even fully disappear from the international development agenda. This is all because of some failures of ICT4D. These failures include: inability to become engaged with the twin colossi of development goals going forward; inability to grasp the meaning, concepts, and discourse in development; and inability to create a role for itself in sustainable and inclusive development.

ICT4D should be able to solve these failures and do its tasks accordingly to be able to have a fitting place in the development agenda. However, one cause for concern is from where should the research agenda be obtained and was presented with two options — the SDGs itself or from what is happening in the ICT world.

A consensus was made and it shows that the research agenda must come from an in-depth knowledge of SDGs. It doesn't necessarily link ICT4D to every agenda but it provides a framework from which ICT4D can use as a guide to development planning and policy making. The focus of Inclusive Innovation is on delivering high performance products and services or high experience at ultra-low cost to the people whose needs are generally not addressed. This inequality is the driving factor why the world is now looking into promoting inclusive innovation, i.

Inclusive innovations may foster inclusion in production, in consumption, in the innovation process itself and by promoting the agency of the excluded. As inclusion not only focuses to the low-income but also the marginalized, handicapped, and excluded due to location. Ensuring that development is not only felt by the fortunate few but eventually encompassing all.

There are 5 guiding principles: []. In spite of impressive technological advances and economic growth, an important share of the world's population does not have access to many of the innovations that improve the quality of life and that provide access to better income opportunitiesincluding basic goods and services such as food, shelter, health, safe water, and electricity.

By providing products and services of high quality at low cost, so that these innovations are applicable, affordable and available to the BOP, state and non-state actors can help address these challenges. Innovation in this sense does not only mean technological advancements but also means to bring these advancements to the people in need of it, most especially the ones that would benefit from it for their day to day living.

There has been a rapid rise of interest in inclusive innovation and its application to various spheres. India, Thailand, China, South Africa, Indonesia and other national governments have added inclusive innovation elements into their policies. Here we can view the two key aspects of how inclusive innovation plays: first, who are affected or included? And second, what way they are included? First, the first part who are affected or included? The first part of key aspect is defined as someone is being affected or included in marginalized or poverty line.

How these people are being included in some way, which can be redirected to the second key aspect, what way they are included? The most beneficial way to answer that is to comprehend the different perspectives in the "ladder of inclusive innovation", in a group of steps, which in every succeeding step illustrates a higher idea of inclusivity as related to how innovation works. Below are the detailing of the steps: [].

ICTs has helped in expanding economic opportunity by giving the people the ability to enhance their knowledge and skills with the help of the internet. It also enabled users from identifying and applying certain skills to qualify on better opportunities. Because of ICTs significance to a better economy, getting the technology available to the mass is a very crucial process. But it doesn't stop there, in order for it to continue improving its user's, it must continue to develop and supported.

Kramer, Beth Jenkins, and Robert S. Katz, ICT sector is divided into two primary types. These types is targeted to local individual, household and SME markets for sales of technologies and services. They can also support in the development of local partner's networks in the developing countries, leading to a local businesses to start up and eventually grow.

Information Technologies and Social Transformation - National Academy of Engineering - Google книги

These two essential modalities sited by the authors are as follows:. These companies would normally start selling their products or services in a concentrated market where it is most likely to grow. While ICT have grown extensively around the world, in the Philippines, services offered by these telecommunication companies Globe and SMART has only been in the urbanized cities such as Metro Manila, where they offer a wide selection of data services from mobile data, DSL, Optic fiber connections and more.

The Vertical Deepening modalities is basically the level upon perfecting the horizontal deepening by growing the market and offering "value added" services to its loyal customers which is return increases their revenue per customer. Just like what was mentioned by the authors W. Kramer, B. Jenkins, and R. Katz in their book, getting the technology out there is just a part of the task, it also has to be maintained and developed. In their book, they have sited major ICT companies and how they did in order to continue expanding the services, support and development of their local partner networks or ecosystems.

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Other examples from the book are as follows:. In the field of ICT4D, an impact is said to occur when efforts are able to reach outside the academia. Research alone is insufficient. Beyond academic citations, the impact created by ICT4D research must extend to policy and practice as well. An impact that is said to contribute to the understanding or re-composition of policy issues and their debates is described as conceptual , while an impact that reforms the growth of policy, provision of services, and practice, additionally guiding legislation, is described as instrumental.

Furthermore, the development of capacity in the ICT4D field could be considered as another dimension of impact; one which is attained by interdisciplinary sharing. For ICT4D research to make an impact beyond theory, it must be treated as the following: []. There are many initiatives and projects being done in line with information, communication and technology for development.

