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Jaume Fortuny (not verified) May 18, 2012

Thanks for this thoughtful post, Pete. In the same way as in the physical world, there are "illegal" and "undocumented" digital migrants. 20% of the "developed world" (or almost 80% of the "developing world") have no access for any reason to the tools of the Information Society (conections, devices,...) and are fully excluded. This is a big amount of "illegal" and "undocumented" migrants. UN statistics say that 65% of the world population has no access to the Internet (http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/) . As you expose, it's necessary to increase the level of education and wealth of the population, while raise awareness of Internet benefits and overcome barriers. So, for now, you may need to change the post title to: "Only 35% are digital migrants now" (but we will continue working to not exclude anyone).
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petecranston May 18, 2012

Interesting, Jaume, thanks: your widening of the topic takes us well beyond my original point, which was to bury once and for all the digital native/migrant idea. And I'd argue that the title still holds, for two reasons. Firstly, sooner or later, willingly or not, we will all have to migrate into the digital space as business and Governance moves online. Social welfare systems in the UK are moving online rapidly and people will eventually have to be able to access them electronically. Secondly, a lot of people are connected over mobile phone networks rather than directly over the Internet. SMS remains the most popular service in many areas, and if I get an update from an Internet service on my phone via the GSM channel, am I connected to the Internet or not?
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Jaume Fortuny (not verified) May 18, 2012

I agree that the idea of native / digital immigrant must be buried. We all must adopt the technology in our lives. Surely the children with their learning ability will assimilate it before. And adults and elder will be more limited with it. But will become part of our lives. But I see that we are filled with impressive figures on connectivity and the reality is very cruel. I remember the basic example of statistics: A person eats two chickens and another one don't eat any >> The statistics say that each person eats one chicken. The same happen with the numbers of people with access to the Information Society. And I say, through the experience, that is not the same to connect to Internet via GPRS (56kbps) than doing it with fiber optics to some tens of Mbps. For certain features, an Internet connection through a GSM channel, can represent being excluded.
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petecranston May 18, 2012

Of course you're right, Jaume, about there still being very real barriers to access. Reliable Internet connectivity is available in more and more places but at a cost which is prohibitive to huge numbers of people. And it needn't be so: Steve Song is one of many who lays the problem, in Africa at least, at the door of monopoly telcos. See this blog, one example of many http://bit.ly/Jn6XW4

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