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Critical Review Public Access To Computers And Computing Facilities

1710 words - 7 pages

IntroductionBowman and Khandwalla (2003) in their paper review the latest arguments for and against continued investment in CTCs and public general access. It also includes the discussion about the reflection of the US context of public access to computers and computing facilities. Some international organizations are arguing that increased investment is needed to close the digital divide between developed and developing nations. As a developing nation, Malaysia does invest quite a big amount of money in building and improving the telecommunication infrastructure.The Fiscal and Regulatory EnvironmentIn United Stated (US), the Community Technology Centers (CTC) provides access to technology to lower income people especially in rural communities of access to computers and the Internet. They do offer classes, job skills training and others. (Bowman and Khandwalla, 2003) But in US, the government requested elimination of funding for the CTC program. It will appear as a negative impact to society, especially those groups of people with the lowest rates of access to computer and internet.The same situation does occur in Malaysia. Malaysia's forward-thinking leadership has ensured that innovative ICT policies has been incorporated into the countries' development plans so that the people, especially the poor and lower income level are not left behind. United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Malaysia's project in ICT in Malaysia aims to improve policies to ensure effective ICT access to marginalized populations by expanding collaboration between the public and private sectors to provide poor communities and underserved groups, such as women and minorities access to and training to use ICT.Equity in Access to InformationInformation itself is a 'public good' in economic parlance, which has intrinsic value (Bowman and Khandwalla, 2003). Access to information facilities exposure to the essentials of democratic participation including literature, news, and government information; at this point of view, rights to privacy and fair information practices have been well documented in US, but the same kind of protection has not been given to ICT users in most part of Asia. (Wazir, J.K., n.d.) For example, The Official Secrecy Act in Malaysia is extended to government files, policy and military records and citizens cannot assume that they have right to access; the social issues arise, where people will think that "If I can identify I am citizen, why should I not be able to go on website to access my file?". However in US, the Freedom of Information Act (1996) gives people the right to scrutinize information about themselves in government files.Digital DivideTo date, there are so many ICT programs, initiatives and projects to ensure that there is equitable access to all citizens of the country, regardless of class, ethnicity, gender, age or ability. All the efforts at bridging the digital divide between the rural and urban areas, there are also initiatives to...

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