[AfrICANN-discuss] [NEWS:] Google Hires Crowdsourcing Guru to Manage Africa Policy

Cedric Laurant cedric at laurant.org
Thu Jan 6 01:06:51 SAST 2011


>Google Hires Crowdsourcing Guru to Manage Africa Policy
>BY E.B. BoydMon Jan 3, 2011
>Ory OkollohMuch of the coverage of Google focuses on its domestic 
>priorities--its rivalries with Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook, its 
>friendship with Verizon, its interest in net neutrality. But less 
>well covered has been the tech giant's efforts overseas, 
>particularly its focus in the past few years on expanding Internet 
>usage in places where it trails, like Africa and the Middle East. 
>Google just scored a coup in moving those efforts forward--by hiring 
>Ushahidi's founder and director to become its manager of policy in 
>You may know Ushahidi as the open-source platform for crowdsourcing 
>information, created following the 2007 Kenyan elections as a way 
>for people to report incidents of violence. The woman behind it was 
>33-year-old Ory Okolloh, a Harvard-trained lawyer who had previously 
>created a site to monitor corruption in the Kenyan legislature.
>Though she's most famous for her work on Ushahidi, Okolloh has also 
>worked as a corporate lawyer for an organization that supports 
>entrepreneurs in South Africa. She once turned down a six-figure gig 
>at Covington and Burlington because, she told a TED audience, her 
>passion lay in her home continent, and that was where she was needed.
>Neither Google nor Okolloh would comment on the appointment, but 
>Okolloh told ReadWriteWeb that she'll be "working to get more people 
>online and policies favorable to that, also (cultivate) support for 
>local content and an environment which supports innovation." On her 
>own blog, Kenyan Pundit, Okolloh said: "The role will involve 
>developing policy/strategies on a number of areas of relevance to 
>Google and the Internet in Africa and will involve working with 
>different parties including government leaders, policy makers, 
>regulators, industry groups and so on."
>Google's interest in Africa is not new. Its Google Africa Blog 
>launched in the summer of 2008, it developed tools designed for the 
>unique needs of people living in the sub-continent, and it's tried 
>to spur the development of "locally relevant digital content." And 
>last year it began its G-Africa Initiative for software developers, 
>marketing professionals, and entrepreneurs.
>Still, connectivity in Africa trails that of other continents, with 
>little more than 5% of the population online as of three years ago. 
>Which means Okolloh will have her work cut out for her. Indeed, when 
>asked by the Guardian recently where the web will have the most 
>impact in the next 10 years, Okolloh answered, "No question: Africa."
Cedric Laurant, Esq.
Attorney at Law (DC-USA) - Independent Consultant (Brussels, Belgium)
Senior Research Fellow, Center for Media and Communication Studies
Central European University (Budapest, Hungary)
Legal Researcher, Interdisciplinary Center for law & ICT (ICRI)
University of Louvain (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
<cedric -at- laurant [dot] org> - Skype: cedrichl
Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cedriclaurant
Blogs: http://blog.cedriclaurant.org - http://blog.security-breaches.com
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