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Today, more and more debates on economic and environment issues are linked with new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Big Data or 5G network. But trying to find new ways to boost the economy or to fight against climate change in a more effective manner, are often missing the social dimension and could generate a social inequality phenomenon known as ‘digital divide’. This term was first used in the 1990s, when a gap was observed between those who had access to ICT and those who did not. Today, the main concern regarding the digital divide is focused on poor people and the possibility of them becoming even more marginalized due to the lack of basic skills using new technologies or the capacity to afford them. Starting from this theoretical framework, I will extend my analysis to the field of European public policies and programs and ask the following research question: what is EU’s plan for tackling with new technologies’ potential to increase the ‘digital gap’? I will try to answer this question by analysing strategic documents or public policies of the European Union. EU policies aimed at the development of digital economy and information society represent a strategic direction of public policies, referring to the fragmentation of the current digital space and to the uneven development of digital competences in the companies of the EU member states. Even though progress has been made over the last few years through the Commission’s Digital Agenda of 2015 – with goals such as providing broadband access to all households in the EU and 75% of Europeans using the internet – there is a danger that standards related to broadband and fast internet will not be reached, especially in rural areas. Moreover, new technologies such as AI, Blockchain or 5G network could further worsen the situation of poor people and enlarge the social gaps.
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Proceedings of
7th ACADEMOS Conference 2020
International Conference
Politics and Knowledge: New Trends
in Social Research
(Bucharest, Romania, 7-10 October 2020)
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INDEX
Foreword 8
The New Routes of Globalization. Containerization, Naval Gigantism
and Role of the Suez and Panama Canals 9
AMATO Vittorio
School Strike for Climate An Educational Model for Development 20
ANDREI Roxana-Andreea
Free Movement of Labour Force in the European Union 26
ARHIRE Stela
Demographic Changes the Challenge for Security in Health Care System 32
BEDNARZ Marek
New Legal Standards for Whistle-blowers in the Light of the Directive
(EU) 2019/1973 on the Protection of Persons Who Report Breaches
of Union Law. Case Study: Romania 38
BERCEANU Bogdan
The Pompeo Declaration on the Legality of Judea and Samaria Settlements:
Significance, Implications, Outcomes. Has the Two-State Solution Been Abandoned? 47
BITZUR Avi
Deep-rooted Prejudices: The Online Proliferation of Hate Speech Against
the Roma Minority Group in Romania 56
BOȚAN Mădălina, BUTUROIU Raluca, CORBU Nicoleta, VOLOC Ana
Education for Profit or Education for Democracy: The Case of
South-eastern Europe 65
BOUZOV Vihren
The Methodology and Deontology of Sociological Research in Times of War
and Dictatorship 70
BUCUR Bogdan
Knowledge, Emotion and Voting. Case Study: The 2019 Presidential Elections
in Romania 77
BULAI Alfred
Democracy in Action. Electoral Praxis in Eleven East and Central
European Countries 89
BUTI Daniel, RADU Alexandru
©Filodiritto Editore – Proceedings
5
Digital divide in the European Union 99
CARADAICĂ Mihail
On the Issue of The Motivation of Students to Decide to Study at University 107
DAŠKO Martin, BLAŠKOVÁ Barbora
Reasons for the Negative Perceptions of Brexit by EU Countries 115
DROBOT Irina-Ana
Parliamentary Elections 2020 in Slovakia TV News Coverage of Political Parties
and Their Representatives 122
DUFFEKOVÁ Katarína
Parties Perspectives on the Youth Policy: 2020 Elections in Slovakia 133
DŽAČOVSKÝ Tomáš
Spanish Socialism: Crisis and Revival (1996-2011) 145
GABOR Eugen
Election to the National Council of Slovak Republic in 2020 159
GARAJ Michal, BARDOVIČ Jakub
