The World Wide Web Foundation, established by Web Inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has today unveiled plans for its 2013 Web Index, with Jamaica included for the first time. The Web Index – which will be released on 22 November 2013 – is the world’s first measure of how the Web empowers people and delivers socio-economic impact in countries around the globe. Jamaica’s inclusion will allow its citizens, government and civil society organisations to understand the use and impact of the Web in Jamaica, how it compares to global and regional counterparts, and how best to harness it for future social and economic benefit.
First released in 2012 to critical acclaim, the Web Index takes the format of a country ranking. Last year, Sweden topped the list, followed by the USA and the UK, with Burkino Faso, Zimbabwe and Yemen propping up the foot of the table. Mirroring global trends, this year’s Web Index will include enhanced data on government transparency; gender; and surveillance. Alongside Jamaica up to eighteen new countries, including Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Peru will be added.
Understanding the value delivered by the Web and how best to harness its potential has never been more important. The surveillance scandals which have rocked the globe have propelled the topic of online privacy and human rights to the top of the news agenda, whilst civil unrest in countries such as Turkey, Brazil and Egypt has once again demonstrated the Web’s increasing potential to underpin political change. Meanwhile, approximately two-thirds of the world’s population (and a disproportionately high percentage of women) remain unconnected – risking an ever-more entrenched digital divide based on both gender and wealth.
Commenting, Karin Alexander, Web Index Manager, said:
“The Web’s transformative potential is beyond doubt, but we are still only scratching the surface of its true value. Unlocking local innovation and maximising impact requires a clear understanding of how the Web delivers value and impacts upon the lives of the people of Jamaica. The careful research and analysis in the Web Index will allow Jamaicans to engage policy makers with concrete recommendations – and then track progress.”
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