Tag Archives: internet

Footage from the workshop on core Internet values

With a slight delay, I would like to share video footage of the workshop I organized at the last IGF in Vilnius.  This is the same workshop for which I was seeking your input about a month and a half ago.

The full title of the workshop is “Core Internet values and the principles of Internet Governance across generations” and the idea is exactly that – to have a dialogue between Internet pioneers and young Internet activists on the core of what the Internet stands for.

We had a great group of people.  On the one hand, there were young people from different parts of the world.  On the other hand, there were more senior Internet thinkers and practitioners.  Here is the full list of participants (in alphabetical order):

  • Bill Graham, Global Strategic Engagement, the Internet Society (ISOC)
  • ‘Gbenga Sesan, Paradigm New Nigeria
  • Drew Smith, Student at Elon Univeristy and participant in Imagining the Internet project
  • Grace Bomu, Young Kenyan lawyer, secretary of the ICT Consumers Association of Kenya, and cultural activist
  • Laura DeNardis, Yale Information Society Project
  • Marie Casey, Elected female representative at the ITU Youth Forum of future leaders, Geneva, 2009
  • Nii Narku Quaynor, Ghana.com
  • Rafik Dammak, Tokyo University
  • Vinton G. Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google
  • Vladimir Radunovic, Diplo Foundation

Ian Peter, who chaired the last year workshop on Internet Governance, was also supposed to take part in the workshop, but unfortunately he was not able to make it to Vilnius.

I hoped to be able to share a report from the workshop here, but other tasks take priority at the moment and I will be posting the report later.  I do think we had a very interesting and lively discussion, so I thought at this point I will just share the video footage of the event.  If you have a couple of hours to spare, I think you will find this engaging.

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As always, your thoughts and comments are most welcome!

Seeking your opinions on internet values and core principles

The next Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is just around the corner and for the first time I am organizing a workshop there.  I think the title of the workshop speaks for itself.  It is: “Core Internet Values and the Principles of Internet Governance Across Generations.”

The idea is very simple.  We are going to have a group of very smart people.  Some of them are internet pioneers from different countries, some of them are established researchers, and some are well known practitioners.  We will also have a group of young, less known (yet) people, whose activism and professional lives are related to the internet in one way or another.  The panel itself is quite large and we are also counting on having a very diverse and engaging audience from the IGF community.

So, the plan is to have a discussion among the panelists and then involve the floor, about core internet values and principles.  The question is not only what those values and principles might be, but whether the perception of these values and principles varies across generations and what that may mean for the future of internet-related policies.

This is where I would really appreciate an input from anyone reading these lines.  What do you think are the core values and principles of the internet where we can find the widest gaps across generations?

One example may be the notion of privacy.  I think since online social networks became popular there is an ongoing debate about how the younger generations’ perceptions of privacy online differ from that of their parents.  We all heard Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that the age of privacy is over.  But is it so for everyone?

What are the core values and principles of the internet that you still hold dear?  Which ones do you think were important in the past, but are no longer important?

Please share your thoughts!

Digest #26

It has been really long time since I have posted any updates. Yes, I was busy, but the number of open tabs with interesting articles kept on growing. So, today I have a moment to breathe and I decided to close some of them (before my Firefox crashes). Although some of the link are not as timely as they were when I first opened them, I think they are still relevant and interesting.

Enjoy!

  • Recent news related
  • Interesting reports, numbers, and visualizations
  • Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions
  • Digital Divide
  • MICT regulation
  • “New” media
  • Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff
  • Continue reading

    Digest #25

    I should have posted this a while ago, but I was traveling, so here it is with a huge delay.  I think some of the new related updates may be not as relevant at this point, but they may still be useful as a historical reference.

  • Recent news related
  • Interesting reports, numbers, and visualizations
  • Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions
  • Digital Divide
  • MICT regulation
  • MICT business
  • “New” media
  • MICT in politics
  • Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff
  • Continue reading

    Our modern Babel?

