GuideStar International's Blog

September 8, 2011

Inter-governmental organisations sharing and linking open and real-time data for inclusive governance, development effectiveness and protection of privacy and security

Photo Credit: Linking Open Data cloud diagram by Richard Cyganiak and Anja Jentzsch

By Keisha Taylor. This was originally posted on the TechSoup Global blog


The rapid rise of the Internet has encouraged the use of open, real-time, and linked data to help understand and improve development processes. This has gained prominence in the public, private, and civil society sectors, as each one independently and collaboratively examines ways in which the vast amounts of data and information generated online can be mapped and linked to help with research and development in all fields, including economics, sustainable development, education, health, agriculture, science, and humanitarian and disaster relief, at local, national, regional, and international levels. The availability of data online is also generating increased possibilities for interdisciplinary study and cross boundary research and analysis. Organisations are not only making data available online for reuse by others but are also using data generated actively and passively by the public to inform business and government decisions. Moreover, individuals are using data for day to day decisions about issues that are of importance to them, their families, and their communities. The advancement of data use for development without an Internet governance framework, however, raises the importance of inclusion of the most marginalized, as well as privacy and security. This paper will examine such issues, as well as the role inter- governmental organisations can play in helping to encourage the use of data while supporting the protection of privacy and security.  Read the entire paper.


July 19, 2011

Don’t Be Fooled by Abstract Jargon: Internet Governance and ICT Policy Affect All of Us

Filed under: ICT for Development,internet governance — guidestarinternational @ 14:01
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by Keisha C Taylor

Most civil society organisations (CSOs) and citizens don’t use high-level jargon such as “Internet governance” and “ICT policy.” For them, it’s about having reliable and fast Internet access; accessing health care services via mobile in rural areas; voicing views online without fear of persecution, not having useful services blocked by Internet service providers (ISPs), not being exposed to cyberbullying, or fearing to become a victim of online fraud.

The Internet, and technology as a whole, is so intertwined with day-to-day life that the decisions made by governments and corporations directly impact how we use the Internet and how CSOs work — now and in the future.

International Economic and Policy Stakeholders Recognize the Internet’s Increasing Role

Trends in mobile phones, social media, cloud computing, open data, e-government and e-governance, new applications, and open and developing Internet standards have increased the importance of ICT to multiple actors, which include CSOs. However, with Internet use also come problems such as cybercrime, lack of data privacy, and data security. Influential international economic players have also realised this, and the importance of the Internet to the economy, and have organized several meetings on these issues:

Not convinced yet? Here’s more evidence

The importance of the Internet is recognised in such forums and should not be ignored by the wider civil society that has helped to drive its development so far.

CSOs and Internet Users Need to Get Involved

It is difficult to predict how the Internet will evolve as new services are introduced and more individuals and institutions from remote areas and developing countries come online.

However, as we continue to rely on the Internet for socio-economic development, increasingly for routine tasks, and in some cases survival, it becomes more important for all to improve digital literacy, help others learn how to use technology effectively and better educate ourselves about such policy issues. We also have to engage with other CSOs and other stakeholders on these issues.

Civil society organisations and users should assume a bigger role in ensuring that they inform and influence decisions being made nationally and internationally, and the Internet and related technology can be used to ensure that they do.

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