The concepts of justice and equality were once determined only by judges and lawyers, but over time that has changed as technology has made it possible to connect individuals to important issues. PeaceTones, another project founded by the Internet Bar Organization in addition to The Center, works to make those issues even more accessible—by assisting musicians in releasing their music to the world in the hopes it will inspire global change and vitalization of their communities.

This could seem over ambitious. After all, many people listen to music to relax or relieve stress. Would people be receptive to music that connects people to issues or walks of life that are different from theirs? Are people interested in social problems around the world? Can music even have a profound effect? These are important questions, but I would argue that the actions of the general public have already answered them with a resounding yes.

Recently justice has taken on new definitions as individuals share information and opinions on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other popular online platforms. According to a New York Times article from 2009, “Social media can’t ensure social justice. But it can affect the invisibility that is the first barrier to achieving it.” Social media, already a large part of how people interact with their friends and family, has also become extremely important in shaping public opinion about certain issues. An article in the Astana Times explains, “Social media has established new ways of communicating and creating perceptions between businesses and consumers, organizations and their audiences, political offices and their electorate.” So if something that was once primarily used for catching up with friends or sharing funny cat videos can have such a large effect on one’s views, why not music?

An article published by NY Daily News argues that “music has always been a tuneful force for political change“. PeaceTones’ goal is not new or radical, but simply an organized effort to assist talented musicians in the work they are already accomplishing. PeaceTones seeks to provide musicians with the legal, business, and technological skills they need to create and release their music, become leaders within their communities, and share their stories with the rest of the world. Not only does PeaceTones provide mentors and training for budding musicians, the majority of the profits go back to the creators and into projects they choose to help their communities.  The arts have long been used to facilitate change and introduce new ideas, and the nonprofit explains in their mission statement that music especially has the ability to “transcend socio-political and economic divides and speak the universal languages of peace and justice.” Simply put, music is for everyone, despite their connection or background, and provides common ground for people to meet and learn from each other.

If you are interested in learning more about PeaceTones and some of their projects or would like to get involved, please visit their website.

Articles: New York Times, August 13, 2009; Astana Times, February 20, 2015;  NY Daily News, October 10, 2009;

Photo: RED HOT MUSIC- No Shallow thoughts via S Vikek [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

The world that we live in is still very much unequal. It can be a challenge to fight for the rights of those that are mistreated or ignored. Social justice is about shedding light on imbalances and doing something to change them. Information, Communication, and Technology for Development (ICT4D) is a tactic that uses information and technology to advance progress in the fields of human rights, socio-economic justice and development.

If you are an individual or an organization that is trying to make an impact, check out our Information, Communication and Technology for Development Resources.

There you will find links to NGO’s such as Tacital Tech that is looking to advance advocacy through information technology and management.

If you are looking to create your own NGO you will find resources like Open World. They provide micro scholarships for grassroots initiatives interested in freedom and sustainability.

Or, if you are just looking to get started social justice, you can link to guides like, The Barefoot Guide. This downloadable guide will help an organization start working on projects of social change.

There are many applications of information, communication and technology for development. One of the best uses of ICT4D has been for educating the general public. Whether your goal is formal or informal education, using information, communication, and technology for development applications can help expand knowledge about your organization.
Photo: Rural Roads Sector 1 Project via:  Asian Development Bank[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

On Tuesday, Uber requested an appeal to a ruling made earlier this year that determined Uber drivers are employees and not independent contractors. The company has claimed that it is merely an app and not an employer of the nearly 160,000 drivers that are affliated with Uber in the US.

In an effort to defend itself again a class-action suit, uber filed a motion shortly after the ruling which opposes any class action driver suit. The company claims that the few drivers who believe that the Uber should reimburse them for expenses and tips do not represent the majority of drivers who are happy with the relationship that they have with the tech company.

But on September 1, US District Judge Edward Chen approved a class action status for that lawsuit. Uber is currently appealing this ruling in the hopes that the appeal court with reverse the judges order. In a 22 page request for appeal, Uber attorney Ted Boutrous wrote,”The potential ramifications of this closely-watched class-certification order are difficult to overstate.”

Uber has been battling this case since 2013 in an effort to get it thrown out. If the court upholds the Judge’s decision it would mean big changes for Uber. Not only would it have to start paying for expenses, such as vehicle upkeep, but it would also have to pay other costs such as social security, health care, paid time off and overtime.


Article via CNET, 15 September 2015

Photo: Taxi Driver/Santiago, Chile via Hotch Chang[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]