Fintan O’Toole: No one is safe when half of us are digitally illiterate

The lack of basic online skills in our population is now both a marker and a driver of social inequality

If you are not confident working online, you are less likely to get a good job. File photograph: Getty

If you are not confident working online, you are less likely to get a good job. File photograph: Getty

There are two Irelands. And one of them is digitally illiterate. We know that criminals now have vast amounts of information on Irish citizens, stolen in the hacking of the HSE. We also know that a very large proportion of those citizens have poor online skills. This is not a cheery combination.

Contemporary Ireland is characterised above all by its doubleness. Because of its peculiar path to development, it has parallel universes. There is a largely imported high-tech economy, home to 16 of the top 20 global technology firms. And there is an indigenous society in which large numbers of people are barely able to function in the world those firms create. 

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