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GreenNet Newsletter: Spring 2004

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GreenNet Newsletter: A quarterly e-bulletin for our user community on strategic uses of the Internet to promote social justice and equality. From GreenNet, an online community for peace, the environment, civil rights and social justice since 1986. Past issues of GreenNet Newsletter:

GreenNet Strategy

GreenNet had a major strategy review meeting at the beginning of this year from which we emerged, after a long day, with a clear vision of some new directions for our work. In order to invest in a higher quality service for our members and meet our mission, we have looked carefully at the services we provide.

GreenNet will stop offering standard membership on its own. This was a difficult decision to arrive at, but we are no longer able to sustain the level of support needed for this service, and remain competitive. We will still provide this service to existing members and continue to provide email accounts. Our focus will be concentrated on informing you of the best ways to make the most of the communication technologies available, and use ICTs strategically.

As part of this committment, and given our resources, GreenNet has come to the difficult decision not to provide broadband. This follows on from long discussions with potential suppliers about what we could offer members and various testing of modems and packages to see what could be suitable. After many years helping people to sort out a basic internet connectivity, we believe that access has become so widely available, that the need is to support our community, and other not for profit organisations, in learning to use the online tools available to use the internet strategically. This means not competing with big ISP's on the broadband/access market, which would mean that we couldn't offer an affordable service with the level support that we want to continue to provide. We feel that no matter how you connect, the services GreenNet offers, including: email, webhosting, dynamic website development and consultancy, training, will remain the best option for civil society organisations.

In short, our focus in the next 3 years is on developing web related services; consultancy around FLOSS (free/libre open source solutions) e.g. migration to GNU/Linux desktop, coupled with support; online collaboration and strategic use of ICTs including training and research around ICT policy.

Follow up: We will also have a half day strategy meeting in April/May to organise these priorities and would like to incorporate feedback from you to inform this process and guide us in the development of these services. So, we have prepared a questionnaire which will take you about 10 minutes to complete (and the last one we asked you to fill in was nearly 2 years ago now so we would really appreciate your time!).

Fill in the questionnaire online here:

Any questions or comments, please send to

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Web Services

GreenNet is putting more resources into web related work, especially online content management systems. We will work closely with other APC members to increase overall capacity to develop the technology and increase awareness of this tool and other innovative FLOSS ICT solutions.

In the immediate term, GreenNet has a number of exciting projects in the pipeline:

GreenNet will be developing ActionApps powered webspaces for African telecom regulators to share VSAT licensing information. The web spaces will form a 'One Stop Shop' about African VSAT regulations, with an online application form for potential VSAT providers. It's a very exciting project, which aims to improve internet access in Africa using VSAT technology.

More information here:

GreenNet is currently developing a new site with 'Publish What You Pay', Privacy International and continuing working with EIN to develop their site

On the GreenNet site, we have developed our Jobs page on the GN site using ActionApps. This allows you to easily add any new job and volunteer opportunities with your organisation. You do not need any knowledge of html, just copy in the advert in plain text and submit. If you have any difficulties, please email

The APC has developed a collaborative news page on their site that includes RSS news feeds from some of its members, and their partners, around the world.

Greennet has developed the online archive of Capital & Class magazine. The site is built using ActionApps. ActionApps allows visitors to search or browse quickly through more than 2000 articles from past C&C issues as well as and download them in the high quality PDF format. On the CSE side, ActionApps helps CSE website editors to quickly publish new issues, and also provides a tools for maintaining online subscribers database. The archive is only available to subscribed visitors.

TPP This Jobs Recruitment site features a comprehensive search and an elaborate subscription tool which enables users to get latest subject-specific jobs by email.

GreenNet has upgraded organisational membership. This package now includes 10 pop accounts.

