Author Archives: rhomsche

ICT4D: The Vehicle for Global Consciousness

In ICT4D this past semester, I have been afforded the opportunity to garner an understanding of the importance of Information and Communication Technologies for development of our world. To have the world stay in a relatively stagnant position, regarding technological advances, until the industrial age, one can now look back at how far human kind has come in developing itself. Now, with the developed world operating at such a high level of technological dependence, there is a calling for the rest of the world to catch up. The Internet boom and the illumination of knowledge has provided our world with the necessary tools to bring individual freedoms and rights to the people. Without technology, our world would still be stuck in the 1800’s.

The way that I interpreted ICT4D is that there was a direct correlation with technology and development, and that it was the key to making development projects/efforts a reality. One of the key lessons learned from this ICT4D class is the idea that ICT4D is now at the core of every sector of development. This shows technology’s influence over how the developed world operates, and how the underdeveloped world could be brought up to speed through the constructive use of ICT’s.

CISPA- making laws for the future

Our government is in a situation where we are trying to catch up to the technology that we currently have. The laws that are being made are looking to the future of what holds for where technology is heading. After speaking with Ralph Russo, an adjunct professor for Homeland Security at Tulane and ex-deputy for Homeland Security to the MTA transit for NYC, I had a chance to ask him what is happening in this world from the perspective of Homeland Security. From what I gathered from our conversation, there needs to be a middle ground that still respects the rights of the public but also puts the government in a position where they can protect us.

Mr. Russo posted on his twitter about an article in the Washington Post,

CISPA is a unique bill in that it expands the grip of the government on information rights as well as making hacking much more difficult. The CISPA act will allow government agencies to get the username and passwords for use in anti-terrorism and anti-piracy and anti-hacking stings. The flip side to this coin is that whiste-blowing hacktivists will be in a position where they will be at the mercy of the government. Or, at least, potential would-be hacktivists will be thinking twice about exposing the wrong doings of people. Our country is under a façade of liberty, where our rights are being taken away, or rather manipulated through the pen of our policy makers.

Vision for the Future of GIS

Over this past weekend, I got into a conversation with an older friend that had graduated a few years ago from Tulane. I remember seeing him learning how to code while a senior and asked why he was learning, and he looked at me and said “This is the way of the future, man.” To which I replied, “Psh, okay Bill Gates.” I met with him recently at a party and we spoke about what he was doing with his life. He had left his job at Wall Street to pursue his passion, developing a cloud based application for musicians, which he had officially launched this year with a successful reception with his beta users.

This had me thinking, how could I apply cloud based applications to a sector of ICT4D which hasn’t been thought about? Now I know that there are GIS applications that are being used by many individuals and managed by these individuals through crowd-sourcing. Yet, in the future, when applications won’t be taking up the running memory of the device, but rather the memory of the cloud, how could GIS be used? How could we keep GIS totally connected to the real world at real time?

One idea is that the info that would usually take effort on the human, rather than the computer, to discern and manage, could be totally automated through a constant connectedness to the cloud. Everyone’s data of the environment around them wouldn’t even be needed to be input by the human, it would just run up directly to inform the system of the small change that it detects from your moment. This would make all GIS up-to-date and current, but also eliminating human error, or at least mitigating its influence over the data.

This is my vision for what could happen with how we view our physical world, our ever-changing environment.

Latinos in Social Media

I was stumbling around trying to find an example of an ICT4D social media project in the Dominican Republic that was successful. What I came across was a project that was started using its social media to find volunteers and other resources through its online community. The project, LATISM in Montecristo, is one that involves the start of a summer camp that will provide educational resources and a cyber-lab which will provide the technological resources like computers and software for the village. The small village of Montecristo is located along the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, lacking any resources for access to the Internet and information that is readily available to the rest of the world. The project also involves a source for ending the gender-gap that is seen in computer access, with Mamá por Mamá  (mother to mother), which will provide mothers in the local area with computer and e-commerce skills.

This project is a pilot program that is being set up by LATISM, which is the largest organization of Latino and Latina professionals engaged in social media. This project could be seen as a difficult first step, conquering a massive task of getting a sustainable development project in a remote area of the Dominican Republic. This will prove to whether a non-profit based on social media has the ability to take roots in a marginalized area of the Dominican Republic.

Why the e-Dominican is needed for Gender Divide

I was on a website, “Girls in ICT”, and found some interesting insight into the Dominican Republic’s necessity for ICT’s, especially regarding its stance on eliminating the Gender Divide. The article describes the proposal by the Research Center for Feminist Action (CIPAF) which is in charge of the e-Dominican’s gender perspective. The proposal was selected by the Fund for Gender Equality of the United Nations, and was one of 29 proposals selected for funding out of a total of 540 projects presented. When looking at the demographic of the Dominican Republic, women make up a majority college student population of 61%, yet they only represent 11% of the students studying science in said universities.

The Dominican Republic has been working towards eliminating the Gender Divide by presenting different plans towards this cause. The Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women in the Information Society (PIOMSI) as well as developing advocacy with the National Commission for Information Society and Knowledge (CNSIC) to incorporate a gender perspective during the reviewing of the e-Dominican, are both ways that the Gender Divide will be addressed. There is also the Young Women Entrepreneurs Project, which is a project that aims to promote economic ventures of young students and graduates of career in ICT.

Dominican Republic’s ICT Resources This is the Dominican Republic’s plan through the CNSIC, which is the Comisión Nacional para la Sociedad de la Información y el Conocimiento.   They are the national body that is responsible for the design, development, and evaluation of the country’s strategy towards an information society. This is D.R.’s national ICT plan, called the Estrategia Nacional para la Sociedad de la Información Dominicana: e-Dominicana. (2007- written in Spanish) Indotel is the government’s body that is known as el Instituto Domincano de las Telecomunicaciones. They aided the CNSIC in writing the e-Dominican by providing managing editing guidance, the UTEA. They are responsible for regulating and overseeing the development of the telecommunications maarket. They are the main executioner of development projects. (written in Spanish)

Information was included in the WEF report as well as the ITU report. The resources are scarce, and information is difficult to find if you cannot speak Spanish. This can be avoided by using Google translate for the government websites. Everything was easily understood with a basic level of Spanish and with the aid of Google.