Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bridging the Digital Divide in India


Digital music, film and television, digital cameras, video cameras, digital recorders, and of course the computers and networks, the digital realm par excellence, the new millennium seems to open under the sign of a term that has lost, for the most, the initial technical connotation to buy a much larger meaning and nuanced, becoming almost a slogan.


When it comes to digital you think in a world of high technology, linked to the wonders of computing and networks, in which an immaterial flow of information embodied in objects essential design and refined and amazing potential.

A world of work produced by the young and brilliant computer scientists or technicians in white coats, but whose rules of operation are mysterious, almost magical with the rhetoric of digital tends to relegate most of us in the role of consumers maybe excited, but basically incompetent.

Despite the status of economic giant and young population, the cyber sphere in the India does not seem to live up to current issues, especially when compared with other regional and world powers. In light of recent developments in the digital field, to understand the strategic dimension of India in cyberspace it is essential to analyze the policies and standards internally, understand their shortcomings and intuit the possible evolutions.

The international approach and strategic partnerships also allow completing the picture of a country inconsistent, in the balance between economic growth and digital immobility, despite being among the first for the system of mass surveillance vanguard.

In an interconnected and globalized world, and in view of the peculiar Indian situation, much remains to be done in the digital sphere. While the rate of Digital Literacy is virtually non-existent for more than 90% of the population, in 2014, India has suffered significant financial losses caused by cyber security incidents.

If global damages suffered by digital attacks are estimated to approximately 2.7 million dollars, only in the Republic of India they account for about 20% more than in 2013, for an average of 2,800 daily attacks recorded. In particular, India was the third country most affected by online banking malwares second only to the United States and Japan, as stated by the security firm Trend Micro.

To meet their requirements, and economic security, with the project #DigitalIndia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to promote the development of skills and technological expertise of the country through domestic investment in the fields of digital technology and information.

India has enacted the Information Technology Act 2000 for the management of legal issues from cyber crime to e-commerce. Despite the relentless evolution of the digital realm, the IT Act 2000 has not been reconsidered, updated or corrected substantially. Unlike most other countries, India has not contemplated, however, any Cyber Command for the coordination of groups created, thus leaving out the important military ball.

Also in 2013, the International Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement (CCRA) has guaranteed all India the status of Authorising Nation versus Consuming Nation. As the 17th nation to get permission to test and certify Information Technologies in the field of cyber security, such recognition has stimulated investment in research and development of IT products in the public and private sector despite the recent proposal to include cyber security in the Wassenaar Arrangement seems to threaten the technological upgrade Indian production and its ability to export.

Even today, India has no laws dedicated to digital security. Besides not being implemented, NSCP 2013 showed several gaps from a legal standpoint the absence of Protection of Privacy, Civil Liberties, and rules for the correction of the digital attacks suffered by private and public sector players.

India is still proving backward in the definition of its own cyber warfare policy, in the fight against cyber terrorism and cyber espionage, and the creation of a coherent strategy for the prevention of cyber crimes. Moreover, from a military and strategic perspective, India is deficient in their offensive and defensive capabilities to protect the Indian cyberspace and for the identification of terrorist attack digital matrix.

Thanks to the cooperation with the US, in the absence of legal framework and parliamentary oversight, India has developed an integrated system of mass surveillance among the most advanced in the world and endemic, composed of a number of programs.

If that digital was just a fashion, the trend to a clear separation between the few and the many consumers began incompetent and sometimes unconscious could basically do not worry too much. The reality, however, is quite different one produced by digital technologies, new media, developments and telematics, is not a fad but a revolution.

A revolution which first concerns but not only the way we produce, process, collect, exchange information. A revolution that brings with it the cultural, social, political, economic immense relief. Technological developments to which we are seeing we ask in part already ask us to make choices of great importance in many different industries with choices of economic organization and productive, cultural choices, choices in the fields of education, vocational training, infrastructure, work organization, and even the use of leisure time.

The ability to make the most of the amazing opportunities offered by new technologies in many areas depends on a wide diffusion and capillary related skills, or at least a basic understanding of the characteristics and potential of the tools you use.

When it comes to computer literacy and, more generally, literacy related to the whole field of new digital technologies is not made then with only reference to the need for greater individual expertise in practical tools have become indispensable for work and outside of work. Reference is also, and perhaps above all, to the one that is a real priority for the social body as a whole.

The world of the new technologies of information and communication sector is now quite popular, even by the introductory manuals and literature, but it has been explored so far mainly from two perspectives partly diverging from the technological point of view of those who focuses primarily on the characteristics of the machines' used and therefore in the first place of the computer, or from the perspective of those who most markedly sociological focuses on communicative interactions mediated by machines and, in this way, on some of the repercussions cultural and social use of new technologies.

Our ability to use the new technologies depends also on the characteristics of the tools we have available, or that we can develop. Through the Internet, two or three folders of text written travel much faster than a couple of minutes of sounds or moving images, since their weight in bits is much smaller.

Above all, the concept of information in digital format and the related phenomenon of so-called digital convergence we seem to provide the best access road to the complex world of new media: that theoretically founded, and together the most educationally effective.

Equally interesting are the phenomena that are placed on the axis of the relationship between technology and politics. Again we can expect significant changes in the operation of the policy and its institutions. Not only because, as is always the case, the economy affects the political forms of a company but also because the new communication technologies could change the very mechanisms of politics.

Today, with the introduction of new information technologies and communication, we find ourselves in the midst of yet another phase of transformation the advent of digital economy, or more generally of the immaterial economy.

While the government has launched an ambitious initiative of cooperation between government departments and population to ensure effective governance, the other proposal will have to take charge of the construction of Critical Information Infrastructure and efficient digital skills. In the digital domain, a latecomer like India will have to meet challenges even more insidious, in fact having to try to compete and keep up with other powers in the cyber sphere.

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