Brief session description:
Monday, April 23, 2012- Hamadoun Touré has been secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union since 2007; his work is to lead the United Nations body that works to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by harnessing and delivering the potential of information and communication technologies. Part of his work involves leading the people who work to implement the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society. In his keynote, Toure emphasized the current strength of the Internet, most notably the benefits of access to broadband networks around the world. Toure has shown commitment to connecting the globe and accomplishing Millennium Development Goals through Information and Connection Technologies. From 1998-2006, he served as the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, during which time he placed emphasis on implementing goals from the World Summit on Information and Society and launching international projects. In the opening keynote, Toure was joined by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Leonard Kleinrock, distinguished professor of computer science at UCLA; and Lynn St.Amour, president and CEO of the Internet Society. Read more about Toure here.
Details of the session:
Global hyperconnectivity, represented by more than 6 billion cellular subscribers and 2.4 billion Internet users, has revolutionized the process of leveraging technology to improve the world and must continue to do so, ITU leader Hamadoun Touré argued in his opening keynote at GlobalINET.
“We’re seeing mobile and Internet bring people and things together in ways we could never have dreamed just a decade ago,” Touré said.
He added that the Internet has taken down barriers.
“This is the first time in human history that almost everyone, everyone has access to the enabling power of technology,” he said. “It is the first time they can put themselves on the map or have a choice and, most importantly, have a voice in their own language. It is the first time that they can become truly visible in their own right by passing their official narrative with quite a remarkable speed and for the first time it has become impossible to be airbrushed out of history. This dramatically affects the relationship between the governors and the governed, between the company and its customers and even between husbands and wives and parents and their children. The democratization not just of communication but of knowledge is already having a very profound and I believe beneficial effect on our society.”
He said those in positions of power will need to embrace and recognize this. “Those who may once have been or felt powerless need to recognize that they are the new agents of change,” he urged, “and they also need to recognize they have the responsibility to use that newfound influence carefully and wisely.”
Toure said two-thirds of the world’s people still do not have Internet access, and he emphasized the need to move closer to universal access to a broadband connection, adding that the best access is available only to a minority of people globally. “We risk creating a world of the Internet rich and Internet poor,” he warned, “a world where the new broadband divide is even more worrying than the digital divide we had before ubiquitous mobile phones.”
He mentioned the importance of the Broadband Commission established by ITU and UNESCO in 2010 to encourage the implementation of national broadband plans.
“Broadband networks should be considered in the 21st century as basic, like roads, railways, water and power networks,” he urged. “Broadband is vital in helping to deliver essential services such as healthcare, education and good government. Broadband is helping us address the biggest issues of our time such as climate change and environmental sustainability. And it is revolutionalizing the way that goods and services are created, delivered and used.”
Touré talked about the Internet’s vital impact on economies and job creation and about its influence in global politics. He declared that connectivity should not be provided just for the sake of it, but rather should be wielded in such a way to improve the global community.
“We must work hard to ensure that everyone wherever they live and whatever their circumstances has access to the benefits of broadband Internet,” he said. “This is not just about delivering connectivity for connectivity’s sake or even about giving people access to the undoubted benefits of social communication. It is about leveraging the power of connected technologies to make the world a better place.”
– Reporter: Caitlin O’Donnell
A selection of Twitter Reports from this ISOC 20th event:
Hamadoun Touré, ITU leader, will keynote on “The Power of the Internet Today.” #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET
The ITU is a branch of the UN that works for global cooperation, knowledge exchange and common standards. #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET
Many people believe ITU should be governing body for Internet standards and cooperation; many vigorously disagree. #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET
A US Federal Communications Commissioner wrote in opposition to ITU control #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET
ITU leader Touré is in a position in which he must think of opportunities for all #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET
@kaciebot “Internet is bringing people and things together in ways we never would have dreamed a decade or two ago.” -Hamadoun Touré #ISOC
@isocro Hamadoun Touré, ITU: “Detinatorii noilor puteri trebuie sa le foloseasca in mod responsabil, un fel de “copii, sa fiti cuminti” #GlobalINET
@internetrights #Globalinet Hamadoun Touré #ITU new era of internet based accountability must be embraced as necessary
The multimedia reporting team for Imagining the Internet at the Internet Society’s 20th Anniversary Global INET Conference included the following Elon University students, faculty, staff and friends: Jacquie Adams, Dan Anderson, Janna Anderson, Kacie Anderson, Nicole Chadwick, Jeff Flitter, Addie Haney, Brandon Marshall, Brian Meyer, Caitlin O’Donnell, Rachel Southmayd and Rebecca Smith.