Tip of the Hat to Mother Jones at Twitter.
Harnessing Social Media Tools to Fight Corruption
I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed for this report on Harnessing Social Media Tools to Fight Corruption (PDF). The study was prepared by Dana Bekri, Brynne Dunn, Isik Oguzertem, Yan Su and Shivani Upreti as part of a final project for their degree from the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The report was prepared for Transparency International (TI).
As part of this project, the authors compiled a very useful database of projects that apply social tools to create greater transparency and accountability around corruption issues. The authors recommend that TI draw on this list of projects to catalyze an active network of civil society initiatives that challenge corruption. The report also includes an interesting section on Mobilizing Volunteers and considers the role of volunteer networks as important in the fight against corruption. The authors write that,
“As an essential expression of citizenship and democracy, the past 25 years have seen rapid growth in the practice of volunteering worldwide. One study reports approximately 20.8 million volunteers in 37 countries, contributing US$ 400 billion to the world economy. The increasing enthusiasm of individuals to serve a cause while improving their own skills complements key goals of civil society organisations to build a strong volunteer force.”
This of course relates directly to the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF), so I’m always keen to learn more about lessons learned and best practices in catalyzing a thriving volunteer network.
Do let me know if you’d like to get in touch with the authors, I’d be happy to provide an introduction via email.
New York Times, May 12, 2011
NUUK, Greenland — The eight Arctic nations pledged Thursday to create international protocols to prevent and clean up offshore oil spills in areas of the region that are becoming increasingly accessible to exploration because of a changing climate.
The Arctic Council — the United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden — said the protocols would be modeled on a separate agreement signed here in Nuuk on Thursday to coordinate search-and-rescue operations over 13 million square miles of ocean.
Phi Beta Iota: This is potentially world-changing, but pedestrian at this time. Legal and logistics arrangements institutionalize old ways of doing things–slow, expensive, often inappropriate ways. Much more exciting would be for the nations to agree to create an Arctic M4IS2 Centre, perhaps based in Copenhagen or in Oslo, with an emphasis on sustainable energy and climate change to begin with, but rapidly filling out to provide holistic analytics across all threats and helpful to the harmonization of spending across all policies. Such a center could be innovative from the first day if it includes all eight tribes of intelligence in its organizational and outreach schema, creating a model for both the United Nations and for each of the continental political organizations.
This post originally appeared on CNN.com’s Global Public Square.
Humanity and technology continue to co-evolve at an ever increasing pace, leaving traditional institutions (and mindsets) calcified and out of date. A new paradigm is emerging, where everything is increasingly connected and the nature of collaboration, business and work are all being reshaped. In turn, our ideas about society, culture, geographic boundaries and governance are being forced to adapt to a new reality.
While some fear the loss of control associated with these shifts, others are exhilarated by the new forms of connectivity and commerce that they imply. Transactions and interactions are growing faster and more frictionless, giving birth to what I call a “superfluid” economy.
Business will not return to usual. So let’s discuss 4 key concepts to help us better understand the shifts that are underway:
1. Quantifying and mapping everything
2. Everyone has access to the internet
3. Self-organizing expands
4. Peer-to-peer exchange changes the future of money
4 Trends discussed below the line with links
I’m excited to be nearing the completion of my dissertation research. As regular iRevolution readers will know, the second part of my dissertation is a qualitative and comparative analysis of the use of the Ushahidi platform in both Egypt and the Sudan. As part of this research, I am carrying out some content analysis of the reports mapped on U-Shahid and the SudanVoteMonitor. The purpose of this blog post is to share my preliminary analysis of the 2,700 election monitoring reports published on U-Shahid during Egypt’s Parliamentary Elections in November & December 2010.
May 10th: Let the Infinite Games Begin!
At our April 6 SVII gathering Bill Veltrop, co-founder of the Monterey Institute for Social Architecture (MISA), introduced Regional Metamorphosis as a pragmatic strategy for accelerating our movement into an Age of Conscious Evolution. Jesse Clark and colleagues then produced a video that does a great job of capturing the intent and spirit of that evening.
At the conclusion of the April 6 gathering Howard asserted that Silicon Valley had what it takes to be a leader in a regional metamorphosis movement. Howard invited us to explore this possibility together at a May 10th gathering at Serena Software from 4-7 PM.
Questions for you:
TEN MOST WANTED EVOLUTIONARIES
Tip of the Hat to David Alan and Mark Roest.
