WITFOR 2009 arrow Commissions arrow Social, Ethical & Legal Aspects Commission arrow Parallel Sessions: Details
Parallel sessions: details


Wednesday 26 August 2009

14.00 – 15.30

Parallel session 1: Digital Intellectual Property Rights and Digitisation of Divides

Session Chair:  Naveen Thayyil, University of Tilburg, Netherlands


·        Intellectual Property Rights and other regimes of property and rent, Pranesh Prakash, Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, India


·        Digital Technology and Access to Knowledge: policy Space for the Third World, K. M. Gopakumar, Third World Network (TWN), Penang- New Delhi- Geneva


·        Digital IPRs: Implications for Divides in new and emerging Biotechnologies, Naveen Thayyil, University of Tilburg, The Netherlands

Thursday 27 August 2009

14.00 – 15.30

Parallel session 3: Employment of ICT towards effective realisation of MDGs

Session Chair: Shireen Mirza, University of London,UK


·        Reimagining the Digital Opportunity, ms Anita Gurumurthy, Director of IT for Change (ITfC), Bangalore, India.

·        Gender dimensions of ICT development among members of Women's Networking Support Programme, ms Chat Garcia Ramilo, APC Women´s Networking Support Programme Coordinator, Manila, Philippines

Thursday 27 August 2009

16.00 – 17.30

Parallel session 4: E-governance and Biometrics: Evaluating Opportunities and threats

Session Chair: Naveen Thayyil, University of Tilburg, The Netherlands


·        What does your passport say about you?, Professor Ajit Narayanan, Professor of Computer Science, AUT, New Zealand,

·        Obligation and SWOT of E-governance in Developing Countries: An Appraisal From South Asia, Prof. Sohel Iqbal, Korea University, South Korea

·        Legal aspects and role of e-governance to Vietnamese reforms Dinh Ngoc Vuong, Institute of Lexicography and Encyclopedie, Hanoi, Vietnam




Session:    E-governance and Biometrics: Evaluating opportunities and threats


·        “What does your passport say about you?”, Professor Ajit Narayanan, Professor of Computer Science, AUT, New Zealand,


Abstract: Most new passports now contain an RFID (radio frequency identification) tag that allows your passport to communicate with immigration service computers at airports and other control points.  Although such tags do not currently contain personal information, when combined with other RFID tags carried by you (e.g. credit cards, driving licence), it may be possible for personal information to be gathered about you that could be used for identity theft. Also, the incorporation of 'smart RFID' in future may lead to identity cards that can be used for a variety of purposes, including banking, as the demand for biometric verification grows. The aim of this talk is to explore with the audience both the technological advantages of RFID as well as potential misuses of the technology for the purposes of breaching privacy and security. The question of who is responsible is also raised should the technology be shown to be insecure, raising issues of liability.


·        Obligation and SWOT of E-governance in Developing Countries: An Appraisal From South Asia”, Sohel Iqbal, Research Professor, Department of Public Administration, Korea University


Abstract: Globalization, new trend of public services, innovative way of public participation, new techniques to curb corruption, increase transparency and accountability are some driving forces for the developing countries to establish e-governance during this Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution era. E-governance should be taken as an instrument to promote good governance and to strengthen reform-oriented actors in politics and civil society. But the big question is how can e-governance be established in developing countries? Does it essential? What can e-governance do for the developing countries? This talk will try to find these answers. The Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) for e-governance in developing countries are also a focal point of this talk. It will classify the Political, Economical, Socio-cultural, and Technological factors (PEST) for establishing e-governance in developing countries, too. Delphi technique has been employed for empirical analysis in this study and Bangladesh has selected as a principal area as a representation of the developing countries from South Asia.


·        “Legal aspects and role of e-governance to Vietnamese reforms", Dinh Ngoc Vuong, Legal Expert, Institute of Lexicography and Encyclopedie, Hanoi, Vietnam


 Session:   Digital Intellectual Property Rights and Digitisation of Divides

The role of IPRs in the solutions to the uneven global distribution of digital information of technology needs careful examination and appropriate intervention. A critical analysis of digital IPR in a changing societal environment, the significance of the impact of free and open source software and content movements, as well as the transformative possibilities of law and legal instruments are imperative in any endeavour to focus on the legal, ethical and social implications of ICT. What are the impacts of WIPO Developmental agenda, the TRIPS legal regime and WSIS on this central concern. Further, how does these factors affect equitable access, development and enjoyment of other important technologies, like say biotechnologies?


