Digital Divides

Digital Divides

The internet is not a gender-neutral space. Women from patriarchal backgrounds especially need to be empowered to negotiate the sexism and misogyny they encounter online

Online violence and abuse is a major barrier for women on the internet. The legal framework to fight gendered abuse is based on morality, not on women’s rights, and only ends up restricting women further. This talk discusses some strategies that women use to make the internet their own and to keep the internet an empowering public sphere

The internet user base in the country is projected to touch 243 million by June 2014, a year-on-year growth of 28%, according to the Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). It is mobile internet that is responsible for much of this growth. IAMAI predicts that we will have 165 million mobile internet users by March 2015.

“E-governance is about using ICTs to improve government processes themselves, making them more efficient, and about transforming the relationship between governments and citizens by enabling more direct interaction and fostering inclusive development”

Studies which focus on information and communication technologies (ICTs)  as tools for new forms of instrumental communication and information processing take a technocratic view of technology, providing a perspective that understands notions such as  ‘efficiency’ or productivity as the essence of technology (Bertot, Jaeger & Grimes, 2010a; Bertot, Jaeger & Grimes, 2010b; Lea, 2004). Generalisations about the imperatives of technology appear prominently in this approach.

Many e-governance programmes in developing countries reach into the furthest regions of the rural countryside. These programmes intend to bring governance services, via digital means, to citizens who have little access to modern governance mechanisms. This technology ‘contact’ brings with it new assumptions and new relations of governance; it emerges in a field that is already dense with social relations that are both historically defined and changing and re-forming in response to the onslaught of modernity.

As mobiles, PCs and web 2.0 technologies reach the poor, technology plays out in their everyday reality in creative new ways. The global poor are usually characterised as passive consumers. We need to shift this perspective of the poor and see them as active producers and innovators. As Heeks (2010) argues, disbursing ICT-enabled incentives for new incomes and jobs will require ‘a new view of the world’s poor’: one that sees them as innovative producers and agile agents of ICT products and services.

Dr Sam Pitroda, who was instrumental in shaping the telecom revolution in the country, is presently adviser to the prime minister on public information, infrastructure and innovations. He is also chairman of the National Innovation Council.

Pitroda believes the seeds of the telecom revolution which have allowed us to grow exponentially were sown during the Rajiv Gandhi era. He was brought in by the former PM  to usher in the telecom revolution. In this interview he discusses the process of ‘reengineering the nation’ and government’s priorities in providing broadband to 250,000 panchayats and to institutions such as universities, research labs, schools and libraries.

1986: ERNET project starts up; email exchange using UUCP protocol established between National Centre for Software Technology, Bombay, and IIT Bombay (Bombay was renamed Mumbai in 1995)

1987: Email exchange between ERNET institutions in metros; TCP over X.25 established between the ERNET gateway at NCST and internet via CWI in Amsterdam

She was always a homemaker, keeping her home clean and family happy. Spoke Telugu and a smattering of English. When her sons were ready to leave home, they set up a Facebook account for her. Over the months and then years, she became an avid user of social media. She read news articles and blogposts on her newsfeed, followed up on civil society movements, checked speeches on YouTube, and reflected on opinions on current affairs. Gradually she began to express her own views on various subjects and took a public stance on trending topics.

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