G8 leaders vow to spread access to internet

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Leaders from the Group of Eight have agreed to establish a task force aimed at encouraging the growth of information technology around the world.

On the second day of their three-day summit in Okinawa, the G8 agreed to create a task force to to help poor nations join the IT revolution so they can one day leave the Third World behind.

“Countries that succeed in harnessing IT potential can look forward to leapfrogging conventional obstacles of infrastructure development,” said a charter signed by the G8 members: the United States, Japan, Italy, Britain, Germany, France, Canada and Russia.

The so-called Digital Opportunity Task Force, known as Dotforce, will be composed of government officials from developed and developing countries, along with representatives of the private sector.

According to the leaders’ self-styled Okinawa Charter, the task force would aim to create an infrastructure to accelerate the growth of information technology and to bridge the “digital divide”. It would examine issues such as the regulation of IT, access costs, education and venture capital needs in its work.

The G8 leaders also agreed in their discussions on IT that the taxation of e-commerce should be based on principles of “neutrality, equity and simplicity” and that countries should not impose customs duties on electronic transmission.

Much of the summit discussion concentrated on the problems of developing countries and the measures necessary to help them overcome disease, increase their education standards and have access to information technology.

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