Archive for Web Foundation

New Year, New Projects: mLab, Kenya

The last few months have been quite busy for us … and in very positive ways.   We are happy to announce that grants agreements have recently been concluded with the European Union, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the World Bank.  These grants will fund new projects that support the strategic vision of the Web Foundation. Over the next couple of weeks, we will introduce each of these new projects in detail.

Today, we briefly introduce the mLab East Africa Initiative, funded by the World Bank / Infodev. Stephane Boyera briefly mentioned this a few weeks ago in another post, when he went to Kenya for the first face-to-face meeting.

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Long Live the Web: Scientific American Article by Tim Berners-Lee

Dec 2010

The Web’s inventor and Web Foundation Director, Tim Berners-Lee, pens a must-read article – Long Live the Web — in the December issue of Scientific American magazine.   As the header says, “The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending“.

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Killer Web Apps, Independent Media, Salzburg

at Strengthening Independent Media

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in the Strengthening Independent Media Initiative (SIM) seminar in Salzburg, Austria. Thanks to the Knight Foundation (John Bracken, representing) for sponsoring this, and to the organizers — Stephen, Susan, Claire, Jad (enjoyed our morning runs) and many others — for an effective discussion of the challenges and opportunities around supporting independent media around the world. Great group of people, most of whom were new to me, and many of whom I have since followed-up with.

I was invited to give a talk on the next Killer Apps, but focused my presentation on Web applications that could prove to be useful and usable for people who are not yet Web enabled.  Ethan Zuckerman, who provided some really interesting stats and views on the question of how wide the Web really is,  wrote an accurate and concise account of both of our talks.  I like Ethan’s account better than the video of my actual presentation (not sure I’ve ever been satisfied when seeing a replay of one of my talks).

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Web for All Now. Broadband for All in Future.

On Monday 20 September in New York City, Web Foundation representatives (including former UK Prime Minister and Web Foundation Director Gordon Brown and Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee), met with members of the Broadband Commission (including Rwanda’s President Kagame and ITU’s Secretary General Touré) and other knowledgeable people (see participants list below) to exchange principles and plans on how to accelerate the benefits of the Internet and Web for those who need it most.

The occasion was prompted by the presentation  of the Broadband Commission’s report “The Future Built on Broadband” to the United Nations Secretary General.  The report asserts the contribution that universal access to rapid Internet communications could make to addressing the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and other social and economic imperatives, and outlines actions needed to achieve universal broadband access.  Among other things, the Web Foundation sought to connect with the Commission, and explore what could be done in the near term to leverage existing infrastructure for public good, while building for a broadband future.

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Berners-Lee: Web Access for All

Web inventor and Web Foundation founder Tim Berners-Lee spoke last week at the Nokia World conference in London (see Nokia post, BBC article, among many others).  As usually, he made a number of interesting points:

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Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Joins World Wide Web Foundation’s Board of Directors

Web Foundation Mission Echoes Brown’s Support for Technology Investment in Africa

gordon brownGENEVA – Sept. 2, 2010 – The World Wide Web Foundation (Web Foundation) today announced that it has elected former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to serve on its Board of Directors. Throughout the world, the Web Foundation leads programs that empower people to use the Web to nurture local economies and improve access to education and information. As a Board member, Dr. Brown will primarily advise the Web Foundation on ways to involve disadvantaged communities and global leaders in the development of sustainable programs that connect humanity and affect positive change.

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Caribbean Internet Governance Forum

Delivering introductory remarks at Caribbean Internet Governance Forum

This week is Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Week in St. Maarten in the Caribbean.  St. Maarten, which is moving toward self-governance later this year, and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union are sponsoring this important convocation of businesses, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and citizens young and not-so-young to “foster development and transform societies and economies”.

The start of the week featured the 6th annual Caribbean Internet Governance Forum.  I was invited to lead discussion on the subject of “Executing the Paradigm Shift: From eGovernment to oGovernment”.  The focus was on potential benefits, and realistic costs, of a relationship between government and citizens based on Open Government Data.

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New Project to Assess Potential of Creating Open Government Data Initiatives in Chile, Ghana and Turkey

{ Catalog from CTIC.}

Within less than a year, the United Kingdom and United States have put hundreds of thousands of rich datasets on the Web in machine readable formats. Thousands of applications have been built — the vast majority without taxpayers’ money — by civic hackers to analyze, mash-up, and map these data. Potential benefits of an Open Government Data (OGD) practice include new services, new insights, increased citizen participation, new businesses and better governance. Though other countries, provinces and cities are exploring OGD, there has been little activity in low and middle income countries (see map at left). Given the potential benefits and reasonable costs, it is importance to assess how relevant an OGD initiative might be in these countries as well.

The World Wide Web Foundation, with the our partner Fundacion (CTIC), is taking the first steps in this direction.   We are starting a new project to conduct an assessment of the feasibility and potential of an OGD program in three diverse countries — Chile, Ghana and Turkey.  The bottom line questions are:  Is the country ready to engage in an OGD initiative?  If so, what support might they need?  If not, why not, and what lesson can we take away from this assessment?

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London Citizen Cyberscience Summit: 2-3 September

The “Citizen Cyberscience” movement builds on the success of projects like SETI@Home and GalaxyZoo — which leverage the brainpower of millions of people, as well as their computing power, to address large, complex research and humanitarian challenges.  The London Citizen Cyberscience Summit will gather scientists and citizens to learn about the latest breakthroughs in citizen cyberscience. A bold ambition of the summit is to draft a citizen cyberscience manifesto, involving all the stakeholders in the field.

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Open Data in the Caribbean

IDRC published the following press release about their conference: “Towards a Caribbean Open Institute”, and encouraged participants to share this with our communities.   Many thanks to Federico Burone and Fernando Perini from IDRC; to my co-discussion-leaders Kaia Ambrose and Bruce Girard; and especially to the engaged and experienced participants for making this an interesting and potentially important event. See also my previous post on this conference, as well as my presentation slides.  The Web Foundation has committed to support open data initiatives around the world.  We will talk with IDRC and Caribbean partners in the coming weeks, and will announce another open government data initiative in the coming days.   More soon …

Press Release: A Caribbean Initiative will Promote Open Data for Policy Research
(re-produced with permission from IDRC Web site)

(photo by F. Perini)

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) brought together international experts and stakeholders in the Caribbean to explore opportunities for strengthening policy-oriented research in the region. The meeting, titled “Towards a Caribbean Open Institute: Data, Communications and Impact” took place June 30 – July 1, 2010 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. The meeting was attended by 40 high-level stakeholders in the area of public policy research from across the region. Participants examined international experiences and explored the possibilities of collaborating to drive the process of making more data available online in order to strengthen the collaboration between governments, researchers and the civil society.

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