Ahead of UN address, Mark Zuckerberg issues call for universal internet access

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook chief announces project to connect refugee camps to the Internet.

The social network’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced on Saturday at a United Nations meeting that he would help bring Internet access to refugee camps. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and a host of celebrities kicked off a campaign on Saturday to make Internet access universal, saying this was critical to fulfilling the United Nations’ newly adopted agenda to combat global ills.At the United Nations on Saturday, Mark Zuckerberg declared his intentions to get the entire world online, arguing that internet access is the key to ending extreme poverty. “When people have access to the tools and knowledge of the internet, they have access to opportunities that make life better for all of us,” said a declaration signed by Zuckerberg, along with Bill and Melinda Gates and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales. Zuckerberg, 31, told the UN at a meeting of the Private Sector Forum at the world body’s headquarters that Internet connections in refugee camps will help refugees get better support from the aid community and help them maintain links to family and loved ones, according to CNET. Zuckerberg said later, in an implicit acknowledgment that drawing new users to his service is also good for Facebook’s bottom line. “We all benefit when we are more connected.” Mr.

It was attended by government leaders and business executives and was intended to encourage private-sector cooperation to advance the ambitious global development goals adopted on Friday in the General Assembly. Other signatories included Jimmy Wales, co-founder of free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and U2 frontman Bono on behalf of his One anti-poverty campaign. But Facebook, along with Google, has been engaging in a concentrated effort to build more satellites and other aircraft that can beam Internet services to remote towns and villages.

Yesterday, she made a strong pitch to business leaders to do their part, reminding them that curbing corruption, which is one of the goals, would make their lives easier, too. Releasing the report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that more than $25 billion has been committed so far to meeting the goals, led by $3.3 billion from the United States and large pledges from Canada, Germany and Sweden. The connectivity campaign calls on governments, businesses and innovators to bring the Internet to the some 4 billion people who now do not have access, organisers said. The baby-faced billionaire admitted, however, that his project isn’t all about bringing refugees to your friends list, saying, ‘It’s not all altruism. Internet.org teamed up with phone carriers to offer free access to Facebook and other websites in developing countries like India, but critics said it restricted what people could access in what they called Facebook’s “walled garden”.

Poverty has already been cut in half in the past 15 years, she said. “The glass is half full,” she added. “The last mile is always the most difficult.” The connectivity ambitions are at the center of Mr. In April, 65 organisations from around the world sent an open letter to Mr Zuckerberg complaining that the project violated the principles of net neutrality in the guise of “access for impoverished people”. We’ll have to wait and see what ‘ol Zuck’s got in store for us this time, but here’s one possibility: A network of giant drones that beam internet across the far corners of the planet using lasers.

Mr Zuckerberg’s remarks coincided with a petition that he began with the entertainer Bono, the philanthropist Mo Ibrahim and others to expand connectivity, calling Internet access “essential” to achieving the development goals but skirting thorny issues like net neutrality and Internet censorship. Nearby, Obama administration officials sponsored an event to demonstrate anti-censorship tools, built with financial help from the government, for dissidents in repressive countries. “The openness of the global Internet is challenged today like never before,” Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour, said, calling the countermeasures that companies and groups were developing “a foretaste of our response”.

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