To work, to be educated, to move, thank you digital mobility?

On Thursday 9th February 2012, the debate at the 4th Digital Encounters was about the following subject: « To work, to be educated, to move, thank you digital mobility? »

Bernard Benhamou, delegate for Internet use, was the only speaker in the end, with off the cuff help nevertheless from Marcel Desvergne, an essential figure for these gatherings.

The internet which was until recently still fixed, accompanies people’s lives more and more with the explosion of mobility. There is now no longer any activity or moment in life which is out of the web’s grasp.  Geo localisation, which also allows the speed of the user to be measured, opens the development of practical services which people no longer want to pass on. It is such an improvement in the quality of life to know what time the next bus will come along in order to not have to wait too long at the roadside! The simplicity of mobile use makes it accessible to categories of people, like the elderly, who kept their distance from desktop computers. However you need to remain vigilant. To guarantee the respect of everyone’s private life, States or consumers themselves must fight against the abusive use of information gathered by companies. All the more so as it sometimes takes place without the user knowing.

The digital industry is the only industry with growth above 10%. Tourism, for example requires the mobile Internet. To develop pertinent applications local expertise is prominent. It allows jobs to be created that cannot or would be hard to relocate. It is an opportunity for French Polynesia. Europe must also create a favourable environment to hold on to talent currently poached by American companies. The bunker mentality will never be a success. Creativity must be relied upon.

However the digital citizen is preoccupied by the risk of the division of its personality. This question is very important. Essentially equilibrium forms by itself as the consumer crisis of confidence can put the whole sector in danger. Therefore societies remain balanced. A risk remains nonetheless. The delegate recommends simplicity of the use of functions allowing disconnection, the right to silencing chips. The citizen must retain control and the States must guarantee the means.

The solution does not lie in a refusal of these evolutions, or in the production of niggling laws, all the more so as their elaboration and adoption process is situated in a very long lapse of time in comparison to the speed of evolution of the digital world.

Several well-placed parameters allow the risks to be limited. For example, the European « Opt-in » system consists of asking for the user’s authorisation to access their information, whilst the American « Opt-out » system supposes that the user should make the step to refuse this use. More and more voices, including very liberal economists, rise to demand an international extension of « Opt-in ».

Internet mobility also allows the deployment of collective intelligence. The data arrives en masse and that allows new tools like the seismic alert. Facebook became popular in French Polynesia at the time of the last cyclonic alert. On, the portal for citizen services, you can consult the « mobile and emergency situations » section. It is a file which could be a source of inspiration for Polynesia.

In conclusion, Michel Paoletti points out that you never have peace of mind leaving these debates. The definition of a public policy is becoming prominent, beneath the watchful eye of the citizen.