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

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

What can be done immediately and what are the next priorities for earthquake affected Nepal

I was just interviewed on the phone by the BBC Sinhala Service. Since many who read this blog will not be able to hear or understand this, thought I would summarize the key points: 1. The immediate priorities should be rescue and housing and care of those rendered homeless. Sahana and mobile communication can play […]

What can be done for Nepal?

Many people I care for live in Nepal. Less than a month ago I was teaching in Nagarkot, in the hills about an hour out of Kathmandu. I recognize some of the buildings with cracks that come on the TV screen. I receive the tweets that say #prayforNepal. I wonder, who does one pray to? […]

Indian media discuss LIRNEasia solution to TRAI’s information overload problem

Just a few days ago, the big data team posted some thoughts on how TRAI could analyze the one million plus comments it received in response to its consultation paper on OTT services. The Business Standard has extensively quoted from that collectively authored suggestions on how technology could help productively mobilize the flood of citizen […]

Facebook is now mobile and video

We’ve been tracking Facebook’s transition from the desktop to mobile for a while. In 2012 the process was just beginning. But now, with 3/4ths of its revenues coming from mobile, it looks like the transition is complete. The world’s largest social network reported on Wednesday that almost three-quarters of its advertising revenue and most of […]

How to deal with social media without lots of cash

It’s interesting that Viet Nam’s Communist Party does not prohibit social media unlike its counterpart in China: In January Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam’s prime minister, told senior members of the Communist Party that it was “impossible” to block social media, and that the government should make more effort to put out “correct” information through them. […]

Role of competition law in precluding abuses sought to be addressed by net neutrality rules

As LIRNEasia Senior Research Fellow, Payal Malik has made significant contributions to Indian telecom policy and regulation over the years. She also brings to bear a unique perspective because of her experience in implementing competition law. Going beyond the emotive, she has co-authored a thoughtful op-ed that all who engage in the net neutrality debate […]

Problems caused by neglect of basic principles in drafting RTI law

The most current draft of the the Sri Lanka Freedom of Information bill that is about to be presented to Cabinet has removed Parliament and Cabinet from its purview. They were included in the definition of “public authorities” who were bound to respond to information requests by citizens in the previous draft (at that time […]

IBM’s view of the smart and resilient city

Was surprised the Rio operations center from 2010 is still Exhibit 1. Has nothing much happened since? I can’t find any reports in the past tense about Bangalore water supply other than the para below. Guess it is still work in progress. A different view of resiliency considers the creation of “smart” infrastructure that is […]

Making the university relevant: Open University lecture now on Youtube

On April 10th, I delivered the sixth Distinguished Lecture of the Open University of Sri Lanka on the subject of making the university relevant. In an increasingly complex world where difficult decisions have to be made by those in government, there is demand for evidence to support political and policy choices. The university is the […]

Practical applications of the ability to identify communities using mobile network big data

I’ve been putting a significant amount of my time in the past three months into Constitutional reforms because an unusual “policy window” or Constitutional Moment opened up as a result of the outcome of the Sri Lankan Presidential election of January 8th. The Common Candidate of the opposition included in his manifesto a series of […]

How poor legal drafting can blunt the power of RTI

A few days back, I included the following in a guest column for the Financial Times: Most of the 192 words specifying the Right to Information (RTI) as a fundamental right are superfluous. There is an entire bill in third draft that probably includes the very same language (if it does not, the Constitutional language […]

LIRNEasia and RIA quoted by opponents of Facebook.org

That Quartz piece sure has legs. Ask Helani Galpaya, a researcher with policy think tank LIRNEasia, who in 2012 came across a curious anomaly while researching “bottom of pyramid” telephone users in Indonesia. When asked questions about the Internet, most of the respondents said they didn’t use it. But when asked about Facebook, most of […]

Preconditions for growth of high-value agricultural exports

In our work on agricultural supply chains, we looked at how small holders could participate in export value chains because these were the most difficult cases and also where the money was. At least at the beginning of the adoption process, the greatest demand for ICT based innovation is likely to come from these supply […]

Making all stakeholders equally unhappy: Test of good solution for a class of policy problems

In 1998, I was in the middle of an intense interconnection fight. It was worse than zero-sum. The Japanese incumbent telco which had purchased 35% of the shares of the Lankan incumbent telco had created a mindset that was extremely hostile to the competitive fixed telcos the government had licensed a year back. Interconnection disputes, […]

Sri Lanka’s Right to Information Bill improved through consultation

Last week I did a colloquium at LIRNEasia based on the second revision of the RTI Bill. Before I got around to doing a post, the third revision made its way out of the bowels of government. Sigificant improvements have been made, for which the Secretary of the Ministry of Media and Information should be […]

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