top of page
  • Vshrupt Modi


Vshrupt Modi

Kirit P.Mehta School of Law, NMIMS, Mumbai



The digital era has no doubt changed things for the better in our social environment. Over time it has linked people across the world various instant message programs and social networks are all helping combat geographical constraints to allow us stay in touch, easily harnessing huge volumes of information. But the benefits of electronic media have not been distributed evenly, and their impact is often a cause for concern known as the digital divide. 

The digital divide is commonly used to describe the uneven distribution of advanced communications technology and infrastructure, accessibility in terms of resources such as computers and telecommunications networks, or generally speaking? The absence (or insufficiency) of that which is present among leading end users. Such imbalance can have highly detrimental effects, including social isolation and economic exclusion as well constitutional alienation. Poor groups without access to digital technologies are not only facing disconnection from resources of education and healthcare, but also suffers unemployment. They feel cut off isolated and neglected by society. 

Also, the digital divide can lead to unresolved or even worsen existing inequalities. To solve this problem is critical, as we not only hope for a society that cares about people where everyone can embrace the beauty of digitization but also work to rectify it. 

Effects of Digital Divide

The digital divide is an alarming or even gaping chasm between the most and least advanced countries about digital technologies and access to the internet. Yet its effect on people's lives can be devastating. Barring them from essential services, political and civic activities as well as the enjoyment of their human rights all deny sufferers their right to life itself. 

As an example of the many barriers blocking so much online information, people without internet access may run up against problems in obtaining healthcare and educational materials or even employment opportunities. Besides, they may be denied the right to speak out in online political debates or step on the stage of national politics. This could prevent them from voicing opinions and getting involved with their times as much as possible until such a time arrives when we can achieve true reconciliation between various people. 

But the problem is that because of this digital divide, it has an actual impact and discriminatory effects. And women and girls have a higher probability than men to be excluded from accessing the digital world. Exclusion arises from many factors, including social customs and norms, cultural habits of use (including the circulation-related nature of early paper books), financial constraints also, some computer illiteracy. Thus, women and girls have educational, or employment opportunities denied to their benefit. 

Some case studies about countries -

  1. In Brazil, although mobile phones are everywhere you look, a real web connection for most people is but an elusive dream. A huge digital divide This is especially true for rural areas and poor communities, where the costs are too high for data or be without connections and overseas funders can't help because there isn't enough infrastructure in place. Without such a web, there is little hope of improving linkage to the teaching world over thousands of kilometres for students in remote cities or villages. In Amazonia and Basin slope lands without electricity the situation today everywhere outside major urban centres like Brazil's two-million population township at Belem (Brazilian version Athena) online resources from English dictionaries Remote populations are left vulnerable to both lack of access healthcare information and services. A few glints of hope There is talk that the Wi-Fi Brasil and RNP Internet for All projects will soon offer advantages over actual work opportunities. They supply free public access to connect distant communities through online platforms such as Spot Wave, where lectures are given on subjects also taught at universities. Nonetheless, ensuring affordability and sustainability is the one major difficulty.[i] 

  2. A similar rift is felt in South Africa, where rural areas and lower socioeconomic groups are falling behind the curve when it comes to internet access. High data costs and unequal implementation of infrastructure also exaggerate the discrepancy. A consequence of digital exclusion is the restriction on access to good education, which means that people cannot move up but only remain where they find themselves. The pre-established social and economic inequalities are thus persistently reoriented into new channels each day. Those without online skills run out of places to work, and the gap becomes wider. South Africa Connect attempts to bring both sides together with affordable broadband, but the issues of cost and content accessibility remain. Even at this early stage in our development we need solutions which will cover infrastructure provisioning all the way up through price affordability-to it are threats originating from new forms of digital literacy on one hand to rising poverty levels as represented by Gini co-efficient.[ii] 

  3. Egypt's digital divide takes on a complex dimension, intertwined with political instability and government restrictions on internet access. While affordability and limited digital literacy play a role, it's the suppression of online expression and information access that truly raises concerns. This stifles democratic participation and hinders human rights advocacy efforts. Civil society organizations are valiantly pushing for internet freedom and digital literacy programs, but progress hinges on political will and a fundamental respect for online freedoms. Only then can Egypt hope to bridge the digital divide and truly empower its citizens.[iii] 

  4. The three placed cases illustrate the complex and multifaceted nature of this digital divide, which has left its imprint on all aspect's human being's lives. It's a complex problem calling for  multifaceted solutions that show developers isn't just building in the right place. Affording everyone the same right to information should be our first step in developing a truly unified digital world. Second is education. Digital literacy must become common sense and part of basic skills training for all citizens; third are Internet freedoms which can only ensure that people will have open access to knowledge at low cost by monitoring government actions taking place online. 