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Support News

Suspicious emails
We have been alerted that a number of fraudulent emails are currently circulating in the UK encouraging bank customers to visit a website where card or internet security details are then requested. We have had a email forwarded by one member they received in reply from their bank saying they never send emails that ask for confidential or security information. It is best to presume that this is the practice of all banks. If you are in any doubt, contact your bank for advise. There has already been a lot about this in the mass media. It seems to be a repeat of what happened a few months ago:

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Online Resources

Writing for the web - Four Things Every Web Site Headline Must Do. By Nick Usborne:

MMTK materials
The Multi Media Toolkit is a project to develop a range of training materials around content, tools and strategic use on the Internet. A number of units are now online and available to use at:

Transnational Civil Society in the Networked Society: on the relationship between ICTs and the rise of transnational civil society:

GreenNet Policy

Parliament enacted an Order which came into force on December 5th 2003, approving a voluntary code of practice in relation to ISP retention of and access to 'Communications Data' - confidential user information.

As a not-for-profit ISP dedicated to supporting and promoting groups and individuals working for peace, human rights, gender equality, social justice and the environment through the use of ICTs, we aim to realise the rights of all individuals in the UK to enjoy full access to information and communication services.

GreenNet has participated in good faith in various consultations throughout this process, outlining its concerns with respect proposals for retention of data, whether voluntary or mandatory. We remain deeply concerned that the voluntary code is not compliant with data protection principles and Human Rights standards.

To this end, GreenNet will not participate in the voluntary retention scheme and is principally bound to retain its current data retention policy, outlined below, in the interest of defending the rights of our user community.

Our responses to the consultation and further justification of our position are online at:

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GreenNet Staff

After a year in Ethiopia working for our umbrella network, the APC, Anna Feldman has returned to GreenNet as our Web Projects Developer. During her time away, Anna developed a range of training materials for the Multi Media Tool Kit Project (MMTK).

Anna also worked with our technician, Marek, on staging an open source content management workshop in Addis Ababa for East African service providers. Anna has now returned to London with a partitioned hard drive on her laptop that allows her to boot up in Linux and Windows - and is happy to preach to anyone who wants to be converted about the benefits of working - in the Horn of Africa and rest of the world - using the Linux operating system.

Alongside managing GreenNet's web projects, Anna will continue to work with the APC developing ICT training materials for online activists.

We are delighted to welcome Anna back to the GreenNet family (although we never really parted). She has already taken on a number of very exciting projects including developing a new site with 'Publish What You Pay' and managing the CATIA 1A project.

GreenNet Training

Upcoming courses in web design using Dreamweaver: April 24th & 25th (Saturday & Sunday) 11.00-18.00. Full course outline available online at:

Trainings are held at our offices, Islington, London, unless otherwise requested. Further information from

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APC News

APC will go to UN ICT Task Force meeting in March: WSIS II is slowly getting off the ground for 2004, but much confusion, fragmentation and frustration abounds - certainly amongst civil society actors. In the past few weeks, we have heard bits and pieces of news about proposed meetings, the complete lack of funding, uncertainty of ITU's role in the follow up process, the ongoing discussions about Tunis (the next WSIS venue in 2005) with respect the government's human rights record.

A few meetings have been held recently (briefings) but primarily held in Geneva to which almost none of us have access. The notes from the recent Geneva briefing meeting have been posted to (If you would like a copy please email The first prepcom is likely to take place in Tunis, June 2004 (though the ITU and Tunis governments have been unable to agree on a date), and this will be preceded by a 'brainstorming' meeting to which representatives from all stake-holder groups will be invited.

To join APC’s WSIS related work, you can join the list.

Michael, GreenNet support techie, attended the APC council meeting in Cartagena, Columbia at the end of last year. This was also a planning meeting, involving APC members from all over the world. The main aim of the meeting was to establish the strategic priorities for the network for the next 3 years. These have yet to be finalised but the event was a great success in bringing together ICT activists for social change and formalising some great ideas into action areas that have already had a real impact on consolidating the way we approach ICTs and ICT policy.

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If you have any questions about any of the news in the edition of our newsletter, please get in contact with us. We are happy to go through any of the services outlined or any queries you may have.

The GreenNet Newsletter is edited by Joanne Doyle on behalf of the GreenNet Collective. For more information, contact

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Tel (int'l): +44 (0)20 7065 0935 Fax: +44 (0)20 7065 0936