The Internet has coped well with Covid-19, but problems remain: Evidence to House of Lords Committee exploring the impact of Covid-19

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Date
2021
Editors
Authors
Stocker, Volker
Whalley, Jason
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Publisher
Weizenbaum Institute
Abstract

In this contribution to a 'call for evidence' by the House of Lords (UK), we investigate the pivotal role of the Internet during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Internet has enabled many to work from home, to shop and be educated online, and keep in touch with colleagues and friends. The swift move online of many activities raised concerns about the robustness and resilience of the Internet. Contrary to some concerns, expressed when national lockdowns were being imposed, the Internet did not collapse. However, while the Internet allowed many to work from home etc., not everyone has access to the Internet. Furthermore, there are many differences between those who do have access to the Internet - quite simply, some are able to access the Internet using connections that are a lot faster than others. This shapes what businesses and individuals can do online, with those with slower connections or connections shared between many users being disadvantaged compared to those whose connectivity is better. Finally, it is necessary to remember that not everything can move online. Some occupations, such as those with a greater knowledge content, are more amenable to the move online than those with a larger labour (physical) component.

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Keywords
Sociology & anthropology \ Technology (Applied sciences) \ Sociology of Science, Sociology of Technology, Research on Science and Technology \ Technology Assessment \ work environment \ online media \ Internet \ epidemic \ inequality \ Technik, Technologie \ Soziologie, Anthropologie \ COVID-19 \ Wissenschaftssoziologie, Wissenschaftsforschung, Technikforschung, Techniksoziologie \ Technikfolgenabschätzung \ Internet \ Arbeitsumgebung \ Epidemie \ Ungleichheit \ Online-Medien
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Citation
Stocker, V., & Whalley, J. (2021). The Internet has coped well with Covid-19, but problems remain: Evidence to House of Lords Committee exploring the impact of Covid-19 (Weizenbaum Series 15). https://doi.org/10.34669/WI.WS/15