Government, NGOs, public and private sectors have different projects lined up to promote development in different communities. But these projects, although have the objectives to help people in their everyday life, there are little study on whether the technology applied is effective or not. Impact assessment is one way to determine the effectiveness of one technology. For ICT4D, impact assessment can be based on these questions: []. One is based on the attainment of the ICT4D goals and the other is based on how to undertake such assessment.

Another categorization of assessing the impacts of ICT4D projects is based on "frameworks" understanding ICT4D projects and organizing knowledge about them which are: Generic: general frameworks usable in assessment of any development project. Mainstreaming ICTs means they should be understood as one among a number of tools seeking to achieve other development goals such as poverty alleviation, health, education of the MDG variety. Programmes that are developed by these experts are determined to have a social impact which are contributing to the development goals of MDGs.

On what is described as mainstreaming ICT is an implementation of various programmes by converging the techno-social activities that would contribute to address development goals. In the Philippines, the Open and Distance Education of the University of the Philippines Open University is one among in Asia that has successfully developed academic curriculum in information and communication science and has supported various ICT4D programmes in different government sectors such as agriculture and in local government units. Without sidestreaming, development agencies will be "less efficient, less effective and wandering blindfold into the future of development.

This calls for evidence of the benefits of and the necessity for sidestreamed structures on all levels within development. According to Richard Heeks, ICT has a compelling narrative which drew attention, money, and resources during the turn of the century. Currently, there is no narrative in ICT4D for post development because it struggles with the weight to balance different innovations of the modern technology.

The development goals and sectors that ICT serves are considered sub-fragments within the economic, social, political and environmental fragments. There is no defined core of an information society, it's mostly far-reaching or grasping for straws in the hope that they may amount to something. It is quite understandable that the erosion of vision in ICT happened because it was well ahead of its time in the early s.

It became path dependent. Absorbing all that it came its way, which is why it is harder to maintain. From casting visions, it now reflects realities. The only solution is to throw the useless loads and start to reinvent a single coherent core. Heeks suggest that ICT could try to join another's army or try grabbing someone else's flag so that they could push ahead and into the post discussions. They could also try developing their own internal narrative, one that can reintroduce a single core for its further development.

Either way, the future of ICT, its structure, and its policy, depends on how far they are eager to develop and explore. It is composed of four main domains that builds on standard input-process-output model to focus for historical or content evaluation. The following are the four main stages of ICT4D value chain:. As it has grown in popularity, especially in the international development sector, ICT4D has also come under criticism. Questions have been raised about whether projects that have been implemented at enormous cost are actually designed to be scalable, or whether these projects make enough of an impact to produce noticeable change.

It is emphasised that local language content and software seem to be good ways to help soften the impact of ICTs in developing areas. Many fear of the potential of ICT to seriously widen the Digital Divide and the gap between people with access to the information economy and those without such access. She believes that sustainable development can only be achieved if there are human rights and people can speak freely. Another point of criticism against ICT4D is that its projects are in the long term seldom environmentally friendly.

Beneficiary communities are often given the responsibility to dispose of the toxic electronic scrap when an equipment breaks down beyond repair. Since transporting the equipment to a recycling facility is costly; the equipment is often disposed of improperly, thus contributing to the pollution of the environment. More often than not, ICT programs are expected to be the solution for all socioeconomic problems. However, disorganized implementation that disregards factors such as cultural realities make ICT for development efforts ineffective.

It is therefore important to pursue regionalized ICT programs first before globalization. There's a need for ICT4D practitioners to seek out ways in which to enable programs make their impact. Recent research has stressed the need to shift from a technology-led approach, where the emphasis is on technical innovation towards an approach that emphasises innovative use of already established technology mobiles, radio, television.

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He argues that these myths can confuse our thinking about the proper role for technology in addressing development problems. In his presentation, Toyama concluded that technology is just one part of the solution. Part of his conclusion mentions that "Successful ICT4D interventions work as a part of well-intentioned, competent organizations. Kentaro Tayoma argued that the under-performing schools should try to adjust the particular attention to other elements such as teaching improvement skills and administration.

He also recommended to use cost-effective depart from traditional means of technology when venturing to other educational resources. Myths below are the most heard praise about technology in schools. To summarize the myths in education above regarding technology, there is no alternative or easiest way to achieve a good education system. He has written more articles about this the connection of technology and education.

