DIGITAL AMERICA

Tag: civil rights


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The Roadmap to Universal Broadband

// Posted by on 04/22/2014 (12:36 AM)

The Above image show a map of the United States and the speed at which internet access is available. This map represent the theme of final project, the search for Universal Broadband and the end of the Digital Divide.… Read more

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The Above image show a map of the United States and the speed at which internet access is available. This map represent the theme of final project, the search for Universal Broadband and the end of the Digital Divide.

For my final project I initial proposed research regarding the concept of Internet access as a human right. As I began researching, the issue developed into current interactions between the United States Government and the many multi-national corporations that provide broadband services to millions of Americans. My project started to turn towards this direction when I read about all of the different actions that are in plan to end the Digital Divide.

 

The Digital Divide is the separation between those who have access to Internet, and therefore information, and those who don’t. While I original believed that this divide occurred mainly due to individual’s inability to pay for Internet service, upon further research I realized that the problem was also caused by the lack on Internet infrastructure in many rural areas of the United States. Upon discovering this issue I began to research the multiple different actions plans that currently exist.

 

I was able to breakdown the focus of my research in United States government policy on broadband, the private sector plan, and Non-governmental organizations that are working to end the digital divide. Currently, my research can be found on alliedeering.tumblr.com. This tumblr is my currently workspace, but I plan to organize my research into a more clear presentation upon my finalization.

 

Some examples of the multiple different plans I have discovered to end the digital divide include that of the Federal Commission of Communication within the United States Government. Their National Broadband Plan is an action plan to provide broadband infrastructure to all areas of the United States. This plan seeks to create a “high-performance America” by improving innovation, investment, and inclusion in Internet services for the Citizens. Their goals include

  • At least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.
  • The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.
  • Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose.
  • Every American community should have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit per second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings.
  • To ensure the safety of the American people, every first responder should have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.
  •  To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.

 

While these goals are comprehensive and aggressive what is missing from the action plan is means to achieve these goals and the budget that is required to enact all this change. This is where the cooperation between the public sector and private sector comes into play. Similar issues as this was dealt with in the 1980’s with the expansion of the home phone network. The field of telecommunications has changed dramatically over the past 50 years, and as we move into the future will continue to change.

 

This is simply a preview of the type of research I am currently doing in exploring whose responsibility it is to provide the United States with this service, that we as a society as deemed essential. As I move forward I plan to further track the impact that the United States, the telecommunication industry, and Non-governmental organizations have made in finding a social for the digital divide.

 

My questions I would like to ask the class revolve around the concept of responsibility and commodity. As the Internet becomes further ingrained into our daily lives, will be call for the transition from private sector management to public sector? Do you think the government should provide Internet access? Subsidize it? Require private companies to provide access to rural areas? These questions amongst others are in the survey posted below. Please fill out my survey tomorrow, in hopes of helping me along my journey to discover that path that America should embark on in hopes of closing the digital divide.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WZMGD3W

 


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It’s Just a “Boyish Hoax” Ladies, Relax!

// Posted by on 03/24/2014 (6:53 PM)

After our class discussions last week, I wanted to continue to focus on the topic of women and the Internet.  After reading Amanda Hess’ article, Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet, it became just how important this issue truly… Read more

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After our class discussions last week, I wanted to continue to focus on the topic of women and the Internet.  After reading Amanda Hess’ article, Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet, it became just how important this issue truly is in our current society.  In our digital age, it is far more likely for individuals to feel comfortable expressing themselves more freely than they normally would in face-to-face conversation.  This is, simply put, because we are able to hide behind a screen.  We do not feel the direct affect our words have on others, have control over who sees what we post, and do not have to take the risking our confidence.  Although this ability for open expression does yield various positive results, it is also poses very serious threats to individuals’ emotional and physical safety.  Where do we draw the line?  When is a threat made online taken as seriously as one made in person?  Whose responsible for this content and what shall be the repercussions for it?

One set of statistics in Hess’ article really stood out to me: Feminine usernames incurred an average of 100 sexually explicit or threatening messages a day while Masculine names received 3.7.  Similarly, she references a survey that Pew conducted gathering data from 2000 to  2005 which showed the percentage of internet users who participated in online chats and discussion groups.  Participants dropped from 28 percent to 17 percent, “‘entirely because of women’s fall off in participation’” (Hess).  After receiving both morbid death and terrifying rape threats, it is understandable why a woman would turn away from the Internet- delete her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  Should women really be so uncomfortable to the point where they have to do so?  Where they feel there is no other option than to “digitally disappear”?  This position women often face does not seem fair to me.  The use of the internet will only continue to expand and women should not have to choose between using the Internet and feeling safe.  The Internet is a crucial resource for work and social communication between family and friends.

A big part of this dilemma is the lack of law enforcement in regards to digital threats.  Hess discusses the experiences of numerous women who had been continuously threatened on the Internet.  Even after consulting the police, however, the situations largely remained unresolved.  As Hess asserts, “the Internet is a global network, but when you pick up the phone to report an online threat, you end up face-to-face with a cop who patrols a comparatively puny jurisdiction” (Hess).  With police dismissing online threats as non-immediate and therefore not serious, women are left alone with no real resolution or justice.  With this common pattern of police response, it seems as though they are suggesting that women should take online threats lightly.  Obviously, a woman can experience harassment anywhere, not just on the Internet, however, as our society continues to increasingly depend on the Internet, it is no longer something we can overlook.  Today, harassers are able to remain anonymous and target women for no reason whatsoever.  Who is to tell women that their fear and anxiety is not real?  Why is the seemly discrete message seen to be, just forget about it and move on?  Something is fundamentally wrong with this picture…

The Internet is not a safe place, and even less safe of one for women.  Although there have been various efforts to prevent online harassment and bullying, there are no laws that allow women to bring claims against individuals.  This is because the Internet is not an official workplace, but a never-ending universe that lacks individual accountability.  Even if multiple users attack an individual, there is no way to group them into one and take action.  The Internet allows a sense of mobility and liberation that causes—even encourages— individuals to say whatever they want to without any repercussions.  Although I understand the challenges of holding anonymous screen names accountable for their words, I think that it is something that needs more focus as it will only continue to have an effects on our society, on an individual level and on a larger scale.  The Internet has become real life and we need to start treating it accordingly.


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