Media & Technology

The media play an important role as information mediators in today's world, occupying an important space where  public debates about national and international issues take place. SACSIS seeks to understand the role and the impact of the mainstream media in achieving public interest journalism.

Biometric Smart ID Cards: Dumb Idea

Picture credit: Usability Geek Jane Duncan - Mauritius is known to South Africans mainly as a holiday destination, brimming with idyllic beaches, luxurious hotels and stunning scenery. However, there are other, less well-known ties that bind the two countries together. At the moment, both countries are introducing ‘smart’ ID cards, requiring their citizens to give biometric information to the government in the form of their fingerprints, to establish their legal identities. This information will also be recorded in...

Anger Follows Facebook's Secret Study to Manipulate Emotions

Picture credit: geralt/Pixabay Jon Queally - New details surrounding how Facebook allowed academic researchers to conduct a secret experiment on nearly 700,000 of its users to determine if digital manipulation of their emotions could be achieved has spurred widespread condemnation and new fears about the power of such systems when turned against the millions of people who use them on a daily basis. The experiment in question, which sought to document evidence of a "massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,"...

Ecuador Takes First Step Towards a Commons Economy

Picture credit: President Rafael Correa of Equador has urged young people to fight for an open knowledge society - picture courtesy Top News. David Bollier - In 2013, the government of Ecuador launched a major strategic research project to “fundamentally re-imagine Ecuador” based on the principles of open networks, peer production and commoning.  Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation would be leading the research team for the next ten months, and seeking to “remake the roots of Ecuador’s economy, setting off a transition into a society of free and open knowledge.”  The announcement of the project...

The Net We Want

Picture credit: answermug.com Jane Duncan - One year ago today, The Guardian newspaper published National Security Agency (NSA) spy Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance in the US. Digital activists are marking this day by launching a ‘reset the net’ campaign to encourage internet users to take back the internet from the spies and to make it secure for use: a campaign that has received Snowden’s endorsement. Other forums have taken place recently, focussing on the broader principles that should...

Cellphone Pricing Wars: Regulation Matters, but Ownership Matters More

Picture credit: Greg Laden Jane Duncan - Most South Africans are aware of the public spat between South Africa’s largest cellphone operators, MTN and Vodacom, on the one hand, and the smaller cellphone operators and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on the other. The spat relates to Icasa’s attempt to bring down the cost of communications by gradually reducing the Mobile Termination Rates, or interconnection rates, through regulations. These are the rates that one network operator...

The ICT Policy Review: Where Is the Boldness of Vision?

Picture credit: Movies-n-Posters Jane Duncan - Sick and tired of too much foreign content on television and too much political meddling in the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)? Fed up with some of the most exploitative communications costs in the world? Well, now is your opportunity to say and do something out these problems, in theory at least. The Department of Communications is reviewing all policies impacting on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and Parliament intends to review the laws as well. This...