Introduction to Internet governance

The world is evolving, and so is the internet. A significant part of the human life will gradually become largely dependent on the internet in the coming years. Our jobs, interactions, transportation, medicine, politics, education, research, and businesses would evolve over the years.

With these and many more reasons, the concept of internet governance should be understood and debated by more individuals and stakeholders around the world. Youth involvement is also very crucial in achieving these goals. Young people are shaping online culture in so many ways. They are building their dream Internet. And yet when it comes to policy discussions, most of them are not at the table. As the next generation of policy leaders, it is important for youths to understand Internet history and futures. Hence, the course “Shaping the internet- History and futures”, introduced by the Internet Society (ISOC) under the youth@IGF program to support youth involvement in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Now, let’s understand Internet Governance.
It is worth noting that there is no universal definition of internet governance, neither is there a right or wrong taxonomy for internet governance issues nor a single prescribed way of analyzing internet governance issues.
Given the global dimension of internet governance, an authoritative definition cannot possibly capture the concept, but a shared understanding of what it means in various diverse contexts would give a better framework.

The components that make up the interpretation of the term ‘internet governance’ are the words ‘internet’ and ‘governance’. Understanding these words should give a clearer picture of what internet governance entails, however, it turned out to be the focus of differing interpretations in policy discussions.
The word ‘internet’ was interpreted as just the network and it was argued as not being broad enough to represent the digital revolution. Phrases like ‘Information Society’ and ‘Information Communication Technology (ICT)’ were considered as being more comprehensive. In the same way, the word ‘Governance’ has also been a subject for controversy in policy debates. The major reason for controversy was the argument that the word governance means the involvement of government bodies which led to a belief that internet governance issues should be addressed on an intergovernmental level with limited participation of non-state actors. This semantic confusion occurred due to the fact that the word ‘governance’ and ‘government’ sound the same (especially when interpreted in other languages) but are understood to have different meanings.

In defining the scope of Internet governance, we consider two key elements; the technical infrastructure of the Internet, which includes Internet Protocol numbers, domain names, Internet protocols, and root servers; and
the public policy issues which define the impact of the internet on society, this may include content control, cybercrime, intellectual property etc.

In 2005, the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) adopted a working definition which says:

“Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector, and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”

This definition to a large extent covers the major concerns in defining internet governance. By depicting the multistakeholder approach which is recently being used in addressing internet governance issues.

In the past, different stakeholder organizations have introduced different taxonomies in classifying internet governance, these include the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), the Diplo Foundation, the Committee on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Those who have worked on these taxonomies of internet governance always acknowledge flexibility as a major factor, owing to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the internet. The Agenda for the first IGF in Athens 2006, centered around four thematic areas; Access, Security, Openness and diversity and at the second IGF in 2007 at Rio de Janeiro, a new thematic area was added called Critical Internet Resources.

Various issues would rise and fall over time based on global events and policy priorities of various stakeholders, however, there is a conceptual framework for analyzing internet policy issues, adopted by the Diplo foundation called the Internet Governance cube. As described in the picture above, it can be observed that the “Who” axis represents the stakeholders/actors involved which may be the private sector, states, civil society, and the likes. The “Where” axis, however, represents the framework or level at which the policy is being implemented. This could be local, regional, self-regulation etc. In the same sense, the “What” axis represents the various issues facing the internet, which are represented in the IG cube, ranging from infrastructure to standardization, content control, e-commerce, cybercrime and many more. The “How” which represents an intersection of all three axes represents the recommended manner in which policies can be analyzed in internet governance discussions.

A typical illustration of an internet governance analysis can be visualized when considering a certain policy on content control (“What” = content control), proposed to regulate private internet businesses (“Who” = private sector) in Africa (“Where”= regional). These three factors should form a background for analysis of such policies and considering them can help in creating a progressive multistakeholder policy discussion.

In internet governance discussions we have the multistakeholder and multilateral methods. The Multistakeholder method allows for the involvement of a group of diverse stakeholders from different sectors alongside the government in making policy decisions. This approach is being utilized by the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and the likes.
However, the Multilateral approach, on the other hand, involves only the government having the ultimate power regarding policy decisions. A typical example of the Multilateral method can be found in the intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations (UN) and other agencies like the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Telecommunications Union, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) etc.

From a holistic point of view, I personally believe both methods has its advantages and disadvantages, based on the context of the application. However, when it comes to internet governance policies, I am strongly in support of the multistakeholder method. It is more inclusive, and above all, it ensures that individual rights are being represented.

