Thursday, 21 August 2008

After being touched by this... It had to be posted!

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Early this morning, I received the sad news that my mother passed away after serious health complications last night. I am sending this message to you and many other people around the world because I promised my mother before she died to let everybody know that it wasn’t cancer that killed her, it was the occupation.
Yes, the Israeli occupation killed my mother, but this time not using missiles and tank rockets, this time using collective punishment and humiliation. Most of cancer (and other serious diseases) patients from Gaza go to Egypt for treatment because we don’t have the health infrastructure and latest technologies to do so in Gaza which is a result of the continues siege and control imposed by the Israelis over the Palestinian cities, especially Gaza. My mother was one of those patients who was diagnosed, at very early stages, with bone cancer and was supposed to go to Egypt for treatment early June 2006. Because of the collective punishment practices that Israel uses, nobody from Gaza was able to travel (in or out) to any place in the world for three months, because the Israelis control the borders. It was until August 25th that my mother was able to make it to Egypt.

During these three months, I and many other people inside and outside Palestine tried to talk to International and Human Rights Organizations and ask them to intervene and help in this humanitarian situation, unfortunately, all our and their appeals failed to change the situation or to make any special arrangements. All these requests were rejected by the occupiers. By the time my mother made it to Egypt, it was unfortunately a bit late because the cancer was rapidly growing in her body and at that stage; doctors didn?t have much to do but to try the chemotherapy and to see if it can help. Unfortunately, this didn’t help much and she peacefully passed away last night. My mother is not the only case, she is just one the cases that someone could talk about. In addition to the tens of people being killed by the Israelis everyday using traditional weapons, tens, if not hundreds, others die everyday because of lack of access to health services, because of movement restrictions imposed by the Israelis and the restrictions on entering medicine and health equipment to Gaza and other Palestinian cities.

Siege and movement restrictions don’t only separate patients from health services and facilities (even form local hospitals. Many women gave birth on the checkpoints and many others died before making it to the nearest hospital); they also separate students from schools and universities, believers and worshipers from mosques and churches, and families from seeing each others for many years. There are currently more than 500 checkpoints in the West Bank. 500 checkpoints in an area that is probably smaller than most of the cities in the U.S., its size is around 2000 sq miles and this area is currently surrounded by the new apartheid wall. These checkpoints separate villages, cities, refugee camps and sometimes neighborhoods in the same city. These are the same restrictions that made me unable to see my family in Gaza (when I was living in the West Bank) for more than 5 years, and even when I was here in the U.S. and wanted to go back and see my mother during the last 2 months, I also wasn?t able to go because the borders were still closed (Rafah border with Egypt, which is the only gate for Gazans to the world, was open only 6 days during the last 6 months). What really breaks my heart is not the fact that she died because it’s something that everybody will experience one day and I really have great faith in God that this may be better for her, what really makes me feel very sad is that, again, because of the occupation, I haven’t seen her for more than six years and that I wasn’t even able to see her for the last time and say goodbye. It also makes me feel very sad because one of the main motives for me to do the Ph.D. was my great mother. When I was six years old my cousin got his Ph.D. and when we were coming back from visiting him my mother asked me this question (probably she was joking at that time especially that I was very little and probably wouldn’t even know what the Ph.D. is, but I know she meant it), she asked me ?would you do it for me one day and get your Ph.D.?? I kept this in my mind all the time and I was always encouraged by her and her high spirit to succeed and to make it to Syracuse University to get my Ph.D. Unfortunately, she will not be able to see this day and to know that yes, I did it for her.

Goodbye my great mother, you were all the time the source of my inspiration and you will always be, even in your physical absence. May God have mercy on you and bless your soul mother. Friends and colleagues, unfortunately, our world is full of similar sad and unjustified cases of unfairness and humiliation, BUT always remember, we can always make a difference if we want. Think of it and see what you can do to make others live the same way you and your children live. Even a little change can make a difference.
Please don’t reply to this message, if you really want to support me and to do me and my mother a favor (I am sure she will appreciate it), please forward my message to as many people as possible, let them know, and encourage them to make a difference so we can save other lives and souls in the future.

Raed M. Sharif
Ph.D. Program in Information Science & Technology
337 Hinds Hall, School of Information Studies
Syracuse University,
Syracuse, NY

Friday, 4 April 2008


NEw Llaws for pedo's!

New proposals announced by the Government will prevent sex offenders using social-networking sites.

The plans mean the Government can reveal sex offenders' email addresses to sites like Facebook and Bebo, giving the sites the power to ban the offenders from chatting online.

The measures are intended to protect children from being contacted by sex offenders. Nearly half of children aged between eight and 17 have a profile on a social-networking site, according to a recent report by telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "We need to patrol the internet to keep predators away from children in the same way as we patrol the real world."

