We bring you this year-end update in memory of Aaron Swartz, a pioneering activist for Internet freedom who inspired us all. Our objectives for 2013 are dedicated to him.
2012 was an incredible year for A Human Right. Here are some highlights:
We Moved a Cable: St. Helena, one of the most remote islands on earth, shares a single satellite Internet connection amongst its 4,200 residents that is equal in capacity to two average mainland UK homes. A lack of fast and inexpensive Internet access hasn’t helped development on this island. When we found out that a transatlantic cable was to narrowly miss the island by 500 km, we got to work. Operation ‘Move This Cable’, a lobbying effort to connect the tiny island, was successful. Cable company eFive Telecoms altered the planned route of a 1000-mile stretch of fiber optic cable, adding a spur to St Helena. Next step: get the landing site funded! Learn more: movethiscable.org
2013 TED Prize Finalist: A Human Right and the Bandwidth Bank concept is a finalist for the 2013 TED Prize! We are honored to have made it to the final selection rounds for the $1 million prize.
‘Out of Service’ blog: After hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast, we reached out to a number of relief organizations to collaborate and restore connectivity. In addition, we started the ‘Out of Service’ blog to collect the stories of what life is like disconnected. You can read them here.
The United Nations Protects Human Rights and the Internet: Not only did we partner with the United Nations, in a monumental step the UN moved to protect human rights on the Internet while calling member states to “promote and facilitate access to the internet”. They affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression…” Solid approval for our international work! Learn more here and here.
The Bandwidth Bank: Much like a food bank, The Bandwidth Bank collects unused Internet capacity and makes it available for humanitarian purposes in the areas of education, disaster relief, gender equality, health, and development. We’ve connected with dozens of telecommunications companies and partners who are taking a role in bringing the Bandwidth Bank to life, both as donors and as bandwidth recipients. We partnered with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to better manage bandwidth allocation in the event of a disaster. This year, keep your eye out for a few pilot projects and some great new partnerships!
‘A Better World by Design’ 2012 Challenge Winner: The Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University group were so kind to highlight our work and award us for our efforts to bridge the digital divide. Learn more about the challenge here.
‘Web’ The Film: Ahead of its premiere in 2013, we’ve been working with the filmmakers behind Web, a documentary film that chronicles what happens when children in a Peruvian village get online for the first time. Watch the trailer here, and stay tuned for updates!
New Website: We are thrilled by our fresh new website that, we believe, encapsulates the essence of what we’re trying to accomplish. What do you think?
Tax deductible status: Donors with US bank accounts can finally enjoy a tax deduction for making a contribution to A Human Right. Your support is what keeps our operation running. Become a monthly donor and ensure everyone is connected.
Wonderful New Advisors: We’re happy to welcome Astronaut John Herrington, Author and Luminary Howard Rheingold, and Special Advisor to the X Prize Gregory Pappas to our already stellar lineup of advisors.
There is a lot on the agenda for 2013, and we are delighted to have your support. Join us by throwing a fundraising event, sharing our message, or donating to A Human Right! Have a tremendous new year.