What is the Future of Public Access to Information in the Mobile Phone Era?

Access to information has been part of the development discussion since the Internet arrived. Previously, many saw community telecenters as the way to bring technology to the developing world. Yet telecenters are not sustainable without donor funding and the concept of public access hasn’t kept pace with advancing technology.

The global penetration of mobile phones calls into question the need for public Internet access at all. Until you realize that mobile devices are limited in functionality and there is more development information than is convenient for a phone screen – such as government open data and transparency initiatives.
Telecenter in Senegal
So the question remains: how can people participate? It is time to reconsider the question of public access. What works today? What makes most sense for the future?

We will explore the need for public access to information as a part of development and new approaches to provide it with two thought leaders on the subject:

  • Sandra Fried, a program officer in the Global Libraries program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Catalina Escobar, director of Makaia, which is involved in the Digital Medellin project.

Please join your Technology Salon™ colleagues for this conversation at the next Technology Salon in Washington, DC:

What is the Future of Public Access to Information?
November Technology Salon
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
UN Foundation
1800 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC

We’ll have hot coffee and Krispe Kreme donuts for a morning rush, but seating is limited and the UN Foundation is in a secure building. So RSVP ASAP to be confirmed for attendance or you are on the waitlist.

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