ODR and the Digitial Divide

Moderated by Chittu Nagarajan & Malti Suri

 

The internet or technology has developed unevenly throughout the world, creating what is known as “Global Digital divide. It is evident from history that technology empowers some individuals, groups or nations while others were not so lucky enough to embrace them. And Internet is no different in this respect. Internet has progressed rapidly in various parts of the world, especially in the developed world; Impact of ICT has made a overwhelming change in the distribution of wealth and power. Digital Divide is a gap between those who for technical, political, social and economic reasons have access and capability to use Technology/ Internet and those who do not.  Digital Divide is specifically in context of availability of Internet access or the absence of it.

 

This gives rise to questions:

  • How do we address access and knowledge divide?
  • How ICT enhanced changes affect already existing divide between North and South? Will it reduce or broaden the existing divide? 
  • Does cultural background values or other factors such as gender, age and education, effect the process of acceptance of ICT projects in developing countries? If yes, then in what way?

 

NEED TO ANALYZE

  • The differences in ICT adoption not only between rich and poor countries but also in terms of global citizens regardless where they live.
  • Access and knowledge divide and attitudinal issues in Asian countries and other bottlenecks.
  • Look for pragmatic approach rather than theoretical considerations.

 

Moderator Bios:

Chittu Nagarajan created ODRworld and ODRindia, the first Online Dispute Resolution service providers in India, in 2004. She also served as Head of the eBay and Pay Pal Community Court initiatives. She is a Fellow of the National Centre for Technology and Dispute Resolution and served as the Conference Chair for the 10th International Online Dispute Resolution Working Forum. Chittu holds a Masters in Alternative Dispute Resolution to eCommerce disputes, as well as degrees in History and Law. Chittu has a Legal Practicing Certificate and is a trained Mediator.

 

Malti Suri, is presently working as a Research Fellow at "The Institute of Global Internet Governance and Advocacy"(GIGA), NALSAR University of Law. Hyderabad. She obtained her B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) She has done her post graduation LL.M from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad,India. She worked as a faculty with ICFAI University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, between 2010 -2011. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in "Online Dispute Resolution” from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, India.

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Hello Everyone!

We are very please to run discussion on "ODR and Digital Divide" from a country where we are experiencing Digital Divide.

Our discussion will center on the important, yet often ignored, world.

When we talk about {ODR = Technology facilitated Dispute Resolution}

ODR is heavily relying on “Technology” 

We need to find out:

         Is it available ONLY for selected part of the world, which is gifted with efficient access of new information and communication technology (ICT)? 

         Is ODR mechanism available for FEW in this Global Village? ONLY for “HIGH Tech” Countries?

         Most of the people in most countries of the world remain completely untouched by this revolution.

         IS it not important to analyze the divide between those, Included in and excluded from the Information Age?

         What will be the best way for ODR to be successful worldwide?

         How can we bridge this Gap?

We are looking forward to an excellent discussion on this topic.

Hello Malti and Chittu. It is so great to have conversations that cross the globe during Cyberweek.  In terms of promoting access, I think the work of our hosts of the Cyberweek en Espanol and Cyberweek Italiano deserve credit for extending the conversations to a wider audience. 

I think the concept of a digital divide raises so many different issues that sometimes it is hard to know where to begin, although showing statistics that reveal imbalances seems like a good place to start. For example, Freedom House focuses on access in terms of uncensored or filtered internet. The recent reports from Freedom House paint a complex picture re the state of free speech and security on the internet.

This evening, I'll be hosting a Cyberweek webinar on Info-Activism and ODR that will feature the work of a group called the Tactical Technology Collective. Perhaps you are aware of their work. I know they have offices in Berlin and in Bangalore India. Their work relates to using technology to promote human rights and security and privacy, and it is clear that they have to adapt their approaches to the available technology in any given community. It is also clear that an open internet is really key to effective movements for change. 

I'll look forward to following this forum conversation as sit unfolds.

Regards,

Bill Warters, Detroit, MI

Hi Malti and Chittu!

The digital divide is certainly an issue that people bring up with me when I'm talking about ODR. In my part of Canada, about 84% or more of the population is using the Internet (much higher in some age groups), yet concerns over internet access and computer literacy still seem to carry a lot of importance. Actually, I also think some people who are a little bit scared of change cite it as a reason to put off serious consideration of ODR, but this is admittedly just an anecdote.

