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Colombia's Festival on the Value of Data in Development

The Cartagena Data Festival has just wrapped up in Cartagena, Colombia. The festival is an international event committed to discussing data deployment for human development and related topics, like open data, data journalism, big data, and other analysis tools.

The festival, which ran from April 20 to April 22 and took place in downtown Cartagena, attracted more than 500 participants and reporters from around the world. Several groups played an organizing role, including the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Population Fund, the ODI Development ProgressCentro Europeo de Pensamiento Estratégico InternacionalAfrica Gathering, and others.

Archived webcast footage from the event is available online, and social media content about the festival can be found searching for the hashtag #data2015.

Cartagena Data Festival - Día 1 // Foto: Helkin René Díaz CEPEI, con autorización

Cartagena Data Festival, Day 1. Photo: Helkin René Díaz CEPEI, used permission

What Does Hacking Education Mean?

Pedro Muller reflects on the lapse of the school system, an institution he says meant for a different historical context. In this regard, he notes the importance of two similar, but at the same time different, concepts: “to study” and “to be educated”:

El educar se va más allá de memorizarse un par de nombres y olvidarlos al siguiente día, consiste en aprender tener la curiosidad de preguntarse qué hay detrás de lo obvio, es adquirir habilidades, ejercitar tu pensamiento lateral un pensamiento divergente o como muchos dicen “fuera de la caja”, educarse también es crear y hacer convertir nada en algo, innovar.

Nosotros aprendemos mejor en grupo es parte de nuestra naturaleza, discutir, pensar y reflexionar sobre un tema en específico sacar conclusiones, como muchos dicen la mejor manera de educarse es aprender.

To be educated goes beyond memorizing a couple of names and forgetting them the next day. It is about having an inquisitive mind and wondering about what hides behind the obvious, it is to acquire skills, to exercise your lateral thinking, a divergent thinking that many call “thinking outside of the box”. To be educated is also about learning to be creative and innovative.

We learn better in groups; it is part of our nature to discuss, think and reflect on a specific topic and draw conclusions. It is said that the best way to became educated is to learn.

Muller invites readers to watch the following English-language video, wherein Logan LaPlante talks about the concept of ​​”hacking education” or “hackschooling”, which refers to the process of learning as a group experience, based on trial and error and, above all, the importance of creativity.

Continue reading Muller's post here, or follow him on Twitter.

This post was part of the 46th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on March 23, 2015.

Mexican Women Are Being Called on to Help Transform Their Portrayal in Mexican Media

WACC, SocialTIC, WITNESS, La Sandía Digital, and Subversiones have called on women interested in telling the stories of strong women in their communities with the purpose of changing the way women are represented in the media.

As one of the representatives of the project told Global Voices, in Mexican media there is not only a lack of production and distribution of content produced by women, but lack of nuanced content, which only serves to replicate dominant stereotypes that do not reflect or promote diversity.

Voces de Mujeres, fotografía extraída del Perfil de Facebook de SocialTIC, utilizada con autorización

Women's Voices. Photo take from SocialTIC's Facebook page. Used with permission.

What does the project consist of? 

The project consists of an audiovisual laboratory caravan where women will learn about photography, video, and text creation. The laboratory caravan will last six months, holding four three-day sessions in different Mexican communities during May, June, July, and August.

What are the participation requirements? 

Women must be 18 and over, residing in central Mexico, involved in community projects, capable of dedicating 8 hours a week from May to September, available for travel during the scheduled dates, commited to sharing with the commuity what has been learned, and have access to a portable computer. Twenty applicants will be chosen.

The registration period for this project expired on March 27, 2015. Organizers are selecting the eligible entries from the ones received from all over Mexico and will soon publish the results. If any questions or inquiries please direct it to voces.mujeres@gmail.com.

Mexican Group Receives International Journalism Recognition Julio Anguita Parrado

Periodistas de a Pie (@periodistasdeapie), an active journalist organization that aims to raise the quality of journalism in Mexico, received the International Journalism Award Julio Anguita Parrado in Spain.

Through training and exchanging investigation techniques, experiences, reporting strategies, narrative styles and ways of approaching a story with colleagues, the group aims to challenge censorship.

The dean of the University of Córdoba and mayor hand out the 8th Julio Anguita Parrado Award.

Elia Baltazar, a member of Periodistas de a Pie, said in an interview that journalism in her country has recognition only from some sectors. We can see evidence of that in the impunity that exists when it comes to journalists being killed.

