Thursday, February 10, 2011

Egypt and Internet Revolution 2.0 - Did Wael Ghonim trigger an Internet Revolution 2.0? What are the implications for Internet Governance?

CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 30:  Exhausted Egyptian...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
The Google Egypt executive that was detained for over 10 days by the Egyptian authorities, then release to find so much change already taken place including human casualties amidst the protests taking place in the country has appeared amongst the protesting Egyptians as their leader and to what Wael termed as the Internet Revolution 2.0.

 Wael Ghonim is originally a Google executive living in Dubai with his wife and two children. He had gone to Egypt to participate in the protests but was arrested. The reason for his arrest according to the media (CNN here), Wael Ghonim was the trigger point for launching and organizing the initial protests against police brutality and human rights violations happening on Egyptian citizens. This effort evolved the protests in to the present form that have convulsed Egypt for more than over two weeks now. Wael facilitated the protest by creating and administering a Facebook page and/or Facebook group that the media reports is widely credited for calling the first protest on 25th January 2011.

The abrupt reaction of the Egyptian Authorities to clamp down on Wael Ghonim resulted in his being recognized as one of the young revolutionaries and leaders of an emerging youth opposition protesting against the Egyptian Government in the current circumstances. Wael called the Internet as one of the key catalysts and trigger point for the revolution and uprising of the citizens in Egypt terming it as an Internet Revolution 2.0.

AS Wael Ghonim, now being termed as the Che Guevara of the Internet and Web age coins the term with reference to the Egyptian uprising against the authorities, what are the implications for a possible Internet Revolution 2.0 for the rest of the world?
  1. The Internet's evolution, penetration and adoption is triggering new forms of social and economic changes.
  2. These new forms of changes in human society and organization may be termed as Internet Revolution 2.0 that allows human beings from any corners of the world to connect, collaborate, share and organize from anywhere facilitated by various social media tools and platforms to come together and trigger or catalyze change.
  3. This change may be productive or counter productive for historic, traditional or prevailing forms of democratic, dictatorship or monarch governance systems.
  4. The capability for any human being to 'become aware' of his or her negative circumstances and any violations of their basic human rights may be the pressure breaking points to turn towards the Internet and the World Wide Web to connect with other human beings that may in similar conditions within the same community, society, country or region resulting in mutual sharing, finding solutions to common problems or organizing into new groups to seek change.
  5. This new form of networked social organizing to lead, trigger or catalyze change brings new implications for the existent socio, economic and political governance systems.
  6. The Internet Revolution 2.0 is about human rights, mutual human respect, transparency and accountability and moreover, openness and acceptance of change.
  7. For Internet Governance, Internet Revolution 2.0 is an evolving phenomenon especially when the governments, private sector, civil society, researchers and academia across the world have not reached any consensus on the governance of the Internet Revolution 1.0.
  8. Internet Revolution 2.0 has only become apparent with the current affairs of human uprising, protesting, activism, freedom of expression, demand for basic human rights and awareness of their needs in the North African Arab and Middle Eastern countries but what form is this taking remains both a question and challenge.
  9. Some countries are moving towards more openness in governance and government using the Internet and World Wide Web through the phenomenons of Open Government, Open Governance and Open Government Data but it is yet to be determined if Internet Revolution 2.0 will be the reason for wider spread and adoption of such openness through the global network at the speed we are witnessing today.
  10. Yes, an Internet Revolution 2.0 may actually be evolving will we as human beings connected to each other respond to this new global change..........remains the primary question!

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