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
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
- Copyright and intellectual property is used as a tool for
censorship and as a way of restricting the public’s access to vital
- “Need a different structure of copyright, so the natural instincts
about how you use creative work don’t also constitute ‘piracy’” (L.
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
- “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
- 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.
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
- Consider the range of IP form protected and expensive commodities to free and shared creative commons?
- What are fair use values?