We have been reaching out to a number of sectors in the e-commerce market place looking for supporters of our cause. We have had some successes and rebuffs from the large internet community. Lets look at one of our successes in the area of the law and law firms, a number of which enthusiastically support our mission. The newest is a social security disability attorney and his law firm that has a nationwide presence in the US. If you are unfamiliar with what social security disability is in the US, I will give you a brief description and what the roll a social security disability lawyer plays. Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or may result in death. This type of benefit sounds great, but there are caveats. An injured or disable person doesn’t just receive these benefits. First they have to apply online or in person. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the applications are denied for any number of reasons. The disabled person or their family should hire a social security disability lawyer after a rejection. The type of lawyer will help the disabled person or their family to navigate the appeal process which is much more complicated and time consuming than the initial application process! Anyway, this large law firm has joined us in our initiatives with an offer of pro bono services if the need should ever arrive.
Another successful enterprise is one offering at home testing for std’s. In a world where young people can easily hook up with partners online, sexually transmitted disease is a huge problem, and one which carries social taboos. So it makes sense that a confidential, at home, fast kit to test for std from std-test-kits.org would make inroads. The e-commerce factor is huge, since convenience is the other factor driving sales – no trip to the clinic, no embarassing questions from medical professionals, etc. make for great model for success.
As the countdown beings to IGF 2009 in Sharm el-Sheikh, it may be worth reflecting on the words written in advance of last year’s IGF in Hyderabad. How much has changed, and how much for the better?
“Dear members of the Internet Governance Community,
We are a small group of interested IGF participants, who has joined together with the common concern to foster the possibility of more complete remote attendance at the upcoming IGF in Hyderabad, 2008. Our idea is to help to provide a service that will benefit the people who are unable to attend the IGF, which means that our work is based on a very practical approach.
Our desire is to join forces with the initiatives from the Secretariat and from the Civil Society, especially, with the Online Collaboration Dynamic Coalition, seeking the convergence of similar ideas and helping to take them further. We look for ways to:
1) Combine the webcast of the IGF with a platform for interaction, which would be available before, during and after the meeting. For that, we have been exploring the possibilities of different programs.
2) To develop partnerships with regional organizations and communities with the aim to create local IGF hubs. These hubs would be local meetings, which would exhibit the webcast of the IGF as well as hold panels and roundtables, to discuss the themes of the IGF from a local perspective.
We would like to invite all the IG Community to give us their opinion and to participate on this effort. We are developing our website and will let you know when it is ready for visits. We look forward to hearing from you.
IGF Remote Participation Project”
One year later, and we find ourselves in a situation that is, perhaps significantly, not very different. Some may even argue that we have less of the momentum and motivation that flowed in advance of IGF Hyderabad 2008. The technical aspect is much improved, the message has reached more people, and yet the discussion is (as yet) quiet compared to this time last year. Are we assured of more complete attendance at Sharm el – Sheikh?
We have been working diligently towards accomplishing our goals as a group but it is slow going. We feel we are making some more headway in recent years but it is still a struggle. We will keep you apprised of the situation as it unfolds.