“Los que hemos elegido esta profesión no pretendemos cambiar nada sino informar para que sean los ciudadanos quienes tomen las decisiones para cambiar las cosas. Queremos una sociedad abierta, donde los periodistas podamos cumplir nuestra labor sin arriesgarnos porque una sociedad mejor informada va a ser una sociedad que tome mejores decisiones”, apunta.

Those of us who've chosen this profession don't pretend to change anything, just to inform so the citizens can be the ones who make the decisions to change things. We want an open society, where journalists might be able to fulfill out work without risks, because a better informed society will be a society that makes better decisions.

The jury of the 8th Julio Anguita Parrado Award, named after the Spanish journaist that passed away ten years ago while covering the war in Irak, valued the “informative work, silent, without showing off, carried out by communicators in absolute heroic circumstances, in a place where their ives and integrity are under constant threat”.

Finally, a Mobile App for Geolocated News in Latin America

FACTICO is the first mobile media designed in Latin America to geolocate information. But, what is app all about?

FACTICO es la aplicación de noticias e información más innovadora y atractiva de América Latina. Nuestras notas son compactas y fáciles de leer, y todos nuestros contenidos están georreferenciados. La información más importante del día y los mejores eventos están en FACTICO.

FACTICO is the most innovative and attractive app of news and information in Latin America. Our news are compact and easy to read, and all our contents are georeferenced. The most important news of the day and the best events are at FACTICO.

Bellow there is an example of how FACTICO Mexico works:

Everything happens in Mexico City. We provide the map, you provide the passion. 

In their manifest,o the creators of FACTICP state who they are and what they expect:

Somos lxs que creímos la promesa de la pluralidad en los medios y terminamos viendo la censura explícita y velada. Pero aprendimos a hackear el problema […]

Somos lxs que hemos salido a las calles a observar, a documentar lo que pasa en esta región del mundo poco entendida. Y por eso sabemos que no estamos solos.

Somos lxs que estamos cansados de las “historias oficiales”, de las declaraciones sin sustancia y de los replicadores del discurso que no cuestionan, que no preguntan.

Somos lxs que no aceptamos que se nos diga “ustedes no existen; sus ideas no importan; bajen la voz.”

Estamos aquí. Existimos.

Y estamos diciendo algo.

 Porque nunca como hoy ha existido más gente conectada, con ansias de conocer, saber y cambiar la manera de hacer las cosas.

Porque trabajamos e innovamos en red. Colaboramos. Mapeamos. Documentamos. Observamos. Damos contexto. Y no dejamos de experimentar.

We are the ones who believed in the promise ofmedia plurality and ended up seeing explicit and veiled censorship. But we learned to hack the problem […]

We are the ones who went out into the streets to observe, to document what happens in this poorly understood part of the world. And it is for that reason that we know we are not alone.

We are the ones who are tired of “official stories”, of insubstantial statements and of echo chambers that don't question speech. 

We are the ones who do not accept being told “you do not exist, your ideas do not matter, lower your voices.”

We are here. We exist. And we are saying something. Because there have never been so many people connected as today, wanting to know, to find out and to change the way of doing things.

Because we work and innovate online. Collaborate. Map. Document. Observe. Provide context. And we do not stop to experiment.

Keep up with news about the app via the hashtag #FacticoTeAcerca (FACTICO brings you closer), and download the app here, available for Android and iOS.

Are Blogs an Endangered Species?

This text is part of the 46th #LunesDeBlogsGV (#MondayBlogsOnGlobalVoices) on March 23, 2015.

On #LunesDeBlogsGV (#MondayOfBlogsOnGlobalVoices), we work to preserve blogs as an “endangered species”, confronting the challenges that threaten their existence in today's digital jungle. In a similar effort, the blogger Iván Lasso compiles stories about the future of blogging and the problems bloggers face today, when their content runs the risk of being lost in the abundance of different types and quality levels of information on the Internet. The situation bloggers increasingly find online, Lasso argues, is approaching a “David and Goliath” situation.

Lasso says of the biggest issues for bloggers today:

A raíz de la popularización de la web, de unos años para acá hay mucha más audiencia potencial disponible. Pero sospecho que gran parte de esa audiencia nunca podría ser tuya (tuya, mía… de blogs pequeños, vamos). Es audiencia que acude a la red en busca de simple entretenimiento y que si quiere información más “dura”, acude a los medios tradicionales que ahora ya están en la web.

In recent years, following the popularity of the Web, there is a much larger audience available. But I suspect that much of this audience will never be yours. Its's an audience that comes to the Net looking for simple entertainment and when they want more “hard” information, they go to the traditional mainstream media which is also on the Web.

