Digital Divide



After days of trial and error and agonizing labor which threatened the “life” of my poor computer, I somehow managed to succeed in posting this page.   My 5-year-old granddaughter makes me look bad (and “obsolete”) with the ease and speed with which she navigates the Web and her favorite social networks.  “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” immediately comes to mind.  But maybe, just maybe, even an old dog like me can still learn a trick or two.  After all, software producers and service providers never fail to advertise their products as “user-friendly”.  And I happen to be a very friendly person.

There are millions of us “relics” of the bygone typewriter era in the so-called “third world” countries with limited or no access at all to the Internet.  And so, the politically incorrect “third world” nomenclature (which denotes that we come from another primitive planet) was dropped and the better sounding “digital divide” coined to distinguish us from the rest of the planet earth.


Digital Divide

The term “digital divide” refers to the gap between people (or countries) with effective access to information and communications  technology (ICT) and the Internet for a wide variety of applications and activities and those with very limited or no access at all.  It is the latest among the many terminologies that were cleverly coined in the West to distinguish  between rich and poor countries. 

The question is, will the use of ICT help us alleviate our problems or aggravate them?  Is the technology a boon to mankind as touted by most cyber experts? 


Cyber Terrorist ModelIt all started as nothing more than a nuisance.  Then the White House website flashed an advisory for the wholesale nationalization of utility companies across America.  The popular response to the advisory turned from universal acclaim to befuddlement as the site claimed eBay, Amazon and Wal-Mart will also be taken into state hands.  When the website of the Republican Party endorsed the White House plan and committed  as well  to the wholesale nationalization of the transportation, communications and banking industries, befuddlement turned to alarm.  Then a barrage of crippling cyber attacks hit the entire country, disabling the system and shutting down the services of the federal government, banks, transportation, communications, utilities and merchandizing networks.  The ensuing catastrophe on a global scale is unimaginable:  economic collapse, law and order breakdown, food riots and threat of a nuclear holocaust.

Science fiction thriller?  Some cyber experts say that such a scenario is possible and it’s not a question of “if” but “when” it will happen.  Past worldwide cases of successful targeted cyber attacks on governments, institutions and industries underscore global unpreparedness to block such assaults.  In fact, many people are now beginning to question the soundness of a “fully-wired” socio-economic infrastructure.  Ironically, in the event of a devastating global attack by cyber terrorists, less developed and poorly wired countries like the Philippines will likely fare better than the “elite” of the digital divide.

Now, where was I?  Oh yes, if I could only figure out which of these #*?\%&! foreign objects to click.  Aki! Come here please and show grandpa how to do this. 

Author:  Rene “RC” Catacutan
Published 18 August 2009