Article 1 :
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Read Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) Article 19 Right to Communicate, available in eReserves.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Gendered Perspectives Reading Notes
Read Gendered Perspectives on the Digital Divide, available in eReserves.
The authors present “a study that examined undergraduate students enrolled in an IT-focused program in a Kenyan university. The purpose of the study was to understand and explain gendered perspectives in three topical areas: 1) the digital divide; 2) motivations for enrolling in IT-focused education program; and 3) career expectations upon completion of the program. To gain insights into these three topical areas, the researchers conducted interviews with 32 female and 31 male students. The methodology that guided these interviews as well as the findings and their implications for IT education are presented.” (256)
Authors situate their study in the “extant literature on gender in IT education, gender in the IT workforce, and the digital divide.” (256)
Numbers of women earning undergraduate degrees in computer science and engineering are significantly less than might be expected from their representation in the population. This under-representation can be partially explained by the following impediments that many women face in their STEM educational and career paths.
- A lack of role models and networking opportunities
- An education gap, coupled with the digital gap
- A lack of access to a technology-related career
- A lack of commitment from industry and academe
- The perception of IT as a white male career
“Despite these challenges, formal STEM training and access to technology resources can be found at the elementary and secondary levels, and in institutions of higher education. The availability of formal STEM education in sub-Saharan Africa, however, may be more challenging due to infrastructure and economic development issues” (256)
Conclusions and Discussion
“When discussing the digital divide, students situated their individual educational outcomes in the broader social structures. In doing so, they expressed dualistic thinking that presented binary opposites such as Western/African nations, skilled/unskilled, presence/absence of IT, old/young, advanced/behind, urban/rural, and new/old technology. These binary categories largely mirror those found in the digital divide discourse of Western nations. Perhaps this is because both developed and developing nations must contend with systemic inequities associated with human differences based on geographic location, gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class. To produce compassionate IT professionals equipped with the analytic and technical skills to develop solutions that facilitate development and redress the digital divide, IT education programs should include course modules and learning activities that raise students’ awareness of ethics, social responsibility and civic engagement. There is evidence, for instance, that globalization has given women in developing regions greater opportunities to partake in formal education and work in STEM-related disciplines.
Morgan, Heeks, and Arun (22) reported that the United Nations placed access to IT as the third most important issue facing women globally, after poverty and violence against women.
Access to IT and its potential role in reducing the income gap between men and women has also been documented in tele-education initiatives in sub-Saharan African nations.
This study examined gender perspectives on the digital divide and IT workforce and education in Kenya. Through interviews with 32 female and 31 male students enrolled at a four-year university in Kenya, the authors found that students advocated for IT skills and competencies to enhance the economic development of the nation and to further their individual careers. However, their narratives revealed the unique challenges to deriving value from IT in Kenya. To overcome these challenges, national policies are needed to facilitate the growth of the IT sector and promote gender equity, and the capacity of organizations to leverage and develop the IT workforce.
Kvasny, L., Payton, F., Mbarika, V., Amadi, A., & Meso, P. (2008). Gendered perspectives on the digital divide, IT education, and workforce participation in Kenya. IEEE Transactions on Education, 51(2), 256-261
Freedom of Expression Film Notes
Watch Freedom of Expression. (61 minutes).
- Corporations control our information systems, the information on which we rely as citizens, responsible to each other for the political decisions we make.
Free Speech in the Age of Copyright
- Fair and Balanced trademark Intellectual Property Case: Franken vs Fox News.
- Copyright Law based on US Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 “To promote the progress of science and useful arts” for limited times.
- Copyright and intellectual property is used as a tool for censorship and as a way of restricting the public’s access to vital information.
- “Need a different structure of copyright, so the natural instincts about how you use creative work don’t also constitute ‘piracy’” (L. Lessig)
Fencing the Cultural Commons
- “Copyright law is a bargain between the public and creators” (D. Bollier)
- Disney and others lobbied for the extension of copyright in law.
- Important question about copyright law is “Can we maintain a rich cultural commons and therefore a sense of cultural cohesion?”
- Folk music tradition is a great example of how previous works of art, music and culture can inform new vibrant creations. The public domain is important for folk musicians who borrow and rework old bits of melody and lyrics. This Land is Your Land story illustrates the public private domain controversy.
The Rise of the Clearance Culture
- Now unprecedented access to multimedia technology.
- The Clearance Culture is basically the assumption that copyright holders’ monopoly is absolute.
Suppressing the Freedom of Information
- “Pervasive notion that everything private is better than everything public.” (S. Vaidhyanathan)
- Problem of the enclosure of the commons, based on the false notion that private is more efficient. Case of Diebold voting machine problems, not revealed to the citizens based on patent and copyright proprietary information, using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Free Speech and Fair Use
- Important safeguard against overzealous copyright holders is legal doctrine, fair use which also protects the unlicensed reproduction of media.
- “Fair use of a copyrighted work for the purposes of criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research is not infringement of copyright” Copyright Law of the US, 1976 Copyright Act.
- Pretty Woman parody case was important legal case for fair use.
- Other examples discussed include Outfoxed and Dreamworlds.
- Documentary filmmakers organized around protection of their rights to fair use.
- Significant movement that resists the assaults on free expression is diverse and decentralized movement to protect fair use rights. Stay Free, led by teacher Carrie McLaren, illustrates how copyright law is affecting and limiting artists in “Illegal Art” exhibit.
- “Culture Jamming, interrupts the traditional relationship between product and consumer.” Tactics include generation of mock ads and media pranks to educate with often humorous and thought provoking parody and critique. Efforts include work by audio collective Negativeland, whose lawsuit became educational information about copyright and efforts to challenge.
- Art Mark (the yes men) created the Barbie Liberation Organization media prank. Kembrew McLeod sought and received trademark certificate for term Freedom of Expression.
- Creative Commons (cc) licenses create a more inclusive and diverse copyright environment.
- Free Culture.org engages students to organize, inform people of rights and encourage people to use their rights. Raises important questions to address the most basic First Amendment rights of citizens.
McLeod, K. & Smith, J. (Producers) (2007). Freedom of expression? Resistance and repression in the age of intellectual property. [Motion picture]. US: MEF.
Review and reflect on the readings and film issues. Consider these questions
- Do we need to achieve a democratic Information Age? What are the challenges?
- What policies can enhance education for use of the Internet and other digital
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT)?
- Can Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the right to communicate, be a tool for social networking and inclusion in the global cybersociety?
- What did Kvasny, et al., (2008) find about gender, IT education and IT digital divide?
- The film Freedom of Expression explores complex issues of intellectual property rights in cyberspace. What challenges and opportunities do digital intellectual property rights (IP) of information offer?
- Consider the range of IP form protected and expensive commodities to free and shared creative commons?
- What are fair use values?