Lasso also offers some solutions for the challenges bloggers face:

Hoy día, para que un blog independiente alcance un cierto grado de éxito (reconocimiento, reputación y visitas) debe convertirse en un rayo láser que apunte a aquello en lo que quiere destacar:
¿Quieres dar noticias? Tienes que darlas lo antes posible, más rápido que nadie.
¿Quieres hacer análisis u opinión? Tienes que profundizar más que nadie.
¿Quieres ser didáctico? Tienes que explicar mejor que nadie. Y también con más detalle que nadie.

Nowadays, for an independent blog to have a certain degree of success (recognition, reputation, and views), you must become a laser beam focused on what readers want:

  • You want to report news? You must give it them as soon as possible, faster than anyone.
  • You want to offer analysis and points of view? You must go deeper than anyone.
  • You want to be instructional? You have to explain things better than anyone. And be more specific than anyone.

Continue reading Ivan Lasso's post here, and follow him on Twitter.

 This text is part of the 46th #LunesDeBlogsGV (#MondayOfBlogsOnGlobalVoices) on March 23, 2015.

Protecting Personal Data in Argentina Is a Work in Progress

Cloud Computing - Photo by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Cloud Computing – Photo by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

In an article for online magazine Digital Rights: Latin America & The Caribbean, No.21Argentinean lawyer Valeria Milanés explains that even though the United States is a world leader in data processing, it does not have legislation for the protection of personal data. The US is also considered to have “an inadequate level of protection in relationship to national and international standards.”

Unfortunately, in North America and other countries, the evolution of technology has outpaced the development of legal regimes intended to govern their use. Milanés explains the case of Argentina and mentions National Directorate for Personal Data Protection and the Law of Personal Data, D.N.P.D.P., (Laws 25.326 and 26.343), which is among the “most advanced on the issue of data protection.” The problems lie in its implementation:

…en 2012, y luego de doce años de funcionamiento, la D.N.P.D.P. tenía registradas 20.000 bases de datos, contra 1.600.000 que tenía registradas a la misma fecha y en similar plazo la Agencia Española de Protección de Datos.

…in 2012, after twelve years in service, the D.N.P.D.P. had registered 20,000 databases, compared with 1,600,000 databases registered by that date and within the same period with the Spanish Data Protection Agency.

Milanés says that cloud computing presents new challenges:

…las grandes empresas multinacionales prestadoras de los servicios de nube pública se caracterizan por utilizar contratos de adhesión, que por lo general no contienen las especificaciones requeridas en la ley 25.326 y en los que hasta la ley aplicable y jurisdicción prefijada corresponde al país en los que estas empresas tienen sus domicilios legales –por lo general, ciudades de Estados Unidos–. Es más, inclusive los servidores en los que se almacena la información pueden no encontrarse en Argentina.

…large multinational public cloud service providers are known for using adhesion contracts, which generally do not contain specifications established by Law 25.326 and in which the applicable law and predetermined jurisdiction are that of the country where these companies are legally domiciled, mainly US cities. Furthermore, even the servers that store the information are sometimes not in Argentina.

Thus, the Argentinean experience is no different from other countries in the region, who despite having laws protecting the personal data of individuals and corporations still have a long way to go.

Milanés concludes that the issue needs “actions towards effective implementation and compliance with current laws and adoption of responsible and sound business practices to allow, to the extent possible, for personal data privacy and security guarantees to be preserved.”

Caracas #SmartCityHack Proposes Solutions to People's Problems

The Venezuelan edition of the Hackathon Smart Cities took place in Caracas from 6 to 8 March, 2015. Don't you know what a hackathon is? If so, read this post!

The #SmartCityHack event was simultaneously organized in 27 cities by Global Datafest.

5 histories from behind  #SmartCityHack Caracas showing that where there is a will, there is a way

The Venezuelan edition, organized by SDI Innovation and Wayra accelerator, yielded positive results, serving as inspiration for innovative projects aiming to improve citizens’ quality of life. Estefanía Salazar, a Global Voices contributor, wrote a review of the event for the Spanish-language website Komunumo, highlighting some of these projects:

- CCSMoveOn: es un “Waze” del transporte público. Permite al usuario generar rutas con su teléfono inteligente, con la posibilidad de enviar alertas por SMS sobre posibles eventualidades.

- Compártelo: es un sistema de referencias para Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas basadas en recomendaciones cara a cara.

- Caracas CityCare: Conecta problemas urbanos con propuestas de solución en una misma interfaz.

