Call for papers- TPRC 38th Research Conference

George Mason University School of Law hosts TPRC'38th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy Oct. 1-3, 2010. TPRC is now soliciting abstracts of papers, panel proposals, and student papers for presentation at the 2010 conference. The deadline for abstracts and panel proposals is March 31, 2010. Proposals should be based on current theoretical or empirical research relevant to communication and information policy, and may be from any disciplinary perspective. TPRC seeks submissions of disciplinary, comparative, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary excellence. Subject areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to 11 listed topics below. Click the links for more information on TPRC's website.  
  1. Network Competition, Policy and Management
  2. Broadband Deployment, Adoption and Measurement
  3. Spectrum Policy
  4. Societal Issues: Universalty and Affordable Access
  5. The Transformation and Future of Media
  6. The Transformation and Future of Intellectual Property and Digital Rights
  7. Privacy, Security, Identity and Trust
  8. Internet Governance and Institutional Strategies for Information Policy
  9. Advanced Mobile Services:  Broadband, Video and New Applications
  10. The Internet Ecosystem
  11. Other Emerging Topics are highly encouraged

The Asia Foundation's most recent report about Legal Empowerment

The Asia Foundation (which we affectionately call TAF), where I used to work and which is an expert in law and governance in Asia, has a new blog post on Legal Empowerment by Debra Lardner my friend and colleague. In fact, TAF has often been given credit as the first to coin the term 'legal empowerment' in a 2001 TAF study funded by the ADB. Since then, TAF has also published a related report on Legal Identity and Poverty and most recently, Legal Empowerment for Women and Disadvantaged Groups

In any event, Debra's post on The Legal Empowerment Approach, which appears on TAF's blog, summarizes this most recent study and some of its findings: 

3rd #ICT4D Twitter Chat "Working with Local Governments"

I have been attending these now monthly #ICT4D Twitter Chats (organized by ICTWorks) since the first chat in November, but I missed the third chat last Friday because I was filled up with appointments in Serbia. So I was looking forward to the chat summary on ICTWorks' website, and it was posted yesterday, which I reproduce and adapt here, so that you can see what are current issues facing practitioners : 

Last Friday, the third monthly #ICT4D Twitter Chat brought together 30 of the field's thought leaders (follow them all) to focus on and discuss ways that ICT4D can and does work with local governments, especially in situations like the recent disaster in Haiti.
Four questions guided the conversation (full transcript) which once again was a fast, free-flowing exchange of ideas:

Conference on Law and Policy Issues in Cloud Computing by UC Berkeley Schools of Law and Information, March 12 2010

The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and the UC Berkeley School of Information will host a conference on March 12, 2010 on campus- "Emerging Law and Policy Issues in Cloud Computing" -to explore the emerging legal and policy issues raised by the increasing use of cloud computing. Speakers from government, corporations, academia, and law firms will discuss privacy concerns,  regulatory issues, consumer protection, intellectual property questions, and best practices for practitioners.

As more and more computing activity shifts to the cloud, individuals and corporations are entrusting their data and its processing to third parties operating in a virtualized computing environment.  New business models have arisen to meet the opportunity presented by cloud computing, but many of the legal issues surrounding activity on the cloud remain unresolved. 

Panelists include representatives from companies at the forefront of cloud technology such as IBM, Microsoft,, Sun, and Intuit; legal academics from leading universities including UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago, the University of Ottawa, and the University of Mannheim; government officials from the Federal Trade Commission; and practitioners with extensive experience advising their clients of the benefits and risks of the cloud and negotiating deals for vendors and customers.

Agenda Topics/Speakers:

Announcing: Center for Justice, Law, and Development

Johannes Wheeldon, a fellow Law and Development practitioner and academic, is the Director of the Center for Justice, Law, and Development, a new resource for law and development, with the goal of promoting discussion between students, researchers, and practitioners. The center will focus initially on justice issues in the Former Soviet Union, the role and potential of diasporas in development, and more general trends in international development.

WSIS Forum 2010 open consultation: Call for participation

WSIS implementation is 5 years old! I've been keeping track of WSIS general happenings since the first Geneva WSIS in 2003. I'm impressed by the passionate movement in ICT4D, even though there are ideological wars, politicking, and the usual challenges in implementing an international agenda. I'll be interested to hear what some of the key issues are at this upcoming annual WSIS conference.

For the first time, too, WSIS is using an online social networking platform to promote discussion, walking the talk. I blogged about the new site, as well as their choice of software as a platform, earlier. 

Here's a reproduction of the call for participation from UNESCO

UNESCO, together with ITU, UNCTAD and UNDP, is organizing an open consultation for the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2010. All individuals, networks and organizations interested in this issue are invited to participate in the three-fold process, consisting of an online discussion, a questionnaire and a review meeting.

