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Thursday, 5 May, 2022 - 10:44

Mobile SIM registration linked to digital ID is causing exclusion of marginalised groups, and concerns about privacy in the absence of sufficient legal safeguards, especially in nations with a history of abuse by authorities.
 
In recent weeks, millions of Nigerians have been barred from making calls after the government instructed telecommunications providers to disconnect their SIM cards because they failed to comply with the government directive to register and link them to their digital ID, known as the National Identity Number (NIN).
 
Most countries in Africa – 50 nations according to research by Privacy International - and around the world require SIM registration to identify the user.  However, Nigeria has gone further by requiring SIM cards to be registered and linked with a citizen’s digital ID, and therefore with the biometric data that it contains. Nigeria is not alone in doing this: some 30 countries globally require SIM registration linked to digital ID including biometric data such as fingerprints or facial images.
 
Such a registration policy excludes many marginalised groups such as some ethnic minorities or migrant workers without ID proof such as a birth certificates, needed to obtain a digital ID. This locks them out from obtaining a SIM - and therefore from mobile connectivity - and from government services that increasingly require mobile or internet service to access.
 
Secondly, SIM registration...

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Cheat Sheet on ICTs & SDGs

Last month I did some research on the role of ICTs in pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals and I thought that it might be useful to share some of those links here as an open resource. Hat tip to Anand Sheombar and to Linda Raftree for their help to me along the way.

ICT Access is NOT equal to Development

Last week I was swotting up on ICTs in the Sustainable Development Goals for an interview.

I noticed how the SDGs that mention ICTs set targets for access rather than for any development outcomes that access might contribute to.

Information is NOT Power

We are often told that information is power - and that by extension – access to information is empowerment.

Critical Agency in ICT4D

Amartya Sen argues that “critical agency is important in combating inequality of every kind” and that it is 'pivotal' to human development.

A Buddhist Philosophy of ICT4D?

Given his philosophy of interconnectedness, the Buddha might be reduced to smiling compassionately at the technologically deterministic claims of some ICT4D folk that their ICT is the sole cause of a particular development outcome.

The Invisible Hand(set) & Mackerel Economics

“Mobile Phones Promote Economic Growth” was the simple, technologically deterministic claim made by The Economist in 2007, citing as evidence Robert Jensen's now famous study of mobile phone adoption in India. In the single most cited piece of research in

Open Source ICT4D can be Sustainable and Free

Wayan Vota wrote a great blogpost this week on whether the goals of sustainability and using open source ICT4D are compatible within the context of international development. It is a stimulating and thoughtful piece.

25 ICT4D Conferences in 2016

This is my latest attempt at sketching out a calendar of ICT4D conferences scheduled for 2016. Thanks especially to Laurent Straskraba, Edgar Nsheega and to Richard Heeks and Larry Stillman for suggesting additions.

Should all ICT4D be Commodified?

Alex Deng from Huawei's Corporate Sustainable Development Committee has posted a stimulating article on the Harvard Business Review site. In it he argues that to really help the global poor we must create technology that they’ll pay for.

Join the Founding Team at UNU-CS

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will know that as soon as I finish the final (?) revisions on my PhD this September I am moving to Macau.

UN University Computing and Society (UNU-CS) Research Fellowships

The United Nations University is recruiting Research Fellows for its new Institute on Computing and Society - UNU-CS - in Macau.

It's Not About the Technology Stupid!

I'm busy reading Kentaro Toyama's new book Geek Heresy.

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