Building a global information society that is fair, equitable, and accessible to everyone is challenge that is going to take years to achieve. It was not going to happen in three days of discussions at this week's UN World Summit on the Information Society
. If half of the world's population is online by 2015, who knows that the web will look like, what kinds if speeds we will have, and whether keyboards, monitors and grey boxes will exist outside of museums. But the equalising force of networks which holds an unfathomable wealth of information, knowledge should be as free and ubiquitous as the air we share. There are divides within the digital divide that jostle for priority in many countries. The challenge is designing and making available technologies, which can help everyone in the worlds take advantage of this cerebral network. As Yoshio Utsumi
put it in his closing remarks at WSIS, the internet is like a "living, breathing creature", still finding its feet. It is toddling towards puberty, but there is still a long way highway ahead of it. And to many, it is not yet a "super" highway. Technology is changing at such a tremendous speed, that the scenery of the internet may look completely different in five years' time. For millions of digitally dispossessed global citizens who know what opportunities the net can offer, there is a lot of frustration. This is evident among young people who are envious of what fortunate digital citizens in the West enjoy. Efforts by non-governmental groups, the private sector, governments and charities are ensuring that projects to provide the infrastructure, both wired and wireless, the hardware and the knowledge are in place, and sustainable. The UN net summit was marked by a lack of attention by the global mainstream media. Much of the summit, the single biggest thing to happen to Tunisia in recent history, was dominated by whether the US should keep technical control of the net and freedom of speech on the net. The issue was resolved partially in a compromise solution to set up an international forum to look at issues such as cyber security. China is setting up its own Chinese net addresses, which are not provided by the US-based Icann group, creating, a regionalised internet over which Chinese authorities have more control.
"The net is not just one internet controlled by one centre, regionalisation has already started and I suspect that in a few years, the scenery of the internet will be a quite different one"
"Many fear giving over this type of control at a government level compromises the net's legacy of liberal, loose, grass roots lifeblood that feeds on debate, diversity, opinion and opposition. e-learning, e-government, e-commerce and e-medicine are commonplace to many in the West, but they are still of paramount importance to developing nations who need political pressure. Civic responsibility needs to have priorities. Developing nations need a helping hand to join the richer nations online. But it remains to be seen if any of the talk at the UN summit materialises into political action to narrow the technology gap. Lack of freedom of speech in Tunisia disappoints US Khaleej TimesTunisia: Legitimacy of UN Summit called into question by Tunisian ... Amnesty InternationalThe peaks of an information summit NZZ OnlineSwissinfo - Yahoo! News - TIME - Ninemsn ::: Technorati ::: challenge, digital, divide, government, ICANN, information, internet, network, SMSI, society, summit, technology, theglobalchinese, Tunis, UIT, UN, world ::: Sponsor ::: Bring in more customers and close those Sales today!