30 recent Internet and Technology developments you may have missed
from – and/or potentially impacting on - Qatar and the Middle East
Issue 4: Sept/Oct 2012
This digest aims to share some recent key digital developments from across the
Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It also highlights global developments
which may impact on Qatar and the wider MENA region at a later date.
5 stories of particular interest in this issue include; insights into the Arab
Digital Generation, major current – and predicted – mobile trends, a look at 3D
printing and Internet Governance issues in both Jordan and Russia.
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All content in these slides is in the public domain and referenced so that you can read the original sources.
Any omissions, errors or mistakes are mine, and mine alone.
Feedback, suggestions and comments are very welcome.
1. Developments from across the MENA region
• Understanding the Arab Digital Generation
• 10 Key Stats about the Arab Digital Generation
• New ITU data on global technology development
• Jordan’s New Media Law passed
• In Brief: Social Media News
• In Brief: Content related news
• In Brief: Technology News
• A spotlight on interactive maps
2. Wider Internet & Society Research
• Research: News consumption on mobile devices (USA)
• Youth: Gen Z: Digital in Their DNA (USA and UK)
• Emerging Technologies: Tablet shipments 2012-16
• Internet Governance: 3 hot issues from Russia
• Assistance Technology: 4 things you may have missed
3. Coming Up – three emerging issues
• Research: The next 3 mobile services to reach widespread adoption
• Technology: 3D Printing
• Governance: new US lobby group formed
Images: http://bit.ly/LCN5yC and http://bit.ly/LTzNud
1. Recent developments in the MENA region
Including: the Arab Digital Generation, e-Commerce news, Jordan’s media law,
online maps and Social Media, Content and Technology News in Brief
A new report by Booz & Company, in partnership with Google, surveyed 3,000 digital users
born between 1977 and 1997 across nine countries. The report found that:
The three main societal shifts among this group, some 40% of the MENA population, are:
1. Communication with friends and family: members of the ADG have less direct personal contact
with their family and friends, as technology increasingly provides them with communication
alternatives. 44% spend less time meeting close friends face-to-face and more time
communicating with them online or over the phone.
2. Marriage: More than 60% in North Africa and the Levant approve of a male member of their
family marrying a woman whom he had met online, with the GCC approval rate at 44%.
Acceptance rates were equally high for women.
3. Religion: The vast majority (approximately 70%) reported that technology allowed them to
explore the various facets of religion through websites.
1.1 Understanding the Arab Digital Generation (ADG)
“this segment of society strongly distinguishes itself from earlier generations;
these young people are far more active as both consumers and critics…
Although they have similar digital characteristics than other young people around the world, they
are distinctly Arab in that they reflect the traditions, challenges and tribulations of their region. “
1. 83 % use the Internet daily, with 40 % using the Internet for at least five hours a day
2. 61 % spend more than two hours per day on social networking sites
3. 78 % prefer the Internet to TV
4. 16 % access the Internet from schools / academic institutions; 76 % access from home
5. 63 % express a desire for freedom to do and say what they want as long as it does not
harm others, 37 % say they can freely express opinions without fear of the consequences
6. 37 % believe that technology has reduced family communication and cohesion
7. 41 % search the Internet in both Arabic and English; 21 % chat in both languages
8. 48 % are not satisfied with the quality of local websites; 47 % are not satisfied with local
versions of international websites, 37 % are not satisfied with the availability of Arabic
9. 8 % use an online platform to connect with government or political leaders and 24 %
believe that media content is totally controlled by government
10. 48 % believe that the region’s healthcare services require technological upgrades; 43 %
believe this of education services
10 Key Stats about the Arab Digital Generation
1.2 New ITU data on global technology development
New figures released by the ITU show that ICT uptake continues to grow worldwide.
• Broadband prices drop 75% globally between 2008 and 2011
• Global revenues from telecommunication services reach USD 1.5 trillion
• Korea continues to top ICT ranking
• The report also identifies countries which have made the most progress in ICT
development. Strong performers include Bahrain, Brazil, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia.
