Today I have attended a session “Protecting the Most Vulnerable Users in Society: The Roles of Different Actors in Helping the New User Survive in the On-Line World“, organized by Nominet. The session started with a presentation of Dr. Vicky Nash of the Oxford Internet Institute about results of a survey Age and Trust in the Internet: The Centrality of Experience and Attitudes Toward Technology in Britain. The survey characterizes new users joining the Internet, many of whom are those who are hardest to reach, impeded by their income or disabilities. The research analyzes also the users who give up on using the Internet. One of the conclusions of the report is that trust does not decrease as the users gain experience using the Internet.
Alice Munuya of Kenya has raised some issues that need to be addressed in legislation, like hate speech online and transmitted via mobile services, that is not properly addressed in the legislation. Participants agreed that Internet related issues seldom require a new law and identified issues with prosecution of the crimes committed online as well as definition problems when referring to terms like “assault”, which might have been extended to the verbal harassment.
Number of policy implications have been discussed, including issues like whether tools to manage risks online should be made available to the users. One of the important questions was accessibility of the educational material distributed – I have raised the importance of using open standards as opposed
to building information ghettos for particular kinds of disabilities.