In conclusion, The future of the internet is in the hands of everyone, we should all come together to learn the history and shape the future of the internet.


Open Switch Africa wins Open Knowledge International grant.

Follow the link above to view the original post on the OKI website

This blog was co-written by Franka Vaughan and Mor Rubinstein, OKI Network team.

This is the third year of the Open Knowledge International Open Data Day mini-grants scheme, our best one yet! Building on last year’s lessons from the scheme, and in the spirit of Open Data Day, we are trying to make the scheme more transparent. We are aspiring to email every mini-grant applicant a response email with feedback about their application. This blog is the first in a series where we look at who has received grants, how much has been given, and also our criteria for deciding who to fund (more about that, next week!).

Our selection process took more time than expected due to the right circumstances – the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office joined the scheme last week and is funding eight more events! Adding it to the support we got from SPARC, the Open ContractingProgram of HivosArticle 19 and our grant from Hewlett Foundation, a total amount of $16,530 worth of mini-grants are being distributed. This is $4,030 more than what we committed to initially.  

The grants are divided into six categories: Open Research, Open Data for Human Rights, Open Data for Environment, Open Data Newbies, Open Contracting and FCO special grantees. Although not a planned category, we decided to be flexible and accommodate places that will be hosting an Open Data Day event for the first time. We call it the Newbie category. These events didn’t necessarily fit our criteria, but showed potential or are hosting Open Data Day events for the first time. Two of these events will get special assistant from our Open Data for Development Africa Lead, David Opoku.

So without further ado, here are the grantees:  

