A lot of money is being made by the Googles, Microsofts, Facebooks of the world and their philanthropic actions must be appreciated.
Google has GSoC, support Raspberry Pi, Code for America etc etc...
Microsoft is legend and the work of Bill and Melinda Gates across the world for healthcare etc is fantastic
Facebook has a lot of work too and then there is internet.org which is a great thought to reach out and provide connectivity but has been at the receiving end of a lot of criticism (I really do not know the details, so you will have to search for this)
In India (my home) the telecom giant Airtel tried to cloak a lot of money spinning into bunch of "supposedly" philanthropic moves saying they will bring the internet to the far reaches of the country.
Digressing for a moment - I was ROTFL for a few days after learning about this, and then I wept emotionally just thinking about the magnanimous proposal of the moneyed behemoths who brought up the 'airtel zero' plan. It is reminiscent of the subprime mortgage crisis that caused the 2007/08 meltdown.
However this is not what I want to think about - rather I got thinking about the most oppressed places in the world, the war zones, the absolutely poor regions where people may be cut off from telecom services too but need to reach out to the world.
While we debate "net neutrality" and explore ways and means to milk the system - there are millions who are desperate to connect!
What is needed is to channel the magnanimity to bringing access to these areas where the people are oppressed. In war zones like Iraq, Syria etc where human rights do not exist, it is important to build the groundswell which can stand up against these forces of terror.... and we all know the power of the internet,or flashcrowds.
If the terror organizations like ISIS, LeT etc are using the internet to recruit why not bring the internet to the ordinary people who are suffering and will also be able to share their stories which will be able to counter the terror propaganda.
The Facebooks, Googles, internet.orgs of the world should direct their money, satellites, and resources to these areas and bring about change though the power of the internet.
The internet is recognized as a fundamental right across the world and the unfortunates who live under oppression and in war zones are deprived of this basic resource. Human Rights organizations have to step in to make sure this is also a mandate for governments along with freedom, speech etc.
Imagine a scenario where a government like North Korea has to fight against the power of a freenet that is available on air across the country. How will the government fight against this power and for how long! A movement which will surely lead to change... !
The question arises that this is going to be expensive so who will foot the bill - and my take is that there are enough benevolent organizations and people around the world who will be happy to contribute - money or sweat. And governments have enough satellite bandwidth that can be allocated for such actions.
A thought which may be worth looking at! Free Internet in war zones, and against repressive governments !
Labels: free internet, internet access, internet.org, oppressed nations, poor nations