My own view is that ODR doesn't need to be an 'either / or' solution for disputes. We can integrate it with other communication channels like telephone, mail and face-to-face. It is ultra-important to create these alternative channels in a way that doesn't take away too much from the speed and efficiency of the internet, of course. But I believe it is a good place to start. 

I'm pleased to see that you are considering this issue in context with respect to developing country contexts as well. Indeed, there may be bigger challenges there, but also more opportunities and learning that can be spread elsewhere. For instance, the fact that many developing countries 'leapfrog' in the area of technology (like skipping the use of landline telephones or desktop computers) may actually drive innovation a little faster everywhere. Imagine for instance, if we focused primarily on very basic, streamlined platforms that work well on mobile devices instead of bulkier, more complicated platforms that need a powerful PC and high speed internet.

The same could hold true with respect to creating processes and platforms that will work in social contexts where literacy challenges are more common. We will be forced to build very simple, easy to use processes that focus on outcomes and user needs instead of procedure. 

In the search for ways to bridge these gaps, I'm hopeful that we'll come up with solutions that will help everyone.

Thanks again for this discussion!

Darin 

Hello Everyone

It seems to me that you dont have something until you have it. What i mean is, there are parts of the world were people dont have access to modern technology and there are soe parts of the world that have never even heard of it. At this point i think it is only available to a select part of the world. Its hard to implement a technology based method of ADR in a local that doesnt have technology. Its no doubt sad at the disparity in the world, but until technology is widely available, I think ODR is limited to a select part of the world. Only those with high tech capabilities will be able to utilize ODR and again, that a very small portion of the world. It will be a long while before ODR is a success world wide simply because technology (although rapidly advancing) is not rapidly expanding. It is a sad realization, and a hard one to change.

Hi All,

Thanks very much for your inputs!

@ Bill..will be very much looking forward to seeing the webinar Info Activism and ODR. I am sure we can learn a lot how to adapt and approach in any given community re technology

 

@ Darin..yes..this is a very dear topic to you :) I love the way you always try to bridge the gap. I totally agree that being in a developing world is sometimes advantages as we try to find innovative ways of developing tools and methods which work given the constraints.  Also like the solution of integrating ODR into the way we communicate rather than calling out ODR as a separate entity which might find resistance in adoption. It is more about how we package and market.

 

@ Brandon..pleased to meet you! One realisation I have had in the years of experience in the field of ODR, this technology divide is present in developing worlds as well. For instance, people are used to emails and perhaps googling but once we start introducing tools and ways of bringing their mediation or arbitration practise online, there is a subconscious resistence. People are not able to see how they can proceed with dispute resolution in an e-room. Here they have excellent internet access and a decent PC but adoption or embracing technology facilitated resolution is lacking.

On the contrary in countries like India where we have about 125million internet users - the divide is huge and interestingly different. Most of the urban younger generation have some online presence with facebook being immensely popular. They take to technology as anyone in the developing worlds would with apps and others. It is becoming a part and parcel of everyday life style.

However for the rest of the population access to the internet may be scarce or negligible but the technology which is ubiquitious is the mobile phone. Mobile phones are so rampant and 1 billion people know how to use it. It is upto ODR providers to tap into this and see how we can deliver dispute resolution services via the mobile. This will not only benefit countries like India but also developed countries.

One thing which is glaring in our face is that disputes are growing in size every single day. The redressal systems we have in place is just not sufficient to handle this. We need to develop innovative ways of providing resolution systems. The time has come for us to think about wholistic solutions keeping in mind developing nations rather than just develop solutions which cater to disputes faced by technology savvy people.

 

 

 

 

 

Darin, love this thought. The leapfrogging of cellular over landline we've seen in many areas may be just the thing for the expansion of ODR to bridge this digital divide.

I know in my own communities we're very desktop-centric. I've been very deliberate about exploring mobile capabilities - more than I would of my own interest - to better relate to a demographic population (usually younger than me!) who are much less tied to their desktops. Now you're encouraging me to go see just how robust we can make the mobile versions of our ODR platforms. Thanks!

Darin Thompson said:

Hi Malti and Chittu!

