Headlines: March 12th, 2003

The e-Envoy has launched a campaign to halt growth in the ever widening gap between those who have Internet access and those who don’t. Some 52% of the UK adult population can be counted as regular internet users, but only 10% of the lowest income group are online, compared to 82% in the highest income group. There is also an age divide with 94% of 16-24 year olds on line compared to 17% of those over 65.The campaign will aim to raise awareness of the benefits that the Internet can offer to all and break down the barriers that people face to getting online. It will run from 12th May through to June 7th and will educate and drive new users into the 6000 UK online centres for their first experience of the internet. Introductory sessions will be free.

The Internet is playing an increasingly important part in everyone’s life and the Government is concerned that as more public services provide online facilities everyone is able to share in the benefits. Its importance for the future has been highlighted by the launch of a DTI Forsight project on Cyber Trust and Crime Prevention. The project will look 15-20 years ahead at advances in next generation information technology. It has been set up to help ensure that technology is used to benefit society and to help ensure police officers have the latest tools and technology to protect communities and minimise criminal misuse.

The e-Envoy’s campaign will bring together Age Concern, Arriva Group, the BBC, BT plc, Citizens Advice, Dixons Stores Group, the National Library for the Blind, the Prince’s Trust, the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft Ltd.