NEWS

Digital divide

Beyond the unfavorable ratio of cost to quality of service, the public also lacks both education and information. As Nikos Vassilakos, president of EEXI (www.eexi.gr), said, «A revolution is taking place on the Internet, it is the universal digital library, yet most people treat it like a mysterious black box.» For this reason, EEXI is becoming highly active in educational programs. At the same time, it is also demanding a dramatic reduction in costs. «There are lots of things that someone can do via the computer on the Internet,» Vassilakos said. «Most state services have improved their websites and can provide services quickly and easily.» Reminded of the recent collapse of the TAXIS (online tax form) system, he replied: «It’s true that we haven’t got where we want, but steps have been made. The basic problem is that citizens don’t know their options,» he claimed. This possibly explains the findings by V-PRC’s recent survey, which homes in on a comparative indifference on the part of those without access to the Internet. More specifically, 30.7 percent of respondents said that they did not need the Internet, while another 30 percent said they were not interested in or had never accessed the Internet. Only 4 percent said that they did not have Internet access due to costs, while another 4 percent said that they did not have a computer at all. These figures reveal more deeply structural problems in the spread of Internet use Greece: An example is the fact that most people in this country, especially older people, are wholly uninformed about the possibilities offered by the Internet, excluded from the flow of modern communication and essentially left on the wrong side of the digital divide. The question is who will rise to the challenge of changing this state of affairs.