Members Bulletin

WSIS Forum 2012 – Sessions reports

By Jessica Hogstrom and Jessica Lees, Global Education Opportunity (GEO) students with WOW


May 14, 2012: Reaching the Third Billion—Arriving at Affordable Broadband to Stimulate Emerging Market Transformation (Intel Corporation)

During this thematic workshop Intel focused on their project, “Reaching the Third Billion,” and they highlighted how they, and the countries they were partnering with, were working to provide affordable internet to all the citizens of the world. In order to achieve this goal they began by attempting to create an equivalent to the prepaid phone with the internet connection, so that broadband access would be affordable, and they also worked to lower the price of the computers. Intel began working first with Vietnam, where they are now moving fifty thousand pcs a month, and where 50% of the population can now afford a computer and internet access. Perhaps the most effective part of this program is working to lower costs on both ends, by working to make computers much more affordable and focusing on creating a system that allows broadband to be purchased like minutes for a cellphone. It is vital that this will allow those who had no hope of previously affording this access to join the digital age, which thus provides them opportunities for education, communication and work that they would never previously have. A representative from Albania highlighted the work that is now being done there since they first partnered with Intel in December of 2011. Within the first quarter there was an 8% increase in the total number of computers sold within Albania, and the results so far seem promising with a very positive reaction from the market. Likewise, a similar program in Mexico was described, although not partnered with Intel, which focused on using government subsidies and a voucher system to meet the needs of the people.. In the end questions still remain about how to best reach the next billion, or the fifth or sixth, yet it is encouraging that already one billion people have been reached.

May 14, 2012: Media Freedom of Expression on Internet and Social Media (UNESCO)

The question of how to ensure freedom of expression within the internet and social media, while at the same time protecting all citizens and their rights to privacy, was at the heart of this panel. New forms of technology such as search engines and social media raised many interesting questions as they both enhance freedom of expression and even freedom of assembly yet there are clear risks that are inherent within their use and the use of other similar technologies. There was a clear call for reforms to ensure an ecosystem which would foster freedom of expression through particularly creating a clear framework based on global policy and open standards. Yet there were concerns raised that privacy must be protected, and that privacy must be considered from the beginning by these internet services and incorporated into the design. The role of citizen journalists was also an important issue for ensuring these rights on the internet, and the different panelists each argued for the extension of traditional journalistic protection to apply to this new form of journalist. Questions were also raised about how this would change the role of these citizen journalists, as these citizens gained freedom from not being part of the system and instead utilizing new forms of media, but the extension of these key protections was highlighted as a crucial part of preserving their rights. Ultimately this panel addressed key issues of ensuring the freedom of expression through the newly developing technological mediums such as social media sites, blogs and even search engines, and the census was clear: legislation, universal standards and journalistic protection are necessary to ensure that freedom of expression is preserved on the Internet.

May 15, 2012 11:15-13:00: AL C5 Cybersecurity Building confidence and Security in the use of ICTs (ITU)

In this Facilitation Meeting, the international issue and concern of Cybersecurity clearly called for the development of clear codes of conduct and policies to address the threat to nations and even families. The panel focused on problems with Cybersecurity, especially on national and international levels, where inconsistent regulations need to be discussed and standardized. Panelists raised questions about when a cyber-operation amounts to an attack on a state, and when it becomes a national security threat. But more importantly the question of when would these attacks fall under United Nation Laws regarding armed conflicts and warfare must be addressed. The speakers called for a code of conduct which would include a focus on education, defining the legal and international frameworks, and a focus on the private/public partnership, and it would be a means of providing necessary clarification about conduct on the internet and what constitutes a violation. Yet this issue also must be considered regarding the “first digital natives” or the children of the world, who must be educated regarding the digital world to which they have been exposed. The Special Envoy for Child Protection to the International Telecommunication Union highlighted key issues that affect children within the domain of Cybersecurity such as the lack of regulation regarding apps, cyber bullying, privacy issues, sexting, suicides, and addictions. To better combat these issues clearer policies and codes of conduct must be created.


