LIVE FROM ZTE 5G SUMMIT, STRESA, ITALY: Experts highlighted the need for action to create a safer internet for users across the socioeconomic spectrum, with benefits cited both for developed and emerging markets.

Speaking during the first keynote, president of the Internet Governance Forum Italia Mattia Fantinati (pictured) highlighted ensuring safety in the online world would increase usage of digital technology and create economic benefits, but warned more needed to be done in this area.

He noted the internet had to “work hard for everybody” comprising solid privacy and human rights credentials to create an environment of trust as digital use cases continue to grow.

Drawing on his experience in Italian government, he argued “if people are confident using technology, technologies are taken and the technology grows. If not [it] will be forsaken”.

“So if we want to boost the economy and we want people to use that technology we have to create a safe environment for people, in a sustainable way.”

Usage gap
Elsewhere in the session, GSMA CMO Lara Dewar (pictured, right) highlighted the benefits of a safer internet in markets with a mobile usage gap, where the connectivity technology exists but isn’t being used by segments of the population.

The GSMA estimated at the end of 2021 there were 3.2 billion people who were covered by mobile broadband services but were not online.

Dewar cited concerns about safety and security as one of four key issues which need to be resolved alongside affordability, lack of literacy and digital skills, and access to relevant content and services.

“We need to have the right mechanisms and frameworks in place to create a safe online environment and empower people with the knowledge and the skills they need to mitigate risks and keep themselves safe.”