[NEWS AND VIEWS]
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November 29, 2003On the web, KnowProSe highlights some weaknesses in the Business Week article we linked to below: "All statistics in the article are based in the United States and Israel. If you want a better reflection of the World and the Digital Divide, you'll have to count more than Texas and Israel. Anyone who has drawn a graph should know that two data points do not a line make."
Indeed. But let's add a third point - from the Oxford Internet Access survey of usage patterns in the UK.
It claims that most Brits who don't use the internet could do so, but don't want to.
Half are "informed but indifferent; they know someone who could send an email or get information for them but have not bothered to ask for this to be done. An additional 7 percent are proxy users, who have asked for a friend to sign on the Internet on their behalf.
"One in seven are excluded because they do not know anyone who could send get on the Internet on their behalf, and this group divides equally into those who are anti-technology and those who are apathetic."
The Pew Internet and American Life survey, which is buried somewhere there in the Business Week article, makes a similar point. 20% of non-Internet users are Net Evaders, who have access from home but don't use it; 17% are Net Dropouts, once users but no longer so; while only 24% are Truly Disconnected, having "no direct or indirect experience with the Internet."
So where are these data taking us? Maybe towards the conclusion that the digital divide within (at least some) rich countries is narrowing and not proving as much of a problem as has been predicted. Between countries? Well, that's another story...