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This film explores how Uganda’s National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) is working with local NGO ACTogether to mobilise slum communities in Kampala. It focuses on the informal settlement of Kibuye, one of Kampala’s 63 slums, capturing everyday life and documenting how technology is helping the community participate in decisions that affect their quality of life.
Historically, the Kampala Capital City Authority has had little information about the make-up of the city’s slums — and what it did have was outdated. ACTogether and the NSDF have engaged the residents of the slums, helping them to map their own neighbourhoods, and detailing both the demographics and the locations of physical structures such as toilets.
ACTogether set up forums in which residents and other stakeholders, including city authority officials, use the knowledge gained from mapping to discuss issues affecting the community, empowering residents to start taking control of life within the slums.
ACTogether is also keen to increase the involvement of academics in the slums’ future planning. It initiated the “Urban Studio” project a partnership with Makerere University in which students spent time interacting with residents and learning first-hand about life in the slums — something that was missing from their academic courses.
Part documentary and part cinematic art, this film follows a city in the 1920s Soviet Union throughout the day, from morning to night. Directed by Dziga Vertov, with a variety of complex and innovative camera shots, the film depicts scenes of ordinary daily life in Russia. Vertov celebrates the modernity of the city, with its vast buildings, dense population and bustling industries. While there are no titles or narration, Vertov still naturally conveys the marvels of the modern city.
Today the speed at which we spread information is so fast that a single email can launch a worldwide awareness campaign, as with the Occupy movement. Yet as techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci seeks to show, the ease of social media can actually hurt social change in the long run. From Gezi to the Arab Spring to Ukraine to Hong Kong, she shows how today’s movements can miss out on the benefits of doing things the hard (and slow) way.
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/talks/zeynep_tufek…
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In Khayelitsha, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Cape Town, residents play near toilets that are crumbling, clogged, and dirty. This lack of access to proper sanitation is not just a health hazard—it’s a crucial issue for development, safety, access to justice, and human rights.
The South African constitution guarantees the right to equality and dignity, and also an extensive list of socioeconomic rights, the realization of which is frustrated by a lack of access to basic sanitation facilities. Millions of South Africans still lack access to basic sanitation, including at least 500,000 in Cape Town.
Read more: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/
Freedom on the Net 2014 – The fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014 –finds internet freedom around the world in decline for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period.
In a departure from the past, when most governments preferred a behind-the-scenes approach to internet control, countries rapidly adopted new laws that legitimize existing repression and effectively criminalize online dissent.
The past year also saw increased government pressure on independent news websites, which had previously been among the few uninhibited sources of information in many countries, in addition to more people detained or prosecuted for their digital activities than ever before.
Between May 2013 and May 2014, 41 countries passed or proposed legislation to penalize legitimate forms of speech online, increase government powers to control content, or expand government surveillance capabilities.
Since May 2013, arrests for online communications pertinent to politics and social issues were documented in 38 of the 65 countries, most notably in the Middle East and North Africa, where detentions occurred in 10 out of the 11 countries examined in the region.
Pressure on independent news websites, among the few unfettered sources of information in many countries, dramatically increased. Dozens of citizen journalists were attacked while reporting on conflict in Syria and antigovernment protests in Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine. Other governments stepped up licensing and regulation for web platforms.
See also: The Economist ~ How protestors evade digital censorship
Government censorship in the face of unrest is nothing new. And as social media become an increasingly important tool in the protestor’s arsenal, some governments have responded by tightening their grip on the internet. So how do protestors evade digital censorship?
First, protesters are using new, or newer technology than that of the governments trying to muffle them. Hong Kong’ s protestors are using an app called “FireChat” to work around China’s control of the web. The application uses direct Bluetooth links between handsets in a crowd, meaning protestors can still communicate via messages and forums, even without a mobile network or access to other forms of social media.
Second, tech savvy protestors in Turkey used VPNs – Virtual Private Networks. These allow users to mask the address of their devices, meaning they seem to be wherever the VPN provider is. Now that the user appears to be located somewhere like Indianapolis instead of Istanbul, they can access Twitter and other banned sites when the government has blocked local access.
Another technology called Tor, goes a step further. Tor anonymises users by bouncing their traffic through a network of volunteer computers. In the days following the contested 2009 election in Iran, the number of people using Tor to protect their online identity surged. Originally funded by the US government, some people (like Edward Snowden) also use it to evade surveillance by the very government that helped launch it.
The web was built to be fault-tolerant – information is simply re-routed if the network is tampered with. As unrest unfolds around the world, people and social networks are upholding that same idea.
For more multimedia content from The Economist visit our website: http://econ.st/1xzDu0y