The Impact of Social Media on Voter Behaviour: A Case Study of the 2020
Parliamentary Elections in Slovakia 167
HOGHOVÁ Kristína, MELUŠ Matúš
Key Actors of Public Policy Making in Slovakia 176
HORVÁTH Peter, RICHVALSKÝ León, PREŠÍNSKÝ Ladislav
Small Powers’ Behaviour in Hegemonic Order 185
INDREIU Alexandra
The Premises of the Revolution of 1848 in Transylvania the Sources
of the Romanian National Populism 191
JELEA Bogdan
Current Europeanization Tendencies of the Slovak Party System 198
KARABOVÁ Denisa
Efficiency of Electoral Gender Quotas after 25 Years of the Beijing Platform 206
KIJEWSKA Barbara
Right-wing Extremism and Youth in Slovakia 217
KOLMAN Boris
Probable Ways to Formalize the Study of Political Discourse 224
KOTOV Eduard
Innovation, State, Market 231
LA FORESTA Daniela
©Filodiritto Editore – Proceedings
6
The EU Information Deficit: Political Knowledge and Electoral Choices 248
LUISE Gianluca
An Institutional Analysis of Development Policies for Southern Italy 256
LUISE Gianluca, MOTTI Francesca
Inclusion of Marginalized Groups in Society within the Context of Public Policy 268
MACHYNIAK Ján, GUŤAN Dušan
United Kingdom and the European Union: Conflicting Communities 276
MACKUĽAKOVÁ Markéta
Parliamentary Elections 2020 in Slovakia: Alternative Media, Conspiracies
and Imbalance of Information Content 283
MIHÁLIK Jaroslav, JANKOĽA Matúš
Participatory Budget as a Tool of Modern Management Methods
in Local Government 292
MIKUŠ Dalibor, NOVÁK Matúš
The Return of a Forgotten Instrument on the Law of Succession An Agreement
as to Succession 302
MLYNARČÍKOVÁ Jitka
Current Challenges of Social Policies in the Context of the Youth Field in
Selected Countries: Slovakia, Romania, the Netherlands 309
MULINOVA Natália
‘Good’ Teachers and Students in a Neoliberal World 321
NEAGA Diana Elena
Multilayer Model of Assessing Track Two Diplomacy 329
NEGINRAZ Parvin, VRABIE Catalin
Progressivism, Competitiveness, and (Un)sustainability in Fashion Trends 338
PALADE Brîndușa
Political Myths as Counterweights to Adjustment Disorders
and Healthy Behaviour 348
PIȚIGOI Dana-Maria
Democratic Preconditions for The Development of Contemporary Terrorism 359
POLOVYI Mykola
Hegemonic Models and Romania between 1913-2000 367
PREDA Adrian Eugen
Older Adults and Technology. Generations, Uses and Gratifications
and (Auto-)Stereotypes 374
RĂDUCU M. Roberta
©Filodiritto Editore – Proceedings
7
Boosting the Digital Transformation in a Europe of Challenges 383
SĂVULESCU Carmen, ANTONOVICI Corina-Georgiana
Conspiracy Narratives and Compliance with Public Health Recommendations
During the COVID-19 Crisis in Romania 393
SULTĂNESCU Dan, ACHIMESCU Vlad, SULTĂNESCU Dana C.
Acquisition of Mandates of Representatives to Territorial Self-Governing Bodies
in Slovakia from the Perspective of the Applied Electoral Systems 402
ŠVIKRUHA Martin, KOŠTIAL Lukáš
Being Romanian in France. The Highly Skilled Migrants and their Socio-Cultural
Transition 410
UDREA Georgiana, GUIU Gabriela
The Characteristics of Romanian Scientific Outputs in the Context of Public
Policies Designed to Improve the National Research System 419
VÎIU Gabriel-Alexandru
Citizens Surveillance New Trends and Scenarios on the Future
of Smart Societies 431
VRABIE Catalin, NEGINRAZ Parvin
©Filodiritto Editore – Proceedings
99
Digital Divide in the European Union
CARADAICĂ Mihail1
1 National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (ROMANIA)
Email: mihai.caradaica@dri.snspa.ro
Abstract
Today, more and more debates on economic and environment issues are linked with new
technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Big Data or 5G
network. But trying to find new ways to boost the economy or to fight against climate change
in a more effective manner, are often missing the social dimension and could generate a social
inequality phenomenon known as ‘digital divide’. This term was first used in the 1990s, when
a gap was observed between those who had access to ICT and those who did not. Today, the
main concern regarding the digital divide is focused on poor people and the possibility of
them becoming even more marginalized due to the lack of basic skills using new technologies
or the capacity to afford them.