By JOHN MARKOFF
New York Times, April 25, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO — Inside a darkened theater a viewer floats in a redwood forest displayed with Imax-like clarity on a cavernous overhead screen.
The hovering sensation gives way to vertigo as the camera dives deeper into the forest, approaches a branch of a giant redwood tree, and then plunges first into a single leaf and then into an individual cell. Inside the cell the scene is evocative of the 1966 science fiction movie “Fantastic Voyage,” in which Lilliputian humans in a minuscule capsule take a medical journey through a human body.
There is an important difference — “Life: A Cosmic Journey,” a multimedia presentation now showing at the new Morrison Planetarium here at the California Academy of Sciences, relies not just on computer animation techniques, but on a wealth of digitized scientific data as well.
Comment and Seven Graphics Below the Line…
Futurescaper is an online tool for making sense of the drivers, trends and forces that will shape the future. As a user interface system, it is horrible. As a tool for analyzing and understanding complex systems, it works pretty well. Several people asked me about this after my last post, so here is some more detail.
Following the logic of collective intelligence (as part of my my PhD), I broke up the the scenario thinking process into discrete chunks, came up with a system for analyzing and relating them together, and then distilled them into key outputs for helping the scenario development process: 1) Emergent Thematic Maps 2) Revealing Hidden Connections 3) Drilling Down
See Also by Noah Radford:
The first system is called “Futurescaper” and was developed in partnership with the International Futures Forum (IFF), Tony Hodgson and my friend Nathan Koren. This was piloted on a project for the UK Government, exploring secondary and tertiary impacts of climate change.
The second system is called “SenseMaker Scenarios.” This uses a customized version of Cognitive Edge’s SenseMaker Suite to aggregate micro-stories about the future into themes and patterns for scenario generation. This was done with Dave Snowden and Wendy Schultz, and was unveiled at the 2010 RAHS conference in Singapore.
The third system is called “FogCatcher”, and was developed with Anab Jain and Jon Ardern from Superflux. This was based on a modified version of Jerome C. Glenn’s futures wheel, combined with a “hot or not” style cross-impact analysis engine. As before, this approach benefited greatly from previous conversations with my colleagues above, but also from others such as Andrew Curry of the Futures Company, Emile Hooge of Nova7, Indy Johar of 00:/research, Vinay Gupta and others.
All three projects are still in continuous development and available for experimental project use.
Global Voices Blog Critique from Jacob Appelbaum: My motivation for writing this response is to inform readers of the serious concerns that many people, myself included, have about the recent Freedom House report. I am always pleased to see more analysis of censorship circumvention and Internet security tools, but I have concerns about this report’s methodologies and resulting conclusions. The report in its current form could be dangerous to the users it aims to help.
The reporting methodology is sloppy at best and the information in the report is often inaccurate or poorly written. The report demonstrates a general disconnection from the language used by the projects and the circumvention community as a whole.
Internet censorship poses a large and growing challenge to online freedom of expression around the world. Censorship circumvention tools are critical to bypass restrictions on the internet and thereby to protect free expression online.
Circumvention tools are primarily designed to bypass internet filtering. Therefore, the core principle behind these technologies is to find alternative paths for data packets. These alternative paths use one or more collaborative servers in order to bypass the network of blocking mechanisms.
This document provides a comparison among different circumvention tools, both in terms of their technical merits, as well as how users of these tools describe their experience with them. The countries included in this report are Azerbaijan, Burma, China and Iran.
Phi Beta Iota: Within the emerging Autonomous Internet, these tools assume use of the existing grid, and can in turn be used by the authorities, sometimes with the collaboration of the Internet Service Providers, to identify dissidents. The Autonomous Internet seeks first to bypass local interception points (local solar-powered nodes using leased satellite communications), and ultimately to permit all individuals everywhere to enjoy the Internet for free and in liberty. Novices forget that anonymous is not the same as invisible, and that security is needed at the point of receipt as well (counter-intelligence outside the denied area is focused on identifying dissidents on the basis of leaks outside the denied area). NOTE: Freedom House has a trojan virus–if you don’t see the deletion notice your security program is not up to par.
From Afghanistan for ACOS: I have not seen so much BS in a while. The 10th Mountain deployed to Afghanistan without the proper equipment to operate in the mountains. They lacked adequate cold weather gear and our lift capability does not fly well here either. With the exception of 40 year old Chinooks, most can’t climb over the lofty peaks that permeate this country.
