Does the world have a digital divide? Does information, communication and technology (ICT) policy lie at the heart of that divide? This is one of the questions the Free Market Foundation’s book “The Real Digital Divide” covers, but with a focus on the South African government and its latest policy – the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper. An important question that you might be asking yourself is: Do you have to read this book or the ICT Policy it discusses? In other words, is the ICT Policy and the book discussing it relevant to you?
What is the Digital Divide?
A digital divide is a division of the population in such a way that some are able to fully take advantage of opportunities in a digital economy, while others can’t. It’s a question of who has access to the latest technologies and who doesn’t. This is something that’s true in most or all parts of the world. We need to close the digital divide because we need to reduce inequality.
In fact, the book points at various ways in which the ICT Policy might worsen this digital divide, instead of reducing it. One such way is that the ICT Policy proposes more government regulation of the ICT sector in a way that might drive away foreign investment in the sector and negatively impact economic growth. The book also points out the flawed way in which government consulted with the public in formulating the ICT Policy. According to the book, this failure to properly consult with the public is quite troublesome when considering that the ICT Policy will likely have a huge impact not only on the ICT sector, but the public as well.
Who should read this book and why?
- Heads of ICT companies: they need know how government policies will impact on their organisations.
- Lawmakers in the ICT sector (IT laws and the like): they need to understand the significant impact on the public that laws based on the ICT policy can have.
- Members of civil society and the public: they need to understand that policies such as these result in laws with a significant impact on them, and that there are ways to positively influence those law-making processes at the policy level.
- Foreign investors: they will need to understand what the current legal and economic climate is in the country and how that can possibly change with the introduction of new laws and policies.
- Legal advisers: in order to give sound legal advice on IT compliance, they will need to follow all the latest legal developments in the ICT sector.
What does the book cover?
The book covers various topics under broad headings such as:
- ICT and the law
- Radio Frequency Spectrum
- Universal Access
- Net Neutrality
Actions you can take
- Read this book by asking us to post you one of the copies we still have available.
- Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest developments.
- Read the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper by downloading your own copy of it.
- Find out more about IT legal compliance by attending our Practical IT GRC Law Workshop.