These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Poverty Matters Blog (Guardian)
Technology’s role in fighting poverty is still ripe for discussion
"I'm rarely one for predictions, so I shied away from the usual scramble to make a few at the start of the year. Looking back on events, however, is another thing, and for me 2010 has been a particularly interesting year on a number of fronts.
If I were to make one key observation, I'd say that the "D" in ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) resembled more "debate" than "development" during 2010. The ICT4D field has always been ripe for fierce discussion – perhaps a sign that all is not well, or that the discipline continues to mature, or that the rampant advance of technology continues to catch practitioners and academics off-guard. Where, for example, does the advance of the iPad fit into ICT4D, if at all?"
Nieman Journalism Lab
Jennifer 8. Lee on raw data, APIs, and the Growth of “Little Brother”
"Editor’s Note: We’re wrapping up 2010 by asking some of the smartest people in journalism what the new year will bring. Here, Jennifer 8. Lee gives us predictions, about the growing role of raw data, the importance of APIs, and the need for a break-out civic mobile app.
In 2011 there will be a slew of riffs on the WikiLeaks anonymous dropbox scheme, sans gender drama — at least one of them by former WikiLeakers themselves. It will remain to be seen how protective the technologies are.
Basically, this codifies the rise of primary source materials — documents, video, photos — as cohesive units of consumable journalism. Turns out, despite the great push for citizen journalism, citizens are not, on average, great at “journalism.” But they are excellent conduits for raw material — those documents, videos, or photos. They record events digitally as an eyewitness, obtain documents through Freedom of Information requests, or have access to files through the work they do. We are seeing an important element of accountability journalism emerge."
"The last decade and especially 2009 and 2010, have been particularly hard for civil society and human rights defenders. Negative global trends that began soon after 9/11 have come to a head as governments have continued to encroach on fundamental freedoms through harsh security measures and other legal and policy restrictions.
As highlighted by civil society watchdog groups, UN human rights bodies and other close observers, these trends began soon after 9/11 when UN Security Council Resolution 1373 calling on all UN member states to take concrete steps to tackle terrorism was introduced. While the intention behind the resolution to protect innocent civilians and state structures from mindless acts of terrorism may have been sound, the negative consequences on fundamental freedoms, including the rights of civil society actors have been devastating as governments have used the climate of fear to dilute civil liberties, reduce personal privacy, lower fair trial standards and restrict the free movement of people across borders. Moreover, the ability of citizens and civil society to express democratic dissent has been severely curtailed through a clampdown on the freedoms of expression, association and assembly in the global north as well as the south."