Proponents of ICT have always highlighted the benefits of technology when applied in the different sectors of society especially in education. There is a belief that using ICT will make the lives of the people better. According to Flor n. The need to supply an ICT-literate workforce is anchored on the Information Age wherein the global economy's primary commodity is now information. Labor-intensive production has become knowledge-intensive, thus, the ever-growing need for information workers.

Corporate businesses who need information workers thrive on ICT. They do not only own the technology, but they also exert power through it. ICT, in the context of global capitalism, is therefore being used to advance private corporate interests towards what Schiller as cited in Waller, calls a "corporate controlled information society".

This restructuring of the global economy through ICT has implications that affect us immensely, even more so with the inclusion of ICT in education. It reinforces the exploitative nature of capitalism for it allows business interests to enter into and control our educational system. To exert its economic power in the global economy and "justify the more aggressive drive of the Transnational Corporations in the global order," capitalist-led WB and the World Trade Organization has put forth the theories of the "global village" and the globalization of market.

ICT therefore becomes a symbol and an aspect of globalization because globalization builds on and drives from it. Consequently, ICT as a symbol and aspect of globalization makes it a central component in the neoliberalist agenda in education of privatizing, deregulating and marketizing education and producing a surplus of skilled information workers for transnational corporations. Neoliberalism dictates that universities and colleges must look for their own funding in order to operate.

This leads to increasing private and corporate influence on schools through study and project grants and the state abandonment of the education system. In line with market capitalism, neoliberalism seeks to restructure the public orientation of education by steering it away from state control towards the private sphere. With corporate interests being allowed to gain control of schools, the capitalist-led international development assistance agencies have been actively pushing for ICT in the education system.

Furthermore, neoliberalism seeks to transform education into a commodity that can be bought at a price. This new kind of set-up, Petten explains, "stands in opposition to education as a social right" where everyone has a right to education regardless of economic status. Thus, the democratic character of education is threatened. In the Manila Workshop, the three key challenges of ICT4D also referred to as the three problem trees were clustered. These are the result of clustering the core problems that are seen in the field of ICT4D.

The participants of the workshop grouped the core problems or challenges into lack of rigour problem tree, interdisciplinary research problem tree and lack of collaboration problem tree. Shown below is a list of the 16 largest ICT4D gaps as of arranged in a descending order according to the priority it receives.

The list shows topics that are under-represented in post, but not a totality of ICT4D priorities. These gaps, along with other key topics, are used to come up with a list of post ICT4D priorities which in turn will be of valuable use in ICT4D activities of policymakers, strategists and practitioners:. The other issues that affects the innovation are: legal and regulatory, moral and ethical, social, economic, technology, language and script, and security. Ethics []. Ethical guidelines for research and development is an underdeveloped area of ICT4D. Despite most of what it entails being self-evident, the specifics of ethics is hard to pin down no matter how experienced a researcher might be.

Additionally, the fast-paced technological change and appropriation by cultures and subcultures characteristic of the information age increases the recurrence of ethically ambiguous situations and issues. Traxler suggests that funding agencies establish the parameters for ethical oversight in their projects, partners and clients in order to mitigate the risk of an undefined research ethics and to harness its considerable potential for peer-group, International, and interdisciplinary capacity building. Character Development []. The main objective of ICT4D is to assist all sectors of society in their development.

And that's already evident to the world today and absolutely it had made a huge impact on the society. However, there are side effects that the young community is indirectly experiencing because of ICT4D. The character development of the youth is being shaped by these technologies and somehow, they have developed an instant gratification attitude that makes them impatient and arrogant in different things. The problem is not ICT4D or the technology itself but rather the overexposure to these technologies are the things that needed to be managed at home and in school.

If this side effect in character development will not be taken seriously, it might cause a major effect on the future society when the young generation takes over. In the Development Goals, under Environmental and Sustainability is the topic of waste which is an important aspect of the relation between ICTs and the environment. When ICT goes faulty and obsolete they become waste.

It's necessary to pay a particular attention to the impact of electrical and electronic wastes. Assessing the side-effects of ICT waste or electronic waste disposal — CRTs, busted fluorescent lamp, used lead-acid batteries, ink toners, and cartridges, used oil, contaminated containers etc. WorldLoop , proposed a sustainable e-waste recycling in the developing countries.

By doing so, not only it does eliminate negative harmful effects in the ecosystem but also turns waste into useful resources. The use of technology to exchange information is the main objective of ICT4D. However, there are still a lot of people who cannot have access nor are able to use these kinds of technology.

