Bangladesh Introduces ‘Smart’ National Identity Cards

On October 2, the Bangladeshi government inaugurated Smart National ID cards (NID) as part of their Digital Bangladesh initiative, aiming to distribute the cards to 100 million people in Bangladesh. The NID cards replace existing laminated cards used by the Election Commission, but they have many other functions. Banking, passport details, driving licenses, trade licenses, tax[…]

Data Privacy in South Korea: Can Legislation Transform Protection of Personal Information?

South Korea’s Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”), promulgated in 2011 and subsequently amended, has been described as the “most innovative” and “toughest” data privacy law in Asia. PIPA is designed to ensure individual agency over personal information, bring transparency to data collection practices, and empower regulators and the courts to hold collectors and users of[…]

Tech Criticism is Critical to Understanding Digital Asia

There has never been a greater need for critical discussion of technology and society in Asia. Everything from ethics in artificial intelligence, to consolidating social platform dynamics, to smart cities development and mobile penetration, to local start up innovation and global governance and policy issues—these trends all pose opportunities and challenges to the way we[…]

IANA Transition: a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes?

In March 2014, the US Government committed to ending its contract with ICANN to run the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and also announced that it would hand over control to the “global multistakeholder community”. The conditions for this handover were that the changes must be developed by stakeholders across the globe, with broad community[…]

Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Development Dialogue

The Internet Society (ISOC) Asia-Pacific Bureau, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UN ESCAP) organised the ‘Asia-Pacific Regional Internet and Development Dialogue’ (RIDD), in Bangkok, Thailand from 3-4 October 2016. The overall theme of the event was “The Internet of Opportunity: Building a sustainable future through an[…]

Digital Shanzhai: Connected Manufacturing, Memes and Our Hardware Future

I’ve become fascinated as of late by the manufacturing culture in Shenzhen and, having studied different aspects of Chinese Internet meme culture, I was interested specifically in the role of the Internet in the context of manufacturing. This interest is both academic and pragmatic—as a software product manager myself, I was also interested in what[…]

Why the internet matters: a talk by Jonathan Zittrain

In a salutation to the newly-named Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and a salute to the new and old members of the community, co-founder and Harvard Law School professor Jonathan Zittrain asked his audience during a talk last week, “Why does the internet matter?” The answer, it seems, quite fittingly parallels the history,[…]

WhatsApp Backtracks on Privacy, Faces Legal Hurdles

In February 2014, Facebook purchased WhatsApp for a whooping $19 billion. This deal came under scrutiny from various privacy advocates. They questioned if the standards of privacy and security of communication on WhatsApp would be maintained post acquisition. WhatsApp reassured users of its commitment to privacy through a blog post titled ‘Setting the record straight’.[…]

Chinese Apps Find Familiar Market in India

With years of experience catering to budget users with entry-level phones, Chinese app-makers are taking on the Indian smartphone market and its hundreds of millions of new customers. Ajinkya Kolwankar, 25 and self-employed in Mumbai, recently deleted the Facebook app on his phone in favour of UC Browser, an app made by a subsidiary of Chinese[…]