Recoding the the Rules - Designing with, not just for, the next billion Internet users.

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Session Description

Access to the Internet is increasingly becoming an important factor for social and economic development, the ability to access relevant market information, government services, or partake in global discourses. Yet creative ideas on how to connect the next billion are missing, rather, the voices and desires of the said next billion aren’t at the fore of informing the approaches to connecting them. Societies are facing the challenges of broadband and data divides whilst not all governments are willing or able to invest in services that can be accessed by people with low income. Instead, Internet giants like Facebook are presenting their zero-rating business models as the solution for creating Internet access to the unserviced. What are the alternatives to zero-rating? What other solutions can be provided that do not undermine principles of net neutrality? Not to throw the baby with the bathwater, but how can zero-rating as an approach be managed to enhance Internet access? This session will begin with an overview of the current challenges in connecting the next billion to the Internet and will engage participants in the search for alternative, affordable access models, including guiding principles that facilitate diversity, not just in quantitative numbers (of Internet consumers), but also creators on and for the Internet they consume. ** Key Points and Guiding Questions Design and Usability - global North creating for global South (what’s up with that? How can we start designing WITH instead of just designing FOR people?) Software, business models and access models are exported from Silicon Valley across the world. Do solutions from emerging markets stand a chance? Development cooperation aims to export political values along with technical systems. Is it a successful metric? Are we imposing political values in the stead of nurturing authentic value systems in the developing world? Shaping the digital realities: it is argued that end users don’t care so much about how the Internet gets to them, as long as it does. “Facebook is the Internet” in many emerging markets. How do we make Internet Freedom a concept that resonates more with the public? (Must it be preceded by an understanding and appreciation and enjoyment of ‘offline’ freedoms? What does that mean in authoritarian regimes, or democracies-on-paper regimes?) Creating space for local production instead of digital colonialism - what does that really look like? If, Facebook, eg facilitates space for local production on their platform, does that count as a ‘digital democracy’ or make the mark on Internet freedom? Avoiding the same patterns as in other industries. Will ICTs exacerbate or help reduce the inequalities in society? What needs to guide the latter? Issues with the concept of ICT4D - the operating spaces that count as ‘4D’. Why, for instance, aren’t Free Basics and Google’s Project Loon deployed in Western economies, in areas where people remain unconnected? What are the nuances and biases coded in the ‘4D’ in ICT4D?

Recoding the the Rules - Designing with, not just for, the next billion Internet users.
Presenter/s Nanjira and Geraldine
Bio/s Nanjira Sambuli is the Research Lead at iHub, Nairobi. She is trained as a mathematician with experience as a new media strategist for organizations such as UNEP, UN HABITAT, Africans Act 4 Africa,Global Power Shift, on their pan-African and international campaigns. With iHub Research, Nanjira has developed a framework for assessing the Viability, Verification, and Validity of Crowdsourcing, an online dangerous speech monitoring project, Umati, currently running in Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan, and a publication on ICT and Governance (Civic Tech Landscape) in East Africa . Nanjira is also the editor of Innovative Africa: The new face of Africa, a series of essays on the emerging African tech landscape. Nanjira is interested in and works on understanding the unfolding impacts of ICT adoption and how those impact governance, innovation, entrepreneurship and societal culture, in her native Kenya, and also across Africa. Geraldine de Bastion is an expert on information and communication technology and new media for development based in Berlin, Germany. She consults large and small organisations on digital media and communication strategies, innovation and start-up and maker cultures and works with activists and bloggers around the world on digital rights issues. Geraldine is founder of the consultancy Konnektiv GbR and the Global Innovation Gathering, a network of innovation hubs, hackerspaces, labs and makerspaces. She works as a free curator and moderator for re:publica and other international events, has an honorary position as head of board at the German NGO Digitale Gesellschaft e.V. and is an active member of iceBauhaus e.V..
Language English

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