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About Internet Society

Member News: Teaching Computer Science in Rural Nigeria

Computing for the people: The San Francisco Chapter has an article by a software developer using open source software and open standards hardware to teach computer science skills to students in rural Nigeria. Chioma Ezedi Chukwu, founder of the STEMTeers mentorship program, writes that open source is more than free tools, software, or hardware. “It was a great opportunity to learn, learn by building and create with innovation.”

Coding for kids: Meanwhile, the Pacific Islands Chapter highlights a hackathon for kids event at a childcare center in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The goal of the event, focused on design thinking, was to equip the students with lifelong skills in the digital age.

Supporting e-learning: In other education-related news, the Uganda Chapter is focused on helping teachers and students improve their digital skills as the country embraces e-learning following the COVID-19 pandemic. “Educators need to adjust their teaching methods to cope with the new changes,” an article says. “Educators should be able to cause change or affect the learner beyond the chalk and blackboard while learners need to be taken through an adaptability process as they transition to digital education.”

Tracking the virus: The Chapter in the Dominican Republican has offered its support for the government there to roll out a COVID-19 tracking app. The Chapter also offered to “analyze and validate the compliance of this application with the best international practices regarding privacy and protection of personal data, our laws, and the principles of the Internet of the Dominican Republic.”

Community in the U.K.: The U.K. Chapter recently published a short history of community-based broadband in the country, characterizing it as a David-vs.-Goliath struggle. But there are still possibilities for community-based networks. There is “potentially a much brighter outlook for community broadband in the future if it can combine core strengths of good, locally-based customer service with the ‘heavy lifting’ of communication service provision … being performed increasingly by cloud-based platforms…”

Fighting fake news: The Netherlands and several other Chapters have partnered with Make Media Great Again, an organization focused on correcting disinformation at news sites. A new working group works with the media and scientists to identify disinformation in news articles.

How are you using the Internet to make a difference? Let us know! #IHeartTheInternet

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About Internet Society

Member News: Chapters Focus on Encryption

Lock it down: Several Internet Society chapters across the globe have written about the importance of encryption in recent weeks. The Namibia Chapter wrote about the way encryption can improve privacy and fight against the big business of criminal hacking. “Cybercrime is a global business, often run by multinational outfits,” the Chapter wrote. The Hong Kong Chapter, meanwhile, wrote that “encryption matters to all of us.” Internet users need to work together to protect encryption, the Chapter added. “No party can stand alone to persuade governments to stop creating laws or policies that harm encryption and digital security.”

Freedom for all: The Hong Kong Chapter also called for Internet freedoms to continue in the region as the Chinese government pushes for new security laws there. “We are convinced that the freedoms of speech, press and publication guaranteed by the Basic Law are also applicable to the media industry on the Internet,” the chapter wrote. “Internet users have the freedom and right to obtain, share information and express their expressions, and are protected from being censored, blocked or criminalized.”

Expanding the community: The Nepal Chapter recently wrote about community networks in the country, by highlighting the Rural Communities Access to Information Society (RUCCESS) project. The project aims to provide Internet access and digital literacy programs in rural areas. The project connected community learning hubs with 1 Mbps dedicated bandwidth.

The exchange rate: The Uganda Chapter recently looked at the state of the Uganda Internet Exchange Point, only known Internet exchange point in the country. The IXP is operated by a nonprofit group, but the government there has made several attempts to take over its operation. There are several reasons the government wants to take control, including censorship and taking control of the Internet, the Chapter wrote.

Being a good citizen: The Madagascar Chapter recently highlighted a training program on digital citizenship. “The digital citizen is one who exercises his civic duties and undertakes to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies essentially through the digital,” the Chapter wrote. A good citizen has a responsibility to act ethically and avoid fueling hatred and inequality, the Chapter added. “In the digital ecosystem in Madagascar where the Internet is more and more limited to social networks … these dangerous discourses have proliferated widely in recent months, fueled by controversy (generated by fear?) in the context of a health crisis.”

How are you using the Internet to make a difference? Let us know! #IHeartTheInternet

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About Internet Society

Member News: Internet Society Chapters Assist Communities with Telework, Remote Education

Keep working: In recent months, several Internet Society Chapters have focused on helping people to keep working during COVID-19 lockdowns. The Benin Chapter recently published a guide to remote work, with recommendations for videoconferencing apps, project management software, and file storage services. “We are facing a real health crisis, COVID-19, which is shaking up our habits and pushing companies to adapt to new working methods,” the Chapter’s post says. “Authorizing employees to telecommute is the ideal solution for the continuity of your activity and avoiding contagion within your teams.”

