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EU outlines its framework for world summit on the information society

In a speech in Geneva on 17 September, Ip Petersen, representing the European Union, outlined his vision of a framework for the future world summit on the information society. Mr Petersen, the Head of Department at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was speaking at a mee...

In a speech in Geneva on 17 September, Ip Petersen, representing the European Union, outlined his vision of a framework for the future world summit on the information society. Mr Petersen, the Head of Department at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was speaking at a meeting on the themes and content of the two-part summit, beginning in Geneva in December 2003. Also present at the meeting were representatives from the private sector and information technology societies. The key task facing participants in the run up to Geneva, according to Mr. Petersen, is to 'provide a framework for continued constructive dialogue leading to a final agenda for the summit.' To this end, he identified three main themes; guiding principles, a shared vision and strategies to achieve it. Human rights and development, and universal access to information were among his key principles, and Mr Petersen felt that bridging 'the digital divide between info rich and info poor' should be the underlying vision of the summit. The strategies needed to achieve these lofty aims, Mr. Petersen feels, will combine national, regional and global initiatives, but he also identified potential pitfalls, including information security and cybercrime. He remains optimistic about the chances of success, however: 'We should be ambitious but also realistic,' he said, and added that now was the time for 'more concrete action - less talk.'

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