[Linux-aus] Interview with Mark Lloyd from ACS on compulsory accreditation

Janet Hawtin lucychili at gmail.com
Fri Sep 29 09:39:02 UTC 2006

On 9/29/06, Michael Davies <michael at msdavies.net> wrote:

> In my mind, this is just a big a risk to the readers of this list as
> the AUSFTA - you'll need to start paying AUD600 + costs of mandatory
> training courses per year for no real benefit to the average IT
> worker.

It is the same root cause basically.

The broker businesses are making war on the ability for people who
make and use information to try and wrest back control of the flow of
information and technology.
Broadcast .v. distributed access and innovation.

All of these approaches are techniques for manufacturing a sense of
fear about our
ability to interact freely with each other. (Piracy, terrorism, trust,
are all proposed as reasons why these brokers must save us from
ourselves.) However the overall impact of the intervention of central
control models is not to provide benefits for makers and users, or for
the Australian economy and community overall. It creates dependence on
offshore sources of technology and information at the cost of
excluding local generators of value.

Internet and free and open source software enable life without brokers.
People can participate in technology. There is potential for people to
both use and generate information technology and connection to peers.

This means that people who are just starting out can see what their
peers are doing and learn from them. People with passion can inspire
that in others.

Of course in the meeting yesterday the connection of people to their
peers, even (NGO to NGO let alone NGO to a community of IT people) was
listed as a communist approach, despite to my mind the fact that a
centrally controlled structure was the traditional model for
communism? All other options included controlling agents on access to
information and technology.

Proposals included
- Government funding for 3 years.
- NGOs to pay to participate and gain access to the broker.
- IT people to pay for membership to gain access to the broker.

The meeting was held at the Disability Information Resource Centre
where the there was a funky poster on the wall about creating
inclusive communities through participation.

Characteristics arising from participation:

- Belonging to and being part of communities
- Adventure and challenge
- Companionship
- Increased social networks and stronger friendships
- Interdependence
- Sense of freedom
- Control and power over own lifestyle
- Improved self image through achieving goals
- Hope and enthusiasm for the future
- Achievement.

In a sector with few resources available to implement these kinds of
opportunities for disadvantaged people the idea that funding will be
spent on generating and supporting organsations in brokering
multinational companies to get people hooked on expensive products and
to block volunteers from being valued and empowered as the real
capacity builders in our communities is frankly a rort.

Compare this with the kinds of things which could be provided if the
money was spent on really providing capacity to the NGO's:

- NGO's could do with access to each other on IT issues.
- People and NOGs in rural communities could do with access to
sensible cheap broadband so that they can access information and
communities online.
- With bandwidth and a means to access each other the same
organisations and multinational product vendors could send their
wisdom and sales information to these groups but this time the NGO has
access to all the other internet resources as well. The groups could
compare their notes about their experience with technologies and
- NGO's could describe and vote for their most needed applications
(A CRM with ability to manage lotteries or NFP focused information was
Several not for profit focused CRM's exist as FOSS projects and could
be customised if a team of NGO's or if this funding sponsored the
applications to be developed as they want them. Their volunteers could
participate and learn about the technologies and processes in the
process. This could mean that SA NGO's end up with a technology which
they understand and are able to interact with legally to tweak for
individual organisations. In addition skills and opportunities are
made within their organisation.
- This does not mean that CISA does not have a role. The CISA
conference has provided a good venue for NGO's to be able to see what
each other are doing.

- Workshops and training again are useful.
There is a risk with a brokering model that the focus would be on one
off consultancies on IT strategy or on specific products. These are
likely to be expensive and not to be tied to ongoing day to day
However, if NGO people were able to talk about processes they do use
to keep their systems healthy and if they had volunteers from one
group visit another to share ideas this would be real capacity
building. The AU volunteer sector aims to use best practice
volunteering to provide hands on training for their volunteers. This
is focused on things which are directly constructive and generate
ongoing benefits for the volunteer and their sponsor.

These groups are not all babes in the IT woods.
Collectively they have much to offer our communities and each other.
Practical resourcing without restricting their freedom to pick and
choose is useful.

The meeting yesterday proposed a separation of the head of the NGO
sector, ie advice to government, and the hands, brokering of skills. I
think direct connection between policy and practice are the core of
good IT policy.

The internet and FOSS and peer to peer sharing of information provides
the  opportunity for the head and the hands to understand things more

The proposed structure in its current form offers a bottleneck and
choker collar to that flow. It is also an opinionated choker collar
which could easily tell the hands
its own perspective on what is good for the head or for that matter
what should be not provided/provided to the hands in its own interest.

Frankly I am tired of these same groups responding to the freedom of
people to work with each other by jumping on chairs and flailing for a
I think we are all a bit beyond that these days.
These broker industries need to take a good hard look at themselves
and find ways to provide a value to the community which is not
generated through exclusion.
Distributed communities and networks are a great opportunity.
Participating without need for guarantee of right of way is a more
trustworthy and ethical and valuable contribution to make.


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