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Digital Culture Wars: Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" and China's Social Credit System

We are on the cusp of a grave risk where unscrupulous groups with various agendas are using digital technologies to wage cultural war to stamp out dissent and gain control and power. The two most prominent recent examples are Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) and China's Social Credit System (SCS). The following piece was prompted by work on the UDHR and Internet Governance series, for CircleID to deal with UDHR Article 27 and the role of culture, arts, and science in the life of the community.  more

A Look at Cuba's Digital Revolution

In spite of having a slow, expensive, government-controlled Internet infrastructure, Cuba is undergoing what Ted Henken and Sara Garcia Santamaria refer to as a digital revolution. The digital revolution might be said to have begun in 2007 when Yoani Sánchez launched her blog "Generation Y." Internet access was difficult -- she would get illegal connectivity at tourist hotels, and the blog was initially hosted in Germany. Soon, the Huffington Post began publishing her posts, and she has subsequently received many international awards, including the Ortega y Gasset Award for Digital Journalism in 2008. more

The State of the Internet

The Mozilla Internet Health Report is packed with interesting statistics about the state of the Internet. Reports like this one remind us that broadband is a worldwide issue that is much larger than the US broadband industry I write about every day. The report contains a lot of interesting facts: A little more than half of the planet is still not connected to the Internet. As a planet, we still have a long way to go. While the largest percentage of a region still not online is in Africa, by sheer numbers, most of those still not connected are in Asia... more

Facebook Is Right to Call the Australian Government Bluff

As mentioned in previous analyses, the way that the Government has approached its battle with the digital giants has been flawed from the beginning. True, its tough stand had made Google pay media companies well above what these companies would have been able to negotiate individually with Google, but the fundamentals of why these battles are taking place are still unchanged. more

Google Set to Survive in Oz, but Far Bigger Threats Are on the Way

The signs are that the Australian Government and Google are close to a compromise. The Government's main demands stay in place, but some of the details will be changed. This allows the Government to claim victory, while the damage to Google will be limited... Publishers will, in one way, or another be paid for news, either through a payment based on the value of the news and the value of the Google search facility. more

EU Rulings on Geo-Blocking in Digital Storefronts Will Increase Piracy Rates in the Developing World

For the longest time, it was an insurmountable challenge for those in the developing world to be able to afford to legally consume multimedia products. Prices originally set in Dollars, Euros or Yen often received insufficient adjustments to compensate for lower incomes, something that was compounded by local import or manufacture taxes that did little to alleviate matters. more

Technology: Doomsday or Godsend – the Choice Is Ours

Following the American insurrection and the role the media played -- social media, particularly the "doomsday scenario," started to appear again in relation to technological developments. Only a few years ago, a group of hi-tech companies, including Tesla, warned against the negative aspects of artificial intelligence (AI). Other technologies that could seriously affect human developments include gene editing, nanotechnology and synthetic biology. more

25 Years of John Barlow's Declaration of Independence in Cyberspace: When Visions Meet Realities

On February 8, 1996, John Perry Barlow published his "Declaration of Independence in Cyberspace" in Davos. Inspired by the "Digital Revolution" and the "Dot-Com-Boom", he predicted a new "Home of Mind," a cyber world without governments. "Governments of the Industrial World", he wrote, "you weary giants of flesh and steel. I come from cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather." more

The Netizen's Guide to Reboot the Root (Part II)

The first part of this series explained how Amendment 35 to the NTIA-Verisign cooperative agreement is highly offensive to the public interest. But the reasons for saving the Internet are more fundamental to Western interests than a bad deal made under highly questionable circumstances. One of the world's foremost experts on conducting censorship at scale, the Chinese Communist Party's experience with the Great Firewall... more

Freedom of Expression Part 5: COVID Vaccines not Mandatory

In Part 4 of the Freedom of Expression series, I had highlighted my concerns about the lack of transparency in ingredients of all the COVID-19 vaccines, which has been addressed by Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, the same day (World Holocaust Day) I had raised these concerns. A recent Resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will see the further regulation of social media on content relating to COVID-19. more