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Free and equal access: a conundrum for the information society

John Feather

Introduction

It is a cliché to say that access to information has never been easier. And like many clichés it is also a half-truth. For the relatively well-educated and relatively prosperous living in places with an effective infrastructure of electricity and telecommunications, access to information is cheap, simple and all but invulnerable. For others it is less certain. The digital divide – between the haves and have-nots of the network society – is social, economic and geographical on scales which vary from local to global. Pockets of poverty exist in rich countries just as peaks of wealth can be seen even in the poorest of nations. While Internet access has ...

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