The digital divide is certainly an issue that people bring up with me when I'm talking about ODR. In my part of Canada, about 84% or more of the population is using the Internet (much higher in some age groups), yet concerns over internet access and computer literacy still seem to carry a lot of importance. Actually, I also think some people who are a little bit scared of change cite it as a reason to put off serious consideration of ODR, but this is admittedly just an anecdote.

My own view is that ODR doesn't need to be an 'either / or' solution for disputes. We can integrate it with other communication channels like telephone, mail and face-to-face. It is ultra-important to create these alternative channels in a way that doesn't take away too much from the speed and efficiency of the internet, of course. But I believe it is a good place to start. 

I'm pleased to see that you are considering this issue in context with respect to developing country contexts as well. Indeed, there may be bigger challenges there, but also more opportunities and learning that can be spread elsewhere. For instance, the fact that many developing countries 'leapfrog' in the area of technology (like skipping the use of landline telephones or desktop computers) may actually drive innovation a little faster everywhere. Imagine for instance, if we focused primarily on very basic, streamlined platforms that work well on mobile devices instead of bulkier, more complicated platforms that need a powerful PC and high speed internet.

The same could hold true with respect to creating processes and platforms that will work in social contexts where literacy challenges are more common. We will be forced to build very simple, easy to use processes that focus on outcomes and user needs instead of procedure. 

In the search for ways to bridge these gaps, I'm hopeful that we'll come up with solutions that will help everyone.

Thanks again for this discussion!

Darin 

Darin just tweeted this link to a NYT article about using mobile technology in healthcare in the developing world. Thought it might had some richness to this conversation here:

Exploring the Role of Mobile Technology as a Health Care Helper

Interesting model for optimizing an ODR solution for the mobile platform.


Jeff Bean said:

Darin, love this thought. The leapfrogging of cellular over landline we've seen in many areas may be just the thing for the expansion of ODR to bridge this digital divide.

I know in my own communities we're very desktop-centric. I've been very deliberate about exploring mobile capabilities - more than I would of my own interest - to better relate to a demographic population (usually younger than me!) who are much less tied to their desktops. Now you're encouraging me to go see just how robust we can make the mobile versions of our ODR platforms. Thanks!

Darin Thompson said:

Hi Malti and Chittu!

The digital divide is certainly an issue that people bring up with me when I'm talking about ODR. In my part of Canada, about 84% or more of the population is using the Internet (much higher in some age groups), yet concerns over internet access and computer literacy still seem to carry a lot of importance. Actually, I also think some people who are a little bit scared of change cite it as a reason to put off serious consideration of ODR, but this is admittedly just an anecdote.

My own view is that ODR doesn't need to be an 'either / or' solution for disputes. We can integrate it with other communication channels like telephone, mail and face-to-face. It is ultra-important to create these alternative channels in a way that doesn't take away too much from the speed and efficiency of the internet, of course. But I believe it is a good place to start. 

I'm pleased to see that you are considering this issue in context with respect to developing country contexts as well. Indeed, there may be bigger challenges there, but also more opportunities and learning that can be spread elsewhere. For instance, the fact that many developing countries 'leapfrog' in the area of technology (like skipping the use of landline telephones or desktop computers) may actually drive innovation a little faster everywhere. Imagine for instance, if we focused primarily on very basic, streamlined platforms that work well on mobile devices instead of bulkier, more complicated platforms that need a powerful PC and high speed internet.

The same could hold true with respect to creating processes and platforms that will work in social contexts where literacy challenges are more common. We will be forced to build very simple, easy to use processes that focus on outcomes and user needs instead of procedure. 

In the search for ways to bridge these gaps, I'm hopeful that we'll come up with solutions that will help everyone.

Thanks again for this discussion!

Darin 

Hi All!

Great posts! Agree very much with the thoughts.
Undoubtedly, ODR is growing, but certainly in order to benefit the society as a whole it is important to see the needs of the users “as a whole”.
It is clear that ODR is a “Technology based Product”.
So, 'Technology' is something new which ODR brings for the existing dispute resolution mechanisms. It promulgates “the optimum use of technology in dispute resolution”. Even though at present, the way people connect to internet is much more different than what was few years back, despite of thee fact we cannot ignore the existing gap between the population of world with respect to ‘Access’ and ‘Adoption’ of Technology.
What I want to convey is that in countries like India, the concept of ODR is put forward or tried to explain that as technology being used in other sectors of our life, if used in mechanism of resolving our disputes will make our life amazingly easier, simpler and anything just a mouse click away. Undoubtedly, the reaction is indifferent.
It is specifically important to take into consideration that technology is not neutral and it brings embedded in itself various challenges facing the rise of technology in the developing world. In addition, it brings different perspectives in their possibility of developing the technology. It’s extremely important.
What I want to convey is that we can not overlook the diversity and complexities involved in making technology based product “easily accessible and adopted’ in countries like India.
Question arises:
Whether the part of the world in disadvantageous position shall remain deprived of the ODR benefits?
Isn’t it important to make a study on the challenges facing the rise of technology in developing world?