Starting from this theoretical framework, I will extend my analysis to the field of European
public policies and programs and ask the following research question: what is EU’s plan for
tackling with new technologies’ potential to increase the ‘digital gap’? I will try to answer this
question by analysing strategic documents or public policies of the European Union. EU
policies aimed at the development of digital economy and information society represent a
strategic direction of public policies, referring to the fragmentation of the current digital space
and to the uneven development of digital competences in the companies of the EU member
states. Even though progress has been made over the last few years through the Commission’s
Digital Agenda of 2015 – with goals such as providing broadband access to all households in
the EU and 75% of Europeans using the internet there is a danger that standards related to
broadband and fast internet will not be reached, especially in rural areas. Moreover, new
technologies such as AI, Blockchain or 5G network could further worsen the situation of poor
people and enlarge the social gaps.
Keywords: digital divide, poverty, European Union, technology
Theoretical Framework
In this paper I will try to settle if there is, in fact, a digital divide in the European Union
and how EU institutions are trying to tackle this phenomenon. But in order to do this, I need
to define the concept of digital divide and to present its main characteristics. It is important to
start saying that this issue is getting more and more attention in the last decades due to the
important technological advancement that has impacted our society and also due to the
increase of inequality in both, national and global level [1]. While all the new technologies
and internet seem available everywhere, “a large section of society is still on the wrong side
of the digital divide, unable to fully enjoy the benefits of the revolutionary changes taking
place” [2].
The digital divide can be discussed since early 20th century with the emergence of the
landline telephone, a technology that boosted both economy and communication, but which
created gaps between those who had access and those who had not. At the end of the 20th
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century, another communication technology gained more importance and created new social
and economic gaps: the internet. Regarding digital dividing, the internet passed through some
important stages, as Antonio Hidalgoa, Samuel Gabalyb, Gustavo Morales-Alonsoa and
Alberto Urueñaa have stated:
- The first level of digital divide was focused on connectivity,
- The second level of digital divide was worrying about the development of skills and
abilities required to use ICT,
- The third level of digital divide was measuring the tangible results of the use of the
Internet [3].
According to this division, the first problem regarding internet was accession. Manuel
Castells was developing an argument in this regard, saying that the digital divide, “in terms of
access to the Internet, will be mainly the concern of the poorest, most discriminated segment
of the population-thus furthering their marginality” [4]. But he was optimistic and stated that
the access issue will be solved in the future. Then, while broadband and mobile connectivity
have spread and the internet access had increased, the issue of skills appeared to be the next
threshold. “Digital skills comprise the competencies of individuals that allow them to take
advantage of the use of new technologies. Because these competences are not present in the
same way among all the population, this concept is integrated into the analysis of the digital
divide.” [3, p. 2] In the last level of the digital divide, there can be analyses based on the
results of using the Internet and we can merely see who the winners are and who the losers
are.
These three levels of digital divide could manifest both at national and international level.
Developed states tend to have public policies aiming to expand access to internet as much
as possible and to invest in digital education, but the situation is not the same for
underdeveloped countries. The lack of resources and an unappealing environment for Foreign
Direct Investments (FDI) increased the technological gap between the Global South and
Global North. The process seems to continue indefinitely, as Manuel Castells observed since
2001 that the global economic, social and political arrangements are “simultaneously
increasing wealth and poverty, productivity and social exclusion, with its effects being
differentially distributed in various areas of the world and in various social groups. And
because the Internet is at the heart of the new sociotechnical pattern of organization, this
global process of uneven development is perhaps the most dramatic expression of the digital
divide.” [4, p. 265] And also, it seems to be a one-way process. Excepting a global disaster, it
looks like not even the threat of climate changes not adjusting the way society is developing.
