LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Collateral damage from shutting down services

Gyanendra’s Law states that network shutdowns after a certain level of penetration has been achieved results in the political authority responsible for the shut down losing power. The underlying reason may be the economic harm that is caused. Appears this effect is seen is shut downs of Internet-based services too: Telegram tried to thwart the […]

What are the consequences of Facebook pulling up the drawbridges?

I do not appear to have blogged about it, but the first time I brought up this issue was at the 2013 (Bali) or 2014 (Istanbul) IGF. If consent-based privacy rules are imposed on the existing concentrations of behavioral transaction-based data, there will be considerable to negative implications for SMEs and start ups on one […]

The need for knowledgeable legislators and policymakers

LIRNEasia and CPRsouth were created to contribute to better laws, policies, regulation and implementation in the emerging Asia Pacific. There are many ways to do this, including the actual training of the relevant people within government. For example, from 2013 onward we have conducted multiple training and awareness programs for legislators and regulatory staff in […]

Rethinking competition law & related economic concepts in the 21st Century

I probably learned more useful things from working as a lowly assistant for an expert witness in US v AT&T, than from my formal education. So I was all agog when the next big anti-trust case came up, US v Microsoft. But that was also when I began to realize the need rethink of the […]

How can hate speech on Facebook be detected and taken down?

Here is what Mark Zuckerberg said in his testimony before a Senate Committee: He also said that while Facebook is beefing up its use of AI to spot and remove offensive content, it will be five to 10 years before the company will have tools to do this automatically. So I was correct in my […]

Locking in customers may become even more popular in the aftermath of Cambridge Analytica

Firms have always had an interest maintaining the loyalty of their customers. This has also involved knowing more about the customers. In a discussion of subscription models, the Economist, refers to what may happen because of restriction on data that may emerge because of the Cambridge Analytica imbroglio. Subscription models are becoming more popular, in […]

Social media bans affect the economy

Iran is considering a permanent ban on Telegram. To make it effective, they will probably have to go after VPNs too. Interestingly, a lot of the opposition seems to have an economic basis. Is this the basis of Gyanendra’s Law and its various exceptions? For the many small-business owners who use Telegram to market their […]

Data to reduce violence in cities

Our paper on bulk surveillance is under review and will be public soon. We did not go deep into predictive policing because most of the extant material was US-centric. It is interesting that the Economist, which keep putting out city-level murder data, has chosen to publish a piece on the use of data in controlling […]

Challenges of digital-age politics

Occasionally, I accept invitations to speak on subjects I am still exploring in my mind. The talk I am going to give today at an event called Festival of our Future falls into that category. Should I apologize for not knowing the full and complete answer on how to fix politics? Not really. This is […]

Mexico’s shared broadband network using 700 MHz frequencies goes live

It was four years ago, in March 2014, that LIRNEasia organized an expert forum on broadband initiatives in New Delhi as part of our work supported by the Ford Foundation. The presentations included one on the design of Mexico’s unique experiment of building a single network using 700 MHz frequencies which was to be used […]

Microsoft pivots to cloud & AI; also starts work on AI ethics

It’s a natural progression from big data to AI. Also from thinking about the broad social implications of big data to thinking about ethical issues of AI. So we’re happy that Microsoft is putting a focus on AI ethics. The formal relegation of the Windows franchise, said Michael Cusumano, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute […]

What will a more defensive social media industry do after Kogan?

I said in my NYT piece that banning was not the answer. We needed to work with them to address the very real problems that are facing our societies, based in part on the accelerant qualities of social media. Who is “we”? Not just governments, but also researchers (I cited some MIT research) and civil […]

Social media playing a “determining role” in Myanmar?

Social science trains its adherents to be cautious. The dictionary meaning of “to determine” is “to cause (something) to occur in a particular way or to have a particular nature.” We are very careful is ascribing causation, though it is of course of the greatest interest. Lawyers are said to use word like surgeons use […]

Why we must continue to focus on ICTs and agricultural productivity

LIRNEasia has been engaged with the knowledge and information aspects of agriculture since 2006. There have been times when questions have been raised about whether this should continue to be a priority for us. But this summary of research on the cost of living in Africa (by extension, poor countries) published in the Economist suggests […]

LIRNEasia and RIA research embedded in debate around harvesting of data from Facebook

I first started talking about Facebook being the Internet for many people in our countries in 2012. But the story by Quartz is what really hit the big time. Now it is appearing in debates around the debate de jour: Should we all just leave Facebook? That may sound attractive but it is not a […]

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