  1. Open Knowledge Nepal’s ODD event will focus on “Open Access Research for Students” to highlight the conditions of Open Access and Open Research in Nepal, showcasing the research opportunities and the moving direction of research trends.  Amount: $350
  2. Open Switch Africa will organise a workshop to encourage open data practises in academic and public institutions, teach attendees how to create / utilize open data sheets and repositories and also build up an open data community in Nigeria.  Amount: $400
  3. The Electrochemical Society’s ODD event in the USA will focus on informing the general public about their mission to Free the Science and make scientific research available to everyone, and also share their plans to launch their open access research repository through Research4Life in March. Amount: $400
  4. Wiki Education Brazil aims to create and build structures to publish Brazilian academic research on Wikipedia and WikiData. They will organise a hackathon and edit-a-thon in partnership with and wikidata communities with support from Wikimedia Foundation research team to create a pilot event, similar to Amount: $400
  5. Kyambogo University, Uganda will organise a presentation on how open data and the library promote open access. They will host an exhibition on open access resources and organise a library tour to acquaint participants with the available open access resources in the University’s library. Amount: $400
  6. Kirstie Whitaker will organise a brainhack to empower early career researchers at Cambridge University, England, on how to access open neuroimaging datasets already in existence for new studies and add their own data for others to use in the future. Amount: $375
  7. The University of Kashmir’s ODD event in India will target scholars, researchers and the teaching community and introduce them to Open Data Lab projects that are available through open Knowledge Labs and open research repositories through  Amount: $400
  8. The Research Computing Centre of the University of Chicago will organise a hackathon that will introduce participants to public data available on different portals on the internet. Amount: $300
  9. Technarium hackerspace  in Lithuania will organise a science cafe to open up the conversation in an otherwise conservative Lithuanian scientist population about the benefits of open data, and ways to share the science that they do. Amount: $400
  10. UNU-MERIT /BITSS-YAOUNDE in Cameroon will organise a hands-on practical training courses on Github, OSF, STATA dynamic documents, R Markdown, advocacy campaigns etc. Targeting 100 people.  Amount: $400
  11. Open Sudan will organise a high level conference to discuss the current state of research data sharing in Sudan, highlight the global movement and its successes, shed light on what could be implemented on the local level that is learned from the global movement and most importantly create a venue for collaboration. Amount: $400
  1. Dag Medya’s ODD event will increase awareness on deceased workers in Turkeyby structuring and compiling raw data in a tabular format and opening it to the public for the benefit of open data lovers and data enthusiasts. Amount: $300
  2. Election Resource Centre Zimbabwe will organise a training to build the capacity of project champions who will use data to tell human rights stories, analysis, visualisation, reporting, stimulating citizen engagement and campaigns. Amount: $350
  3. PoliGNU ODD event in Brazil will be a discussion on women’s participation in the development of public policies and will be guided by open data collection and visualizations. Amount: $390
  4. ICT4Dev Research Center will organise a press conference to launch their new website [] which highlights their open data work, a panel discussion about the relationship between Human Rights and Open Data in Morocco.  Amount: $300
  5.  will train and engage Citizen Helpdesk volunteers from four earthquake hit districts in Nepal (Kavre, Sindhpalchowke, Nuwakot and Dhading) who are working as interlocutors, problem solvers and advocates on migration-related problems to codify citizen feedback using qualitative data from the ground and amplifying them using open data tool.s Amount: $300
  6. Abriendo Datos Costa Rica will gather people interested in human rights activism and accountability, and teach them open data concepts and the context of open data day, and check for openness or otherwise of the available human rights data. Amount: $300
  1. SpaceClubFUTA will use OpenStreetMap, TeachOSM tasking manager, Remote Sensing and GIS tools to map garbage sites in Akure, Nigeria and track their exact locations, and the size and type of garbage. The data collected will be handed over to the agency in charge of clean up to help them organise the necessary logistics.  Amount: $300
  2. Open Data Durban will initiate a project about the impacts of open data in society through the engagement of the network of labs and open data school clubs (wrangling data through an IoT weather station) in Durban, South Africa. Amount: $310
  3. Data for Sustainable Development in Tanzania ODD event will focus on using available information from to create visualization thematic map to show how data can be used in the health sector to track spread of infectious diseases, monitor demand or use demographic factors to look for opportunity in opening of new health facilities. Amount: $300
  4. SubidiosClaros / Datos Concepción will create an Interactive Map of Floods on the Argentine and Uruguayan Coasts of the Uruguay River using 2000-2015 data. This will serve as an outline for implementing warning systems in situations of water emergency. Amount: $400
  5. Outbox Hub Uganda will teach participants how to tell stories using open data on air quality from various sources and their own open data project. Amount: $300
  6. Lakehub will use data to highlight the effects of climate change, deforestation on Lake Victoria, Kenya. Amount: $300
  7. will create the basis for a generic data model to analyze Air Quality in the city of Medellin for the last five years. This initial “scaffolding” will serve as the go-to basis to engage more city stakeholders while putting in evidence for the need for more open data sets in Colombia. Amount: $300
  8. Beog Neere will develop action plan to open up Extractives’ environmental impact data and develop data skills for key stakeholders – government and civil society. Amount: $300
  1. East-West Management Institute’s Open Development Initiative (EWMI-ODI) in Laos will build an open data community in Laos, and promote and localise localization the Open Data Handbook. Amount: $300
  2. Mukono District NGO Forum will use OpenCon resource depositories and make a presentation on Open Data, Open Access, and Open Data for Environment.  Amount: $350
  3. The Law Society of the Catholic University of Malawi will advocate for sexual reproductive health rights by going to secondary schools and disseminate information to young women on their rights and how they can report once they have been victimized. Amount: $350
  1. LabHacker will take their Hacker Bus to a small city near São Paulo and run a hack day/workshop there and create a physical tool to visualize the city budget which will be made available for the local citizens. They will document the process and share it online so other can copy and modify it. Amount: $400
  2. Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda will organize a meetup of 40 people identified from civil society, media,  government and general public and educate them on the importance of open data in improving public service delivery. Amount: $400
  3. Youth Association for Development, will hold a discussion on the current government [Pakistan] policies about open data. The discussions will cover, open budget, Open Contracting, open bidding, open procurements, open bidding, open tendering, Open spending, Cooking budgets, Cooking budgets, Panama Papers, Municipal Money etc. Amount: $400
  4. DRCongo Open Data initiative will organise a conference to raise awareness on the role of open data and mobile technologies to enhance  transparency and promoting accountability in the management of revenues from extractive industries in DR Congo. Amount: $400
  5. Daystar University in Kenya will organise a seminar to raise awareness among student journalists about using public data to cover public officers’ use of taxpayer money. Amount: $380
  6. Centre for Geoinformation Science, University of Pretoria in South Africa will develop a web-based application that uses gamification to encourage the local community (school learners specifically)  to engage with open data on public funds and spending. Amount: $345
  7. Socialtic will host Data Expedition, Workshops, Panel and lightning talks and Open Data BBQ to encourage the participation of groups like NGOs and journos to use data for their work. Amount: $350
  8. OpenDataPy and Girolabs will show  civil society organizations public contract data of Paraguay and also show visualizations and apps made with that data. Their goal is to use all the data available and generate a debate on how this information can help achieve transparency. Amount: $400
  9. Code for Ghana will bring together data enthusiasts, developers, CSOs and journalists to work on analysing and visualising the previous government’s expenditure to bring out insights that would educate the general public. Amount: $400
  10. Benin Bloggers’ Association will raise awareness of the need for Benin to have an effective access to information law that oblige elected officials and public officials to publish their assets and revenues. Amount: $400
  1. Red Ciudadana will organize a presentation on open data and human rights in Guatemala. They aim to show the importance of opening data linked to the Sustainable Development Goals and human rights and the impact it has on people’s quality of life. Amount: $400
  2. School of Data – Latvia is organizing a hackathon and inviting journalists, programmers, data analysts, activists and the general public interested in data-driven opportunities. Their aim is to create real projects that draws out data-based arguments and help solve issues that are important for society. Amount: $280
  3. Code for South Africa (Code4SA)’s event will introduce participants to what open data is, why it is valuable and how it is relevant in their lives. They are choosing to *not* work directly with raw data, but rather using an interface on top of census and IEC data to create a more inclusive event. Amount: $400
  4. Code for Romania will use the “Vote Monitoring” App to build a user-friendly repository of open data on election fraud in Romania and Moldova. Amount: $400
  5. Albanian Institute of Science – AIS will organize a workshop on Open Contracting & Red Flag Index and present some of their instruments and databases, with the purpose of encouraging the use of facts in journalistic investigations or citizens’ advocacy. Amount: $400
  6. TransGov Ghana will clean data on public expenditure on development projects [2015 to 2016] and show how they are distributed in the Greater Accra Metropolis (data from Accra Metropolitan Assembly) to meet open data standards and deploy on Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) platform. Amount: $400

