Daily Archives: 16 November 2012

The Lagging Cyber-Security of Indonesia

Indonesia is currently experiencing explosive growth, especially with regards to Java’s ICT sector, which the government is heavily focused on developing into an Indonesian New Taipei. Despite this focus on the cutting edge of ICT, the government itself has had some problems with modernizing, especially with regards to cyber-security.

When we as Americans think of .gov internet domains, we think of extremely secure areas. In Indonesia, the national go.id domain is instead a symbol of vulnerability. The go.id domain has been hacked numerous times, both by political protestors and more malicious hackers. The most famous, and embarrassing instance, was when a university senior names Dani Firmansyah was able to hack the website of the General Election Commission during an election and changed the candidate names. While the hack caused no damage, it certainly sent a message about the state of cyber-security in Indonesia. Other highlights have been the replacement of security camera feeds at the House of Representatives with graphic pornography and over 3 million individual cyber attacks so far.

While statement attacks like the pornography and candidate name changes only embarrass the government, the malicious attacks are often less noticeable and can lead to serious security breaches and monetary losses. Given how focused Indonesia is on Foreign Direct Investment, so many breaches are no doubt hurting the economy by decreasing investor confidence. The current asymmetrical trajectory of Indonesia’s ICT development is a serious hindrance to national security and investment, and must be addressed as the country moves into the digital age.



Mike Johns-CEO of Digital Mind State, Digital Age of Music

Today on November 16, 2012, a tech entrepreneurship conference was held in Kingston, Jamaica, and the keynote speaker for Caribbean BETA 2012 was Mike Johns, the Chief Executive Officer of Digital Mind State based in Los Angeles, California. Although he might not be well known within the Caribbean, Mike is widely respected internationally for helping global brands marry hip-hop culture and wireless (especially mobile/cellular) technology. Mike’s talk will be on, “Reggae Music 2.0: How will it succeed in the Digital Age of Music, Brand, Culture”, will focus on the business of reggae music, and how this genre can fulfill its potential in this digital age.

Later in the morning, there will also be a panel discussion, “When technology meets the Creative Industries”, with persons representing the music, film, animation, and publishing industries. The panel will be examining how technology is being used in the Creative Industries and within their respective fields, and highlighting trends and business opportunities that marry the arts and technology.






(read the last line on this link if you want a good laugh)

Twitter and Blogging in ICT4D

This week we followed a recent ICT4D debate between several prominent development professionals. Although the theme of the debate was fascinating what I thought was more telling about the field and today in general was how this disagreement was taking place. All of those involved in the debate were on Twitter and followed each other. They actively blogged and commented on each others blogs. This created a virtual community of people with many different backgrounds and specific knowledge, but all investing, creating, and promoting international development. Image

The importance of twitter in ICT4D is outstanding. As a social media it is not often thought of as a high brow source of information, but #ICT4D leads to all the most recent news about the field, studies, information, and commentary. Twitter has allowed a global network of people to quickly, effectively, and intelligently discuss, comment, and interact together. ICT4D is the stronger because of it, as these professionals can bounce ideas off one another, develop a better understanding of what is happening around the world, and communicate with the public. Another benefit is that twitter adds a human voice to development. I personally follow a number of development professionals and am always impressed by the breadth of their knowledge, what other things they are interested in, their opinions, and some are very humorous. Obviously twitter in ICT4D suffers the same problems as we previously discussed, like unchecked facts and biased opinions, but regardless it has come to be a dominant factor in the field.

Blogging too is important as it allows for at least a brief introduction into what the development professionals are doing, feeling, and hearing about. It keeps everyone on the same page and is more informative than twitter (many people link their blog to brief tweets for further explanation). I enjoy getting to hear real life opinions that are not diluted in academic wordiness and correctness.

I will certainly begin to follow more of these leaders in development on twitter and on their blogs. I highly recommend everyone check them out. My personal favorite is Chris Blattman, but there are many others out there. Here is an aggregated twitter feed of professionals in ICT4D. Educate and Enjoy!

Cyber Security in Jamaica

In an article on ICT Pulse by Michele Marius, she describes a seminar in Jamaica from earlier this year in which she discussed the cyber security of individuals as well as government organizations in the Caribbean. As she explains, the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) was hacked for valuable information, which was subsequently shared on Twitter (not the most productive use of ICTs). The TAJ never confirmed this cyberattack, there was very little information on it in the local media, and some reports suggest the TAJ was not even aware of the attack.

Marius prescribes the implementation of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), which help to prevent cyber attacks, or at least limit damage. She suggests that CERTs’ expensive nature should not deter Caribbean nations from paying for their services as cyber attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent and costly. She also describes the interesting notion that these cyber attacks in developing countries have the capacity to go unreported to citizens. As a result, when cyber security is breached, she insinuates that there must be an established trust between the state and its citizens, so the individuals can take appropriate precautions, particularly in these developing countries where alternative news sources like Twitter are less accessible.