Thus, “it is unlikely that societies around the world would engage freely in non-
technological forms of development-among other reasons, because the interests and ideology
of their elites are deeply rooted in the current model of development” [4, p. 270]. And if the
Internet-based logic of production is setting the trend in global development, there are also
other ways people are fighting with global poverty.
International Policy for Development and Cooperation is a tool used by the developed
states (Global North) to help undeveloped states (Global South) to reduce the gap and boost
their economies. But the process is slow and criticized by many scholars, especially Marxists
such as Andre Gunder Frank, as creating more economic dependence without solving the
problem. Kieron O’Hara and David Stevens are considering, on the other hand, that closing
the inequality gap, including the field of digital inequality, is not a totally absurd idea. But,
“As a matter of urgency, preventing starvation and premature death via the provision of food
supplies and medicine is clearly a priority. To deliver shiny desktop PCs to starving citizens
in refugee camps outside Darfur would be ridiculous, if not perverse.” [5] In their point of
view, the long-term solutions would be to shift the emphasis from consuming to investing.
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Furthermore, they consider that technology is a key element to a country’s economic
development significantly increasing the productivity of workers. And, any long-term plan
integrated in the assistance of the more developed nations, should be focused on technological
development. Also, “this assistance must come not only in the form of immediate aid, such as
famine relief, but also in the form of assistance to struggling populations to provide for
themselves once the famine, disease, war and all the other pressing dangers have been
alleviated” [5, p. 147]. Applying this theoretical model to the European Union, it would look
like a transnational mechanism of redistribution. Of course, EU is much more than that, being
a political body with its own democratic institutions and a single market. But, especially after
the expansion wave of 2004 and 2007, EU acted also like a genuine mechanism of
redistribution especially through its Cohesion Policy.
In the next chapter I will focus on the digital divide in the European Union and I will show
that, even after many years of absorption of European funds, there is still a socio-economic
gap that has a digital component as well.
Digital Divide in the European Union
In this chapter I will present the actual status-quo of the digital divide between the member
states of the European Union, in order to outline a general picture of the situation and be able
to see, in the next chapter, if all of those problems are properly tackled within the EU’s
strategies and public policies. I will look at the digital divide in the European Union through
the theoretical lens presented in the first chapter, more exactly through the stages of Antonio
Hidalgoa, Samuel Gabalyb, Gustavo Morales-Alonsoa and Alberto Urueñaa. Thereby, I will
analyse the digital divide in the field of connectivity, digital skills and other indicators on the
economic impact of digital economy.
Fig. 1. Digital Economy and Society Index [6]
To have an overview of the situation regarding digital divide in the European Union, Fig. 1
is showing us how developed the EU member states are in the digital field, in terms of
connectivity, human capital, use of internet services, integration of digital technology and
digital public services. Looking at all those indicators, one may find both global development
cleavages: East-West and South-North. Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark, the
countries that scored the highest ratings in DESI 2019, and the countries that are also global
leaders in the digitalization field, are representing the North-West, while Bulgaria, Romania,
Greece, Poland or Italy are the South-Est.
In terms of connectivity, there are two sides of the same coin. On the one side, there is the
technical dimension, where the infrastructure is the key element, and on the other side, there
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is the social dimension, where one can see how many people are able to benefit from the
advantages of the infrastructure.
According to the Fig. 2 and Fig. 3, infrastructure seems to be well developed and manages
to cover almost all population of the European Union. Fixed broadband cover around 97% of
the European homes, while in 10 Member States more than 99% of homes are covered. In
countries like Poland, Lithuania, Romania or Slovakia homes covered are less than 90%, but
this is still a good score. However, “overall coverage of fixed broadband has only marginally
increased since 2011. Rural coverage improved from 80% in 2011 to 87% in 2018” [6, p. 6].
But the main reason for this situation is the increasing importance and spreading of the 4G
coverage. The figures for 4G coverage are: 99% of homes are covered by at least one operator
in Europe and the Rural coverage went up from 38% in 2014 to 96% in 2018 [6, p. 11].
Fig. 2. Fixed broadband coverage [6, p. 6]
Fig. 3. 4G coverage (% of homes) [6, p. 11]
The other side of the coin is the social dimension, where the digital divide is more present.