Let us pen down here in this discussion. As this will be the Best platform to do that.
Looking forward to see them.

The digital divide between the most and least developed countries — measured in terms of costs, quality and connectivity — continues to grow, according to data released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). For more: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/digital-divide-widens-ev...

Now there are the problems that we think we could just identify as impediments for ODR success in developing countries.

Digital Divide in context of ODR which I want to highlight is broadly based on two factors

ACCESS

  • Cost of device
  • Cost of connectivity
  • Connectivity in rural areas
  • Quality of service
  • Poor infrastructure
  • Power grid failures
  • Illiteracy
  • Income Divide
  • Racial Divide

ADAPTATION

  • Characterstics of users
  • Cultural issues- conservative approach
  • Attitudnal issues-
  • Orientation towards technology,
  • Embracing technology

When we talk about ACCESS: it is important to highlightthat the high cost of internet connections, poor quality of service. And we can find the average speed in the richer areas of big cities. There are regions in these areas where you don’t have access to broadband connection at all such as poorest regions of the city. So we have  huge gap in terms of access in the country.

Many times people talk about access to internet and we hear mobile phone as a possible alternative to access the internet. It is a fact that the mobile has reached a huge amount of population. Actually we have more mobile phones than citizens in our country. But doesn’t mean that we have alternative to face problem of access to interne. With regard to mobile phone, people do feel that it  does have the effect on their livelihood and they are much more amenable  to go and spend money on technology.and 83% of the mobile phones are in the mode that we call the prepaid mobile phones. So a person pays to recievecalls and SMS messages.  Disposable income is still very small in India, and people want to use their money wisely.It is very small amount of money  that people have available to use it  to really produce the content or access content on the internet. So, this is something that we are trying to highlight.

However, we know that there are other aspects of diversity that must be considered which are not only related to the possibility of accessing the technology but also specially related to the possibility of using it in a way that empowers the user and makes sense to the public who are accessing and the communitines who are making use of it.

Attitudnal issues in ADOPTING Technology

It is not only about access and diversity, digital divide when we talk w.r.t ODR is much more than that. When we talk about digital divide, we say Have and Havenots. But we forget that many of the internet’s Have-nots are “WANT-Not’s”. Undoubtedly, Internet penetration in India has grown and higher as compared to past, but at the same time we cannot deny the fact of Attitudnal issues .

Q Does in Asian countries we have attitudnal issues in embracing technolgy?

  • The orientation towards technology is high in developed countries like in U.S.A. than in a country like India. Huge difference in developments creates a global divide among nations.
  • The reason for this diversity is cultural settings, differences in the legal systems, policy choices and attitude in embracing the technology. 
  • There is also a difference between theory and practice, as is often in the case of IT Use. The fact that systems are available does not mean that they are actually used or they are used in best manner.  Unless people are forced to use the systems, it merely depends on those in question whether they will actually use the systems and use them in a way intended.
  • India cannot simply take an application which has worked elsewhere in the world. It does not really work that way. We need to really customise it. What are the best practices for our country?
  • It is important to pay attention to the culture and everyday life environment people belong to, because their systems for determining whether to adopt, may be different. 

Hi Chittu & Malti we posted your discussion at spanish cyberweek chapter, today we will translate it to spanish, excelent job Alberto

link:http://odrlatinoamerica.ning.com/forum/topics/las-odr-la-division-d...



Alberto Elisavetsky said:

Hi Chittu & Malti we posted your discussion at spanish cyberweek chapter, today we will translate it to spanish, excelent job Alberto

link:http://odrlatinoamerica.ning.com/forum/topics/las-odr-la-division-d...

@ Alberto Thanks.

Would be pleased to get response.

As i am a researcher, i look forward for information and views 

on this.

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