These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Emerging Nations Embrace Internet, Mobile Technology
Pew Research Global Attitudes Project
In a remarkably short period of time, internet and mobile technology have become a part of everyday life for some in the emerging and developing world. Cell phones, in particular, are almost omnipresent in many nations. The internet has also made tremendous inroads, although most people in the 24 nations surveyed are still offline. Meanwhile, smartphones are still relatively rare, although significant minorities own these devices in countries such as Lebanon, Chile, Jordan and China. People around the world are using their cell phones for a variety of purposes, especially for texting and taking pictures, while smaller numbers also use their phones to get political, consumer and health information. Mobile technology is also changing economic life in parts of Africa, where many are using cell phones to make or receive payments. READ MORE
How Emerging Markets' Internet Policies Are Undermining Their Economic Recovery
NSA surveillance activities are projected to cost the American economy billions of dollars annually. Washington is not alone, however, in pursuing costly policies in the technology and Internet realm. Several emerging economies – including Brazil, Turkey, and Indonesia – are likewise undermining their already fragile markets by embracing Internet censorship, data localization requirements, and other misguided policies – ironically often in response to intrusive U.S. surveillance practices. These countries should reverse course and support the free and open Internet before permanent economic damage is done. READ MORE
Law and disorder: rough justice rules in the developing world
Around 4 billion people live without the protection of the law, making justice an urgent priority in new development goals. In eastern Burma last month, in northern Shan state, I witnessed farmers trying to register their land claims under a new process set out by the ministry of agriculture. Some of them have had land stolen by the military government or by crony companies. All of them have lived under a regime in which the law has been more a threat than a source of protection. Their decision to take part in an official legal process signals courage, and a measure of hope. Those farmers' chances in life depend on whether they can make the law work for them. They are not alone: around the world, some 4 billion people live without the protection of the law. As a result, they can be unfairly driven from their land, denied essential services, and intimidated by violence. READ MORE
One in four young people in developing countries unable to read, says UN
One in four young people in developing countries are unable to read a sentence, according to a report, which warns that poor quality education has left a "legacy of illiteracy" more widespread than previously believed. Research published on Wednesday by Unesco, the UN's educational, scientific and cultural body, suggests that 175 million young people lack even basic literacy skills. "Access [to education] is not the only crisis – poor quality is holding back learning even for those who make it to school," said Unesco director-general, Irina Bokova, in a foreword to the 11th annual Education for All global monitoring report, which measures progress towards global goals. READ MORE
Better Mapping for Better Journalism: InfoAmazonia and the Growth of GeoJournalism
New Security Beat
Nearly every local story has a global context. This is especially true when it comes to the environment, and there may be no better way to show that context than through visualization. But in developing countries, where so many important changes are happening, journalists often lack the resources or skills to make data visualization a part of their repertoire. With this in mind, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (a project for which I serve as coordinator) and the Brazilian environmental news agency O Eco, worked together to pioneer the concept of “geojournalism” by launching InfoAmazonia at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. READ MORE
Can Twitter Predict Major Events Such As Mass Protests?
MIT Technology Review
The idea that social media sites such as Twitter can predict the future has a controversial history. In the last few years, various groups have claimed to be able to predict everything from the outcome of elections to the box office takings for new movies. It’s fair to say that these claims have generated their fair share of criticism. So it’s interesting to see a new claim come to light. Today, Nathan Kallus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge says he has developed a way to predict crowd behaviour using statements made on Twitter. In particular, he has analysed the tweets associated with the 2013 coup d’état in Egypt and says that the civil unrest associated with this event was clearly predictable days in advance. READ MORE