ISA2009: Panel on ICTs, Human Rights, Activism and Resistance

The study of the effect of the Internet on democracy is really in its infant stages. One reason the Berkman Center's Internet & Democracy project initially focused on creating a set of narrative case studies is because we felt there simply was not enough data for a larger quantitative study.

This is why when I gave a paper at the International Studies Association Conference (ISA2009) yesterday in New York I was happy that my colleagues were presenting what is really the first shot across the bow in studying quantitatively the effect of the Internet and mobile phones on outcomes such as protests and human rights. It was also fun having the always snappy Daniel Drezner as the discussant for this panel.

My friend, and the panel chair, Patrick Meier has a great set of summaries of these papers, including my piece of the the effect of Internet on democracy in Kenya's 2007-08 presidential election crisis.

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Africa Tech News Roundup 1.03.09

three feet and rising, via Meg Rorison's photostream

mBanking | Nigeria Shaping Up to Become the Next Big M-Money Market [Balancing Act, 2/1]
"Nigeria's seemingly slow uptake of mobile payment presents a huge opportunity that can revolutionize the payment world, create new set of mobile entrepreneurs and new business models in a market of 54 million mobile subscribers and an addressable market of 140 million people."

Privatization | New Government to Review Ghana Telecom Sale [Balancing Act, 2/1]
"Ghana's new Government has decided that it will re-open the terms of the contract made under the previous Government with Vodafone International. This is the worst kind of nightmare for an international investor: you've paid the price, you're in the hole but there's no control over the cost of the political risk incurred."

ISPs | Ugandan Consumers Get ICT Lobby [East African, 1/9]
"Dissatisfied ICT consumers in Uganda can now seek redress from the Uganda ICT Consumer Protection Association, in case of bad service, substandard products and general unscrupulous practices by data and voice service providers."

Earth | Google Earth Reveals Hidden Environment Treasure in Mozambique [Afro News, 1/26]
"Using Google Earth to identify a remote patch of pristine forest, scientists on an expedition to the site discovered new species of butterfly and snake, along with seven globally threatened birds, in the area that they acknowledge to be the locally known, but unmapped, also adding that scientific collections and literature also failed to shed light on the area."

OLPC | Laptops, Not Mobile Phones, Are the Means to Liberate the Developing World [The Gaurdian, 1/13]
Responding to news of OLPC's scaling down of operations, Corey Doctorow make the case for laptops in the developing world. At White African, Hash reminds us that the choice between mobiles and laptops becomes less stark every day.

Blogging Culture | Why I Blog About Africa [Global Voices, 12/28]
For the last few weeks a 'Why I Blog About Africa' meme has spread across the Africa blogosphere. GV collects the best, from both Anglophone and Francophone Africa.

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