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HackerSpaces, Digital Communities on the Rise in Southeast Asia, Bring Innovation and Political Change

Digital communities have been highly influential in Southeast Asia. Real world spaces for digital communities, such as hackerspaces (a location where people with common interests, usually in computers, technology, science or digital or electronic art can meet, socialise and/or collaborate), blogger conferences and BarCamps (is an international network of user-generated conferences) "further fix that social space into a physical place, and act as a guild or local hub connected to a global network of like-minded digital citizens."

According to Noviscape, such physical meet-ups are on the rise throughout Southeast Asia.

Hackerspaces are big in "the Arab Street neighborhood of Singapore... a nightlife destination for both locals and visitors, with pubs, chic restaurants, and hookah lounges," and are slowly growing in "Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Battambang (Cambodia)."

"Other community space movements linked to digital technology and the electronic arts are also prominent in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Bandung, Indonesia. Some of these receive support from European science and culture organizations."

"FOSS Asia, a regional open source software conference held in Ho Chi Minh City, focused on education and women in IT."

"Mozilla Drumbeat, BarCamp, TEDx, Pecha Kucha Night, and Ignite, are examples of technology and innovation-oriented conferences that sprung up rapidly in the last five years in Southeast Asia. The events are either franchises of or inspired by similar events in USA or Japan."

"BarCamp across Southeast Asia attracts locals, expats, and “BarCamp Nomads”. A Google calendar named “Techie Geeky Interesting Events in ASEAN” is maintained by a diverse group of BarCampers. There is even a guide to hopping around BarCamps in the region written by a Bangkok-based Japanese programmer."

Implications:

"These spaces can catalyze the localization of ideas from elsewhere. Conversely, an idea born here has a chance to spread all over the world."

"More conflicts in governance of the ICT infrastructure. If free trade is what craftsmen and merchants value, free flow of information and ideas is what digital immigrant’s value, and is the fundamental reason for the migration. In the last decade, conflicts between Southeast Asian citizens and ruling regimes have involved censorship, privacy and surveillance, and non-disclosure of information. On the business side, conflicts over flows of ideas and cultural works are increasing, as seen in increasing litigation over intellectual property rights and the scramble to amend outdated IP legislation."

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