• Qatar topped the rankings for Arab States and was ranked 30th globally.
• Jordan has passed a new media law which critics say will stifle freedom of
• The legislation requires "electronic publications" in Jordan to get a licence from the
Culture Ministry with the BBC noting that the law: “gives the authorities the power to block
and censor websites, whose owners will be held responsible for comments posted on them.”
• The Associated Press estimated that about 400 Jordanian websites would be
affected by the new law, whilst the Huffington Post noted criticism from Human
Rights Watch which argued that asking website owners to check online comments
due to this new responsibility was simply not "feasible.“
1.3 Jordan’s New Media Law passed
In late August, hundreds
of Jordanian websites
like Jeeran, Jo24,
Wamda, and BeAmman
went dark in support of
#BlackoutJo — a
protest against the bill,
Critics included Queen
Noor Al Hussein.
LinkedIn, opened its first MENA office on October 1st. The network, which now more
than 175 million members worldwide, has over five million members in the Middle East
and North Africa, one million of which are based in the UAE. Their offices are in Dubai’s
Internet City: http://press.linkedin.com/node/1230
1.4 In Brief: Social Media News
Remember MORSI METER, which was in our last digest?
It was recently awarded first prize by the World Summit Youth
Award (WSYA), a unique global contest that brings together young
people under 30 years of age who have revolutionary approach to
using ICT to change the world and put UN Millennium
Development Goals into Action: http://youthaward.org/winners-2012
techPresident’s article “In the Middle East, Marginalized LGBT
Youth Find Supportive Communities Online”, sees Anna Lekas
Miller talking to a young blogger in Lebanon known online
as Lebanon Rebel and Ahmed Zidan co-founder of Ahwaa, a
bilingual English-Arabic online forum based in Bahrain, about how
the web has provided a forum for discussion and support.
Story: http://bit.ly/Rks2DY Image: https://www.facebook.com/ahwaaorg
Seven Omanis have come together to draw up an ethical code for internet
publications, bloggers, social media users in Oman.
“There’s a kind of boom in internet users in Oman and we felt that as responsible users we need to
draw a line, especially in the light of recent crackdown on users… Obviously this is not mandatory but
a volunteer group that would help people in deciding what is right and what is not.”
Turki Al Balushi, in the Gulf News: http://bit.ly/PrU1xn
1.5 In Brief: Content related news
Jordan is to pilot new software which will give parents
control over when their children can use the Internet
and what websites they can access.
It is also expected to reduce the level of cyber crime in
Jordan by reducing access to websites that contain viruses,
Trojans and other malware.
The UN-approved software, which was developed by
Australian company TCG for the Ministry of Information and
Communications Technology, will be available via Jordanian
ISPs at the end of October.
Taghreedat is working
with TED International
to localize its official
website into Arabic for
the first time. The work
will be carried our by
25 Tech Stars of the Middle East: The team at: http://www.al-monitor.com have put
together a slideshow of the people and innovations behind the MENA’s fast-maturing tech
scene. Cited examples include: Aramex, Bayt.com, YallaStartup! and Crowdsway.
1.6 In Brief: Technology News
SAP has launched its MENA Field Services- Young Professionals
Program in the region, aiming to turn 40 students into technology
consultants with an understanding of regional culture, ways of doing
business and SAP technologies such as ERP.
The two-year program has been launched in Saudi Arabia and Egypt,
with training underway at SAP offices in Riyadh and Cairo. The 40
students were selected from 600 nominations provided by employers
The New York Times reported how an off-the-shelf computer program, FinSpy, has
been used to monitor and spy on dissidents in countries around the world, noting:
“Research now links it to servers in more than a dozen countries, including Turkmenistan, Brunei and
Bahrain, although no government acknowledges using the software for surveillance purposes”.
