Economic prosperity relies on cultural, entrepreneurial, civic, scientific, and artistic creativity. Creative workers with these talents need communities, organizations, and peers that are open to new ideas and different people. Places receptive to immigration, alternative lifestyles, and new views on social status and power structures will benefit significantly in the creative age.2 Since Florida first proposed the term “tolerance,” he has later on redefine it as “proactive inclusion.”
I would expand the concept of tolerance and proactive inclusion to cover digital inclusion – an area of increasing concerns if we do not tackle this issue with new thinking and new approaches. Just by providing centralized access to computers and the Internet is not enough – like those Government proposals for Digital Cyber Centers. The digital divide issue must be tackled from all fronts, with a view of tearing down the barriers and genuinely including the underprivileged communities into the digital society.
When Internet Society Hong Kong proposed Project Net Respect in early 2008, for the adoption of a Code of Conduct by ICT users, especially the young people, the key message was about tolerance and respect for other people. Through such advocacy and educational efforts, we hope to create a positive culture for ICT usage, and a healthy Internet environment in Hong Kong – starting from one user at a time.
In this regard, I will:
* Continue to lobby that broadband Internet access charges be included as one of the basic living expenses under the Comprehensive Social Security Assurance (CSSA) scheme for families with students; * Continue to support the advocacy for the Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) to overseas and Mainland partners, and to call for more sustained funding for DSF from sources since as .hk domain name registration fees, telecommunications or broadcasting licensing incomes; * Call for establishment of a DSF Research Fund going toward the development of tools, systems and technologies to benefit the physically handicapped persons in Hong Kong, including providing subsidies for the adoption of these research results; * Advocate the setting up of a sustainable program for recycling personal computers and other ICT equipment – including facilities, volunteers and financial support – for the benefit of needy, low-income families.