Happy Anniversary- Nostalgic about Global Voices

This is a Global Voices post by my friend and colleague David Sasaki (whom I saw again just last month at the Development Summit). As author and outreach director for GV, this post can be found in his GV section but was originally published at While Global Voices is not a Law or ICT network per se, I do subscribe to its law and technology feeds as part of my dose of global news in those areas. In light of my previous announcement of Global Voices upcoming 2010 Summit, I thought it is appropriate to include David's nostalgic observations from the inside, including about humble GV beginnings and some special folks who were there at the very first meeting in 2004. Very impressive and inspiring, and if 'pilot' projects can be scaled up and replicated, this must be a poster child. I'm not gawking at success- I can tell that much leadership, passion, coordination and hard work went on behind the scenes- I am curious at the business processes and management best practices that can be reproduced across all ICT4D projects globally to promote success. 

Shamelessly reproduced from David's post on global voices here:

Five years ago I boarded a flight from San Diego to Boston to attend the 2004 Internet & Society conference at the Berkman Center. This was just a month after George Bush won the 2004 election and so there was an element of group therapy to many of the panel discussions. 2004 was the year when, according to Wired Magazine, the Internet invented Howard Dean. Dean's campaign was supposed to be the harbinger of a new era of net politics where the progressive grassroots took advantage of online tools like blogs and (this was before YouTube even existed) to bring about more enlightened, representative governance. Instead,according to the ever-snarky Register, “organized religion, not net religion, won it for Bush.”

NCSC's Court Technology Conference 2009 Materials now available

Last year's CTC Conference was a fairly typical trade conference, but the networking effect was certainly awesome- it reminded me of a typical eGovernance conference in Asia content wise. There might not be that much differences in the implementation of eGovernance projects in the US or in developing countries.  Many of the recurring themes I saw were:
  • Leadership is crucial, and court managers needs to be involved with the internal IT staff as well as vendors (if any) in development 
  • Technology strategic planning is crucial, and needs to be aligned to business goals and processes, but  IT managers, and sometimes, even the leaders of the organizations do not have the overall 'big picture' (ie vision, startegy and goals) of the organization, and/or of the IT projects
  • Planning is a big process consisting of many layers of analysis, not just software.
  • Selection of a good vendor and product is crucial!
  • Design: new and consistently evolving technologies and standards complicate design and implementation, but keep scalability in mind
  • Monitor project implementation
  • Testing, testing, testing! Usability is important.
  • Change management and cultural barriers must be addressed
  • Training, training, training, on all levels

It was held from September 22-24, 2009 in Denver and it was a huge crowd at CTC 2009—the 25th anniversary edition of the national Court Technology Conference. If you are interested in court technology, access CTC 2009 conference presentations here.

Global Voices Summits- previous and upcoming (in May 2010)

I am truly impressed by Global Voices, having followed them since that one-day blogging conference at Harvard in 2004. As an organization, it has shown best practices in participation, transparency, vision, technology usage, and global networking. As Solana Larsen posted on the upcoming Global Voices 2010 Summit (Santiago, Chile in May 2010) website, these summits acts as an important cement to the growing and diverse virtual team. Moreover, it presents a stunning overview of how Global Voices has grown. You can check out their previous summits via these links- there are plenty of good resources within each one: 
December 2005
The first Global Voices Summit was in London, UK. It was a one-day meeting that brought together many contributors for the first time and cemented their partnership with Reuters.
December 2006
The second Summit was in Delhi, India and marked the beginning of Lingua and Rising Voices, two new projects.
June 2008
The third Summit was in Budapest, Hungary. With Global Voices Advocacy they brought together many of the leading online defenders of freedom of expression. They also took stock of accomplishments and discussed future directions.
May 2010
Web site: (Keep checking it as they will be updating information on topics and speakers. )
The Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2010 will be held in Santiago, Chile on May 6-7. The theme of the meeting is "Next generation citizen media, public access and citizen participation.”
Global Voices Online will gather with a diverse group of bloggers, activists, technologists, journalists from around the world for two days of public discussions and workshops. A two-day internal meeting for Global Voices editors, translators and contributors will follow the public gathering.

Call for Project proposals: Democracy and Human Rights in Asia, Deadline 3/19/10

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization established to commemorate the 1980 Gwangju Uprising by continuing the Uprising’s spirit of struggle and solidarity, contributing to the peaceful reunification of Korea, and working towards peace and human rights throughout the world. The Foundation carries out numerous projects in various fields, including organizing memorial events, establishing scholarships, fostering research, publishing materials, dispensing funds, building international solidarity, and awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. 

Symposium, "Copyleft vs. Copyright", Wake Forest School of Law, March 5 2010

The topic of this year's Wake Forest School of Law Intellectual Property Law Journal symposium, "Copyleft vs. Copyright: Artist and Author Rights in Tomorrow’s Digital Age," will focus on how current copyright laws are applied to tomorrow’s technologies. The symposium will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, March 5. It is free and open to the public.

Call for Application- Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia International Legal Studies Internship 2010 May-August Program

I strongly encourage my students and all who are interested to apply- Bridges is a great organization. You may be eligible for academic credit, fellowships and/or financial aid and support depending on your university institution. Deadline for applications is March 1st, 2010. Late applications may still be considered depending on circumstance and available space in program.

Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia (BABSEA) is currently accepting applications for its 2010 Legal Studies Internship Program. Entering into its 7th year, the BABSEA Legal Studies Internship Program offers an opportunity to make a real contribution to assisting others in overcoming the hardships and legal inequity in Southeast Asia while being involved in a remarkable experience of living and working in the region.

