Monday, October 29, 2007

Making the Internet Connection

"Innovation is possible literally anywhere that the internet is in operation," says Vint Cerf, Google's "Chief Internet Evangelist," in an interview with Andrew Edgecliff-Johnson of the Financial Times. Of the 6.5 billion people in the world, however, only 1 billion have access to and use of the internet. What does that say about the untapped potential for global innovation?

Cert highlights some of the challenges to extending internet connectivity to greater numbers of people around the globe. These range from infrastructure and capacity building (such as electricity and training) to security and privacy concerns.
"If we ever move into a regime where the providers of basic internet service have any control over what users can put on the network as an application, then I see a potential hazard to innovation. At the present time, this is still a very open system."
As Evan O'Neil points out elsewhere, there are ethical issues related to the process of extending connectivity that may not be immediately apparent. Getting laptops into the developing world is a noble venture. But what if development is not the only

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