Preparations for UNbacked summit on information society move forward

Last week during the third resumed session of the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), negotiators managed to adopt nearly 90 per cent of the text of the Action Plan and 75 per cent of the Declaration of Principles to build an information society for the benefit of humanity for endorsement by Heads of States and Governments at the conference.The WSIS will be held from 10 to 12 December in Geneva.The draft Declaration articulates a common vision of the key values that should serve as the foundation for the emerging information society, while the draft Plan of Action sets out time-bound development targets aimed at extending access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) to all.Issues that require further negotiations will be discussed on 5 and 6 December in Geneva, and include issues of privacy, consumer protection and protection of data; the role of all stakeholders in the management of the Internet at both the technical and public policy levels and the balance between them; financing of information and communication technology (ICT) for development, possibly through a Digital Solidarity Fund, which would channel financing to ICT for development; and the role of media and human rights issues.”We have succeeded in raising awareness at the highest political level of the implications of the information society. Commitment has been expressed to tackle the injustice of the digital divide and to develop new frameworks for cyberspace to ensure that the benefits of the information society are extended to all, not just to a privileged few,” said Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized agency in charge of organizing the event.