Full data report at: https://citizenlab.org/2012/08/the-smartphone-who-loved-me-finfisher-goes-mobile/
Examples of interesting maps showing stories and from the region in new and
1.7 Spotlight on Interactive Maps
Interactive Map: America’s War in Yemen, by
the US broadcaster PBS:
“The red dots represent 72 known U.S. drone,
missile or other air strikes carried out since 2002,
and the blue dots show 19 major terror plots
against Western targets believed to be directed by
Al Qaeda or AQAP since 2000.”
Above image: http://bit.ly/Rx5ht1
Aljazeera's interactive map of Syrian
defections (right image: http://bit.ly/PY0sqT)
Mapping Egypt's Electricity Blackouts:
“Syria conflict: a year of deaths mapped”
from the Guardian which uses data from
Syrian Shuhada - also used by the UN - to
track the impact of the conflict in Syria:
2. Internet & Society: External Research Update
Images: http://bit.ly/KXUeK6 and http://bit.ly/KL2OMQ
News on mobile devices, the digital habits of Generation Z, tablet growth, Russian
Internet Governance, Assistive Technology developments
2.1 Internet & Society: Societal Impact
A third of all U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device at least weekly
Half of all U.S. adults now have a mobile
connection to the web through either a
smartphone or tablet, according new US data.
Source: http://bit.ly/QxpGjG and http://bit.ly/SWK9uR
“…for many people, mobile devices are adding
how much news they consume. More than four
in ten mobile news consumers say they are
getting more news now and nearly a third
say they are adding new sources.”
2.2 Internet & Society: Youth
Gen Z: Digital in Their DNA
This report by JWT Intelligence provides a
snapshot of Gen Z (those born after 1995). For this
group, a digital connection as essential.
The report is based on a survey of tweens and
teens (ages 8 to 17) and their parents in the U.S.
and the U.K, with a focus on digital habits: how they
use connected devices to socialize, spend, shop
and more as well as how their parents feel about
these habits and what it means for marketers.
See the report slides: http://www.slideshare.net/jwtintelligence/f-external-genz041812-12653599
• Internet connections, mobile phones and the ability to text friends are valued more highly than
allowance money and various material goods, and significantly more highly than real-world
activities like going to the movies or eating out.
• As many as 90% of respondents would be reluctant to give up their Internet connection (vs.
78% who said the same for their mobile, and 76% for texting friends).
• More than half of say it’s easier to chat with friends digitally, or more convenient.
• Around 4 in 10 are more comfortable talking online than in real life and find it more fun.
2.3 Internet & Society: Emerging Technologies
The continued march of the tablet
– Apple will dominate till 2016
• International Data Corporation
(IDC) is predicting the worldwide
tablet market to ship 117.1
million units this year.
• By 2016 they predict worldwide
shipments could reach 261.4
million units a year.
• Apple are expected to continue
to dominate this growing market.
• The Guardian reports data from
Gartner which predicts a similar
level of dominance for Apple.
• Whilst DisplaySearch argues
that tablets will account for a
quarter of mobile PC shipments
2.4 Internet & Society: Internet Governance
In our last issue we looked at new Internet legislation in Russia. Here’s three further
stories of interest from the country
• Russian children under the age of 18 may face restrictions in public WiFi access if
proposals from The Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and
Communications (ROSKOMNADZOR), come into effect next year. ROSKOMNADZOR
claim this is the only way to protect children from harmful online content, but critics have
argued many young people will be able to crack any password restrictions.
Sources: http://bit.ly/Tis3Eu and http://bit.ly/WnLnUz
• Pravda reported that a "black list" of domains and websites would be published at
the end of September, ahead of the law that comes into force on November 1,
managing sites which cause harm to children's health. If illegal online content is
detected, site owners receive a warning and 3 days to remove the illegal materials.
Failure to take down content means the network address falls onto the "black list." If the
servers are located outside Russian jurisdiction, then sites will be blocked by ISPs.
