As the global digital divide narrows, who is being left behind?

ABSTRACT: There is a sense that information and communications technologies (ICT) have the potential to give people the freedom they need to lead the lives they value. Papers published in this journal consider how ICTs are the means that enable people to achieve their ends of better livelihoods. This line of research builds upon the work of Amartya Sen’s (1999) book entitled Development as Freedom, where development is seen as the process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. In particular, Andersson, Gro¨nlund and Wicander’s Special Issue in this journal (2012) illustrates how development can be seen as freedom when the capabilities by which people are able to achieve their ends are expanded through the use of ICTs. If people have the freedom to achieve the aims they value, then they will be able to lead better lives through their use of ICTs. The outcome of such better livelihoods can be seen in terms of human, social and economic development. The papers in this issue continue to build upon this discovery by considering the role of ICTs in enabling development as freedom. It discusses how the Internet may or may not support freedoms to achieve better livelihoods and delves deeper into the challenges faced by people whose lives are changed for better or for worse by their use of ICTs

Keywords: Information and Communication Technologies, socio-economic development, International Telecommunications Union, Civic engagement, Global market