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Visions of the Information Society

image of Visions of the Information Society

The spectacular development of information and communication technologies (ICT) has radically affected the way in which humans work, dialogue with each other, and go about their daily lives. It has transformed the global economy, heralding a new and dynamic "information society". But what are the real implications of the transformation? Greater security risks? Access to information for everyone, everywhere? This publication, consisting of a book containing expert analyses of different areas and a CD-ROM containing extensive background resources, electronic versions of studies and web references, provides a global reflection on the information society. The authors are renowned experts in their respective fields, and include leading academics and consultants of international repute. The major themes covered are: the perspectives of industrialized and developing countries; network security; ICTs for education; and rights management.

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Network security: Protecting our critical infrastructures

Over the last century and a half, several new technology-based infrastructures have been created. They have been developed and used so extensively that they now partially characterize modern societies. Four of the most important infrastructures are built up around the core technologies of the internal combustion engine, aircraft, space flight, and radio and television. “Cyberspace”—defined as the Internet and other wide area networks based on computing and other information technologies (IT)—seems on its way towards becoming the latest such infrastructure. In little more than 30 years, cyberspace has become the locus of much value, notably in terms of information and money. Cyberspace can further be considered a means of passage, enabling extended personal and organizational presences and interactions. For a number of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries and global economic sectors, cyberspace has also become a locus for many systems that control and manage other more traditional infrastructures, such as those for banking and finance, emergency services, energy delivery, and many transportation and military systems. These computer communications networks are the underlying technological bases that will enable any and all “visions of the information society.”

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