Tags: digital divide*

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  1. For SDG 10, which aims to reduce inequality, the two main solutions the report identified involved developing a formal mechanism to recognise and protect land rights, and making global supply chains more transparent so that it is easier to track products from raw materials to stores, as well as monitor for labour, environmental or human rights violations.

    When it comes to securing proof of land ownership—this is essential so that land cannot be snatched from its rightful owners via bribery, fraud, or other unethical practices—using blockchain technology can make it impossible to tamper with land registration, and make the process transparent, the report noted. However, it cautioned that blockchain must be accompanied by broader land reforms and policies which give women, the poor, and other marginalised people better access to land.

    Globally, there are land assets worth about US$20 trillion that people do not have proof of ownership for, and in Sweden alone, the government stands to save US$106 million annually by eliminating land registration paperwork, the report pointed out. It also noted that 70 per cent of the global population does not have a legal record of the land they own, further underscoring the scale of the opportunity for solutions in this space.

    Examples of companies that have already made strides in this area include BenBen, a blockchain-powered land transaction platform in Ghana, and Uhurulabs, a Tanzanian company which uses drones to create accurate maps of land borders and ownership rights.

    Blockchain and other technologies can also help companies and consumers alike gain better visibility into international supply chains, which in sectors such as food and retail, can be marred by unsustainable natural resource use and labour exploitation. Companies that have done so have already reaped the benefits, the report pointed out. For instance, when tuna brand John West introduced a way for consumers to trace tuna all the way back to fishermen who caught the fish, it increased sales by US$22 million.

    Ultimately, there is a US$1.3 trillion opportunity for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear, and blockchain can help with this, said the report.

    Through developing breakthrough innovations and forging critical partnerships, the business community has the resources and creativity we need to create the world we want.

    Lise Kingo, chief executive officer and executive director, United Nations Global Compact

    To advance SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production, solutions such as the circular economy—where resources are recovered and reused at the end of the product’s life cycle rather than discarded as waste—and dramatically different lifestyle choices such as eating insect protein need to be scaled up, the report recommended.

    For the latter trend, the global market for edible insects was US$33 million in 2015, but is expected to soar to US$773 million by 2024, the report predicted, calling this alternative food source “a breakthrough market to watch”. Examples of companies already cashing in on this trend include Chirps Chips, a US-based firm which makes cookies and chips from cricket flour; and BiteBack, an Indonesian firm which extracts oil from edible insects as a sustainable alternative to palm oil. The edible oil has long been linked to driving deforestation and habitat loss in Indonesia and other tropical nations where it is cultivated.
    http://www.eco-business.com/news/the-...e-sdgsheres-how-business-can-fix-that
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  2. Rendere pressoché gratuiti i servizi e i documenti digitali ai cittadini e imprese e rendendo molto onerose le versioni analogiche
    https://www.zerounoweb.it/cio-innovat...inanza-digitale-un-imperativo-governo
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  3. By Kali Akuno and Gyasi Williams, for Cooperation Jackson and the Community Production Cooperative: The Third Digital Revolution 1 » , a revolution in cyber-physical integration and personal fabrication, is changing the world, and changing humanity, culturally and physically, in the process. The Third Digital Revolution is marked by technological and knowledge breakthroughs that build on the first two Digital Revolutions, and the three Industrial Revolutions that preceded them, which are now fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds—including the human body. The main technologies of this revolution include advanced robotics, CNC (computer numeric control) automation, 3D printing, biotechnology, nanotechnology, big data processing, artificial intelligence, and of course these autonomous vehicles we’ve been hearing so much about of late. As a result of these developments, soon millions of people will be able to make almost anything with their personal computer or smartphone and fabrication technology in their own homes. Truly, a new era of technological innovation is upon us. One that could enable many of the social freedoms envisioned by scientists and science fiction writers for over a century.
    https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/countering-fabrication-divide/2018/01/23
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  4. The idea: Documentation is often lacking in parts of Africa, leading to land disputes because it isn't clear who owns the land. Even when there are records, sometimes they have been tampered with. A record that cannot be deleted, using something called blockchain, could be used to prevent these disputes. Blockchain is a method of recording data - a digital ledger of transactions, agreements, contracts - anything that needs to be independently recorded and verified. What makes a big difference is that this ledger isn't stored in one place, it's distributed across several, hundreds or even thousands of computers around the world. Everyone in the network can have access to an up-to-date version of the ledger. So it can be an open, transparent auditable and verifiable record of any transaction.