Shaun Kelly of children's charity NCH said the measures would add protection for children using the internet. "It will mean that those who have previously offended against children will be stopped from accessing certain websites and certain social networking sites that children and young people are known to use."

As well as Bebo and Facebook, the Home Office has been in talks with MySpace, Piczo and Yahoo. Smith added: "I have been very encouraged by the willingness of industry to actually work with us. They want children and young people to be safe when they're using their sites. They want to make sure people get the benefits whilst we minimise the risks."

About 30,000 sex offenders will be targeted under the new laws, according to the Home Office. Offenders who refuse to give their email address when asked, or who give a false one, face up to five years in jail.

The precise details of the scheme will be worked out by the government's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre and internet firms. One concern raised by internet security experts is how Ceop will prevent sex offenders using unregistered multiple email addresses.

PSA paper

Well I presented a paper at the PSA conference, Swansea on wednesday and it wasn't too bad.. the paper was titled "Internet Governance: Hows the future looking? with reference to the DNS" and as I am a new Blogger user i still am not sure how to upload the file :P... but if your interested i can always email it to anyone..

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Thai Foreign Minister to reopen Saudi gems scandal case

Thailand hoped to restore the former warm relations enjoyed with Saudi Arabia by concluding the 1980s gems scandal case and other cases believed link to the saga, according to Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama.

Mr. Noppadon met Saudi charge d'affaires Nadil H. Ashri who made a courtesy call on him at the ministry.

The foreign minister later told reporters he affirmed Thailand wanted to normalise diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia with the aim of re-establishing the Saudi Arabia Embassy and again welcoming its ambassador to Thailand.

Mr. Noppadon added diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia could be restored after a conclusion of cases including the Saudi diamond theft and murder of four Saudi diplomats and the disappearance of one Saudi businessman in the 1980s.

Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat and acting director general of the Department of Special Investigation Pol. Col. Thawee Sodsong would be invited to coordinate the reopened investigation to resolve the cases and finding a solution which would satisfy Riyadh, he said.

The minister stressed that the government would seriously address the case and would find and punish the wrongdoers behind the cases.

The case dates to the late 1980s when Kriangkrai Techamong, a Thai worker employed in the palace of a Saudi prince, stole jewellery and other valuables from the Saudi royal family's palace and escaped with the cache of jewels to his Lampang home.

The Thai police retrieved some of the stolen items, but a number of the most valuable gems and jewellery pieces have not been recovered.

Moreover, when the recovered treasures were returned to Saudi Arabia, the main jewel, the "Blue Diamond", proved to have been replaced with an artificial stone.

While one Thai police general went to prison for his role in the affair, the overall case is still unresolved, including murders of several Saudi diplomats and the disappearance of a Saudi businessman, which resulted in Thailand's diplomatic relations with Saudi being downgraded to the charge d'affaires level.

The unresolved cases have hampered political, economic and trade relations between the two countries for 20 years.

There were 150,000-200,000 Thai workers in Saudi Arabia before the cases but now there are only 10,000 workers there, Mr. Noppadon said, adding that Thailand had lost Bt200 billion income as fewer Thai workers were allowed to go to Saudi Arabia. (TNA)

Major labels challenge mere conduit in Ireland

The four major record companies have launched a lawsuit against Eircom, the largest ISP in Ireland, alleging that it is “making available” copyrighted music tracks through its network. The lawsuit aims to force Eircom to introduce network level blocking of peer-to-peer filesharing.

According to reports on The Irish Times, Eircoms lawyers have said that the company has no knowledge of specific instances of illegal activity infringing on the rights of the record company, and reasserted Eircom’s protection from being forced to monitor its network under the terms of the Electronic Commerce Directive.

Eircom has refused to institute network level content controls, citing the same Directive. As a “mere conduit”, Eircom cannot be held liable for content that it merely carries over its network. If continued to judgment, this case may set an important precedent: whereas the recent Belgian case of Sabam v Scarlet was widely criticised as being wrongly decided at first instance because it was brought against a smaller ISP with inadequate legal defense resources, Eircom is a fully-funded former monopoly national telecoms operator.

Perhaps the record companies believe they can get a faster - or preferable - decision from the Irish High Court than by waiting for an Appeal Court view of the Belgian case, which might go against them now Scarlet is now supported by Belgacom’s financial muscle.

Further background is available on Lex Ferenda. (Takken from Linx website)

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Was there really a plot?

A plot to assassinate the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was foiled by British counter-terrorist police, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Officers seized a courier as he tried to smuggle £166,000 through Heathrow airport on a flight from the US to Syria.

