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On the final day of UNIGF, IGF academy fellows participated in a debriefing activity to identify and look back on their journey to UNIGF 2016 and the way forward of the National Internet Governance Forums (NIGFs). At this debriefing the Asian fellows highlighted the importance of help with fund raising and having closed door meetings with potential stakeholders. Also, they said that its not possible for them to participate in all the calls of the IGF academy due to their busy schedules. The fellows suggested that its better if one fellow out of the two fellows from a given country participate in a call its sufficient and that the fellows can alternate. The fellows pointed out the importance of low emphasis in the structures and high emphasis on subject matter.
          IGF Academy organised a pre event at Day 0 of the UNIGF in Guadalajara Mexico. The objective of this pre event was to discuss and exchange ideas on the linkage between freedom of expression and other policy issues in Internet governance. The fellows participated in the newcomers track on “Freedom of Expression Online” by Professor Dr. Milton Mueller of Georgia Tech University. This session was on Internet regulation.
The IGF academy preparatory workshop took place in Hotel Morales, Guadalajara on the 4th of December 2016. The objective of this workshop was to discuss and exchange Internet governance models and mechanisms and how they influence politics. 6 fellows from Asia and 6 fellows from Africa participated in this workshop. Corinne Cath of Article 19 and Daniel O’Maley of Center for International Media Assistance made a presentation on “Governance of Freedom of Expression” at the preparatory workshop. Following the break Adam Peake, Senior Manager for Civil Society Global Engagement of ICANN, made a presentation on other Internet governance mechanisms: multi stakeholder institutions and processes.
Investment is not like charity. One does not just give investment. If Tata is to invest in Bangladesh’s 2.4 percent market share Teletalk, it will have to have answers to the following questions: 1. Will it get a controlling interest in the company?
The fourth operator in the now mature Myanmar telecom market is Mytel. Sometime back I wrote about its secret sauce. In addition to confirming the use of military facilities, the company says that it will gain access to AAE-1 to ensure a good Internet experience for its customers. The Star High – MEC connection gives MyTel access to 1,000 towers and over 13,000 kilometres of fibre, plus other MECTel telecoms assets, thus transforming the viability of the business case for the new market entrant. According to an MPT spokesperson “As a general principle, the idea is to leverage MECTel’s assets, at least those ones that can be commercially used, as well as the existing subscriber base”.
“This system is biased towards the buyer. If I didn’t deliver a good product, the buyer can cancel. If the buyer cancels, I should approve the cancellation. If we provide a good product and if he cancels it, we can contact Fiverr directly. If you are a level I seller (entry level), they don’t get back to you quickly.

LIRNEasia at UN Data Forum

Posted on January 15, 2017  /  0 Comments

The UN Data Forum starts tomorrow. LIRNEasia’s Sriganesh Lokanathan will speak at the session organized by UN Global Pulse. Agenda.
Nandan Nilekani of Infosys and Aadhaar fame has been brought in to help the government of India accelerate the transition to e financial services in the aftermath of demonetization. 350 million with no phones and 350 million with feature phones is just the first problem. What happens when there is no signal, like in Chennai after the recent storm? The committee has a mega challenge ahead. The committee is expected to meet again this week to look at how to approach those with limited access to technology.
Estimating the number of online freelancers is a tough task. Freelancer platforms such as Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork do not share this number by country. Particularly for a small country like Sri Lanka tracing the number of freelancers is very difficult. We wanted to study the extent to which online freelancing /microwork can lead to inclusive growth benefitting underemployed youth, women and previously-excluded persons. To understand the impact that freelancing / microworking could have on local youth, we wanted to quantify the incidence of freelancing by estimating the number of freelancers/microworkers in Sri Lanka.
“Online freelancers are not given loans from local banks. The first question the officers ask us is whether EPF/ ETF is deducted from our salary. This is how they understand whether we have a stable job or not. They refuse to issue us loans because we don’t have a stable job. This is not the case in other countries” Says Sampath, a 25 year old freelancer in Sri Lanka.
Making the public aware about load shedding schedules is important as more and more younger people now work online and as power is a must to deliver work on time.

Slow meshing of Bay of Bengal region

Posted on January 10, 2017  /  0 Comments

According to Twitter, some people are without Internet in Bangkok today. Today's Tot internet failure from flooding wouldn't have been if only it were a mesh rather than point to point as @samarajiva has advocated — Don (@smartbrain) January 10, 2017 India is also supposed to have experienced problems with the Tata Indicom Cable connecting Chennai and Singapore. But they had back up options, running traffic through Bangladesh. The report below indicates that this resulted in higher bandwidth use (good) and a discernible degradation of Internet service quality (bad) for Bangladesh users. This is possibly because Bangladesh still primarily depends on SEA-ME-WE 4 to connect to the outside.
Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva refers to evidence showing Internet taxes are counterproductive and says current excessive taxes are temporary. Video of interview.
Based on work done on electronic trading in ASEAN and extrapolation from the online freelancing research, I contributed some thoughts on budget proposals to create a government-run platform to collect taxes. That has been picked up in subsequent articles. In the face of government highhandedness, global e-commerce giants have in the past opted not to enter Sri Lanka, and experts such as LIRNEasia Chairman Professor Rohan Samarajiva have expressed concerns that new interference would lead to those operating in Sri Lanka to leave the country as well. However, some platforms such as Airbnb have a history of collecting taxation from customers and providing them to governments, if requested. Officials admitted that many budget accommodation units are not eligible to pay taxes, which would require amendments to existing legislation.
We have been writing about competition issues around big data since 2014 (though I could claim 1991). Now the New York Times weighs in. The competition concerns echo those that gradually emerged in the 1990s about software and Microsoft. The worry is that as the big internet companies attract more users and advertisers, and gather more data, a powerful “network effect” effectively prevents users and advertisers from moving away from a dominant digital platform, like Google in search or Facebook in consumer social networks. Evidence of the rising importance of data can be seen from the frontiers of artificial intelligence to mainstream business software.
Data philanthropy was what UN Global Pulse came up with as a foundation for private entities donating data for public services. But now Uber has come up with another story. The site, which Uber will invite planning agencies and researchers to visit in the coming weeks, will allow outsiders to study traffic patterns and speeds across cities using data collected by tens of thousands of Uber vehicles. Users can use Movement to compare average trip times across certain points in cities and see what effect something like a baseball game might have on traffic patterns. Eventually, the company plans to make Movement available to the general public.