A socioeconomic index, also known as a deprivation or poverty index, is a single numerical figure derived from multiple indicators, that gauges the socioeconomic status of a predefined area. It allows for direct comparisons of socioeconomic status between regions and is tremendously useful in identifying patterns and correlations between socioeconomic status and other attributes. However, it is not easy to construct as there are many indicators to choose from – income, expenditure, education, occupation, durable assets, etc. and it is difficult to objectively justify their relative importance. Several governments and organisations have developed socioeconomic indices for their respective regions that have been widely accepted as official: The National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NS-SEC) for the United Kingdom The European Deprivation Index (EDI) for Europe The Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) for Australia The New Zealand Deprivation Index (NZDep) for New Zealand The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Unfortunately, Sri Lanka does not yet have such an index.
The draft National Digital Policy proposes a target of 70% of internet users by 2025, an undeniably ambitious target. The target – pulled out of thin air as though it may seem – is actually based on a time series forecast using ITU statistics from 2000-2017. The forecast was computed using a statistical software called Tableau, which considers exponential smoothing and seasonality. The lower and upper levels were based on 95% confidence intervals. The chart below shows that the upper limit that can be achieved is 74% by 2025 if accelerated efforts are made to drive internet adoption and smartphone use in Sri Lanka.
LIRNEasia's comments on the Framework for a Proposed Data Protection Legislation for Sri Lanka of June 2019
This document is intended to understand the extant policy context in relation to healthcare data protection, providing international comparisons, and raise important questions for Sri Lanka to consider in relation to data protection, albeit within a narrow sector specific scope.
Corner shops in the neighborhood save the trouble of driving to big stores for day-to-day groceries. That’s what the carrier-neutral POPs do for affordable broadband. It’s ubiquitous in Europe but nearly non-existent in Asia. Only Singapore and Hong Kong host carrier-neutral POPs. That’s why Internet has been centralized in these two city-states.
LIRNEasia research presented at RightsCon 2019 in Tunis
LIRNEasia comments on the proposed Cyber Security Bill for Sri Lanka - 2019
Sri Lanka just came out with a draft bill for a proactive, national cyber-defense entity. This entity functions by designating systems as Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) and then appointing people responsible for reporting security breaches and so on and so forth. The legalese looks like this: Part V 18(1) states that “the Agency shall identify and recommend to the Minister the designation of a computer or computer system as CII for the purposes of this Act, if the Agency is satisfied that- (a) the computer or computer system is necessary for the continuous delivery of essential services for the public health, public safety, privacy, economic stability, national security, international stability and for the sustainability and restoration of critical cyberspace or for any other criteria as may be prescribed and the disruption or destruction of which would likely to have serious impact on the public health, public safety, privacy, national security, international stability or on the effective functioning of the government or the economy; and (b) the computer or computer system is located wholly or partly in Sri Lanka… The current proposed version gives the Agency the right to designate even corporate computer systems as CIIs, bust down their doors, inspect […]
Five years ago, we celebrated the first of our alumni entering a PhD program. And today we celebrate the first of our alumni completing a PhD. Congratulations to Dr Dimuthu Ratnadiwakara who did wonderful work in the short time he worked with us. He is now on the tenure track at Louisiana State University. As a lapsed academic I cannot but be proud of Dimuthu’s achievements.
Sri Lanka performs poorly on digital indicators, awareness of internet and related services does not translate to use, and the majority of social media users in Sri Lanka think that blocking social media during times of national unrest "is the right thing to do".
AfterAccess: ICT access and use in Asia and the Global South (Version 3.0)
I write with some sadness. After 13 consecutive academies and conferences, we are compelled to take a year’s break. There is no money for CPRsouth in 2019. IDRC continues to value our work; but changed priorities (no longer is “future leaders” a thing) means that they did not allocate funding for us this year. Given my time constraints, I could only try for a single funder who would pick up the core funding including travel.
The biggest barrier to policing social media is language. Based on a draft LIRNEasia white paper on neural language processing. Published in Foreign Policy.
LIRNEasia proposed simple, immediately actionable ways to promote independent living by persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nepal.
Uncertain of the answer, I thought I’d write about it. Since Cable published their latest pricing league tables earlier this year my inbox seems to have a magnetic effect attracting ‘news’ from joyous announcements by the providers of the cheapest data in the world to harsh commentaries on the inaccuracy of the data being published. Following Cable’s release was A4Ai with its league tables published in March 2019 with prices for 100 MB, 200 MB, 1 GB, 2GB, 5GB and 10GB as a percentage of average income (GNI per capita reported by the World Bank). Both pricing leagues are relatively recent albeit more nuanced in some ways in comparison to the more seasoned data annually released by the OECD (with the limitation that this is only for the OECD countries) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Do we need this many pricing league tables for what appears to be the same thing?
Method. Method. Method. But it seems that rankings and the publicity that ensues takes precedence. Any methodology, for it to be meaningful, needs to be transparent and to the extent possible ensure comparability.