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Main article: "Digital divide

Two main concerns seemed to be the issue and talk of the UN World Summit on the Information Society held in Tunis, (i) the digital divide and (ii) the digital dilemma.

First the digital divide, which was addressed in Archbishop John P. Foley's address before the WSIS and in the Vatican document, Ethics in the Internet.[33] According to Archbishop Foley the digital divide is the current disparity in the access to digital communications between developed and developing countries and it requires the joint effort of the entire international community. The digital divide is considered a form of discrimination dividing the rich and the poor, both within and among nations, on the basis of access, or lack of access, to the new information technology. It is an updated version of an older gap that has always existed between the information rich and the information poor. The term digital divide underlines the reality that not only individuals and groups but also nations must have access to the new technology in order to share in the promised benefits of globalization and not fall behind other nations.

In a statement delivered by Senator Burchell Whiteman from Jamaica he stressed that Jamaica realizes the importance of bridging the digital divide which he sees as promoting social and economic development for 80% of the countries that are still struggling with this gap and the impact that it has on them.["citation needed] In a statement given by Mr. Ignacio Gonzalez Planas, who is the minister of Informatics and Communications of the Republic of Cuba, he also talked about the concern of only a few countries enjoying these privileges.["citation needed] Mentioning that over half of the world population does not have telephone access, which was invented more than a century ago. A statement by Vice Premier Huang Ju, the State Council of the People's Republic of China, said that the information society should be a people centered society in which all peoples and all countries share the benefit to the fullest in greater common development in the information society.["citation needed]

Second the digital dilemma, which the Holy See emphasized as a disadvantage to the information society and urged caution to avoid taking the wrong steps. It is a real and present danger with technology especially the Internet. The Holy See strongly supports freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas, but argues that the moral order and common good must be respected. One must approach it with sensitivity and respect for other people's values and beliefs and protect the distinctiveness of cultures and the underlying unity of the human family.["citation needed]

Whiteman from Jamaica agreed on the issue of facing digital dilemmas as well. He stated that information resources combined with technology resources are available to the world and they have the power to transform the world for good or ill.["citation needed] In a statement made by Mr. Stjepan Mesic, President of Croatia, it was stated that we are flooded with data and we think that we know and can find everything about everyone but we also must remember that we don't know what so easily accessible is like.["citation needed] He states that although the information society is a blessing one should not ignore the potentiality of it turning into a nightmare.

The Holy See's caution of the information society is being heard and echoed by other countries especially those that were present at the WSIS in Tunis.["who?] Echoing the statement made in Ethics in the Internet, "The internet can make an enormously valuable contribution to human life. It can foster prosperity and peace, intellectual and aesthetic growth, mutual understanding among peoples and nations on a global scale."["citation needed]

In a press statement released 14 November 2003 the Civil Society group warned about a deadlock, already setting in on the very first article of the declaration, where governments are not able to agree on the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common foundation of the summit declaration.[34] It identified two main problems:

1. On the issue of correcting imbalances in riches, rights and power, governments do not agree on even the principle of a financial effort to overcome the so-called ""digital divide", which was precisely the objective when the summit process was started in 2001.

2. In its view, not even the basis of human life in dignity and equality, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, finds support as the basis for the Information Society. Governments are not able to agree on a commitment to basic human right standards as the basis for the Information Society, most prominent in this case being the freedom of expression.

The "digital divide" concept was criticized by some civil society groups as well. For instance, the "Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) rejected the term.[35]

Internet governance[edit]

Internet governance and "Internet Governance Forum

The Summit's first phase took place in December 2003 in "Geneva. The summit process began with the first "Prepcom" in July 2002. The last Prepcom, held from 19–30 September 2005 in Geneva, ended without securing final agreement on "Internet governance, with the U.S. rejecting a "European Union proposal to relinquish control of "ICANN.["citation needed]

An issue that emerged was "Internet governance and the dominant role that the USA plays in policy making. The most radical ideas about devolving this authority were those supporting a "civil society approach to Internet governance.["citation needed]

In a document released on 3 December 2003[36] the United States delegation to the WSIS advocated a strong "private sector and "rule of law as the critical foundations for development of national "information and communication technologies (ICT). Ambassador "David Gross, the US coordinator for international communications and information policy, outlined what he called "the three pillars" of the US position in a briefing to reporters 3 December.