    The application: Cybersecurity company WISeKey is using blockchain technology for the land registry in Rwanda.

    What happened in 2017: WISeKey announced a partnership with Microsoft to support the Rwandan government in adopting blockchain technology, reports technology news site Cryptovest.

    What can we expect for 2018: The first step in adopting blockchain in Rwanda is digitising the Rwanda Land Registry, iAfrikan tech blog reports. The company is opening a blockchain Centre of Excellence in Rwanda, reports the New Times, which could go as far as developing a Rwandan cryptocurrency, similar to Bitcoin.
    Outsourcing IT work to Africa
    Image copyright Getty Images

    The idea: The world has a scarcity of software developers. Meanwhile, Africa has a growing young population. Training software developers in Africa who US and European firms can hire taps into that human capital.

    The application: Andela is a startup company that trains developers in Nigeria and hires them out to global tech companies. The original idea was to teach people a practical skill and then use the money they make to pay for their education, Iyin Aboyeji, one of the founders of Andela, explained to the Starta podcast.

    What happened in 2017: In October Andela raised $40m in funding, reports TechCrunch. The previous year it had raised $24m from Mark Zuckerberg, reports Forbes.

    What can we expect for 2018: There are rumours that it is going to open up in Egypt according to iAfrikan.
    Making it easier to pay for things
    Image copyright Getty Images

    The idea: Many people across Africa don't have bank accounts. Mobile money - sending money via your phone - has already proved a very successful alternative to cash. Africa has become the global leader in mobile money with more than 100 million people having mobile money accounts in 2016, according to McKinsey research. Mobile financial services now include credit, insurance, and cross-border remittances. The problem is that there are too many different systems which do not always work with each other. This means lots of people in Africa can't pay for products online.

    The application: Flutterwave is one of the new innovations coming through. It makes it easier for banks and businesses to process payments across Africa. It lets customers pay in their local currencies and allows people to send money from the US to a mobile money wallet, charging sellers a small service fee, which it shares with banks.

    What happened in 2017: In the first quarter of 2017 Flutterwave processed $444m in transactions across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, it told BBC. From the start the company has processed more than $1.2bn in payments across 10 million transactions, reports CNN. The company received $10m of funding from the US this year, CNN adds.

    What can we expect for 2018: The new funding will be used "to hire more talent, build out our global operations and fuel rapid expansion of our organization across Africa," Flutterwave says. With that, it hopes that more people in Africa can buy things they are not currently able to pay for, like on online retailer Amazon. As the firm's boss Iyinoluwa Aboyeji puts it: "If we are successful, we might just inspire a new generation of Africans to flip the question from: 'What more can the world do for Africa?' to 'What more can Africa do for the world?'".
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-...ource=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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  5. “The more data you have, the better the data products you can develop,” Professor Steven Weber said when discussing the link between data and development. “The better the data products you develop and sell, the more data you receive as those products get used more frequently and by larger populations.”

    But if all the world’s data flows back to a few tech powerhouses, without restrictions or taxes, this will further reinforce their monopolies, widen the privacy gap, and leave developing countries as passive consumers or data points, rather than participants in the digital economy.

    Those calling for liberalization use the rhetoric of creating opportunities for the poor — connecting the next billion — which sounds great, but only if we disconnect it from reality. Today, 60% world lacks even access to electricity. In the past, Spanish colonizers arrived in the Americas offering mirrors to the indigenous people in exchange for their gold. Is connectivity the “mirror” powerful actors are offering to the global poor today?

