Geneva summit aims to bridge 'digital divide'
With almost all the political hurdles swept aside in negotiations last weekend, the huge World Summit on the Information Society that opens in Geneva today will be clearly focused on its initial objective – boosting the use of information and communication technologies in the developing world. Governments from more than 170 countries are expected to endorse a declaration of principles and a plan of action for increasing ICT use and access. Only the issue of special finance to help poorer nations meet these goals remains unresolved ahead of the three-day United Nations summit. In addition, countries will reaffirm the principles of freedom of expression, media independence and pluralism, which China and some other members had sought to weaken. Another dispute has been defused, at least temporarily, with agreement to set up a UN working group on internet governance – technical management of the internet and public policy concerns such as unsolicited advertising (“spam”), privacy, cybercrime and network security – which will report to the second stage of the summit in Tunis in November 2005. Full Story