For the percentage of people who still do not have electricity nor those who still don't know how to read, this shared information would simply be rendered useless. ICT4D cannot push forward with these hurdles on the way, so to address these first should be a priority. Negative impacts come mainly from energy consumption and the materials used to the production and distribution of ICT equipment, energy consumption in use directly and for cooling, short product life cycles and e-waste and exploitative applications.

Also, E-commerce may not save energy if it encourages long distance delivery. Tele-working can increase the home use of energy and demand for electronic equipment such as routers and printers. One concern on the rebound effects of Smart Grids is with lower energy cost and thereby increased use, potential emissions reductions from energy efficiency gains are lost to rebound effects.

The primary issue given attention to is digital divide. Digital divide is the gap between information-rich people, or those who have access to computers and the internet, and information-poor people, or those who can't access them. We are now living in the Information Age where information and communication technologies play a major role in economic development and where information is wealth. And thus, the remedy to the inequality in access is greatly focused on. Though digital divide is a great issue, the problem with it is that it pushes the other issues from the limelight—issues like cybersecurity, rights-based approaches on privacy and freedom of expression in the Internet and cyber pornography.

There he found out about the following: []. All of these disbenefits will increase as ICTs penetrate more into development. More resources need to be allocated to researching and analyzing them as to have better ICT4D policies and practices in the future. The following issues have been addressed to proper implement future projects like Information Society beyond and the Post Development Agenda. The closest we currently have to a node is WSIS: part-structure, part-process that acts as a centripetal force strong enough to draw some ICT4D fragments together.

Technology influencing society and vice versa present us two different stories happening simultaneously. Take for example the money transfer service that has swept Kenya. This is interesting because on one hand we have a solution that is inclusive, effective and cheap and on the other hand it also threatens to close down several businesses if they will not create competitive offers for their market. It shows us the correlation between an aggressive and well formulated economic framework hinged on technology and capitalism and rapid social changes.

The stories behind ICT4D are dynamic, unpredictable and complex. They show us that different theories at one point or another in time, sometimes even concurrently, can be true. The world's international development agenda have been shaped and driven primarily by the Millenium Development Goals MDG from the early s until the end of year These identified ICT4D gaps were found to be either under-represented, lacks structure and some were narrowly-defined thus requiring additional actions and strengthening in the future of development.

The 21st century promises endless possibilities for the future of ICT such as Artificial Intelligence AI , robotics, IoT and big data among others which may play integral roles specifically in human socio-economic developments. However, multiple levels of control and governance must be put in place in order to fully gain the positive benefits and negate the bad aspects that can be derived in modern ICT.

ICT4D will continuously progress towards its future development in the Philippines. Over the last decade, the ICT access in Africa has increased immensely. As access increases, opportunities arise to leverage ICT to extend timely information and services to previously underserved populations, and to increase productivity and innovation in the public and private sectors.

Examples of this are the increase in the number of people who are able to acquire mobile phone service, improved disease monitoring and vaccination planning and m-banking services using the mobile to extend access financial services to populations that never before had a bank account. But despite of the dramatic ICT improvements made, significant access gaps are still there. Through this study, the underlying reasons for the current pattern of infrastructure development were examined.

Options for policy-makers to promote further development and use of these networks were also set out.

Furthermore, infoDev has helped with innovation and entrepreneurship as well as education. Small enterprises serve as one of the biggest contributors of production and employment in Sub-Saharan Africa but these enterprises are not able to reach their full potential due to three reasons:. Entrepreneurs who wishes to start and grow their businesses can seek support from business incubators who provide shared facilities that reduce the cost of setting up a business, business development services and mentoring that strengthen the management capacity of the entrepreneur, market linkages that result in more cost-effective supplies and a larger customer base, and financial services that cater to start-up enterprises.

When it comes to education, a series of ICT initiatives serves as a representation of the enormous potential of ICTs in the region. Just like small enterprises, education has an important role in the development of the region. Women are found in disproportionately high numbers in the lowest paid and least secure jobs. The gender dimension of ICTs is manifested in telework, flexi-time, and workat- home arrangements where women have limited rights — receive meagre pay, and lack health, social or job securities. Men continue to avoid housework and women find themselves burdened with dual or triple roles. Some of these are the contractual nature of jobs, intensification of workloads, wages, training, health and safety matters like visual display unit VDU hazards and repetitive strain injuries as observed by Swasti Mitter and Sheila Rowbatham.

