If you imagine the challenges faced by local communities plagued by conflict and institutional instability, someplace for example like Somalia, a nation that has faced profound governance issues (sorry to pick on Somalia, but this post is about weak states), and you work in any part of the humanitarian or development organization network, it may seem perfectly reasonable to empower local communities and civil society groups to collaborate on Alternative Modes of Governance. In this way, communities can see to their own basic needs. Mobile technology has emerged as a resource that development experts are thinking creatively about in order tackle these types of issues. The rapid influx of phones, more generally of information and communication technology (ICT) has presented new opportunities for governance according several influential tech architects. In a new book, Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood edited by Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop, contributing authors such as Patrick Meier the developer of Ushahidi (an SMS platform relied on by branches of the UN and US government) as well as development heavyweights such as Dr. Sharath Srinivasan, Director of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) at the University of Cambridge, explore ICT's viability as an Alternative Governance Modality. They discuss the effects of ICT proliferation within the slums of Kenya and Russia as well as other areas that are considered to have limited or weak central governments.
The problem of data collection in weak states is brought into relief with the use of UAVs (drones).