  1. As nations attempt to build a sustainable ICT sector, commitment to the private sector and rule of law must be emphasized, Gross said, "so that countries can attract the necessary private investment to create the infrastructure."
  2. A second important pillar of the US position was the need for content creation and intellectual property rights protection in order to inspire ongoing content development.
  3. Ensuring security on the internet, in electronic communications and in electronic commerce was the third major priority for the US. "All of this works and is exciting for people as long as people feel that the networks are secure from "cyber attacks, secure in terms of their privacy," Gross said.

As the Geneva phase of the meeting drew closer, one proposal that was gaining attention was to create an international fund to provide increased financial resources to help lesser-developed nations expand their ICT sectors. The "voluntary digital solidarity fund" was a proposal put forth by the "president of "Senegal, but it was not one that the United States could currently endorse, Gross said.

Gross said the United States was also achieving broad consensus on the principle that a "culture of "cybersecurity" must develop in national ICT policies to continue growth and expansion in this area. He said the last few years had been marked by considerable progress as nations update their laws to address the galloping criminal threats in cyberspace. "There's capacity-building for countries to be able to criminalize those activities that occur within their borders...and similarly to work internationally to communicate between administrations of law enforcement to track down people who are acting in ways that are unlawful," Gross said.

Many governments are very concerned that various groups use U.S.-based servers to spread "anti-semitic, nationalist, or regime critical messages. This controversy is a consequence of the American position on "free speech which does not consider speech as criminal without direct appeals to violence. The United States argues that giving the control of Internet domain names to international bureaucrats and governments may lead to massive censorship that could destroy the freedom of the Internet as a public space.

Ultimately, the "US Department of Commerce made it clear it intends to retain control of the Internet's root servers indefinitely.[37][38][39]

The main "UN level body in this field is the "Internet Governance Forum, which was established in 2006.

Selected media responses[edit]

A report by Brenda Zulu for The Times of Zambia explained that the (Dakar) resolution "generated a lot of discussion since it was very different from the Accra resolution, which advocated change from the status quo where Zambia participated in the Africa WSIS in Accra. The Dakar resolutions, in the main, advocated the status quo although it did not refer to internationalization of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)."[40]

The Jamaica Observer had a column which saw "Cyberspace as backyard for the new '"Monroe Doctrine'.[41] The Monroe Doctrine, expressed in 1823, proclaimed that the Americas should be closed to future European colonization and free from European interference in sovereign countries' affairs. The Doctrine was conceived by its authors, especially John Quincy Adams, as a proclamation by the United States of moral opposition to colonialism, but has subsequently been re-interpreted in a wide variety of ways, including by President Theodore Roosevelt as a license for the U.S. to practice its own form of colonialism.

From India, The Financial Express interviewed Nitin Desai, who is special advisor to the United Nations Secretary General. Desai is quoted saying, "Our main goal is to find ways for developing countries to gain better access to the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs), helping them improve their life standards right from their knowledge base to their work culture, and spread awareness about diseases and other crucial issues. This will aim to bridge the huge communication technology and infrastructure gap existing currently in the world. This will include connecting villages, community access points, schools and universities, research centers, libraries, health centers and hospitals, and local and central government departments. Besides looking at the first two years of implementation of the Plan of Action after the Geneva summit, the Tunis episode will seek to encourage the development of content meant to empower the nations."

He says: "The way India has made use of IT, fetching the country not only profits, but a huge percentage of employed people, it has been really impressive." My view: it's a shame that we in India have so many IT professionals, but these skills get used so much for the export-dollar, and hardly at all (except in a spillover manner) to tackle the huge issues that a billion seeking a better life have to daily deal with.

The "South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), had a "Reuters report titled 'Rights groups says Tunisia is not right for WSIS',[42] citing the position of the "IFEX "Tunisia Monitoring Group. It said:

As thousands of delegates and InfoTech experts gathered in Tunisia this weekend for a UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), human rights and media freedom groups were asking: Is this meeting in the wrong place?" and points to both the positions critical of the Tunisian government on free speech, and the administration's defense of its record. Finally, when it comes to reporting on the unfair global village, and communication rights we have within it, isn't it ironic that the awareness and ability to keep up with the issue – of information – is itself so unfair?