Household penetration of the fixed broadband looks totally different in this case.
According to Eurostat, 70% of rural homes in the EU had a fixed broadband subscription in
2018. The Netherlands, the UK, Germany or Luxembourg registered the highest figures,
while in Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania or Poland, less than half of rural homes subscribed. There
is also “a substantial gap between rural and national penetration rates. However, this gap
slightly decreased from 11 percentage points in 2010 to 7 percentage points in 2018” [6, p.
13]. In this case the digital divide is following the initial cleavages with North-West countries
in the top and South-East at the bottom, and is also showing a significant internal gap between
rural and urban areas.
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Fig. 4. Household fixed broadband penetration, rural vs. total [6, p. 13]
Digital skills of EU citizens are furtherly showing the same gap at the European level.
According to Eurostat, 43% of the EU population had an insufficient level of digital skills,
and 17% had none at all, which means that they do not use the internet or use it in a defective
manner. “These figures imply serious risks of digital exclusion in a context of rapid
digitisation. There are proportionally more men than women with at least basic digital skills
(respectively, 60% and 55%). In addition, only about 31% of people with low education levels
or no education have at least basic digital skills. 49% of those living in rural areas have basic
digital skills compared with 63% in urban areas.” [7] Meanwhile, there are still huge
disparities between member states: in Romania and Bulgaria people with no skills or no
internet use are close to 40%, while in a country like Luxembourg people with basic and
above basic skills reach around 85%.
Fig. 5. Digital skills of the EU population, 2017 (% of individuals, by skills level) [7, p. 5]
Other indicators regarding tangible results of the use of internet that I choose for my
research are e-commerce and the business digitization index. As Fig. 6 shows, Ireland is
clearly in the lead among countries where e-commerce is the main shopping activity, with
nearly 80%, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic or Belgium, while Bulgaria,
Romania, Latvia or Greece are at the bottom of the list. The meaning of e-commerce
development is passing beyond the mere spread of internet infrastructure, and is indicating
also the level of digital education and trust in electronic services. “When it comes to e-
business technologies, the leading countries are the Netherlands (2nd among EU Member
States in three indicators: electronic information sharing, social media and big data analysis;
3rd in cloud solutions), Finland (forerunner in the use of cloud solutions) and Belgium (first in
electronic information sharing)” [8]. Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland or Latvia are
scoring the lowest regarding the adoption of e-business technologies, situation that reflect
local lack of capital, low digitals skills of the employees, or a low quality of jobs.
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Fig. 6. DESI 2019 – e-Commerce and Business digitisation index [8, p. 4]
Digital Divide and the European Policy Framework
The internet and other digital technologies are deeply transforming the European societies
by creating new ways of socializing, new opportunities for business and new perspectives on
our lives. In this context, the access to ICT is considered to be as fundamental as is education
today, because almost all the jobs and all social life are and will be even more depending on
it. Considering those arguments and the nature of digital divide in the European Union, in this
section I will analyse strategic documents of the EU to see how they deal with and plan to
face this new form of inequality.
In the European Commission document, A Digital Agenda for Europe, released in 2010,
there is a dedicated chapter to enhancing digital literacy, skills and inclusion. The main
purpose of the digital era is defined as an empowerment and emancipation of all the people
where background or skills should not be a barrier to access the new ICT technologies.
“Bridging this digital divide can help members of disadvantaged social groups to
participate on a more equal footing in digital society (including services of direct interest to
them such as eLearning, eGovernment, eHealth) and to tackle their disadvantage through
increased employability. Digital competence is thus one of the eight key competences which
are fundamental for individuals in a knowledge-based society.” [9]
To tackle this issue, the European Commission identifies two different directions. The first
one is about digital literacy and skills, and states that it is essential to educate European
citizens to use ITC technology in order to meet the market demand on digital skills. The
second direction is about inclusive digital services, and refers to the benefits of the digital
society which should be available for all, especially for the persons with disabilities. In order
to do this, the European Commission proposes two key measures that are focusing on digital
literacy and competences as a priority for the European Social Fund regulation, and on
developing tools to identify and recognise the ICT competences, and link them to the
European Qualifications Framework [9].
