Wednesday, April 23, 2008


23 April 2008
Economic and Social Council

Department of Public Information - News and Media Division - New York
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Seventh Session
5th Meeting (PM)

Continuing its seventh annual session with a half-day discussion on the Pacific, delegates to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues called for the Forum to take a more robust role in inducing other parts of the United Nations system to carry out mandates for securing the rights of the indigenous peoples in the region.

TEANAU TUIONO, Indigenous ICT Task Force, said improving “connectivity” among indigenous peoples was an urgent issue. At the same time, he warned against a tendency to label the exercise of legitimate political dissent by indigenous peoples as a form of terrorism. Recently, the Government of New Zealand had seized the server hosting the website of the Indigenous ICT Task Force. The homes of writers were raided under the pretext of anti-terrorism. Others were arrested at gunpoint, including one who was incarcerated for as long as a month. Household members were pinned to the ground with guns to their heads, including a 12 year-old girl. He said he himself had been separated from his partner and children and was detained, and his laptop confiscated.

He said the website was currently being hosted on a server run by indigenous people. Information and communication technology (ICT) was a powerful medium to support the work of indigenous peoples, and to facilitate the exchange of information. He recommended that the Forum speak out against Governments that used fear of terrorism as an excuse to prevent dissent over the Internet. In addition, the Forum should support indigenous ICT initiatives by allowing its logo to be used on his website. Indeed, ICT networks were a “necessity” for healthy societies.

Excerpt Source:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The Indigenous ICT Task Force presents:


TUES, APRIL 22, 2008 • 1:15PM - 2:45PM DC2- 13th Floor Conference Room at Two United Nations Plaza (44th Street between 1st and 2nd Ave.)

Speakers: Mr. Roberto Borrero, Mr. Kenneth Deer, Ms. Malia Nobrega, Mr. Teanau Tuiono

*Logo Competition --- Win an iPod 80GB --- Deadline July 1, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Voices of the Earth: Indigenous communities and rural poverty

IPS Latin America has just launched a new radio service in Aymara, Quechua and two Maya languages, working with the community radio network AMARC-Pulsar. The radio broadcasts are part of a special coverage of indigenous peoples in Latin America focused on land and rural issues, which is being supported by IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Read more »

More about: Globalization and the South, Latin America, Poverty & MDGs, Sustainable development

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Free four-day Online e-learning Course: NETWORKING IN SUPPORT OF DEVELOPMENT for Community Members

Free four-day Online e-learning Course: NETWORKING IN SUPPORT OF DEVELOPMENT for Community Members

The Food and Agriculture Organization and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation invite applications from the Community to participate in a free four-day Online e-learning Course:


The First Course for Applicants in Africa will be held 6-9 May 2008.

A Second Course for Applicants in Asia will be held in late 2008.


The Networking in Support of Development Online Course will cover how different information and communication technologies (ICT) in a country - local, national and international - fit together to provide a workable means of communication, and the issues that affect each level. The course will include e-learning materials, online discussions, and individual assignments. It is one of many modules offered in The Information Management Resource Kit (IMARK), a partnership-based e-learning initiative to train individuals and support institutions and networks world-wide in the effective management of agricultural information.

Who should take this Course?
Anyone who is currently, or would like to be, involved in the development and use of information and communication technology to support existing communication traditions and networks, especially in rural areas.

No prior knowledge of ICT is required.

What are the topics to be covered?

* Day 1 - Information and Communication Technology as media looks at how ICT can be used in support of development as a medium for communication and information exchange.

* Day 2 - ICT's influence on the shape of the future looks at traditional and new media and how ICT might change information delivery over the next 3-5 years.

* Day 3 - Costs and effectiveness of the links in the ICT chain looks at the different links in the network chain: international, national and local, the different technologies used, and the costs involved.

* Day 4 - Impact of regulatory frameworks on ICT choices and costs looks at the areas of ICT policy and regulation where there are strategic choices to be made that will help unlock lower cost communications.

Partcipants will need to show they have:
* Professional involvement in ICT networking in Agriculture and Rural Development in Africa/Asia
* Individual access to the Internet
* Ability to read and write English fluently
* At least 4 hours available each day of the four-day course
* Be a member of the Community.

