Why the Silence on the Right to Internet Access?

The United Nations Human Rights Council has in the past called the right to freedom and expression ‘one of the essential foundations of a democratic society’. It has recognised the Internet's importance in the "promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression." This subsequently led to a landmark resolution which saw the United Nations declare Internet access a human right because of “the vast potential and benefits of the Internet rooted in its unique characteristics, such as speed, worldwide reach and relative anonymity.

The New Wave: Who uses the Internet?

Who uses the Internet? A student of mine recently said she thought art galleries are frequented by ‘old rich white people’ (she is black). And many seem to believe that the Internet might be more or less as exclusive - at least if we swap ‘young’ for ‘old’. Behind this is a common idea that the Internet is a luxury - for rich (white) people and rich (white) countries.  And so, the thinking goes, in South Africa (SA) we should focus on sorting out the basics - like getting textbooks to Limpopo - before we worry too much about the World Wide Web.

New Faster ‘Image Search’ for Google

Google has announced that it has revamped its image search to be faster and more effective.
The changes, which will be rolled out over the next few days, include image results displayed in an inline panel which will allow users to flip through a set of images by using their keyboard and view metadata without being redirected to a separate landing page.
The company says that key information will be featured more prominently next to the image and will include the title of the page hosting the image, the domain name it comes from, and the image size.

Google Launches Election Tracker Tool

Google has launched a platform that promises to change the way citizens participate in election processes.

The Internet giant launched a Kenya Elections Hub where voters, campaigners and the media can track trends on the election.

The company believes that the Internet could play a critical role in transforming the way people engaged with their leaders, particularly in developing countries.

MWEB, Cell C, Announce Broadband Deal

MWEB has announced its partnership with mobile operator, Cell C, aimed at extending its broadband offering.

As part of the deal, MWEB will launch an ‘exclusive promotional offering’ of a 2GB Cell C data package at a discounted rate of just R89 per month.

General manager of MWEB Connect, Carolyn Holgate, points out that, "As a consumer champion, we like the fact that Cell C is shaking up the mobile Internet space in terms of prices and simplicity, and we look forward to partnering with them to offer the best mobile internet deals.”

Learners Lobby for Free Wikipedia

South African learners are lobbying local mobile operators - Vodacom, MTN and Cell C - to make Wikipedia free to facilitate easier access to information.

In Uganda and Kenya, mobile operators allow free access to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia and learners from Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park outside Cape Town are lobbying to make the service available in South Africa.

Broadband Access in SA on the Increase

According to new data contained in the final version of the Internet Access in South Africa 2012, broadband access in South Africa has more than doubled in the last two years, as mobile operators slashed the cost of data and network roll-out accelerated.
Conducted by World Wide Worx, the broadband data, which is analysed in detail in the report, shows that the number of broadband subscriptions grew from 3.6 million at the end of 2010 to an expected 8.2 million by the end of 2012 which is a total of 128 percent growth.

100 More Transmitter Towers for SA

Eaton Towers, which owns and manages telecom infrastructure in Africa, will build about 100 towers in South Africa next year.

Eaton Towers, one of a number of specialist players to launch services in Africa in recent years, plans to build another 250 transmitter towers in 2013, increasing its portfolio by a sixth as growing Internet use on the continent drives the London-based firm's expansion.

Internet Access Key to Sustainable Development - UN

A senior United Nations (UN) official has told a global meeting of Internet governance that helping developing countries build their citizens' access to the Internet is akin to giving them a tool that boosts their chances of achieving sustainable economic growth.

Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Haiyan Qian, points out that, "The Internet offers a lot of potential and opportunities for sustainable development.

SA Loses R3.7m Due to Cybercrime

South Africa has lost R3.7 billion due to cybercrime over the past year, according to a cybercrime report compiled by global firm, Norton.

The growth of the mobile web in South Africa means more consumers than ever before are vulnerable to cybercrime as they access the internet using their cellphones.

In its report, aimed at understanding how cybercrime affects consumers, and how the adoption and evolution of new technologies affects people’s security, the company states that the top cyber services targeted are Internet banking, ecommerce and social media sites.


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