Inside the information society

David Souter writes a weekly column for APC, looking at different aspects of the information society, development and rights. David’s pieces take a fresh look at many of the issues that concern APC and its members, with the aim of provoking discussion and debate. Issues covered include internet governance and sustainable development, human rights and the environment, policy, practice and the use of ICTs by individuals and communities.

Inside the Information Society: Growing up online
Inside the Information Society: Growing up online 06 February 2018

A third of the world’s Internet users, says UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report, on Children in a Digital World, are younger than 18. How they use it shapes their attitudes, behaviour, opportunities, and therefore shapes their futures. That deserves more – and more sophisticated – attention from the Internet’s stakeholders than it gets. Two attitudes Talk about the Internet and children tends to focus on two themes: the Internet as answer and the Internet as problem. On ...

Inside the Information Society: After access - upgrading the evidence base on ICT access in development
Inside the Information Society: After access - upgrading the evidence base on ICT access in development 22 January 2018 David Souter

Last week’s post concerned how best to measure the Information Society.  This week: a look at an important new source of evidence on access and use in developing countries.   One of the most interesting sessions at last month’s Internet Governance Forum came right at the end.  The attendance was disappointing – too many people had gone home, perhaps, or shopping – but the content really matters.   Why?  Because it set out latest research findings on what’s r...

Inside the Information Society: Finding indicators for the way ahead
Inside the Information Society: Finding indicators for the way ahead 15 January 2018 David Souter

This week’s post looks at UNESCO’s current consultation on indicators for ‘Internet universality’.   The Information Society is built on data. Strange, then, that we’ve so much difficulty measuring what’s going on and where we’re heading.   What do we need to measure – and why? The challenge here’s that we want to measure everything because, we think, the Inform...

Inside the Information Society: What's coming up in 2018
Inside the Information Society: What's coming up in 2018 08 January 2018 David Souter

Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that ‘Inside the Information Society’ took a break towards the end of last year.  It’s back today, with a long list of themes up and ready for 2018.   As before, this blog will raise questions and challenge assumptions about where the Information Society is heading.  It will reflect on major events around the Internet and its impact on s...

Inside the Information Society: What is the impact of the internet on politics?
Inside the Information Society: What is the impact of the internet on politics? 06 November 2017 David Souter

This week’s blog looks at the impact of the Internet on politics. Last week I wrote about the need for us to think about the Internet and social media in a more nuanced way. ‘Too much debate about the Information Society is binary,’ I said. ‘To advocates, anything digital looks good. Others are spooked by impacts that are uncontrolled and unbenign. If we’re serious, we need to be more...

Inside the Information Society: Social Media, saint or sinner?
Inside the Information Society: Social Media, saint or sinner? 30 October 2017 David Souter

Too much debate about the Information Society is binary. To advocates, anything digital looks good. Others are spooked by impacts that are uncontrolled and unbenign. If we’re serious, we need to be more nuanced. Some reflection on this where social media’s concerned this week; next week, the Internet’s impact on politics. One newspaper, two stories Let’s take two stories from the same n...

Inside the Information Society: Measuring the Information Society
Inside the Information Society: Measuring the Information Society 23 October 2017 David Souter

There’s a lot of talk about the need to measure the Information Society. Governments, businesses and UN agencies all want to know who has access to what information and communications. They want to know when and how that access is obtained and used, and what impact it’s having on our lives. You might think this would be easy. After all, the Information Society’s a digital phenomenon. Data...

Inside the Information Society: Policies for the digital economy
Inside the Information Society: Policies for the digital economy 16 October 2017 David Souter

Last week I looked at the big picture on the digital economy, in the light of UNCTAD’s latest Information Economy Report. This week: some of the issues the digital economy raises for policymakers at a national and local level. Let’s make four assumptions First, it’s fair to say that the digital economy’s becoming more important with each passing year. UNCTAD estimates that it now accoun...

Inside the Information Society: Whose digital economy?
Inside the Information Society: Whose digital economy? 08 October 2017 David Souter

This week’s post is the first of two on the digital economy. UNCTAD – the UN Conference on Trade and Development – published its two-yearly Information Economy Report (IER) last week. It’s consistently one of the more interesting UN publications on the Information Society. Well worth a read. This year’s is concerned with Digitalisation, Trade and Development and publication coinc...

Inside the Information Society: Do we understand the role robots play in our lives?
Inside the Information Society: Do we understand the role robots play in our lives? 04 October 2017 David Souter

Each week David Souter comments on an important issue for APC members and others concerned about the Information Society. This week's blog post looks at the role robots play in our lives.  Robots are talked of more and more these days. Like implants (last week’s post) they’ve moved from science fiction to present reality. Instead of fantasizing over them, we need to understand the role...

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