The new technologies that are changing our world are not a panacea or a magic bullet. But they are, without doubt, enormously powerful tools for development. They create jobs. They are transforming education, health care, commerce, politics and more. They can help in the delivery of humanitarian assistance and even contribute to peace and security.
One of the most pressing challenges in the new century is to harness this extraordinary force, spread it throughout the world, and make its benefits accessible and meaningful for all humanity, in particular the poor.- Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General.
IntroductionThe Internet and other forms of e-communication have dramatically changed the world around us for good. There has been a major shift from centralized control of content to the democratization of content, because of the ubiquity of access, because the tools exist for information to go both ways. We can see this at work all across the globe; especially in places like Darfur and Pakistan that used to seem so very far away.
More people are in touch with what is happening in these places than ever before in history. What does this mean? It means that public opinion can become mobilized. Even if they cut the tether to the TV stations (as Pervez Musharra has done), people will still have access to blogs and the networks of people activating to make democracy happen. The power of the internet as a democratizing force comes from being uncontrollable and oftentimes chaotic. While this has done a lot of good for the people in places like Pakistan and Darfur and the states, many governments believe the internets unwieldiness is dangerous and should be governed. This brings about a debate on how government both domestically and internationally should deal with the internet. This includes the internet highway itself; in...