    I wonder what do people think about the potential repercussions of the introduction of IDNs, particularly in terms of fragmentation of the Internet.  In this post I provide some background about the languages on the web, some of my thoughts, and finally questions for which I would love to hear your thoughts.

    After many years of debates, International Domain Names (IDNs) have finally become more tangible with the announcement of the Fast Track by ICANN earlier this year.  Right now it is open only to states and territories recognized in the ISO 3166-1 regulation.  A number of countries have already applied for registering their Internet country suffixes in their local languages (IDN ccTLDs).  For example, Egypt announced that they are going to register “.مصر”, which stands for Egypt in Arabic, and Russia started the registration process for “.рф,” which stands for Russian Federation.

    Overall, introduction of the IDNs has been met with a lot of enthusiasm.  In the last ICANN meeting in Seol and at the last IGF this was celebrated as the final internationalization of the Internet.  The minister of communication of Egypt was quoted saying that the “Internet now speaks Arabic” and the European Union has also declared that they are going to allow registration of .eu in all 23 official languages of the Union.  People are celebrating the diversity.

    At the same time, as expected, not everybody is excited about this development.  It is widely held that the primary opposition to IDNs has been voiced by the trademarks holders.  After sort of figuring out how to protect their trademarks in the current, Roman script dominated, cyberspace (such as the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy), they are not particularly psyched about the need to do it again in dozens of other languages and potentially under dozens of other regulatory regimes.

    However, not only the trademarks holders are not excited about the new IDNs.  There are also those, who voice concerns about fragmentation of the Internet as a result of adoption of domain names that would be accessible only to speakers of a particular language.  Dwayne Bailey, Research Director of the African Network for Localisation, spoke at the IGF about the danger of monolingual silos or as he put it: “A multilingual world of mono-lingualism.”  Karine Barzliai Nahon wrote a post on this topic, addressing particularly the situation in Israel, but alluding to similar concerns.  I personally had thoughts along the same lines when I first heard about the idea of IDNs and we can find similar arguments even at the very beginning of the debate about IDNs (for example here).

    From where I stand as a user of the Internet (and I think most of the people who read those lines share this position), the Internet emerges as this enormous modern (knowledge and information) Tower of Babel.  There is so much information out there and it all is accessible to me at my laptop – all I need to do is to type a query in the search engine or enter a URL.  This is possible primarily because I feel at ease with both the technology and the English language.

    Even though English is not the only language online, we can still access most of the content in English.  As some of the stats suggest, in 2008 only 31% of the online content was in English and that percentage was shrinking.  Chinese accounted for 20% and Spanish for 7%.  Between 2000 and 2008, the amount of content in Arabic grew 2064%, in Chinese 755%, and in Portuguese 668%.  However, even if the content itself is in a language that I do not understand, there are automatic translators that are good enough to allow me understanding, and maybe even engaging with, materials in languages other than those that I know.  All I need is to enter a URL of a website into an automatic translator, and here it is at my fingertips.  Isn’t it wonderful?

    The “danger” of IDNs thus is fragmentation of content and as a result fragmentation of the Internet itself.  If I am unable to type in a URL of a website I won’t be able to access it, even before I reach the point where I need a translation.  The result could be that different cultural groups will isolate themselves by using the language barrier and we might lose the wealth of information that is out there.  This would be an equivalent of what happened to the Biblical Tower of Babel when all the different languages were introduced – the tower fell.  Our modern (knowledge and information) Tower of Babel might fall as well.

    These were some of my initial thoughts and these are the concerns voiced by others as well.  However, the more I think about it the less categorical picture emerges.  Here are some of my more recent thoughts:

    • To start with, it is not clear how much attention people pay to the URLs and there is quite a lot of research out there showing that people don’t use URLs for web navigation that much.  I think this is a major point in our thinking about the “threat” and “benefits” of IDNs.  I am not at all convinced that URLs matter.
    • Second, I am not sure how much people in fact consume content that is not in languages that they know.  I mean, it may well be that the content online is already segregated and having internationalized URLs will not change much.  I have yet met a native English speaker who was a regular reader of websites in Russian or Chinese (I see a lot of the opposite, but not that).
    • Third, I think it is reasonable to assume that just as we have automatic translators that allow browsing entire websites in languages other than those that we know, there will be a technological solution that will make the URLs just as transparent.
    • Same goes for keyboards.  If we will insist on typing the URLs, virtual or projection keyboards can allow having an unlimited number of scripts on a single keyboard.  In fact, in this kind of technical solutions, I do believe in letting the markets speak and if there is enough demand for IDNs and enough demand for bypassing the IDNs, the technical solutions will appear.
    • Also, as the rhetoric of IDNs suggests, they are aimed not at people who are already online and are comfortable with English, but at those who for various reasons, are not online yet and for whom English is a barrier.  It is easy for us to talk about potential loss of our access to the (dare I say underutilized) wealth of information from a position of relative power.  It is quite different for those who do not have any access at all.
    • Finally, it may be natural that we do not understand all the content that is out there.  After all this is how our society became as diverse as it is.  Moreover the effort we need to put into learning and understanding another culture makes the experience even more rewarding.  So, maybe the IDNs are just a natural development?

    My bottom line is that while I do share some concerns regarding the IDNs’ potential contribution to the fragmentation of the Internet, I am not at all convinced that this is what will necessarily happen.  Of course, one can think of scenarios where some governments force registration of local domains in a particular language, but even in that case, I am not sure it will work.  Similarly, I am not 100% sure that English is the main barrier to access and effective use of the Web.  I think there are other barriers such as lack of physical infrastructure or lack of technical literacy.  But perhaps more than ever before I think this is a case where we should let the users of the Internet make up their minds whether they want to use internationalized domain names or not.  The history suggests that the currently connected won’t do it, but perhaps the 6 billions of those who are not connected will.

    These are some of my thoughts on the subject.  What do you think?  Will IDNs cause further fragmentation of the Internet?  Or will they increase the diversity of the content online and make the Web more accessible?

    ITU-T Kaleidoscope – Call for Papers

    The ITU-T is organizing an academic conference, which aims to expand the conversation about standards and also peek into the future of the technical regulation of the telecom.  I have never been to one of those, but it seems potentially interesting and I will also be reviewing papers for it this year.

    I am not sure why this call for papers is not available online yet, but I am sure it is going to hit numerous mailing lists pretty soon.  Here it is for your convenience:

    Beyond the Internet?

    − Innovations for future networks and services −

    an ITU Kaleidoscope event technically co-sponsored by IEEE Communications Society

    India, 13 – 15 December 2010

    Call for Papers

    The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Kaleidoscope 2010 Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services − is the third in a series of peer-reviewed academic conferences that bring together a wide range of views from universities, industry and research. The aim of Kaleidoscope conferences is to identify information and communication technologies (ICTs) for which the development of standards can turn innovations into successful products and services.

    The rise of mobile access and its integration with optical transport networks pose key questions: how should the current architecture evolve to accommodate fixed-mobile integration and the demand of services and applications, 10-15 years from now? How could the cloud and grid computing models be integrated? And, what will the social and economic impact of these innovations be in the future information society?

    Some experts question whether the current underlying architecture is sufficiently robust to evolve and adapt to future demands and especially to address security concerns, or if a “clean slate” approach is needed to develop a really innovative Internet of the future. Contributors seeking to bring innovations for future networks and services might have to challenge the fundamental networking design principles of the Internet.

    Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services − is calling for original academic papers offering innovative and daring approaches towards the Internet of the future. Kaleidoscope 2010 aims to be a unique opportunity to share views on the future ubiquitous communications and to collect broad, kaleidoscopic views building upon lessons learnt from existing networks and services.

    Objectives

    Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services − will highlight multidisciplinary aspects of future ICTs, based on contributions from the world’s universities, industry and academic institutions. The focus will be on innovative technologies and their impact on the evolution of Internet architectures, services and applications, as well as societal and economic challenges.

    New this year

    In addition to a local universities exhibition, outstanding keynote speakers and invited papers, ITU will host in 2010 Standards Corner, a series of standardization tutorials and Jules Verne’s corner, a special space for science fiction writers and dreamers.