I attended a farewell for a friend of mine, there were 33 people there, 11 of them in the rank of 06, two in the rank of 08. What these guys did everyday is beyond me, but little work gets done in the palace of King David I can assure you. There are Green Berets out in villages that depend on their families to help them with the Hearts and Minds that Petraeus so often says he is trying to win, but doesn’t support. That type of warfare does little to increase the coffers of the MICC….
Chuck Spinney–we read all your stuff and his–has it right: this guy lives in a palace, Versailles on the Potomac, and is totally out of touch with reality.
Phi Beta Iota: It is not at all clear that the new Army Chief of Staff (ACOS) understands that the standard issue weapon is worthless beyond 300 meters, or that his force in combat (4% of the total force) takes 80% of the casualties while receiving 1% of the total military budget. We know what our troops are fighting for–what is this guy fighting for on behalf of his troops?
REVOLUTION OS tells the inside story of the hackers who rebelled against the proprietary software model and Microsoft to create GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement.
On June 1, 2001, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”
Microsoft fears GNU/Linux, and rightly so. GNU/Linux and the Open Source & Free Software movements arguably represent the greatest threat to Microsoft’s way of life. Shot in cinemascope on 35mm film in Silicon Valley, REVOLUTION OS tracks down the key movers and shakers behind Linux, and finds out how and why Linux became such a potent threat.
REVOLUTION OS features interviews with Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Brian Behlendorf, Michael Tiemann, Larry Augustin, Frank Hecker, and Rob Malda. To view the trailer or the first eight minutes go to the ifilm website for REVOLUTION OS.
Two books below the line…
I just completed a short field mission to Kyrgyzstan with UN colleagues and I’m already looking forward to the next mission. Flipping through several dozen pages of my handwritten notes just now explains why: example after example of the astute resourcefulness and creative uses of information and communication technologies in Kyrgyzstan is inspiring. I learned heaps.
. . . . . . .
The degrees of separation needed to verify a rumor was close to one. In the case of the supposed border attack, one member of the chat group had a contact with the army unit guarding the border crossing in question. They called them on their cell phone and confirmed within minutes that no attack was taking place. As for the rumor about the poisoned humanitarian aid, another member of the chat found the original phone numbers from which these false SMS’s were being sent. They called a personal contact at one of the telecommunication companies and asked whether the owners of these phones were in fact texting from the place where the aid was reportedly poisoned; they weren’t. Meanwhile, another member of the chat group had himself investigated the rumor in person and confirmed that the text messages were false.
OCHA, UNOSAT and NetHope have been collaborating with the Volunteer Technical Community (VTC) specifically CrisisMappers, Crisis Commons, Open Street Map, and the Google Crisis Response Team over the past week.
The CrisisMappers Standby Task Force has been undertaking a mapping of social media, news reports and official situation reports from within Libya and along the borders at the request of OCHA. The Task Force is also aiding in the collection and mapping of 3W information for the response. UNOSAT is kindly hosting the Common Operational Datasets to be used during the emergency. Interaction with these groups is being coordinated by OCHA’s Information Services Section.
The public version of this map does not include personal identifiers and does not include descriptions for the reports mapped. This restriction is for security reasons. All information included on this map is derived from information that is already publicly available online (see Sources tab).
In the midst of this transition in Libya, one of the most devastating earthquakes in centuries hit northern Japan, causing one of the most destructive tsunamis in recent memory. Just hours after the earthquake, a member of Japan’s OpenStreetMap community launched a dedicated Crisis Map for the mega-disaster. A few hours later, Japanese students at The Fletcher School (which is where the Ushahidi-Haiti Crisis Map was launched) got in touch with the Tokyo-based OpenStreetMap team to provide round-the-clock crisis mapping support.
Over 4,000 reports have been mapped in just 6 days. That’s an astounding figure. Put differently, that’s over 600 reports per day, or one report almost every two minutes for 24 hours straight over 6 days. What’s important about the Japan Crisis Map is that the core operations are being run directly from Tokyo and the team there is continuing to scale it’s operations. It’s very telling that the Tokyo team did not require any support from the Standby Volunteer Task Force. They’re doing an excellent job in the midst of the biggest disaster they’ve ever faced. I’m just amazed.
Tip of the Hat to Patrick Meier and Team at iRevolution.