Before this topic, I had not considered digital differences. I had accepted inequality and discrimination offline but never stopped to consider the effects it may have online. However, I am now able to appreciate that there are a multiplicity of factors which ultimately make our digital experience’s different.
Despite concluding I was not negatively impacted by any of the factors, I felt that there was a huge need to actually do something. At the end of my initial post, I flirted with the concept of making internet access a human right. However, as Bivash pointed out, a Human Rights based approach is not a simple solution as access to the internet in third world countries can often lead to an increase in piracy – something which I simply hadn’t considered. Furthermore, the reality of actually implementing internet access as a right was highlighted by Iarina’s evocative reply to me on her blog. Iarina highlighted how in Romania, they had implemented fibre optics in a village with no electricity – and suddenly the internet wasn’t so important!
Coming from a legal background, I am sometimes guilty of thinking about a theoretical change as it may appear on paper – but not fully considering the realities of it. Therefore, as I discussed with Megan (only with specific reference to gender), I’ve concluded a broad “human right” is not the solution to digital inequality, and we are better off having specific measures for each factor, as there are a variety which have to be tackled, so there is unlikely to be a “one size fits all” approach. According to Pew , between 2001 and 2016, internet usage has increased throughout most groups (Pew, 2012) – so we are moving in the right direction and must keep going.
Zickuhr, K., & Smith A. (2012). Digital Differences, Pew Internet