• Global Voices noted that Russian media outlets had got a sneak peek [NB: link in Russian] at
a report on the foreign penetration of the Russian Internet and the implications of
this influence. “For example, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - can become central
tools for coordination and mobilization of opposition forces.”
(Quote translated from: http://bit.ly/S4Ohyw )
• The first Arab AT Centre Network meeting will take place
in Doha on October 22nd, bringing together Assistive
Technology centers from across the Gulf Region. Organized
by Mada, the meeting will allow established and developing
AT centers to share resources across the region to accelerate
the uptake of AT by Arabic speakers.
• Nuance have confirmed that both the Voice Recognition
Apps Dragon Dictation and Dragon Search will fully
support Standard Arabic. The apps run on iPhone, iPad
and iPod Touch. They are free from the Apple Appstore.
See more details at: http://youtu.be/l79pU1pjau8
2.5 Assistive Technology
• Media Access Australia
have published a report
highlighting the barriers
faced by disabled people
in taking part in social
networks and social
media. Tipsheets will soon
be available from Mada in
Arabic and English.
A major workshop in
Doha on the use of
technology by people
with autism attracted
250 people this month.
made to establish
parents support groups,
make available online
training, provide a range
of technologies for
people with autism and
to produce two new
by spring 2013.
Images: http://bit.ly/Nllsre, http://bit.ly/X8n2lQ and http://bit.ly/KZQ58h
3. Coming Up – three emerging themes
New US lobby group3 new mobile trends 3D Printing
The three mobile services expected to reach widespread adoption by 2014
Mobile social networks, mobile applications stores and location-based services will be three
mobile services to reach widespread adoption in the next two years, according to Gartner.
Mobile Social Networks
• Gartner expects mobile social networks to reach one billion users by 2014.
• Currently 15% of mobile phone users access social networks via their phones.
Gartner also expects mobile
advertising to reach
mainstream in the next 2-5
years, and suggests
keeping an eye on three
emerging mobile tools:
1. bar code marketing,
2. mobile coupons and
3. augmented reality.
3.1 Internet & Society: Societal Impact
• The convergence of location functionality with social networking,
news, information, search and entertainment services (SoLoMo)
is already being seen.
• Gartner expects almost 800 million location-based service
users worldwide by the end of 2012.
• Revenue generated by consumer location-based services is
forecast to reach $13.5 billion in 2015, of which advertising will be
the dominant contributor.
• The most popular applications in the near term will be
navigation, location search and friend finder/social
3.2 Internet & Society: Emerging Technologies
“3D printing 2012 is where home printing was in 1982.”
• Predicted as being the “next big thing” for some time, 3D Printing
is a form of additive manufacturing, where a user starts with
nothing and then adds material one layer at a time, with layers
fused by heat or laser.
See a 15 TED minute
video on the subject :
Or a shorter video
about The MakerBot
Replicator 2 printer:
“3D printing will shatter the barrier between the internet and the physical
world, and the law will no longer be able to distinguish between the two.
If the government wants to regulate guns and other dangerous items
in the age of 3D printing, it will need a radically different approach.”
Andrew Sisson, Big Innovation Centre
ODD's Atom 3D
• A new UK report highlights how the
technology could transform
global manufacturing and create
opportunities for growth, innovation
and environmental benefit.
• However, it also notes a number of policy
challenges including the potential
impact on intellectual property
frameworks and internet regulation.
3.3 Internet Governance: new US lobby group
14 major US Web companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, eBay,
Monster and LinkedIn, have come together to form The Internet Association.
Their three policy areas are:
1. Protecting Internet Freedom
2. Fostering Innovation and Economic Growth
3. Empowering Users
“A free and innovative Internet is vital
to our nation’s economic growth…
These companies are all fierce
competitors in the market place, but
they recognize the Internet needs a
unified voice in Washington.
They understand the future of the
Internet is at stake and that we must
work together to protect it.”
Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of
The Internet Association More at: http://internetassociation.org
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