What should a website cost? - Aspiration's Techsoup Webinar 12/17/09

Right before my trip to Eastern Europe, I was able to attend Gunner's presentation on Techsoup's webinar. I'll admit that I'm affiliated to and a loyal fan of Aspiration, but those of you who know Gunner and his team will understand why. Gunner has been facilitating this topic in informal groups at many of Aspiration's event, and it's great to see his knowledge captured in audio and slides in cyberspace, which you can access here

In my work, I deal with governments and other institutions in developing countries who want to implement a website. I also often deal with the web developers they hire as an intermediary. I find Gunner's presentation (even though geared towards nonprofits in the US) to be a fair representation of my own observations as well of eGvernance projects, which I summarize below:

1. Plan on your own first!
- Before hiring an vendor, plan fully and define goals of the website
- as part of this process, it is sometimes necessary to revisit the organization's mission and strategy
- include all relevant stakeholders, don't leave it just to the IT department
- include both internal AND external stakeholders

2. Define requirements as much as possible
- use information from 1.
- sketch out site map
- list how different stakeholders will use the site
- sketch out wire frames (how home and sub pages might look like)

3. Write an RFP
- keep it short and simple
- provide essential information from 2.

4. Ask peers for recommended vendors (although government institutions might be limited by their procurement process)
- select a few vendors
- ask for short responses to RFP
- pick vendors for relationship, not on their platform (except for 5.  below)

5. Use an open source CMS
- I recommend this as well for governments. Plone offers the best security features, but others have security settings as well
- Why? The technologies and platforms have matured and is the best current way to do web design/development/management. Also, being open source and supported by a large community allow greatest flexiilty for scalability. Dreamwear is still good for CSS or template design but any technologies which does not allow for browser based editing is old, so Dreamweaver with FTP should not be used for management of the site.
- Exceptions might be integration with existing systems

6. How much should it cost?
- a simple site with 25-50 pages of content, email sign up feature, and minimal additional interactivity will take about 20-100 hours of work. You can do with much less as well (for example, I can set up a bare-boned simple Wordpress site in about 3 hours, and Google Sites even less) - but we are talking about a pretty decent organizational website with content uploaded. And of course, prices escalate if you need the site to be integrated with other systems or if you want additional features.

- In the US (per Gunner's presentation), optimal cost is between $2000- $10,000 (see slides for more variants). Consultant costs are usually $75-$125/hour, and some have tiered pricing (lower for template implementation, higher for custom coding, and even higher for business/strategic consulting).

- In my experience in developing countries, the costs vary but are definitely cheaper. For example, in Nepal, it was about $150 a day (ie about $18 an hour). In India, I've dealt with consultants that charge $10/hr for template, $15/hr for coding. It is similar in the Philippines as well. In Singapore, prices are just slightly less than the US. In fact, what I see as a trend is US web development businesses outsourcing their work to cheaper counterparts (look at for the vary prices). I hope to write more about this in a future post.

Patricia van Nispen of Microjustice named one of 50 Visionaries by Utne magazine

Utne Reader named Patricia, my colleague and partner in crime, as one of  "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" at the end of 2009. It makes my heart tingle and knowing. You can see the introductory article to the award on Utne's website here, which is also reproduced below:

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. (San's note: the magazine had the Dalai Lama on the front page for that issue) On paper and in person his visage exudes optimism, righteous ambition, and immeasurable humility. Which is why, as we searched for an iconic figure to represent this, our second annual list of visionaries, his name immediately jumped to mind. That’s because the visionaries we were drawn to made the cut not for being revolutionary inventors, innovative environmentalists, vociferous outcasts, or intrepid reformers—although you’ll find all of these enviable character types on the following pages—but for the unwavering, inexhaustible sense of purpose they bring to their work.

Labors of peace, love, and justice are rarely recognized by our celebrity-obsessed media, and by extension most of us. Quiet resolve does not fill tents at the circus. Principle doesn’t make for a sexy photo. Selflessness, unless it is exhibited by heroes in the heat of a crisis, is often presented as weakness. Yet it is only the strongest among us who can stay true to a vision.

This section is a tribute to that resolve. Here’s hoping it inspires your dreams.

On Patricia, the Utne article has this to say: (reproduced from the site- I especially love this Second-Life like photo of her):

Berkman Center Series: Transparent Citizens and the Rule of Law 1 Feb 2010

Monday, February 1, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person (
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.
Joel will discuss "Transparent Citizens and the Rule of Law", an essay that explores the erosion of the boundary between public and private information on the Internet.   The thesis is that the transparency of personal information available online erodes the rule of law in three ways.  First, the transparency of personal information that is created by private sector activities enables government to collect and use personal information available from the private sector in ways that side step political and legal checks and balances. Second, technical self-help in the development of network infrastructure that seeks to assure complete anonymity online may used by individuals and groups to evade legal responsibility and the rule of law.   And third, the transparency of personal information puts national security and legal institutions at risk in ways that will jeopardize faith in the rule of law. The essay concludes with a discussion of governance implications and norms.