IGF for 2010 will be held at Vilnius Lithuania and some of the key topics to be discussed will include Net neutrality, Digital inclusion, Online education , Online Child safety on Social media, digital networks leveraging rural empowerment, Intellectual property rights and its impact on software so on… Will try to report more clarity as we proceed. Lithuania is at cultural melange between the East and the West of Europe and is a great place to be . More details available as you go through the videos here.
ISOC Chennai has announced its Chapter elections for the next two years. The chapter is going aggressive on its plans to tie up with similar organizations to do programs at the ground level that will engage on public dialogues and forums to spur innovation, creativity and entrepreneurs. ISOC’s larger mission and vision is dedicated to cultivating a new generation of Internet leaders who will address the critical technology, policy, business, and education challenges that lie ahead.
With this year i will be joining ISOC Chennai board to serve as Director – Corporate to garner industry participation into supporting causes related to Internet. Business participation is an critical component to improve transparency in the policy making process and thereby governance . Hence it is necessary that we create networking corridors for more corporate brainstorming on the same. I have been associated with ISOC since 2008 as an Internet Governance Fellow and have been actively campaigning for creating awareness on the issue of Safer Internet for Children. (An interesting fact is that ISOC Chennai was the one of the earliest ISOC Chapter in India.)
This has been one of the most grave topics that needs a greater voice in the online world. Unlike other issues where there is only sustained impact of IG in our day today life this topic has greater impact in invasion of our privacy and with serious implications. The topic was moderated by Hindeburgo
Child abuse and child pornography is a key issue that needs wider addressal as it is of paramount importance to protect our children. The panel had key experts from the industry and the public enterprises too. Companies like google, Friendster and social networking sites (sns) like orkut, myspace, face book were addressing their strategies at operational level and holistic macro level .Google seems to be lobbying for stricter laws on Child pornography in India. Safe search, net smart and similar iniitatives in google search have been driving across internet safety to users at the grassroots level.
The session was followed by an interaction initiated by Adriana Scordamaglia who is the head of Cybercrime division of Brazil. She was presenting a case on the behaviour of online users in brazil (MPF -Ministerio of Public federale) and initiatives to curb child porn that has been done by Brazil. The cybercrime unit was established way back in 2003 at sao paulo and today brazil stands 5th in the top internet users in the developed world. Each user seems to put in 26hrs per month online. (www.safenet.org.br) has been one of their initiatives to report and track child pornography in brazil. Nearly 25000 cases of child pornography are reported in a quarter from brazil. 2/3 of the internet users in brazil are on orkut. Offenses like cyberbullying, distribution of child porn content, hate crimes, grooming, insult and slander and harrassment of children were discussed in detail and steps that we need to take to handle such offenses. All these sns (social networking sites) seem to be bound by the laws prevailing in the country in which their server is hosted and not the jurisdiction and legislation where the crime has been committed. This issue needs to be addressed with top priority and IGF comes to forefront to enforce such laws among the participating countries with reasonable standards to prescribe to a common law that can be on par with international human rights standards. Initiatives like safernet have been drafted in place at brazil to make the internet easily accountable on conflicting images posted by perpetrators of such crime.
Worldwide there are nearly 80 countries that dont seem to have proper legislation, technology or infiltrations mechanisms to curb such child pornography. Some third world countries have individuals looking at child pornography as a home based business opportunity. Even india didnt have sufficient legislation in this space until lately. Only after the incident where Baazee.com CEO was apprehended for the selling of a MMS clip ( of a DPS school student) seems to the the waking hour. And we have so many miles to go inthis initiative which is still at its infancy stages in India. One of the stronger logic points are that wherever such digital images emanate from into the online world there is a greater possibility that the real crime is happening in the immediate vicinity.
The session was amazingly informative with plethora of speakers on cybercrime from different countries talking in their native toungue thus there were digital translators available. Looking at IGF has opened up the immense possibilities by which we can raise the quality bar in PROTO to an entirely higher level that can be synonymous with global standards.
Amidst elaborate and obsessive security arrangements at HICC in hyderabad after the mumbai blasts, the third internet governance forum got underway on a full swing and one of the first programmes that i am attending is called the ” Commonwealth Connects ” . The topic was briefed by Tony, Tom Walker, and establishes
The CHOGM got together at Malta way back in 2005 to form an digital strategy to build ICT in the commonwealth countries. With that focus there has been a lot of digital initiatives that have been initiated by this group that will be a kind of test bed for similar larger implementations on developing countries that are a part of the commonwealth. Commonwealth connects features a digital library , skills exchange and project market place. There are also initiatives on looking at the mobile spectrum and looking at 2G for bradening its reach to the people. Possibilities to provide narrowband access to people in poor countries in an effort to increase reach.
The topic was concluded with a topic by the Diplo Foundation of Malta by Vladimir who was one of my mentor at the capacity building programme that we did with Nixi India.
A few months back I was supposed to leave to Jaipur on the that day morning and missed it just to realise that evening there were a string of bomb blasts there. Eversince that day everytime i am supposed to fly domestic there is always a awareness to keep checking news until late night. Day before was one such episode as i was preparing to fly to Delhi. The entire week we had added concern on severe rains lashing the city continuously due to the aftermath of ” Cyclone Nisha ” tormenting the state. By 11 pm i was checking twitter from my mobile to get info on these attacks and the rest of night was spent awake before the television as events unfolded. Inspite of the stormy weather i couldnt avoid the trip to delhi and Noida as i had people flying in from brunei for that meeting.
We salute the Valiant heroes like ATS Cheif Hemant Karkare, ACP Ashok Kamte and encounter Specialist Saliskar and similar 14 such people from the police forces who laid down their lives protecting India and our guest in the line of action. Every time terror strikes closer to home there is always an urgent plea within oneself to get proactive and gear up for crisis / Emergency response management. Last time we had such a incident was a week before Barcamp Chennai 2 and we ensured that we got someone from the Police department (Commissioner’s Office) to come and still we felt that we havent heard anyone in particular give us a clear picture on how we can work as a team to help the public at crisis. Maybe we are barking at the wrong tree. We should have atleast a halfday workshop on Crisis and Emergency response management in case of any manmade or natural disasters . We need to get a dedicated workshop arranged on this topic with experts. Learnings from such workshop can translate in saving valuable time that might be a matter of Life and death during such crisis.
More than 50 hrs of thorough engagement with these radical elements has got the attention of the world into India. Time and again let me reiterate ” Terrorism has no Religion ! ” . This year i read a book called ” Shantaram ” by Gregory Roberts that gave a newhue to Mumbai in my mind. Places like Leopold Cafe ,The Taj hotel have been painted with such detail in the book that you feel like you are there. Disaster like this shakes our basic premise and trust on Humanity. In the forthcoming IGF Conference at Hyderabad where I have been invited with a Fellowship on Internet Governance from NIXI (National Internet Exchange of India) I would be making an effort with our global friends to look at this disaster from an Indian prespective as well.