17th May is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

Ranjan K Baruah
Contd from previous issue
The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other ICT can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. This day is observed on 17th May and it is an opportunity for us to push for digital transformation by promoting national strategies on ICT development, smart policies to encourage investments, cooperation, and partnership. The focus of WTISD 2021 is “Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times". 17th May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17th May since 1969, marking the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973 as Resolution 46. In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the United Nations General Assembly to declare 17th May as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the Information Society raised by WSIS. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17th May. In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as WTISD. Secretary-General of the UN in his message said that “digital technologies sustain life, work, health and learning for billions of people. In the face of COVID-19, businesses, governments and the digital community have proven resilient and innovative, helping to protect lives and livelihoods.
These challenging times have accelerated the transformation everywhere.” “Yet 3.7 billion people – nearly half the world’s population – remain unconnected to the Internet; and of these, the majority are women.  They, too, must be included if we are to make the possibilities of 5G, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, digital health and other technologies truly transformative and sustainable: , he added . he also mentioned that “ we must also protect against the dangers of digital technologies, from the spread of hatred and misinformation to cyber attacks and the exploitation of our data.”