May 15, 2012: Smart Cities (Hewlett Packard)

Last year, the population of the world reached 7 billion and with 12 years another billion people will be added to the current population. As the population continues to grow, there has been a movement toward urban migration with people leaving the agricultural rural areas. WIth increasing numbers of people in cities, it is important for cities to be able to adapt to the swelling population. Currently, 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, consumes 2/3 of total energy, and is responsible for 70% of the carbon emissions. In order for cities to become smarter, the following points were put forward by Hewlett Packard: 1) The city must be a livable place, 2) Cities need to be a learning and sharing environment, 3) Cities need to be ready for new economies revolving around new technologies, 4) The ability for citizens to always be connected to the internet and essential services, and 5) Cities need to have efficient government action which places importance on creating a technologically capable city. Currently, Hewlett Packard is working toward creating technology and products which would enable city governments to work more efficiently to deliver needed services to its citizens. Although the need is there to create smarter cities, there are currently challenges with trying to get entire city populations on board with new technological advances and ensuring the governments will take the necessary steps to create and carry out an effective plan of action. However, as the future approaches, it will become essential to create smart cities.


May1 15: Publication: Launch of case studies on Broadband and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):

The Broadband Commission was created in 2010 in response to the need for ITU and UNESCO to monitor their efforts at helping to reach the MDGs. Specifically, the commission is tasked with expanding broadband to make it easy for the world population to have access to the internet. The Broadband Commission has released 4 case studies, Panama, Philippines, Romania, and Macedonia. Due to the limited time allotted for the panel, I was only able to stay for the Macedonia presentation. In Macedonia, the government has partnered with private sector broadband providers to place computer kiosks on school buildings in the rural areas where people do not have access to the internet. For four years the government has agreed to provide free access to the internet on these kiosks. This has proven to be a successful way of bringing the internet to those that currently do not have access.


May 15: High Level Dialogue No. 1: Governance of Cyberspace and Cyberpeace

During this WSIS session, officials from the public sector, private sector, and UN organizations were present to discuss the importance and challenges of cyberspace and cyberpeace. Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Toure expressed the need for cyber security in order to protect and promote freedom and privacy on the internet. All panelists reaffirmed the importance and growing need for global action regarding cyber security but also noted the political and ideological differences that are hindering swift action. The country representative from Burkina Faso thoughtfully noted that in order to decrease cyberspace threats, there is a need to create a culture of cyber security because legislation will only go so far to help solve the current problems. The EC Council, in conjunction with ITU, has developed a game for children to help teach them about the importance of security. Hopefully this will enable children to become aware of the importance of cyber security. Members in the audience also highlighted the need for cyber security education in the school system for children to learn about the threats that do exist and how they can protect themselves. When asked what the plan forward should be, SG Toure responded with a 4 pronged plan: 1) Provide broadband access to all individuals in society, 2) Protect individuals from cyberspace threats, 3) Countries should not harbor terrorists and those committing cyber crimes; and 4) Global cooperation and coordination to stop the criminals committing cyber crime.


May 15 : Oman’s ICT Capacity Building for Women and Girls (Information Technology Authority and MInistry of Education, Sultanate of Oman)

The delegation from Oman presented the training programs and educational classes that have been targeted toward women and girls in order to bring them the power of ICT. Community Centers and Women Community Knowledge Centers have been set up across each of the governorates within Oman with the purpose of providing ICT training classes to women, usually 18 and above. The community centers have been created with the following 4 objectives: 1) Offer ICT training programs, 2) Raise citizen awareness of ICT, 3) Help women obtain jobs using their ICT knowledge, and 4) Help citizens learn about and benefit from eGovernment services. Along with targeting the adult female population, grade school classes have been targeted in order to allow girls to learn about and become proficient in their use of ICT. The Digital Schools have been created that include smartboards, computers, classmates (small laptops designed specifically for educational purposes), and teachers trained in ICT in each of the schools to provide complete ICT training. These schools have been successful in teaching girls to be ICT literate.