    Trade agreements eliminate the diversity of domestic policies and priorities, and impose costly restrictions on countries that want to address local inequalities and boost local industry. In the case of the digital economy, it will consolidate the position of few, to the detriment of the rest.
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/burcukilic/b...rade?utm_term=.nsr0Roja10#.oweb8lQZpb
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  6. The dominant narrative is that increases in mobile phone ownership and internet use signify development progress. The Sustainable Development Goals use mobile phone registrations and internet use as proxy indicators for sustainable evelopment. It was the statistics about increased levels of smartphone ownership and social media use in the Philippines that led us to base our research there. However once we were on the groun we learned quickly that these binary indicators disguise more than they reveal. Our study provides evidence that increases in mobile ownership can occur alongside widening technological and socio-economic inequalities. The people who were most able to make their voices heard on participatory governance platforms in the Philippines were ‘the usual suspects’: largely urban, middle-class and university-educated.

    What we learned in the Philippines was that development cannot really be understood in the binary terms of statistics on how many people are (not) connected. It is possible to 'connect the unconnected' at the same time as increasing inequality. In the Philippines new classes of device ownership and connectivity are forming that partly reflect and sometimes amplify patterns of existing privilege and disadvantage.

    Technology is changing rapidly, and uptake is expanding, but digital divides and economic inequalities are growing at the same time. The most disadvantaged remain unconnected whilst the already privileged race further and further ahead. It is those with the most disposable income, digital literacy and social capital that are first to own and make effective use of each new generation of technology. Those with least technology access experience new disadvantages.

    This does not mean that disadvantaged people are not active in appropriating technology to their advantage wherever possible – they are. Nor does this mean that development initiatives should not use digital technologies – they should. What it does mean is that digital development initiatives wishing to avoid unconsciously excluding those with lower-class device ownership or connectivity must conduct effective market research and on the basis of the research then 'design for equity'.
    http://www.appropriatingtechnology.org/?q=node%2F282
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  7. Who decides what the city really needs and will operate going forward? With a smart city comes a significant amount of decision making on what to do, who will do it, why and when to do it. The answers to the questions are not easy and can have massive repercussions. Take, for instance, the challenge of gentrification and urban displacement, which has long been framed simply as a symptom of wealthier people moving in to communities and effectively nudging out lower-income individuals. However, public investment can play a critical role in this process too. Perhaps the most shining, unfortunate example of this is what San Francisco Federal Reserve researchers refer to as “transit-induced gentrification” in which public investment in transit—light rail, buses, subway—attracts affluent individuals. So much so that several studies have found that transit investments can alter the demographic composition of the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in pushing out lower-income individuals and creating new problems within the city. Potential outcomes like these should prompt questions about who should be making these decisions about public investments associated with smart cities. Finding pathways to figure out what the public wants from its city (and perhaps more importantly, what it does not) is critical. This requires citizen participation early in the process and throughout. The New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network released a report, “India’s Smart Cities Mission: Smart for Whom? Cities for Whom?” The report highlights the massive problems with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to build 100 smart cities by 2020. Among the problems is the focus on technology of the future instead of issues of the present such as an agrarian crisis, insufficient civil rights for women, forced evictions to make room for the implementation of smart city projects, and so on.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...inconvenient-truth-about-smart-cities
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  8. Whether due to congestion in the network or some outdated hardware along the path, the most common internet connection we all encounter on a daily basis is unstable and slow.

    Why is it that the makers of the Web decidedly ignore this worldview? Besides blind optimism, we can surely say that they have fallen victim to the fallacies of distributed computing:

    The network is reliable.
    Latency is zero.
    Bandwidth is infinite.
    The network is secure.
    Topology doesn’t change.
    There is one administrator.
    Transport cost is zero.
    The network is homogeneous.

    “The network is reliable.” “Latency is zero.” “Bandwidth is infinite.”

    Don’t all of these sound an awful lot like the conversations you hear around Silicon Valley? “What if they don’t have a reliable internet connection?” “Let’s just focus on when they do, and we can figure out a solution to that later.” Many years later, very few internet services work without the web at all. On our mobile devices – devices much more prone to instability in its connection – almost nothing works without a stable, fast internet connection.

