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Saturday, 10 April, 2021 - 11:12

Like so many aspects of our life, democratic debate is increasingly moving online. Yet it seems like every time citizens adopt a new digital tool or enter a new digital space to voice opposition, repressive governments respond with a whole arsenal of tactics to dampen dissent and deny their right to opinion and expression. For every new activist tactic there are three or four state countermeasures. New research has found that this digital game of whack-a-mole is playing out across Africa. An issue about which the activists, analysts and academics of the African Digital Rights Network are conducting research and raising awareness.

 

For all of us, the right to be heard and to influence decision-making on issues that affect our lives is a cornerstone of open democracy and a sustainable development goal. In an increasingly digital world being heard means making use of mobile phones and social media – especially during a pandemic when social distancing makes public protest both difficult and dangerous. Marginalised groups have repeatedly made creative use of digital technologies to create spaces online to give voice to neglected issues, influence debate, and hold to account those with power. #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter are powerful...

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Vapourware

There was a lot of media coverage this weekend about the unveiling in India of the the world’s cheapest ‘laptop’ which, media reports say, will cost $35 and is ‘likely’ to go down to $10. http://bit.ly/bqngWZ

Designed by the respected Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi the device is not a laptop at all but rather an iPad-like touchscreen slate.

10 million first steps

How do you measure the value of being able to save lives with telemedicine?
Or of being able to provide the training that means a young women gets her first job as a network engineer?

The eWaste Billions

Our love for the latest gadgets & gismos puts the planet in peril.

More precisely the problem is toxic design & manufacture, rapid obsolescence & replacement cycles, and inadequate reuse & recycling.

Death by a Thousand Cuts

The axing by the government of the WEEE Advisory Board is a matter of real concern, coming as it does on the back of decisions to cut the budgets of DEFRA and of the Environment Agency.

The new government says it wants to bring the responsibilities of the WEEE Advisory Board ‘back into government’ where there is more accountability.

ICT Against Apartheid

One of the people who played a key role in establishing Computer Aid had previously spent 22 years in jail for treason.

Denis Goldberg was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, and amongst his other duties he organised the supply logistics for the ANC camps in Zambia, Zimbabwe and other ‘Frontline States’.

Enough Email Already

When old-timers like myself first began applying information and communication technology to development there was no such thing as ICT4D, no world wide web, no broadband, and no SMS.

Working in the Nicaraguan parliament after the Sandinista revolution, my first assignment was training staff to use WordPerfect for MS-DOS on a pre-hard-disk IBM PC.

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