On this episode of Spark: The Web Turns 20, African e-Commerce, and Libellous Linking. Download the MP3 (runs 54:00).
So we've done a lot of talking on Spark about being cautious about the things we say online. We know we need to be careful about things we say on our personal blogs, on Facebook, or on Twitter. But have you ever thought about the implications of simply linking to something someone else said? What if what they said was libel? This coming week, a defamation case is before the Supreme Court of Canada that could change everything. Nora spoke with David Fewer (yes, we like him so much he's on the show two weeks in a row!), the director of CIPPIC: The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. (Runs 9:30)
This month it's the 20th anniversary of the World Wide Web. And it goes without saying that links are an essential part of the Web - they are the foundation it's built on so that, in the words of Tim Berners-Lee "any person could share information with anyone else, anywhere". The power to link has made the Web a place of incredible innovation. But 20 years later, are we on the cusp of a decline in innovation? Columbia Law professor, Tim Wu (who coined the term Net Neutrality, dontcha know) has just written a book called The Master Switch about the cycle of innovation and its decline in information industries, from radio to the Internet. He was in Toronto recently, so Nora cornered him on what it is about the Web that made it a hotbed of innovation. (Runs 4:58)
We're not done celebrating yet! 20 years ago the World Wide Web consisted of one web site and one browser. And both were on the same computer, that of Tim Berners-Lee. It wasn't long before the Web took over the world! To mark the occasion, we decided to find a 20 year old who could compare her own life story to some big milestones for the Web. Well, Kori Shearstone, (and you too World Wide Web) - this is your life! (Runs 7:22)
There are a lot of digital conveniences we take for granted in the Western world. Ok, let's be honest and say we take most of them for granted. If we want something -anything- it is available at our fingertips. So what's it like in places where the infrastructure still doesn't exist to make those digital conveniences viable? Femi Akinde is the founder and CEO of Slimtrader, a company that is looking to change the way people in sub-Saharan Africa do business...all through their cell phones. (Runs 9:36)
When you hear the phrase "refugee camp" you're certain to have an image in your head of what it would be like to be in one. You wouldn't necessarily imagine it to be a place where technology and innovation thrived. But we were surprised to hear that the penetration of ICT's (information and communication technologies) in refugee camps is quite high, and on the rise. Nora spoke with Jackie Strecker, an intern with the Peace Conflict & Development Group at IDRC about what she saw the two times she visited the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. (Runs 5:32)
These days, becoming a new country is about more than flags and territory. Having digital sovereignty is crucial. And yet many newly-formed countries, like Kosovo, are struggling to have digital recognition. You might recall that the little Balkan country declared independence from Serbia back in 2008. Although seventy-one countries including Canada and most of the developed world, acknowledge Kosovo, it hasn't had much luck in establishing itself as an e-state. Nora spoke with Spark contributor Nate Tabak, a freelance journalist based in Pristina to figure out why Kosovo is in an electronic grey zone. (Runs 10:17)