- Favor x Favor: sistema para favorecer el intercambio gratuito de servicios y bienes entre vecinos de una comunidad.

- Identidad en Línea: sistema de nube para facilitar la difusión encriptada de información y procesamiento de documentación de usuarios de servicios públicos o privados.

- Iniciativa Yokoima: comunidad de intercambio de información y servicios interesados en la recuperación del río Yokoima en la ciudad de Upata (estado Bolívar) […]

- CCSMoveOn: “Waze” for public transport, allowing the user to generate routes using a smartphone, with the ability to send SMS alerts about possible eventualities.

- Share it: a reference system for small and medium-size businesses based on face-to-face recommendations.

- Caracas CityCare: Connects urban issues with proposed solutions in a single interface.

- Favor x Favor: a system that encourages free exchange of goods and services between community members.

- Online Identity: a cloud system to facilitate the spread of encrypted information and process public or private user’s documentation.

- Yokoima Initiative: an information and service exchange community aiming to recover the Yokoima River in the city of Upata (Bolivar state) […]

He Stole, Was Caught, Asked for Forgiveness and Was Forgiven

Captuira de pantalla de video en YouTube del usuario KDNA15TV.

Screenshot of video on YouTube posted by user KDNA15TV.

He had probably thought it would be easy to steal some shampoo from the owner of a store in Peru, but things went bad for this thief.

The man and his accomplice entered a store in the Peruvian city of Huancayo, saying they were buying some liquor, and when the owner was distracted, they took a box of shampoo. The owner noticed what had happened and asked for help from security guards. To prevent the situation from escalating, one of the thieves knelt down to ask for forgiveness. The owner, a woman, was so moved by this reaction that she didn't press charges. The accomplice also benefited, although he didn't ask for forgiveness.

The guy claimed he will never again commit an act like this one.

The blog Noticias Huancayo Perú summed it up:

Se arrodilló y pidió perdón a la anciana manifestando que era la última vez que robaría. La agraviada […] al aceptar sus súplicas del ladrón negó en denunciar el hecho.

He knelt down and begged the old lady for forgiveness, claiming it would be the last time he'd steal. The affected lady […] while accepting the thief's pleas, refused to report the incident.

User KDNA15TV posted a video with the events:

Thief got forgiveness after kneeling down for stealing a box of shampoo. Along with his accomplice…

Mocking Ecuador’s President Can Cost You Online Anonymity

Imagen del autor, utilizada con autorización.

Image by the author, used with permission.

The public battle between social media satirists Crudo Ecuador and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa continues. 

Que soy financiado, pagado a tiempo completo, que tengo un software de inteligencia, que soy parte de la restauración conservadora, y todos mis otros “secretos”… escúchelos aquí :)

Posted by Crudo Ecuador on Saturday, January 17, 2015

That I am funded, paid for full-time work, I have intelligence software, I'm part of the conservative restoration, and all my other “secrets” … listen to them here :)

After sending a threatening gift of flowers and exposing the individuals behind Crudo Ecuador, however, the Internet satirists surrendered, using the hashtag #UstedGanó (#YouWon).

Bueno señores, hasta aquí llegó todo.Gracias a todos los que moralmente me apoyaron en este proyecto, pero no puedo…

Posted by Crudo Ecuador on Thursday, February 19, 2015

Well, gentlemen, everything's come to this. Thanks to everyone who supported me morally in this project, but I can not …

On February 25, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights posted a statement urging the Ecuadorian government to protect the rights of the individuals behind Crudo Ecuador, as well as their families’ rights.

Además, la Relatoría Especial recuerda que “[t]anto el derecho a la libertad de pensamiento y expresión como el derecho a la vida privada protegen al discurso anónimo frente a restricciones estatales. La participación del debate público sin revelar la identidad del emisor es una práctica usual en las democracias modernas. La protección del discurso anónimo favorece la participación de la personas en el debate público ya que –al no revelar su identidad— pueden evitar ser objeto de represalias injustas por el ejercicio de un derecho fundamental”.

Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur highlights “the right to freedom of thought and expression, as well as the right to privacy and anonymity against state restrictions. Participating in public debates without revealing one's identity is a common practice in modern democracies. The protection of anonymous speech cultivates individuals’ participation in public debates, as concealing their identity can protect them against unfair retaliations for exercising their fundamental rights.”

Nationally, few civil-society organizations have joined the Manifesto for the Freedom of Expression, Anonymity, and Online Privacy in Ecuador, though several international organizations have signed.

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