May 16: Women and Girls in ICT

In this high level dialogue, the panel discussed how technology needs girls but more importantly how girls need technology. Doreen Bogdan, Chief, Strategic Planning and Membership at the ITU, identified four fundamental principles for increasing the participation of women and girls in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), which are: 1) empowerment, 2) equality, 3) education, and 4) employment. She also discussed how there are expected to be 2 million more jobs than ICT professionals in the near future, which highlights how much the technology industry ultimately needs the contribution of women and girls. Nisha Pilla, the moderator for the panel, emphasized the need to get girls to try new things and engage their imagination. This was further reinforced with the idea that ICT needs to overcome the media myth that technology is fundamentally boring and uninteresting. Jasna Matic, State Secretary for Digital Agenda from the Republic of Serbia, stated that women need to be reckless and dive into new fields where they will be forced to combat traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Throughout the panel session, the theme of role models emerged as a necessary step toward encouraging female participation in ICT industries. These role models need to not just be women in high positions but women actually using their skills in the positions they hold. Carlos Martinez, Global Director, Service Providers in Developing Economies, Intel World Head Group, stated that with each additional 10% of women educated in a country, that country’s GDP increases by 3%. Therefore, there is a great need to work together as a society to encourage women to gain an education and be able to use those skills to enhance the economy.


May 17: Freedom of Expression and the Internet: How to reconcile Practice and Principles

During this panel the issue of how Freedom of Expression on the Internet can be protected and more specifically who is actually responsible for doing this was thoroughly discussed. The panelists ultimately urged that it is governments who must step forward and be willing to police the internet rather than forcing the duty on the corporate world. This means that states must be willing to step forward to use their own individual jurisdiction to protect the rights of their citizens and even to protect the internet intermediaries rather than letting them take the blame for problems. Yet the panel emphasized that the internet complicates policy and rights issues because it enables as much good as bad action. They raised concerns that the same tools that governments use to protect people online are in fact the same things that can be used to diminish the rights of internet users. This is most especially true when it comes to the right to privacy, and it can be extremely vague where exactly the line is between protection and violation of their rights. In the end the panelists urged to create open internet standards through a collaborative and multi-stake holder model where basic rights could be considered and protected.


17 May: Strategic Uses of ICT’s for Development

The Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation ( led the session and emphasized the importance of all actors (i.e. civil society, governments, industries) working in development coming together and creating linkages to mutual help one another in their efforts. Through partnerships and sharing of information, the best solutions to help the world’s poor can be found and will help to revolutionize the current development strategy. GKPF has been founded in order to facilitate the sharing of information and creating a knowledge network for their members. The purpose of this session was to highlight the projects of 4 of the GKPF members in order to facilitate knowledge sharing and potentially linking different organizations together in the audience. The first organization, IICD (, works to support local organizations that are using ICTs in their projects and work in all sectors from health to farming. IICD works to ensure that not only are the local organization’s needs met, but that the needs of the community are met as well. Second, the Omar Dengo Foundation (, which operates in Costa Rica, aims to bring ICT education to children. Through two major educational programs, entrepreneurship classes and robotics classes, children are able to concretely apply the principles taught through simulating starting their own businesses or creating virtual products using their robotics education. The third group, Global Villages Network (, aims to connect villages and their voices to each other through remotely transmitting talks and speeches. Through bringing together remote villages, these villages will be able to share information. Lastly, an organization operating in Spain is working to bring ICT knowledge to citizens, microenterprises, and public administrators. If organizations are interested in joining the network, log on to their website (registration is free) and GKPF will help facilitate information, link organization together, and help to mobilize resources.d


17 May: Rethinking the Agenda for Development: Open Access Policies and Practice

In the digital age, open access platforms have become increasing popular in order to share knowledge. Harvard University recently announced that it could no longer afford subscriptions to academic journals and encouraged it’s researchers to make their work open to the public. As academic journal prices have increased, the ability for individuals to read and learn from academic research has decreased. In response to this, open access journals, most of which are peer reviewed, have begun to gain popularity. Two speakers, representing Argentina and South Africa, highlighted the importance of open access information. In Argentina, the government has recognized the need for open access journals and has a national initiative to create open access repositories that would be made available to all individuals looking for academic research. In South Africa, the need for academic research was highlighted as well as the need to incorporate research from the global south. Current subscription journals focus mainly on the academic research produced by the global north as well as the interests of the global north. By creating open access journals, information from both the global north and global south can be shared. Simultaneously, there is a need to see publishing as a mid point in research, not an end point. By shifting the paradigm to open collaboration between researchers, more work on the various problems throughout the world could be tackled.