Developed in cooperation with Balancing Act.

To apply, please visit:

Deadline for applicants in Africa: 23 April 2008. Participation
limited to 30 people.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Net Neutrality: Beware the New New Thing

Beware the New New Thing

http://www.nytimes. com/2008/ 04/05/opinion/ 05kulash. html

Los Angeles

RECENTLY, the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust task force invited me to be the lead witness for its hearing on "net neutrality." I've collaborated with the Future of Music Coalition, and my band, OK Go, has been among the first to find real success on the Internet --- our songs and videos have been streamed and downloaded hundreds of millions of times (orders of magnitude above our CD sales) --- so the committee thought I'd make a decent spokesman for up-and-coming musicians in this new era of digital pandemonium.

I'm flattered, of course, but it makes you wonder if Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner sit around arguing who was listening to Vampire Weekend first.

If you haven't been following the debate on net neutrality, you're not alone. The details of the issue can lead into realms where only tech geeks and policy wonks dare to tread, but at root there's a pretty simple question: How much control should network operators be allowed to have over the information on their lines?

Most people assume that the Internet is a democratic free-for-all by nature --- that it could be no other way. But the openness of the Internet as we know it is a byproduct of the fact that the network was started on phone lines. The phone system is subject to "common carriage" laws, which require phone companies to treat all calls and customers equally. They can't offer tiered service in which higher-paying customers get their calls through faster or clearer, or calls originating on a competitor's network are blocked or slowed.

These laws have been on the books for about as long as telephones have been ringing, and were meant to keep Bell from using its elephantine market share to squash everyone else. And because of common carriage, digital data running over the phone lines has essentially been off limits to the people who laid the lines. But in the last decade, the network providers have argued that since the Internet is no longer primarily run on phone lines, the laws of data equality no longer apply. They reason that they own the fiber optic and coaxial lines, so they should be able to do whatever they want with the information crossing them.

Under current law, they're right. They can block certain files or Web sites for their subscribers, or slow or obstruct certain applications. And they do, albeit pretty rarely. Network providers have censored anti-Bush comments from an online Pearl Jam concert, refused to allow a text-messaging program from the pro-choice group Naral (saying it was "unsavory"), blocked access to the Internet phone service (and direct competitor) Vonage and selectively throttled online traffic that was using the BitTorrent protocol.

When the network operators pull these stunts, there is generally widespread outrage. But outright censorship and obstruction of access are only one part of the issue, and they represent the lesser threat, in the long run. What we should worry about more is not what's kept from us today, but what will be built (or not built) in the years to come.

We hate when things are taken from us (so we rage at censorship), but we also love to get new things. And the providers are chomping at the bit to offer them to us: new high-bandwidth treats like superfast high-definition video and quick movie downloads. They can make it sound great: newer, bigger, faster, better! But the new fast lanes they propose will be theirs to control and exploit and sell access to, without the level playing field that common carriage built into today's network.

They won't be blocking anything per se --- we'll never know what we're not getting --- they'll just be leapfrogging today's technology with a new, higher-bandwidth network where they get to be the gatekeepers and toll collectors. The superlative new video on offer will be available from (surprise, surprise) them, or companies who've paid them for the privilege of access to their customers. If this model sounds familiar, that's because it is. It's how cable TV operates.

We can't allow a system of gatekeepers to get built into the network. The Internet shouldn't be harnessed for the profit of a few, rather than the good of the many; value should come from the quality of information, not the control of access to it.

For some parallel examples: there are only two guitar companies who make most of the guitars sold in America, but they don't control what we play on those guitars. Whether we use a Mac or a PC doesn't govern what we can make with our computers. The telephone company doesn't get to decide what we discuss over our phone lines. It would be absurd to let the handful of companies who connect us to the Internet determine what we can do online. Congress needs to establish basic ground rules for an open Internet, just as common carriage laws did for the phone system.

The Internet, for now, is the type of place where my band's homemade videos find a wider audience than the industry's million-dollar productions. A good idea is still more important than deep pockets. If network providers are allowed to build the next generation of the Net as a pay-to-play system, we will all pay the price.

Damian Kulash Jr. is the lead singer for OK Go.

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