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs". Public Administration and Development Management. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Why a Summit on the Information Society". World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunication Union. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Basic Information : About WSIS". World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunication Union. 17 January 2006. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "United Nations General Assembly Resolution 56/183" (PDF). International Telecommunication Union. 31 January 2002. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "WSIS Declaration of Principles". Itu.int. 2003-12-12. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  6. ^ "WSIS Plan of Action". Itu.int. 2003-12-12. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  7. ^ "Shaping Information Societies for Human Needs", Civil Society Declaration to the World Summit on the Information Society, Unanimously adopted by the WSIS Civil Society Plenary (Geneva), 8 December 2003. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  8. ^ Henrik Spang-Hanssen. Public International Computer Network Law Issues DJØF Forlag 2006 "ISBN 978-87-574-1486-8
  9. ^ Report of the World Summit on the Information Society (PDF). Document A-60-687 (Report). UN General Assembly. 16 March 2006. p. 3. Retrieved 12 September 2007. 
  10. ^ "Funding of WSIS-2004", World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union, 26 June 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Funding of WSIS-2005", World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union, 26 June 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d e Rebecca MacKinnon (31 January 2012). Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom. Basic Books. pp. 203–204. "ISBN "978-0-465-02442-1. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "Global Events Calendar", WSIS Stocktaking, World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Global Publication Repository", WSIS Stocktaking, World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Case Studies", WSIS Stocktaking, World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  16. ^ Report on the WSIS Stocktaking 2012, Version 1.1 (2012), World Summit on the information Society, International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  17. ^ "WSIS Implementation By Action Line". World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  18. ^ WSIS website, International Telecommunications Union. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  19. ^ "WSIS Forum 2012". World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "WSIS Project Prizes 2012", Would Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (Geneva). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  21. ^ "WSIS Project Prizes 2013", Would Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (Geneva). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  22. ^ "WSIS Project Prizes 2014", Would Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (Geneva). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  23. ^ "WSIS Project Prizes 2014", Would Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (Geneva). Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  24. ^ "About WSIS Project Prizes", Would Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunications Union (Geneva). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  25. ^ "WSIS+10 High-Level Event", World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunication Union (Geneva). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  26. ^ "WSIS+10 Endorsed Outcome Documents", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  27. ^ "Open Consultation Process", WSIS+10 High-Level Event, World Summit on the Information Society, International Telecommunication Union (Geneva). Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  28. ^ "Outcome Document of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society", United Nations General Assembly, A/70/L.33, 13 December 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  29. ^ Declaration of principles December 12th 2003
  30. ^ PCT-WG working group of WSIS 2002 to 2007
  31. ^ Tunisia: Political Prisoners Held in Solitary for Years 7 July 2004
  32. ^ Tunisia Monitoring Group releases report on state of free expression 22 February 2005
  33. ^ Ethics in the Internet, John P. Foley and "Pierfranco Pastore, Pontifical Council for Social Communications, The Vatican. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  34. ^ Civil Society Statement at the End of the Preparatory Process for the WSIS 14 November 2003
  35. ^ "Re:interpretation?". Comment on Joe Barr, "Why UN's information society summit is doomed to fail", 17 February 2004.
  36. ^ U.S. Outlines Priorities for World Summit on the Information Society 3 December 2003
  37. ^ Kieren McCarthy (1 July 2005). "Bush administration annexes internet". The Register. 
  38. ^ Declan McCullagh (3 October 2005). "Power grab could split the net". CNET News (CBS Interactive). Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.  (Includes discussion.)
  39. ^ "Essential test for UN net summit", Jo Twist, BBC News, 19 November 2005. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  40. ^ Brenda Zulu – identified as a journalist specializing in reporting on Information Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) issues – WSIS Set to Begin in Tunis As SADC Lobbies Countries To Diffuse The Dakar Paper.
  41. ^ Cyberspace as backyard for the new 'Monroe Doctrine' 13 November 2005
  42. ^ Rights groups says Tunisia is not right for WSIS 13 November 2005

External links[edit]


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