    Audience

    Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services − is targeted at all specialists with a role in the field including researchers, academics, students, engineers, regulators, top decision-makers and thinkers from all over the world who look into the future.

    Date and venue

    13-15 December 2010, India

    Submission of papers

    Prospective authors, from countries that are members of ITU, are invited to submit complete, original papers with a maximum length of 4500 words within eight pages including summary and references, using the template available on the event website. All papers will be reviewed through a double-blind, peer-review process and handled electronically; see www.itu-kaleidoscope.org/2010 for the online submission (EDAS). The main themes are suggested in the list of topics. The deadlines for paper submission are highlighted below.

    Deadlines

    Submission of full paper proposals: 30 April 2010

    Notification of paper acceptance: 30 July 2010

    Submission of camera-ready accepted papers: 10 September 2010

    Publication and presentation

    Accepted papers will be presented during the event, published in the proceedings and made available through the IEEE Xplore. The best papers will be invited for evaluation for potential publication in the IEEE Communications Magazine.

    Awards

    Awards of USD 5k, 3k and 2k will be granted to selected best papers, as judged by the organizing and programme committees. In addition, young authors presenting accepted papers who have not yet received a PhD title will also receive a Young Author Recognition certificate.

    Keywords

    Future Internet, technological innovation, network architecture, services, applications, ICT standards, information society, policy and economic issues.

    For additional information

    Additional info can be found at the event website: www.itu-kaleidoscope.org/2010

    Inquiries should be addressed to: kaleidoscope@itu.int

    Suggested (non-exclusive) list of topics

    Track 1: Technology and architecture evolution

    • Evolution of Internet architecture, NGN and the future Internet
    • Mobility and nomadicity in evolved architectures
    • High-data-rate mobile infrastructures, seamless handover, multihoming and mobility
    • Convergence of optical/photonics and radio techniques for transport and access networks
    • Ultra-high speed transport networks
    • Cloud computing and grid computing
    • Enterprise integration of legacy networks and the future internet
    • Advanced network security, network identification, biometrics, localization techniques and ubiquitous sensor networks (USN)
    • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) infrastructure
    • RFID, sensors and ad-hoc networks
    • Evolution of display technology
    • Broadcasting, multicasting, unicasting and peer-to-peer in the future Internet
    • Green and energy efficient architectures
    • Digital rights and identity management
    • Evolution of network management including fault management and localization
    • New hardware solutions, integrated circuits, antenna designs etc.
    • Service oriented modeling and analysis in future architectures

    Track 2: Applications and services

    • Enhancing accessibility for all
    • Open service interfaces, service interaction and interoperability in future scenarios
    • New entertainment initiatives (games, IPTV, Interactive TV, Mobile TV, and others)
    • Applications to reduce power consumptions
    • The fully networked car
    • Quality assurance / QoS for real time multimedia services
    • Innovative multimedia applications and content delivery
    • Advanced smart terminals
    • Enhancing electronic storage and data mining
    • Simulation and development tools
    • Future virtual communities / social networking services
    • Creative combinations of web and network services
    • Middleware service discovery
    • Evolution of e-public services (e.g. e-government, e-health and e-learning)
    • Advanced services using sensors and RFID applications
    • Solutions for ICT recycling and waste reduction
    • Field experience in creating innovative solutions using limited technology

    Track 3: Social, economic and policy issues

    • Evolution of legislative and regulatory frameworks towards inclusive converged networks
    • Balancing Internet security and ubiquity
    • Securing users from Internet content (e.g. child protection)
    • Evolution of NGN and future Internet standardization
    • Business models for the information society (including accounting, billing and charging)
    • Economics of ICT standardization
    • Standardization models for the Internet of the future
    • Societal impact of virtual / collaborative environments
    • Management of virtual and collaborative teams
    • ICTs as an enabling technology to mitigate climate change and GHG emissions

    Hope many of you will find this interesting and will submit papers.

    Good luck!