This past week, the Internet Legislation Atlas (ILA) Advisory Board
met for the first time at the Hivos Global Office in The Hague, Netherlands, from 10-12 August 2016. The board, which is composed of project partners alongside iGmena community members, guides the work of the ILA project and ensures it meets the needs of local communities. The members of the board met to discuss the ILA indicators methodology and determine how to produce a visual tool for comparative analysis. The methodology is a set of qualitative indicators that assesses the domestic legal frameworks regulating the digital space in the MENA region vis-a-vis international human rights standards. It aims to help academics, legal professionals, students, and civil society organizations in the region and beyond develop a better understanding of the legal environment in their country.
Prior to the meeting, board members were solicited to look at the indicators methodology and provide their initial reflection as users looking to apply the indicators. They highlighted areas that need further clarification as well as parts of the indicators that require additional information so users can plainly understand and apply them.
Walid A. Al-Saqaf, an ILA board member and a member of the Internet Society's Board of Trustees,
I find the indicators quite helpful in assessing how close or far my country is when it comes to legislation to protect my rights online. I particularly like the categories that help me pinpoint what I should be looking for rather than having to read pages on end of legislation. Yet, board members also underlined some areas that require further consideration. ILA board member and independent ICT policy analyst, Sana Ali, said: “As a user, I think the indicators are concise and well-explained. They could benefit from further addition of examples and case studies attached or linked, [however].”
During the first part of the meeting, iGmena director Hanane Boujemi, ILA program manager Noha Fathy, and iGmena program officer Dick Broggel addressed the board members’ input and concerns, and consensus was built on the required amendments to the indicators and their applications. The alterations mostly include developing guidelines to help users better understand such indicators and apply them, hence providing an explanation to the technical and legal terms that might be difficult to interpret as well as adding more examples and case studies.
The second part of the meeting was dedicated to the visualization of the indicators. The ASL 19 team and the ILA platform web developers led the discussion and advised the board to focus on key areas by creating a visual map of the indicators section of the website, which will be published soon. The board then brainstormed and conferred possible ways to visualize the indicators and discussed the pros and cons of each in order to finally reach an agreement on the most appropriate technique. At the end of the day, there was consent on using a gamification technique
to make the indicators more appealing and motivate the at-large community to apply them.
The iGmena team would like to thank the members of the ILA board for their time and efforts to produce such a fruitful meeting!
Noha Fathy, ILA programme coordinator