According to the International Telecommunication Union, there are about 3.2 billion people online. Mobile networks are leading the way to connecting people for the next generation of communications. There are about 7.1 billion subscriptions globally and 95% of people in the world are within reach of a mobile network signal.

The Republic of Korea leads the world as the most-connected place. European countries along with Southeast Asia countries Japan and China follow afterwards. The United States comes at #15. This is with respect to Internet connectivity and how well data services are adopted in that country. The list below does not correlate with how fast the country’s economy is growing. Rather, it correlates with how many people have online access in that country.

Photo via TechCrunch

Photo Credit: TechCrunch

The downside of this news is that there are still about 350 million without Internet access. These include people in some of the poorest countries in the world, such as Malawi, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Chad, which are the five least-connected countries globally in descending order. These countries are referred to as least developed countries, or LDCs.  Projects such as Project Loon by Google and “Free Basics” by Facebook are attempting to resolve this extreme gap.

There has been an improvement of the “middle class” countries pertaining to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Developmental Index (IDI) growth. Universal online access contributes to globalization.

Article via TechCrunch, Nov 30, 2015

Photo: Vardøger [Déjà Vu] by Chris JL [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


This past Thursday, the Social Security Administration announced that citizens would be able to apply for replacement Social Security card documents online. Although the program only applies to basic card replacements, it will expedite the process for many Americans who had to physically wait in line at a government building in order to fill out the paperwork for renewal. The program will first be introduced to Wisconsin and Washington state before extending to the rest of the nation.

Nancy Berryhill, the deputy commissioner for operations at the Social Security Administration, said, “It’s not only convenient for the public, but also for our field employees. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time.”

The development of the program was lengthy due to the issues of authenticating and securing individuals’ identities. Those who apply for replacement cards online will have to sign up for a “my Social Security” account and answer personal questions from their credit history, provided by the Equifax credit-card rating bureau. The account will also ask for a driver’s license or state ID card numbers, to be compared to the records of individual states. Lastly, a fraud protection review will scan the submitted information for a authenticity.

Rob Klopp, the deputy commissioner of systems and the agency’s chief information officer, said that the agency is still researching methods to recognize fraud. “We’re going to learn how others try to game us,” he said.

Article via The Washington Post, November 19, 2015

Photo: The Bank of Queue via tubb [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]