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Regular version of the site

There is no Development without Internet

Peter Major,one of the world's leading experts in the field of ‘Governing the Internet’ comes to Moscow on September, 24th to spend a few days for sharing his experience and views with the HSE teachers and students. He will deliver a lecture ‘Internet as a Key Element of Development’, a seminar ‘Internet Governance’ with a consultation session and a seminar ‘International Structures of Internet Governance: forum on internet governance, forum on IT’ with a master class ‘Internet Governance Mechanisms’.

Dr. Major is the vice-chairman of the Radiocommunication Advisory Group of the International Telecommunication Union and is the chairman of the Group on Information Systems of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau at the United Nations .He also is the vice-chairman of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). He served as the chairman of the Commission on Improvements at UN International Internet Governance Forum. He is the coordinator of an international group on helping people with disabilities and participated in various seminars organized by this group in the ITU and during the Internet Governance Forums. He is a member of the International Advisory Group for the organization and holding of the Internet Governance Forum.

He gave a special interview for the HSE news service.

— Your lecture is called "The Internet as a key element of development". Does is mean that there is no development without Internet?

Many statistics, studies show the correlation between Internet and development (World Bank, ITU, OECD, Booz & CO., McKinsey, etc.). Estimates are different and explanation of the figures is not always straight forward. The direct impact of Internet on development is measurable in ICT related services and activities. There is the indirect impact of Internet in almost all fields of economy and daily human activities.  This impact may be considered to be either development or restructuring of certain segments of the economy (entertainment industry, media market, travel and tourism, etc.). In this approach the Internet is in fact a key element of development.  

— What's your attitude to social networks and social media?

— Social networks and social media contribute to the creation of a more inclusive society. We are at the beginning of the learning curve how to use these tools with all the advantages and drawbacks. Capacity building of users of these media should be initiated at a very early age with raising awareness about the dangers of cyber crime and privacy issues. Code of conduct on the Internet should not be significantly different from that of the offline world. Following the spirit of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution (2012): what applies offline should apply online.   

— We joke that newborns are coming to this world with Ipads these days. But how to involve elder people in Internet, especially in those countries, like Russia where it's still not as common as in the U.S.A, for example?

— Many programmes have been initiated in the European Union, in the US, in Switzerland, etc. to promote inclusive Internet access for elderly people. Capacity building is very important as tools such as laptops, tablets and mobile smart phones are more and more affordable. Another aspect of the problem is the age related disability. The UN Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities provides at least 15 articles on accessibility to ICTs. The treaty is the highest number of signatories in the history of a UN Convention: Ratifications/Accessions: 134 Signatories: 156. I believe there will be a significant shift in handling the problem of inclusiveness of elderly people from capacity building towards respecting rules of universal design and implementation. 

— How do you see the future development of Internet and its coverage in the world?

— In spite of the spectacular progress Internet penetration and use of mobile devices, more than 60% of the world population is without access to Internet. Significant progress has been made in increasing coverage and this trend will continue. With the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015 new frequency bands will be made available for mobile telecommunication and this will boost development of mobile internet in Africa. 

— What does bother you regarding the Internet penetration around the globe? Privacy? Human rights? More human isolation from each other?

— The fast progress in technology has important implications on privacy, human rights, etc. on one hand, security issues, cyber crime, etc. on the other. Presently I chair a working group of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) which tries to find answers to some of these questions described about. I am confident that a balanced approach will be found and we will be able to give recommendations to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nation.  I cannot, however, prejudge the outcome of the work of the CSTD Working Group.   

Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for the HSE news service

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