·     “IPR and other regimes of property and rent”,  Pranesh Prakash, lawyer “Internet and Society in India”

Short Synopsis: I would like to compare IPR with other regimes of property and rent - especially those affecting tangible property and capital. I would like to unpack differences across/in – geographical boundaries, temporal boundaries, state interventionism, rent extraction procedures and enforcement, tax regimes etc. I would also like to examine the various philosophical positions on what I refer to as the freedom continuum - 1) proprietary 2) creative commons 3) GNU GPL - copyleft 4) BSD - copy centre 5) Piracy and 6) Beyond Piracy. I will use this to expose the superficiality of binary thinking in IPR reform and


·     Digital Technology and Access to Knowledge: Policy Space for the Third World, K. M.Gopakumar, Legal Advisor and Senior Researcher –Third World Network (TWN) –

Third World Network (TWN) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that carries out policy research and advocacy on issues around trade and development, with a focus on third world countries



·     Implications of Digitised IPRs in agricultural Biotechnologies and Synthetic Biology, Naveen Thayyil, Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Tilburg, The Netherlands


Session:   Employment of ICT towards effective realisation of MDGs


Digital Divide discourse rightly argues that ICTs play an increasingly enabling role in the inclusion and exclusion of groups from participation in the discourse and fruits of 'development', with material consequences.  However  there are also important voices that raise possibilities that, the digital divide advocacy itself is framing the discourses of development  in a peculiar way, where in a challenging world of competing priorities to better human security and development it influences the priorities and allocations for development in manners which are not always acceptable or desirable to targeted constituencies.


The conception and use of such technologies itself thus becomes an important field of discourse for the analysis of power relations in the developmental field. Given the fact that parameters of ICTs continues to be overwhelmingly Western centric, compatible with Western mentality, cultural and political values, how does one ensure appropriate employment of the technology towards effective realisation of MDGs? If one needs to ensure that the cart does not drive the horse, what are the lessons which are important to learn from Asian, African and Latin American contexts, that seeks appropriate use of ICT for development? What are the processes through which law and policy rise to the challenge of using the appropriate technology in the appropriate context? Listening to organisations/ groups from various parts of these regions who have used ICT in manners meaningful to marginal groups towards realisation of MDG (and/or individuals/organisations who have engaged with policy/ research in these issues) would be a good idea.


·     Gender dimensions of ICT development among members of WNSP (Women's Networking Support Programme), Gender Evaluation for Social Change, Chat Garcia Ramilo, project manager of Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM Project),  Manila, The Philippines

The powerful potential of ICT to promote positive social change is well-recognised all over the world, including in countries where infrastructure is still very poor. The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) Women’s Networking Support Programme (WNSP) developed the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) for Internet and ICTs to determine how ICTs are changing women's lives and gender relations. Developed with ICT practitioners in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe, GEM evaluation findings have covered issues of universal access, use of ICT for employment and poverty reduction, and use of media and ICTs to support advocacy for gender equality and women's empowerment. This presentation will reflect on APC's experience and learning in developing and using GEM as an approach to build capacity in integrating gender dimensions in project planning, implementation and evaluation in ICT projects in various developing countries. GEM has been used in telecenters, rural ICT education projects, initiatives that localise ICT applications in various languages, ICT policy development and digital literacy programs. The presentation will focus on analysing diffenrential impacts of ICTs on women and men, critically looking at how gender-power dynamics and gender relations intersect with ICT and insights produced by the use of the methodology that improve ICT project design and effectiveness, and maximize the benefits to women and men. Lessons will be drawn from experiences in several countries including Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Nigeria, Uganda, Colombia and Peru.

·     'Reimagining  the digital opportunity', Anita Gurumurthy, Director of IT for Change (ITfC), Bangalore, India


I will look at the rhetoric around the digital divide thesis and examine how policy and programmatic vision and action may have missed the woods for the trees.




Abdul Waheed Khan speaker
Abdul Waheed Kahn from UNESCO will be speaking at one of the plenary sessions.....




Post WITFOR events
There will be a post WITFOR event on free open source software. This event is specifically meant for WITFOR participants. For details and registratio....



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