  5. Being Aware of this problem, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution in 2016 to press for ways and means that facilitate promoting, protecting and enjoying human rights on the internet. This resolution recognizes the importance created by the internet in terms of accessing and exercising human rights. It mentions that it is common to find people slipping into poverty or unemployment due to a lack of education and training, especially those living under severe economic hardship when they could hardly afford entering universities; and more often than not their work ends up contributing directly or indirectly to powers hungry for States are called to undertake specific actions in closing the digital divide and providing universal access.[iv] 

The following are some laws that prove how the digital divide can violate human rights:

  1. The right to education, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), ensures that everyone should have access to learning opportunities. However, the digital divide can deprive children of access to online educational resources, such as online courses, textbooks, and libraries, hindering their learning and academic success.

  2. Likewise, the right to work, as outlined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), guarantees individuals the right to fair employment opportunities. Yet, the lack of internet access can limit people, especially those in rural areas or with disabilities, from applying for jobs online and accessing a broader job market.[v] 

  3. The right to political and public education is stated in the UDHR. But the digital divide can exclude people from online political discussions and campaigns, leaving it up to a relatively small group of individuals-chance users at best to dictate policy that affects their own lives or those where they live.[vi] 

  4. Moreover, the right to privacy is also protected by the UDHR and prevents any unwarranted monitoring or accumulation of personal data. But artifacts produced by digital technologies can amass masses of personal data, which could interfere with freedom in the specific sense that it impinges on people's right to privacy.  

Best practices for addressing the digital divide and protecting human rights:

  1. Invest in infrastructure: This means the construction of a new telecommunications network and making it easier to connect broadband Internet.

  2. Provide digital literacy training: It therefore imparts the knowledge people need to get up and running with digital technologies, while also teaching them how best to protect their privacy online.

  3. Develop policies that promote digital inclusion: Such policies should help to bring such digital technologies within the reach of every sector, regardless of income level or location.

  4. Address the root causes of the digital divide: The first is solving problems of poverty, illiteracy and barriers to essential information caused by social structure; the second is overcoming obstacles created by geography.

  5. Work with civil society organizations: The NGO`s and other civil society organizations that do the best are those which go on to raise awareness of this issue and call for policies directed against it.

Here are some other considerations that should be considered when addressing the digital divide and protecting human rights: 

  1. The digital divide must be tackled with bespoke measures based on the distinct situations of each region or country. Best practices that work well in a developing country do not necessarily apply to developed countries. This promotes the necessity of looking at each issue's specific characteristics and prerequisites for action.

  2. In addition, the special needs of marginalized groups must be considered. For example, women and girls often find it much more difficult to gain easy access to searches on items such as health conditions carried out via search engines than do males in similar age brackets. The design of policies and programs needs to be outcomes-based to consider their difficulties, making themselves more inclusive in the process.

  3. Besides this, we must also be aware of the existence possible exercises in excluding people with disabilities from computerization. For policies and programs to open the digital door for all Asians, we need guidelines that can get around discriminatory barriers.


Establishing digital warmth is a global challenge, as the issue of cave dwellers without digital and human intelligence The story about poor people becoming prosperous Internet users in case you haven't heard: what does it mean to be living in poverty? Class warfare-either earmark more telephones or pay taxes Digital divide stunts socioeconomic development can seeing these things make us come It is the result of poverty, inadequate infrastructure and social obstructs. Then we can reduce the digital divide through greater investment in infrastructure, provision of training to raise people's level of knowledge and skills about technology, and development of policies designed for promoting a more equal use by everyone. By doing this, we can bring everything within the grasp of humankind in cyberspace. We must make sure that everyone has access to these digital tools and is free to enjoy their rights as a human being under international law.


[i] Angelica Mari, Brazil sees growth in internet use in rural areas ZDNET, (last visited Dec 18, 2023).  

[ii] Khanyi Mlaba, How is South Africa’s digital divide making inequality worse in the country? Global Citizen, (last visited Dec 18, 2023). 

[iii] Mona Farid Badran, Young people and the digital divide in Egypt: An empirical study, 4 Eurasian Economic Review 223–250 (2014). 

[iv] UN: Human Rights Council adopts resolution on human rights on the internet, ARTICLE 19 (2021), (last visited Dec 18, 2023). 

[v] Flávia Polles, navigating challenges faced by rural American job seekers: A comprehensive guide The Center for Workforce Inclusion (2023), (last visited Dec 18, 2023). 

[vi] Dari E. Sylvester & Adam J. McGlynn, The digital divide, political participation, and place, 28 Social Science Computer Review 64–74 (2009). 



bottom of page