Is this Guy Crazy…or Could He Be Right?

For years conspiracy theorists like the one in the video above have been derided as crazy for believing the government could spy on them using their own technology. However, there is possibly some evidence to suggest that there are capabilites the government has to use personal technology to spy on ordinary citizens.

For instance, the cababilities of the computer worm stuxnet, which was probably developed by the United States and Israel, prove that governments have enormous capabilities to infiltrate mass numbers of computers.


Also, with the prevalance of video cameras connected to personal computers, it is not impossible for hackers to be able to activate these computer cameras to watch people in their personal settings.  According to the above article from CBS Chicago, spying from a webcamera is not only easy, but a number of people have already begun doing it.  For instace, there is a worry that children can be spied on by pedophiles, attackers, etc.  However, almost anyone can gain this spying tool, since it is generally easy to do.  All they need is to either get the chance to tamper directly with the camera, or can even send a computer virus that gives them this access, just as the government has proved they are capable of doing through Stuxnet.

Although it is highly unlikely that the government is actually doing what this man claims, the potential is there, and we need to be careful to maintain our rights. Otherwise, we may someday be watched more closely than we would care to be.

Jared Cohen: Top 40 ICT4D Professionals Under 40

Devex is the world’s largest community of aid and development professionals. The organization, which delivers business information and recruitment services to the international development community, recently released its list of the Top 40 International Development Leaders Under 40. The selection criterion for the list was based on each individual’s impact on the development agenda along with his or her impact on development results. In order to receive a nomination, the professional had to have been based out of Washington DC, and each had to be under the age of 40. Despite their youth, these leaders have made significant advances in the ICT4D world and deserve to be recognized for their contributions to society. Among these leaders are some that we have encountered over the course of the semester, like Wayan Vota, and many more that we have not. One leader that caught my eye was Jared Cohen, a public policy expert, social media adviser, and director of Google Ideas.

Jared Cohen was born in Weston, Connecticut. As a child, Jared’s family vacationed in Africa, which is when Cohen’s interest in development first began. Cohen took a 5-week service trip to Tanzania during High School and went on to receive political science and history degrees with a minor in African Studies. Cohen later studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where he received his master’s degree in international relations. During college, Cohen held an internship for the US State Department that landed him a full time position as the youngest Member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff- he was only 24 years old. After being kept on the Policy Planning Committee by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Cohen began to shape counter-radicalization strategies while advising on US policy in Iran and the Middle East. Cohen traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, where he interviewed Hezbollah and al-Qaida terrorists to better understand the nature and root causes of radicalization.

In April of 2009, Cohen started leading technology delegations that focused on connecting technology executives with local stakeholders in countries such as Iraq, Russia, Mexico, Congo, and Syria. Shortly after undertaking this position in technology delegations, Cohen played an instrumental role that marked the turning point in technology’s role in disrupting the status quo. During the 2009 reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, thousands of Iranian were taking to Twitter to protest. At this time, the Twitter server was scheduled to be shut down for scheduled server maintenance. However, Cohen changed that with one phone call to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, in which he requested that the popular micro-blogging site stay running. Cohen argued that because many other outlets had been blocked or shut down by the government, Twitter was one of the few ways for people inside of Iran to get information to the outside world. He considered it an important way for people around the world to join the protests and convinced Dorsey that this was the proper decision. This phone called essentially changed the course of the Iranian election.

After working for the State Department for a number of years, Cohen left the position to take on a new task as the director and founder of the new think/do tank, Google Ideas. Says Cohen: “We need to move towards providing tools and creating space for local people to develop local solutions.” Google Ideas focuses on places in the developing world where challenges are significant, technology solutions are underexplored, and Google can make an impact. The focus areas include counter-radicalization, illicit networks and fragile states.

In addition to his professional roles, Cohen has authored numerous publications and has appeared on different media outlets. Cohen’s book, Children of Jihad, won a spot on the “Best Books of 2007” list. He has appeared as a guest on CNN, BBC, The Colbert Report, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, and many more. It will be interesting to see the impact that Cohen and Google Ideas will have on the world in the years to come.

Loy Okezie, A New Figure in the Development of ICTs in Africa

Loy Okezie is a Nigerian blogger and entrepreneur who started the website TechLoy, which analyzes ICT on the African continent. TechLoy has become one of the foremost sites concerning African ICT. Loy Okezie is a digital media strategist by trade, but wears many other hats. Okezie has worked for multiple internet companies including NEXT, where he wrote a column about interesting new start-ups. In addition, Okezie contributes for Memeburn, a website that follows web trends. Today he is the founder of TechLoy and is a co-founder of Sowambe, a social media style brand.
Techloy is now a very prominent website in the world of ICT in Africa. It has over 35,000 monthly users and has gotten over 250,000 views per month. Okezie analyzes many of the emerging ICT trends in the context of African development. Although he is relatively new to the world of ICT4D, Okezie is someone to watch in the future for ICT trends.