This Week in Global Mobile | July 2, 2010

At times it's difficult to keep pace with all the latest global mobile tech developments. I hope this selection of news stories from the past week will help you navigate the ever-growing global network of connectivity:

  • On Monday the White House announced its plan to double the amount of wireless broadband spectrum available for use to 500 megahertz in order to free up a crowded space and spur wireless innovation. Click here for the WH blog post, here for the Presidential Memorandum, and here for the WH fact sheet.
  • The State Department launched "Apps4Africa" to spur mobile innovation in East Africa. The competition rewards entrepreneurs who develop mobile applications which show how "technology can be part of the solution" on issues related to transparency, health, and education. Read the State Department's blog post for details.
  • Yesterday U.S. Representative Lofgren (CA-16) introduced the One Global Internet Act of 2010. The bill promotes "the global free flow of information" in response to foreign governments like China "breaking the global Internet into a fractured patchwork of national interests." Read CNET's summary of Chinese censorship here, and click here [PDF] to view a summary of the Act.
  • Gmail, Google Maps, and Chrome are now available in Swahili and Amharic, extending the web of connectivity for developing countries in Africa and helping to "foster integration by enabling East Africans to communicate, learn and work together with greater ease." Coverage here.
  • Today, Obama announced $795 million in broadband grants as part of a continued rollout of the Recovery Act. Here's the announcement, and here's the roster of awards.
  • Reporters Without Borders opened an "anti-censorship shelter" in their Paris headquarters which allows bloggers to post freely on a secure connection which masks their identity. Check out coverage here.
  • In the wake of growing protests following the killing of civilians by security forces, Kashmir has banned the use of SMS in the region. Check out this report, and don't miss our blog post for a deeper look.
  • The Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum, held two weeks ago, just released the 2010 Asia Declaration on Internet Governance, which identifies openness, accessibility, and cybersecurity as critical 21st-century issues.
  • Today the U.S Government released four new mobile phone apps, including a TSA application which sends up-to-date security checkpoint wait times directly to your mobile phone. Check out the whole line-up at's re-vamped website and new mobile apps store here.
  • A new initiative by the Internet Bar Association uses mobile technology to help resolve serious land ownerships disputes taking place in rural Afghanistan. Check out the program's website, and head over to our blog post to learn more.
  • In South Africa, Google Trends is being used to track the outbreak of influenza in the hope that public health officials can use the information to respond proactively to the threat of the flu. Play around at Google Flu Trends to learn more about this impressive and potentially life-saving database.
  • Yesterday the U.S. government launched, a comprehensive digital resource for learning about new healthcare policy, options, and availabilities in your area.
  • Internet giant Google has been sailing in rough waters in China. This week the conflict between the two escalated as tensions rose over Google's decision to forward Chinese search requests to the Hong Kong domain to skirt Chinese censorship. Here's a great review of the current situation, which could have dramatic consequences for Internet policy in the region.
  • PayPal just launched Mobile Express Checkout, allowing users to make financial transactions easily from the comfort of their mobile phone. Check out TNW's report here.

Happy Fourth of July!