A Legal Framework for Promoting ICT entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

My friend and colleague at the Berkman Center, Colin Maclay, facilitated a Workshop on Global ICT Education Program last month, which aims to offer training courses to young ICT leaders of developing countries. I'm hoping that I can connect my contacts in Asian eGovernance and eLaw to the program. 

What I found interesting, though, was ( Berkman Executive Director) John Palfrey's panel presentation on how to create a legal framework for ICT entrepreneurship in developing countries. You can access his well written post on his blog, but I give a summary as follows: 

  • Adopt a value and culture of Rule of Law
    • But understand that there is no 'one-size-fit-all' solutions
  • Enact predictable and consistent laws/regulations
    • Most crucial areas:
      • Telecommunications regulations
      • Pricing controls
      • Intellectual property
      • Needs an integrated approach to all existing relevant laws, not just focus on a narrow 'e-commerce law'
  • Control corruption
  • Promote competition
I think that this is a great overall framework, and much too have been written about the actual the policies and laws themselves, that I hope to blog about some time soon. 

Worries about WSIS in Geneva next month

The Civil Society Group for WSIS has released a statement after PrepCom 3 setting out their worries about the upcoming summit next month. This group includes NGOs, educational institutions, media and others who are participating as "civil society" in the preparations for the summit as well as the WSIS itself. It aims to broaden civil society participation at the summit and to push certain issues onto the agenda, including human rights, human-centered development, and freedom of speech and press.

The group's statement allows an intereting glimpse into the politics and chaos of the process that official documents and statements do not. I suspect that this is not exceptionally different than other high level, multi-stakeholder global conference. Note in particular the two major issues that this group warns of 1. politics, in particular who pays for it, and 2. the philosophical basis:

"Through our observation of the process we have identified two main problem areas that impede progress in the WSIS:
1. How to correct imbalances in riches, imbalances of rights, imbalances of power, or imbalances of access. In particular, governments do not agree on even the principle of a financial effort to overcome the so- called Digital Divide; this is all the mor difficult to accept given that the summit process was started two years ago with precisely that objective.

2. The struggle over human rights. Not even the basis of human life in dignity and equality, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights finds support as the basis for the Information Society. Governments are not able to agree on a comittment to basic human right standards as the basis for the Information Society, most prominent in this case being the freedom of expression. 

There is also ongoing fight over issues such as media, internet governance, limited intellectual monopolies such as copyright, Free Software, security and so on. This underlines our assessment that there is a lack of a common vision."

2003-11-14 Civil Society at the End of the Preparatory Process for the WSIS

Civil Society Statement at the End of the Preparatory Process for the World Summit on the Information Society Geneva, November 14, 2003

I. Where do we stand now?

We have come to the last day of PrepCom 3a. This extra week of preparatory work was neccesary after governments failed to reach agreement during the supposed final preparatory conference in September 2003. In spite of the extra expenditure of time and money, the deadlock continues – and sets in already on the very first article of the declaration, where governments are not able to agree on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, as the common foundation of the summit declaration.