They believe the cash was bound for a group of dissident Saudis in Britain who planned to kill Crown Prince Abdullah. The money, in US dollar notes, was uncovered during a search in 2003. A man has since been convicted in connection with the incident.

Det Supt Mark Holmes, head of the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit, revealed the plot at a counter-terrorism conference in Brighton yesterday.

He said: 'We seized 330,000 US dollars in a cash disruption exercise at Heathrow Airport.

'The money was coming to the UK for distribution around UK-based Saudi dissidents. We suspect this was going to be used to facilitate the murder of Crown Prince Abdullah.'

Mr Holmes said the case highlighted how important the distribution of cash was to a terrorist network.

Crown Prince Abdullah took the Saudi throne in 2005 and travelled to Britain last year.

He was greeted by Gordon Brown – and the Queen later hosted a 170-guest banquet in his honour at Buckingham Palace.

He was also at the centre of an alleged assassination plot by Libya in 2004.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Whats with the IGF UK?

The challenges that face everyone today includes ‘how to manage the “Governance ” of the internet, this is because some want an international authority, and others fear bureaucracy and mainly as the current US position over the internet draws to its concluding end in two years, questions as “what next?” begs to be answered (and quick!). However, whilst the international arena quibbles over “who controls”, issues such as child online protection are put on hold.

The UK seems to lead the world in creating a national IGF, the government parliament opened dialog with industries, NGO’s and civil societies (although by a show of hands on 6-8 civil society representatives attended yesterday) and have been drawn together to

- Report back from Rio
- Setting the agenda to feed the views into the main IGF in Hyderabad this December.

This is great in my view, as it demonstrates what can be done though this “partnership” approach to other reluctant governments around the world.

So what’s been the story in the UK so far?

In 2005 the UK delegation at the WSIS succeeded in promoting the idea of “dynamic coalitions” and “enhanced cooperation” as a better and more flexible way of making progress. Through the establishment of this process, government, law enforcement agencies, industries, civil society and academia developed a cooperation and partnership approach to online governance within the UK. It has since moved on to focus UK best practice and serve as a potential stereotype model for other national IGF’s (non around yet to the best of my knowledge).

What next from the UK IGF this year?

- Seminar event in May, where all stakeholders will explore UK concerns looking forward to the IGF themes: Security, Diversity, Access, Openness.
- July 9th, Best Practise awards presentations where the winning nominations will be identified in the UK’s best practice agenda for Hyderabad.
- Pre-IGF event in October to consolidate UK messages and prepare for the IGF in Hyderabad.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

UK Internet Governance Forum & Best Practice Challenge Launch

Ok.. well tomorrow i should be off to the Internet Governance Forum UK. Ill report on that when i get back from London i guess.

The Location is Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, Westminster

The event is presented by Nominet in collaboration with the Rt Hon Alun
Michael MP and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory

At the Rio meeting, Rt Hon Alun Michael MP made a commitment to create a
multi stakeholder UK IGF to support the international process.

The event will feature:

* A report back from the IGF in Rio.
* Official launch the UK IGF.
* Key components of the UK IGF:
* Plan of action from now until Delhi
* Best Practice Challenge 2008
* Crime Reduction Partnership
* Promoting grass-roots online participation
* Supporting the dynamic coalition between child protection and free
* speech organisations

IG capacity building programme

well today i have started an online course (part of malta university, I think) titled Internet Governance capacity building programme by Diplo Foundation, aims to introduce an analytical insight in challenging Internet Governance related topics. The research programme in Internet Governance and policy is aimed to help developing countries to facilitate community-building amongst individuals with different national, cultural, and professional backgrounds. So Should be good and interesting to see how it all pans out!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

A little about me...

My main interests today are in public policy issues surrounding the Internet, as well as the more technical fields of information security, networking and general Internet regulation.

I have been involved with technology from a young age when I was given the opportunity to work at a local computer store at the age of 14, soldering parts and building ‘286’s’. Following this experience, I developed a strong interest in information and communication technologies, taking a diverse and varied academic route to my current PhD position.

My first big step was enrolling on an Engineering and Computer Science course at an undergraduate level, where I initially studied the Internet through the lense of development of the technical infrastructure, and the study of various standards, applications and constrains. This lead to a growing curiosity in engaging in the social science dialogue of the Internet sciences, which was the focus of my MA dissertation entitled ‘The Global Governance of the Internet: Context, ICANN and a Case Study of the Domain Name System Root’. The completion of the dissertation lead to an interest in investigating and learning more about the regulatory and legal challenges – the focus of my PhD thesis.

Monday, 18 February 2008

My First Blog!

well this is it... its taken some time to actually getting around to setting it up.. but its here!