For those who were not successful on this occasion, we will providing further feedback and would encourage you to try again next time the scheme is available. We look forward to seeing, sharing and participating in your successful events. We invite you all you register your event on the ODD website.

Wishing you all a happy and productive Open Data Day! #OpenDataDay for more on Twitter!

Open Data- building businesses through Big Data

Big data is a term used to describe data-sets so large or complex such that the traditional data processing applications are inadequate to store them accurately. Challenges in storage include analysis, capture, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, and information privacy. The process often include use of predictive analytics or other certain advanced methods to extract value from data, and store as an organized size of data set.

Specifically, businesses use big data, by combining data from web browsing patterns, social media, industry forecasts, existing customer records and so on, to predict market trends, prepare for demand, pinpoint customers, optimize pricing and promotions, and monitor real-time analytics and results. According to McKinsey analysis, considering more than 250 engagements over a five year period, companies that put data at the center of the sales and marketing decisions improved their marketing ROI by 15 to 20 percent. So we see the advantages that lie in big data management.

In Nigeria however, the availability of big data has not proven to be very economically useful. This is as a result of restricted access placed on big data. Some institutions that retain and continue to gather such large amount of data include the telecommunication companies. Through the large number of mobile phone users, SIM card registration and the ever increasing penetration of smartphones, these telecommunications companies have been able to gather so much data, much more than any other institutions in the country.

Nigeria has more big data than it knows what it can do with it. In a country with a population of 180 million people, we are living in an avalanche of data made possible by the internet, mobile penetration, web and business applications.

For a better understanding of the availability of big data in Nigeria using MTN a case study, it was noted that MTN with its 60 million active mobile lines, records about 2.6 million minutes of voice calls monthly. It as well records 77 per cent of Internet Traffic generated through mobile devices utilising about 40 million Megabytes from MTN Monthly. In terms of business applications, it can be noted that MTN holds 8.5 Petabytes of Data with a growth rate of 30 per cent. What all these mean is that with such huge concentration of data in one place, decisions around technology consumption habit can easily be made through careful study and analysis of these data.

The challenge however is that access to these data is restricted by the telecommunications’ regulator- the Nigeria Communications Commission. Although the restrictions to access to these data has not prevented MTN and other telcos from mining the same data to sell to advertisers who use these with little consideration of privacy rights of mobile phones users, we believe that the restrictions placed on data usage is limiting the growth of e-businesses in the country. The telcos, in their defense, argue on basis of security, and compliance with industry regulations but with regulatory bodies on ground, we could make the best out of these available data.

Strides have been made in placing an increased focus on data collection from regulators and organizations in Nigeria, an example being the recently instituted Bank Verification Number, however, a lot still needs to be done in encouraging access to big data. We can therefore conclude that access to big data can play a critical role in growth of small and medium scale businesses, e-fraud prevention, financial inclusion and fraud control for financial institutions. At Open Switch Africa, we believe in achieving development through Openess and we hope all citizens can come together to raise awareness and bring a lasting change to this issue.

Adisa Bolutife.