In 2015, European Parliament addressed especially the problem of digital divide in a
research document called Bridging the digital divide in the EU, directed by the European
Parliamentary Research Service. The document recognises in the first instance that a lot of
progress was made and states that “The number of regular internet users in the EU increased
substantially over the last decade from 43% in 2005 to 75% in 2014. Usage is also more
frequent, with 43% of the population (i.e., 77% of regular users) now using the internet almost
every day, compared to 29% in 2005. Likewise, the number of non-users (16-74 years old)
has more than halved over the period, from 43% in 2005 to 18% in 2014 (close to the Digital
Agenda target of 15% non-users by 2015).” [10] Even if the digital divide has been
substantially reduced over the last decade, there is still much effort to be done, especially in
rural areas.
Also, in 2015, the European Commission, through A Digital Single Market Strategy for
Europe, addressed for the last time the issue of digital divide, and dedicated a chapter to an
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inclusive e-society. The most important aspect for an inclusive future e-society consists of e-
skills. The demand for digitally skilled employees in 2015 was expected to grow by 4% each
year and vacant jobs in the digital field to be around 1 million. But “the responsibility for
curricula lies with the Member States which need urgently to address the lack of essential
digital skills. The Commission will support their efforts and will play its role in enhancing the
recognition of digital skills and qualifications and increasing the level of ICT professionalism
in Europe.” [11] The other aspect is the importance of digital public services in generating a
proper environment for both citizens and business.
After 2015, the issue of digital divide was not a priority for the European Union. In the
European Pillar of Social Rights for example, an indirect reference can be found in the
chapter regarding access to essential services: “Everyone has the right to access essential
services of good quality, including water, sanitation, energy, transport, financial services and
digital communications” [12]. In the Juncker Commission’s ten priorities, there is no
reference to any digital divide. The focus is only on economic growth and improving access
to digital goods and services for consumers and businesses.
At the end of 2019, the then candidate for president of the European Commission, Ursula
von der Leyen, unveiled her Political Guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-
2024. The digital field has an entire chapter entitled ‘A Europe fit for the digital age’. Nothing
about a digital divide could be found there, but there are many mentions on new technologies:
the importance of 5G implementation, Internet of Things and the communication between
devices and sensors, and, of course, the central role of the Artificial Intelligence where von
der Leyen promises that, in first 100 days in office, she will put forward legislation for a
coordinated European approach on the human and ethical implications of Artificial
Intelligence [13]. Thereby, the objective of the new Commission is to achieve technological
sovereignty in some critical technology areas, not to fight the digital divide or to explore the
possibility that those new technologies could create new forms of social and economic
inequality.
Conclusions
In this paper I argued that, according to the newest data of Eurostat, we still face a
significant digital divide in the European Union, and the main cleavages are between North-
West and South-East of EU. Following Antonio Hidalgoa, Samuel Gabalyb, Gustavo
Morales-Alonsoa and Alberto Urueñaa, there are three stages of digital divide: connectivity,
digital skills and other indicators on the economic impact of digital economy. According to
those stages, I showed that in terms of connectivity infrastructure, EU has made some big
steps forward, but there is much to do regarding the penetration of internet in the citizens’
homes, especially in the rural area. In terms of digital skills and implementation of ICT in the
business field, South-Eastern Europe faces a significant gap that also reflects the socio-
economic conditions of the area.
After I provided this general overview on the state of digital divide in the European Union,
I analysed strategic documents of the EU to see how they deal and plan to face this new form
of inequality. I found out that the issue of digital divide was addressed until 2015, and
between 2015 and 2020 the focus was on economic growth, business development and new
technologies. When the documents were talking about digital divide, they mainly referred to
connectivity, digital skills and digital public services. Also, there is no geographical
interpretation of digital divide, even if the numbers are almost every time split by countries.
The focus on new technologies does not suppose the end of digital divide or future
increasing of socio-economic gap generated by new digital devices or software programmes.