Building your brand: Meanwhile, the Israel Chapter hosted a webinar on employment and careers in the digital industry. Speaker Shani Haddad, CEO and founder of Brainnu, talked about the importance of people marketing themselves and telling their own stories.

Learning at a distance: It’s not just workers dealing with new situations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pacific Islands Chapter has posted about distance learning, noting that the Samoa Information Technology Association has developed an e-learning platform for students attending school from home. Education is “one of the key areas that is being heavily affected by the lockdown,” the post notes.

No censorship: The Chapter in Spain has raised concerns about a potential clampdown on free speech as the government there responds to information circulating about the coronavirus pandemic. “It is an essential task of the Internet Society to ensure an open Internet, based on the fullest freedom of expression and information, which therefore contributed to free communication between all its users, who in Spain are already today the vast majority of the population,” the Chapter writes. “Except for aberrant content that is openly contrary to public health, such measures are equivalent to prior censorship of information and opinion, and unlike other restrictions on freedoms, they are as unnecessary as they are ineffective in combating this disease.”

A partnership for the Internet: The Pacific Islands Chapter has recently signed a partnership agreement with the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD), with the goal of building capacity in the TLD space in the region. The partnership will share expertise for training and seminars and will exchange information while “championing the Internet and Internet resources in the local community,” says Leonid Todorov, APTLD’s general manager.

Let us know how you’re using the Internet to make a difference! #IHeartTheInternet

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About Internet Society

Member News: Internet Society Chapters Focus on Connecting People During Pandemic

Staying connected: Several Internet Society Chapters are focusing on ways to help people stay connected while living under stay-at-home orders or following social-distancing guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Netherlands Chapter has released a toolbox of open source tools to help people work from home.

Resources for the people: Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic Chapter has released a list of COVID-related resources for residents. The list includes information on virtual private networks, on teleworking, and on the country’s cybersecurity resources. The Chapter also released a set of recommendations for the government, for Internet service providers, and for other companies. For example, the Chapter recommends that ISPs offer flexible or low-cost service plans to customers during the pandemic.

Pandemic privacy: One of the many concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic is a loss of privacy as governments and private organizations track mobile phones as a way to monitor the spread of the virus and the effectiveness of social-distancing programs. The Canada Chapter notes that the pandemic has raised fears about the surveillance state. In Canada, the prime minister has ruled against cell phone surveillance for tracking the spread of the virus, but “if the virus rapidly spreads further, no doubt device tracking will be contemplated and possibly enacted in Canada,” the Chapter writes. “This involves a decision most governments are loath to take: trading privacy interests against public health.”

An issue of access: The Slovenia Chapter looks at bandwidth, congestion, and access issues as millions of people worldwide are now working from home. Internet traffic is up significantly in several countries, and while the Internet has held up, about 17 percent of the homes in the country don’t have Internet access, making distance learning nearly impossible, writes Professor Jerman Blažič.

Shutdowns in the time of COVID: The India Chennai Chapter recently hosted a discussion on the impact of Internet shutdowns during a pandemic. A transcript of the discussion is available. “In the current crisis, it appears important that we have to have better connectivity,” moderator Sivasubramanian Muthusamy said.

Life (and art) go on: There’s still room to create art, even during a pandemic, the Netherlands Chapter notes. Member Karina Palosi promotes the Social Distancing Festival, a worldwide online arts festival that includes music, dance, painting, and other arts mediums.

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About Internet Society

The Internet Society Joins the Fight Against Ebola

By Dawit Bekele and Sofie Maddens

The spread of Ebola and the ravages that it is leaving behind is imprinting its mark on all of us and has a very personal impact on people in the affected countries and around the world. Like others, the ISOC community of staff, volunteers, and members want to help. We have therefore come together to establish the Ebola Tech Response Group.

Through this “Ebola Tech Response”, we are challenging all of us in the Internet and ICT communities and beyond to collaborate to help fight this outbreak by using the Internet and other communications technologies. Please join us by visiting our community platform.

The “Ebola Tech Response” is a first step so we can brainstorm how the ISOC community can contribute to the global response, including by quickly identifying a small number of technology based projects that can be implemented in the affected countries using our collective expertise and by sharing expertise, knowledge and information with other experts.

We were pleased that, during his opening remarks at the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference opening ceremony in Busan on Monday, 20 October, Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Touré told participants that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked UN agencies around the world to help, and called upon participants attending the Conference to discuss how to harness the power of ICTs to find solutions to the outbreak and get important health-related messages straight to people on the ground.  We look forward to contributing.

We hope that you will join us to seek ways to leverage the use of the Internet and other communications technologies to help facilitate solutions for saving lives, particularly as we face this outbreak of Ebola.

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Development Women in Tech

Connecting the Chuuk Women’s Council

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