    It’s time for us to start considering an offline-first approach. Email is a brilliant example: the post office protocol (POP) available for all major mail providers allows users to download their mail when they have a stable connection, read & compose messages offline, and send them when they’re back to a stable connection. Web services should enable the same high-fidelity offline operation.

    Offline-first is the approach I will be using from now on for all web services I create and websites I create.
    https://byparker.com/blog/2017/the-internet-is-unstable
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  9. In Ghagaon, where a women’s cooperative runs the fair price shop, the internet has not worked even once. “We have to stand on the wall, or go near the pond, and ask everyone to come there to look for signal on the point of sale device,” said Mongra Sidar, a Gond Adivasi. “Or, we try inside the ration shop, then one person has to climb the chabootra elevated platform » , while another person stands on the ground to note down the details in the notebook.”

    In Raipur, officials said one lakh out of three lakh transactions using fingerprint authentication did not go through – a failure rate as high as 30%. They attributed the failures primarily to network connectivity problems and skin abrasions on fingers.
    Photographs as backup

    With fingerprint authentication failing for even genuine card holders who have been verified by local authorities, Chhattisgarh has come with an innovation: ration shop owners have been asked to take photographs of such people before giving them food rations.

    This photograph is stored in the government’s server. “It will serve as deterrent to ration dealers that even if there is a complaint six months later, the government can check if grains were given to the right beneficiaries,”

    “Earlier, we sent one boy on the bicycle to lift the rations for three households,” lamented Tapaswani Yadav, a middle-aged woman. “Now, it is a waste of time for everyone. Many elderly persons cannot walk, it is difficult for a few to even sit astride a motorcycle.”

    She added: “The machine is so slow, sometimes people reach the ration shop in the morning and return when the day is over.”

    Five technologies need to work together for biometric authentication to be successful – the point of sale device, internet connectivity, biometrics, the National Informatics Centre server, and the Unique Identity Authority of India servers. Invariably, one of the five fails.

    Shyamlal Dansena, the ration dealer in Dilari panchayat in Raigarh, said fingerprint authentication failed for 20% of the ration card holders on an average. But in October, he had to give grains to all 386 ration card holders after taking their photographs since the Samsung tablet purchased by the panchayat for enabling the Aadhaar-based transactions had stopped functioning.

    Dansena was preparing to travel 20 kilometers to Raigarh to get the tablet repaired. “The food officer said we can give November month’s grains only after the software is loaded again,” he said.
    http://scroll.in/article/822764/chhat...ar-when-fingerprints-fail-take-photos
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  10. Given the Internet’s growing importance for education, health care and jobs, non-adopters are tragically mistaken about relevance. So the focus needs to be on persuading them to join us. And join us they must. The more users who join the network, the faster each added connection increases its value. The silence of older, rural and less-educated Americans from the online conversation makes all of us that much poorer.

    The new digital divide can only be bridged by making digital life more relevant. And there’s a relatively simple way to do it. Older, rural, and less-educated Americans share one important characteristic -- they are all heavy users of government services. For example, 53 percent of benefits go to people 65 and older. Migrating entitlements to easy-to-use applications, and providing training through community-based groups, will make the Internet essential, if not irresistible, to those still disconnected.

    What are those apps? For older Americans, they include one-stop shopping for information about Social Security, Medicare, and tailored services, such as telehealth. For rural users, as well as those with less education, key services are those that help with both education and employment: matching résumés with openings, signing up for vocational education for in-demand positions and financial aid. Health insurance and child welfare services are also critical.

    Different federal and state government agencies today provide these benefits, and in many cases, some information is already online. But we need apps that pull together relevant information across government and agency boundaries and a design that is focused on convenience for the user. Deploying them quickly would not only increase online adoption but also simultaneously improve government performance and lower its cost.
    http://www.saratogian.com/general-new...tary-a-new-digital-divide-has-emerged
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