Sunday, December 04, 2011

CyberMonday and the Digital Divide

From Susan P. Crawford – Internet Access and the New Divide:

FOR the second year in a row, the Monday after Thanksgiving — so-called Cyber Monday, when online retailers offer discounts to lure holiday shoppers — was the biggest sales day of the year, totaling some $1.25 billion and overwhelming the sales figures racked up by brick-and-mortar stores three days before, on Black Friday, the former perennial record-holder.

Such numbers may seem proof that America is, indeed, online. But they mask an emerging division, one that has worrisome implications for our economy and society. Increasingly, we are a country in which only the urban and suburban well-off have truly high-speed Internet access, while the rest — the poor and the working class — either cannot afford access or use restricted wireless access as their only connection to the Internet. As our jobs, entertainment, politics and even health care move online, millions are at risk of being left behind.


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