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The Pew Charitable Trusts;
This report from the Pew Charitable Trusts highlights practices for state programs aimed at expanding broadband access to un- and underserved areas.Based on interviews with more than three hundred representatives of state broadband programs, Internet service providers, local governments, and broadband coalitions, the report identified five promising and mutually reinforcing practices: stakeholder outreach and engagement at both the state and local levels; a policy framework with well-defined goals that connects broadband to other policy priorities; planning and capacity building in support of broadband infrastructure projects; funding and operations through grant programs, with an emphasis on accountability and data collection; and program evaluation and evolution to ensure that lessons learned inform the next iteration of goals and activities. The study explores how nine states — California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin — have adapted and implemented different combinations of those practices to close gaps in broadband access.
West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI);
Technology has invaded our daily lives and has changed the way we go about work. However, technology seems to have changed more significantly the way individuals interact than the extent to which organisations are transforming.
West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI);
In contemporary society, social media has made access to information easier. Social media has the potential to fundamentally change the character of our social lives, both on an interpersonal and a community level (Baruah, 2012: 1). It is obvious that social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, Skype among others, are used extensively for the purpose of communication. One of the most important advantages of the use of social media is the online sharing of knowledge and information among different groups of people. Online tools and technology have facilitated communication in countless ways. They have also influenced our perceptions and attitudes towards communication.
Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET);
The use of social media platforms and chat applications in Asia has grown exponentially in recent years. Throughout the 2010s, violent extremists (VEs) in different parts of the continent exploited this growing access to audiences, disseminating their divisive messages broadly, while targeting individuals in fringe online groups. Technology companies and governments eventually imposed relatively effective measures to moderate overtly terrorist content, remove accounts and limit reach. However, the dynamics of broader communication on platforms that reward contentious engagement is continuing to inflame domestic political polarisation and societal division.Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, and India are four Asian nations with unique but comparable experiences regarding the impact of online communications on social fault lines, extremism and violence. This report outlines and analyses these respective contexts.
Open Technology Fund;
This research study seeks to identify the various surveillance and censorship technologies and strategies deployed by the government and military in Myanmar. In doing so, the study utilizes a diverse combination of analytical methods including technical network measurements, interviews, and key research analysis of newspaper archives, media reports, and government publications. Throughout the overall assessment process, the study focuses not only on technology but also on offline spaces and legal loopholes which tend to obscure transparency and allow the authorities in Myanmar to implement surveillance and censorship practices in unchecked manners.The goal of this project is to shine a light on these troublesome tactics helping both the people of Myanmar as well as other internet freedom researchers around the world. In countries such as Myanmar where information on existing surveillance practices is limited this type of research is all the more difficult - and important - to conduct. It is therefore the hope of this study the information produced by this research serves as a seed that will ultimately sprout and grow into a tree of resistance hope and change.The study begins with an overview of Myanmar's relevant political and internet-based background. Next the study's methodologies and limitations are discussed. The core of the study is then devoted to findings from research and measurements followed by findings from interviews. Finally, the study finishes with concluding thoughts and key acknowledgements.
This white paper provides an overview of the human rights situation for these populations in Myanmar and Bangladesh and the causes of the internet shutdowns in both countries. The report illustrates that, by impeding the rights of IDPs and refugees, violations of digital rights are violations of human rights. At the heart of Lockdown and Shutdown are sixteen semi-structured qualitative interviews, conducted with Rakhine, Rohingya, Chin IDPs in conflict-affected areas in Myanmar, and Rohingya refugees residing in Bangladesh, which give a voice to those who have been deprived of one, as well as reveal the devastating impacts of the internet shutdowns in the two countries.The report also demonstrates that there are commonalities in the impacts of the shutdowns in Myanmar and Bangladesh, specifically in the areas of public health information around COVID-19, education, and access to reliable news in misinformation-rich environments, as well as differences in areas like work, access to healthcare, and physical security and offers key recommendations to the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Tobin Center for Economic Policy, Yale University;
Consumer protection law is vital for ensuring that market-based economies work in the economic interest of consumers as well as businesses, and thus to the benefit of civil society. This is the case for online markets just as it is for offline markets. However, despite broad consensus on these points, too little has been done to ensure that the various standards applicable in offline markets are sufficient or adequate to guarantee efficiency and fairness in online markets. This paper outlines eleven key features of online markets that might necessitate standards additional to or different from those that are applicable offline, and provides a menu of possible policies in relation to each. Many of these are general to all online markets, but some are specific to the largest digital platfroms. Many if not most of our policy proposals could be enacted through minor changes to existing law or regulation or through decisional law interpreting existing legislation. Some have already been implemented in some jurisdictions. What is needed in all jurisdictions, however, is a regulator or regulators with sufficient expertise around technical issues such as A/B testing and algorithmic decision-making to understand, anticipate, and remedy the myriad ways that online firms can disadvantage consumers.
Tobin Center for Economic Policy, Yale University;
This paper identifies a set of possible regulations that could be used both to make the search market more competitive and simultaneously ameliorate the harms flowing from Google's current monopoly position. The purpose of this paper is to identify conceptual problems and solutions based on sound economic principles and to begin a discussion from which robust and specific policy recommendations can be drafted.
National League of Cities;
As Congress debates the President's proposed American Jobs Plan (AJP) and an infrastructure infusion, the National League of Cities (NLC) met with city leaders across the United States to ask one simple question: "What is your top infrastructure priority?" From the smallest to largest communities, every place has a story to tell, and Ready to Rebuild shows a range of transportation, water, broadband and workforce projects across the country from communities of all sizes. While projects are different, the message from local officials is the same: infrastructure is a job worth doing, but in most places, it's now beyond what the local government can handle on their own. Far worse, the perpetual waiting game in Washington means the risk and consequences are building up to an emergency spill over point. Most local governments know exactly what needs to be done to fix their infrastructure, but they simply can't afford it.
The Simons Foundation is pleased to present this copy of our 2020 annual report. Staying connected through Zoom, emails and conference calls, our grantees and scientists made groundbreaking advancements over the last year.
International Forum for Democratic Studies;
Civil society organizations (CSOs) play a central role in addressing disinformation's growing impact on democracy. Given the vast scope of the global disinformation challenge, the landscape for CSOs working in this space has evolved rapidly in recent years. Established efforts to combat disinformation have incorporated the new challenges posed by social media into their agendas, while new initiatives have emerged to fill gaps in research, monitoring, and advocacy. The work of these organizations in the disinformation fight is critical for positively shaping policy making, improving platform responses, and enhancing citizen knowledge and engagement.Yet, CSOs face ongoing challenges in this complex and fast-changing field. How has civil society grown in its understanding and response to the digital disinformation challenge and what should be done to further empower this work?To acquire insights into these questions, this paper draws on two methods—a mapping exercise of civil society initiatives and a survey of leading CSOs working in this field. This approach reveals that CSOs bring a wide range of skill sets to the problem of digital disinformation. Some organizations focus on digital media literacy and education; others engage in advocacy and policy work. Another segment has developed expertise in fact-checking and verification. Other organizations have developed refined technical skills for extracting and analyzing data from social media platforms.This research yielded several clear observations about the state of CSO responses to disinformation and, in turn, suggests several recommendations for paths forward.
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation;
Our world is becoming increasing Funesian in that we are perceiving and storing more and more information in the form of data. But, as with Funes, access to information is not the same as understanding. Are we also better at extracting meaning from all of this data? What does understanding rely on – is it only possible through sophisticated data-processing techniques or is something else required? This paper will briefly discuss three common pitfalls related to the challenge of extracting meaning from data.