Information infrastructure

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"The term information infrastructure (II) refers to the communications networks and associated software that support interaction among people and organisations. The Internet is the phenomenon that has driven the debate to date. The term Information Infrastructure (II) is useful as a collective term for present networks (i.e. the Internet) and likely future facilities.

"The term 'national information infrastructure (NII)' was popularised in the mid-1990s by American Vice-President Al Gore, and used as a clarion call. His purpose was to ensure that the U.S. exploits the technology that it has, to a considerable extent, gifted to the world. Many people, in and beyond the U.S., prefer the term 'global information infrastructure' (GII), in order to emphasise the interconnectedness of the network, of countries and of people."[1]

According to the Hyperdictionary: national information infrastructure (NII, or '[ information superhighway')]:

"Future integrated communications in the USA. The NII will be based on a nationwide network of networks, and will supposedly allow all Americans to take advantage of the country's information, communication, and computing resources.
"The NII will include current and future public and private high-speed, interactive, narrow-band and broadband networks. It is the satellite, terrestrial, and wireless communications systems that deliver content to homes, businesses, and other public and private institutions. It is the information and content that flows over the infrastructure whether in the form of databases, the written word, a film, a piece of music, a sound recording, a picture, or computer software. It is the computers, televisions, telephones, radios, and other products that people will employ to access the infrastructure. It is the people who will provide, manage, and generate new information, and those that will help others do the same. And it is the individual Americans who will use and benefit from the NII. The NII is a term that encompasses all these components and captures the vision of a nationwide, invisible, seamless, dynamic web of transmission mechanisms, information appliances, content, and people."

Terrorism Questions & Answers: Information Infrastructure, Council on Foreign Relations in cooperation with the Markle Foundation.

  • What is information infrastructure?
"It's the computers and communication lines underlying critical services that American society has come to depend on: financial networks, the power grid, transportation, emergency services, government services. Information infrastructure includes the Internet, telecommunications networks, 'embedded' systems (the built-in microprocessors that control machines from microwaves to missiles), and 'dedicated' devices like the computer you're using now."

Other Related SourceWatch Resources

External links


  • Steven Levy, A Net of Control Unthinkable: How the Internet could become a tool of corporate and government power, based on updates now in the works, Newsweek International: "Picture, if you will, an information infrastructure that encourages censorship, surveillance and suppression of the creative impulse. Where anonymity is outlawed and every penny spent is accounted for. Where the powers that be can smother subversive (or economically competitive) ideas in the cradle, and no one can publish even a laundry list without the imprimatur of Big Brother. Some prognosticators are saying that such a construct is nearly inevitable. And this infrastructure is none other than the former paradise of rebels and free-speechers: the Internet."