Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tunis: WSIS and WSA, part 5

The WSA Gala was overwhelming. It was presented by Peter and Manar, the national expert for Kuwait, and a WSA Grand Jury member of 2005. At 25 years, she owns her own company Dot design. She presents a computer program on Kuwait television and set up a program to familiarise school pupils with computers and internet. She did a fine job with the show. The hall was crammed with people and as the hall was connected to the exhibition floor, there was a steady flow of people moving in and out.

When the e-Government category came up, the Dutch winner Noterik Multimedia was on stage with the president of Latvia, HE Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Of course the Noterik people made a video of the occasion. After the Gala the Dutch winners and myself had a nice dinner close to the hotel (no wine, no beer; just water or water with bubbles.
Telecom Austria recorded the Gala, streamed it and archived the video.

This morning I had breakfast with Christine Maxwell, one of the former ISOC chairpersons. She is a colleague of mine on the board of World Summit Award. She in fact was the founder of the first search engine on Internet, Magelhaen, a real intelligent system, that could not sustain the labourintensive workpractice. But she will be back with a search engine next year; one that is not based on Boolean operators (and, or and not) like Google is, but on semantics. As for the search potential, she said, it can blow Google out of the water. So keep tabs on her and her companies.

Christine (in the middle) listening to a presentation

I also asked her about the WSIS as a process. On the issue of governance she is rather explicit. Do not let politicians get their hands on internet. The present cry to move governance from ICANN to the UN, in casu the International Telecom Union (ITU), is not a good idea, she said. First of all, the present attitude against the States is due to its present people in power and their policies. Having ITU overlook internet also means that politics comes into play. Thirdly, China and Brazil are not after internationalising internet, but after controlling the in- and outflow of information. She is very strong on keeping ICANN in place.

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