The speed of technological development has also increased the demand for more advanced ICT skills from those employed in the sector. Workers in the ICT sector must continually improve their skills in order to remain employed in the industry. Older women who have been working in computing, in particular, run the risk of losing their jobs to younger workers men and women alike who have acquired up-to-date ICT skills.

Another trend in the ICT industry that gravely affects women is outsourcing and teleworking. More recently, technological changes can now segment different parts of the production process, enabling relocation of information processing within the ICT sector. This shift towards business process outsourcing BPO is a vital feature and a pressing concern to the sector. In some countries in Asia such as India, China and the Philippines, BPO is the single largest technology-enabled employer of women where they earn significantly. However, there is considerable debate on the impact of this trend for women in the longterm.

The controversy revolves around who benefits from this new form of employment and the type of work it demands. Some claim that outsourcing has created different requirements for labour — a few highly-skilled professional workers and a vast bulk of semiskilled workers.

Burnout in this sector, is also widely prevalent. Most women employed in BPOs come from the urban and educated sections of their societies — the upper caste English-speaking elite of India. Ghosh argues that this pattern of development, while reducing unemployment among the educated, will not contribute significantly in reversing the growing feminisation of unemployment but could in the long run reinforce current socio-economic inequities. What content will predominate on the internet and in new media?

These are some of the questions that have been raised regarding content, whether in internet spaces, video games or virtual reality. True, some of these concerns are extensions of centuries-old issues of sexism and portrayal of women in media. But these also point to a broader range of issues such as the need for women to systematise and develop their own knowledge and perspectives in order for them to be genuinely present in these spaces. Dominant languages used in new technologies hinder most women from making use of new knowledge and technology.

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Billions of people, majority of them poor women, do not understand these languages. Breaking down language barriers to information access requires the development of applications like multilingual tools and databases, interfaces for non-Latin alphabets, graphic interfaces for illiterate women and automatic translation software.

These tools will allow marginalised and minority groups, including women, greater access to the internet. Massive investment of time and other resources must be put into content development at the local level based on local information needs. Earnest attention should be paid in recognising women and the poor as information producers by providing relevant trainings in collecting, packaging and disseminating local knowledge.

At the same time, new technologies, such as the computer and internet and their convergence with other technologies e. Producing relevant local language content through affordable and easy-to-use technologies that are accessible to an audience with few or no reading skills is crucial if ICTs must meet the needs of women in developing countries. Although women have now entered the ICT industry in increasing numbers than in previous decades, they, however remain under-represented in positions that require decision-making and control of resources.

More men than women, whether at the global or national levels occupy ICT decision-making structures in policy and regulatory institutions, ministries responsible for ICTs, and boards and senior management level of private ICT companies. Men are seen as experts in most professional fields but even more so in technical areas. Deregulation and privatisation of the telecommunications industry also make decision-making less and less accountable to citizens and local communities further marginalising the role of women in decisionmaking and control of resources.

Representation is important in creating conditions and regulations to enable women to maximise the opportunities they can derive from ICTs as well as ensure accountability of institutions that develop ICT policies. Privacy, security and internet rights are other important areas of concern for women. Women need online spaces where they feel safe from harassment, enjoy freedom of expression and privacy of communication and protection from electronic snooping. One of the most important democratising aspects of the internet, which is often overlooked, is the creation of private online spaces.

The internet provides the opportunity for private spaces beyond national boundaries. It also plays a role in the battle against oppression and exploitation by enabling international sharing of experiences among oppressed sectors and by allowing people living under undemocratic regimes to communicate safely and privately. APC WNSP, among other organisations, has played an important part in utilising this aspect of the internet for advancing democracy, particularly in its advocacy against gender discrimination. However, some governments and states now want to control the democratic space that exists on the internet.

Legislations such as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers RIP Act in Britain and the Wiretapping Act in Japan along with other technical resources are being put in place to allow state intervention and monitoring of private internet communication. International agreements are being made between states to combat cybercrime by intercepting private email correspondence. Some of the states involved in such agreements consider democracy itself as a crime while others engage in doublespeak — they violate the tenets of democracy they claim to uphold.

These developments were given a new impetus by the 11 September terrorist attacks. Recent moves by the United States government and in some European countries in effect destroy democracy in the name of defending it against terrorism and cybercrime. Intercepting internet communications and electronic snooping find justification in protecting women, particularly children, from sexual exploitation and putting an end to racist activities.

But it is precisely in creating private spaces where victims of abuse can discuss among themselves and with others they trust and have chosen to talk with that has, in fact, proven to be the most powerful weapon against sexual exploitation and racial oppression. Ready to take your reading offline?

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