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Accessing 5G, understanding and using blockchain technology, Internet of Things or
Artificial Intelligence may generate new forms of inequality and/or contribute to the reduction
of the gap I presented in this research. In the end, it is not technology that produces inequality,
it is the way people implement technology. Without public policy strategies that focus on the
digital divide, the risk of an increasing gap is higher.
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... Europe had better digital connectivity and access to the internet in the early 2000s itself. The digital divide has been substantially reduced during the first decade in Europe, but the gap remains far from closed (Negreiro, 2015) mainly because of the poor people in the region and due to the lack of basic skills using new technologies or the capacity to afford those technologies (Caradaică, 2020). These technological advancements help Europe to have a more competitive edge. ...
Chapter
The COVID-19 pandemic has created havoc across the globe, irrespective of governments, industries, and societies. The education sector is one of the most extensively affected by the global health crisis, manifesting expansive negative consequences to learners from various age groups and socioeconomic statuses. Despite the predicaments posed by the pandemic, academic institutions continue to provide education through a distance learning approach. However, the educational disruptions have underscored the lack of digital resources and competencies, excluding poor and unconnected students. Likewise, transitioning to remote education exposed the digital divide and inequalities that have been neglected for a long time. If the ultimate objective is to provide distance education, it is vital to devise solutions to problems faced by underprivileged students. This chapter investigates these challenges that impede the successful adoption of distance education and offers strategies to counter the disruptions as it seems apparent that online education is here to stay.
Article
The growing use of ICT in the workplace has meant that the labor market demands new skills and digital capabilities, either in the production of goods and services or in the need for workers with complementary skills. Concerns about unequal access to new technologies, integrated within the concept of digital divide, has been a topic of study since the use of the Internet began to be generalized among the population. Traditionally, research into the inequalities arising from the emergence of digital technologies has incorporated socioeconomic variables , especially gender, age, educational level, income, and habitat. This study uses advanced data analysis techniques to analyze the main socioeconomic digital skills drivers of the Spanish population. This information allows us to identify whether the population has training needs in relation to their digital competences, which will have a positive influence on improving the level of sustainable development of the country.
Article
A dvanced technological innovations and the Internet appear to be available everywhere. However, a large section of society is still on the wrong side of the digital divide, unable to fully enjoy the benefits of the revolutionary changes taking place. This article explores the scientific basis for secure easy-to-use Internet and web access for the elderly, the digitally illiterate, and others left behind in this rapidly evolving field. Our vision is to enable everyone to participate in today's digital society through devices that provide free access to information, offer appropriate security for the type of service needed, and feature easy-to-use authentication and interaction mechanisms. We propose technological innovations needed to achieve intuitive human-computer interaction; usable and measurable authentication, security, and privacy solutions inherently biometric in nature; and low-cost wireless broadband access that provides virtually free access to nondynamic content residing in remote servers and delivers essential electronic services.
Connectivity. Broadband market developments in the EU
***. (2019). Connectivity. Broadband market developments in the EU. Digital Economy and Society Index Report 2019. Connectivity. European Commission, Brussels, pp. 1-51.
Human Capital. Digital Inclusion and Skills
***. (2019). Human Capital. Digital Inclusion and Skills. Digital Economy and Society Index Report 2019. Human capital. European Commission, Brussels, pp. 1-12.
Integration of Digital Technology
***. (2019). Integration of Digital Technology. Digital Economy and Society Index Report 2019. Integration of Digital Technology. European Commission, Brussels, pp. 1-18.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and The Committee of the Regions. A Digital Agenda for Europe
***. (2010). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and The Committee of the Regions. A Digital Agenda for Europe. European Commission, Brussels, p. 26, online at https://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2010:0245:FIN:EN:PDF
Bridging the digital divide in the EU
***. (2015). Bridging the digital divide in the EU. European Parliamentary Research Service. European Parliament, Brussels, p. 4, online at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2015/573884/EPRS_BRI(2015)573884_EN.pdf.
European Pillar of Social Rights -booklet
***. (2017). European Pillar of Social Rights -booklet. European Commission, Brussels, p. 22, online at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/social-summit-european-pillar-social-rights-booklet_en.pdf.