We are asked to imagine a utopian future in which such entrepreneurially inclined individuals are indeed connected to the digital universe we are familiar with.
In a Saturday speech at the United Nations, the Facebook head said that his website would team up with the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees to bring web access to refugee camps around the world.
Only 20% of Internet.org users in India were accessing the Internet for the first time, according to Facebook data – meaning that most users were switching from other providers due to cost. It was a hoax, like the notion that an imminent change in Facebook’s revenue model is about to turn all your notifications public unless you paste a certain message as your status update. Facebook has continued to defend the initiative that offers free access to basic internet services to consumers.
Jamie Drummond, co-founder and global executive director of One, said the internet provides access to “freedom, fairness and dignity” and that “every country must now agree an urgent plan to implement the [Connect the World campaign’s] Global Goals, and mission-critical within those strategies is connectivity for all”.
Given the fact that India is a country where still as much as 80 per cent of the people don’t have any access to internet and Government has special ambitions regarding the same in name of “Digital India”-Zuckerberg’s initiative makes a befitting place”. For one thing, the figure of $9 per year per user disguises massive regional variations. However, concerns have been raised in a few quarters about this program being against the spirit of Net Neutrality – the ability to access a website or internet service of choice.
As reported by The Times of India, the number of Smartphone users in India has ballooned and will reach 168 million this year, the research firm eMarketer predicts, with 277 million internet users in India expected over all. He was also scheduled to visit Google and Stanford University, meet start-up entrepreneurs and speak before a sold-out arena of 18,000 people, mostly Indo-Americans, in San Jose, California. Refuting charges on Facebook trying to become parallel Internet through internet.org, Zukerberg says: “Not at all”. The amusing thing for us, is that we have this mentality that we are still very small compared to the impact we hope to have on the world in terms of helping people connect. The relatively obscure job-search website is a partner of Internet.org, Zuckerberg’s initiative to bring free Internet service to impoverished Indians.
This is why we created Internet.org, our effort to connect the whole world. You might end up paying more than normal! Facebook still hasn’t come clear on its involvement with US National Security Agency’s notorious Prism programme, under which extensive and absolutely illegal surveillance of world leaders and diplomats was carried out.
Given the Modi’s government’s recent clampdown on online expressions, and its attempt to peddle a diluted encryption policy draft, there is no doubt this regime wants as much transparency from its citizens as it prefers opacity for its own operations. Looking forward to discussing this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook today. For that to happen, we should attract them by showcasing our capabilities. Indians have a fundamental duty to ensure net neutrality and keep the internet free. Its founder Mark Zuckerberg has begun to attract the kind of hatred that Bill Gates faced two decades ago before an image makeover that was an unintended effect of his shift from software to philanthropy. Despite Modi’s penchant for hugs, this is not the beast we should embrace.