Do Insecure Systems Increase Global Digital Divide?

Do Insecure Systems Increase Global Digital Divide?

Jawed Siddiqi (Sheffield Hallam University, UK), Ja’far Alqatawna (Sheffield Hallam University, UK) and Mohammad Hjouj Btoush (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-388-3.ch013
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This chapter surveys the issues concerning the digital divide facing developing nations. The authors assert that “insecurity” and the “digital divide” are highly dependent on each other and as insecurity increases so does the digital divide. Therefore, the authors propose to extend the concept of the digital divide to include information security features by putting forward a new model or paradigm of security that is multi-faceted and is able to assist in bridging the digital divide gap. They argue that a lack of attention to security reduces the access to and use of resources with which to attack the digital divide. In particular, for e-business, the authors conclude that in developing countries having security issues at the forefront would encourage engagement with e-initiatives, or restrain it if there is an absence of security.
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Exploring The Digital Divide In Developing Nations

In order to bridge the digital divide gap and exploit the claimed benefits of ICT, many developing nations have started a number of ICT projects that are usually referred to as e-initiatives. For instance, PC@ every home, e-Health and e-Government are some examples of e-initiatives in Jordan (MoICT, 2006). Other Arab states have launched e-initiatives to bridge the gap, create technology awareness and emphasise the importance of personal computer penetration for their people (Soumitra, 2003).

According to Samer (2008), the problem with many of these countries is the lack of strong ICT foundation which leads them to follow short term plans and ad-hoc approaches, which are not based on a well defined and long term comprehensive ICT strategy. As a result, these initiatives provide relatively small achievements compared to their initial intended goals. In addition, there is a clear lack of awareness of ICT security issues in these countries' ICT strategies.

Introducing ICT in developing nations means that governmental, financial and personal information is being processed, stored and exchanged over ICT networks. Moreover, the governments of these nations have the obligation and/or the responsibility to provide their people with all the essentials of education, awareness, technology and legislations required for secure ICT environment.

Unfortunately, many studies reveal that ICT security is becoming an even lower priority and in some cases ignored completely (Tanburn et al., 2001; Bakari, et al., 2005). We argue in the next section that the reason behind this is a lack of focus on ICT security in the digital divide literature and therefore making ICT strategies for bridging the digital gap security-unconscious. As a result leading to a new unanticipated aspect of the global digital divide, and moreover, this absence of security further increases the global digital divide.

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