While millions of Indians are homeless and do not have access to electricity, not to mention, internet; I was recently fascinated with this news form Turkey wherein Turkish Government plans to have their own search engine and to provide a unique mail address (and 10 gb storage) to each of its more than 70 million citizens. The project is codenamed ‘Anaposta’.
Under this project, all of our 70 million citizens will be given an e-mail address with a quota of 10 gigabytes. Every child will have an e-mail address written on his/her identity card since birth. So, will have a mobile network that can be used thanks to id number match and foreign networks, such as Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail, will not be used anymore.
While the last part about not allowing popular web mail services in Turkey, and the banning of YouTube etc in Turkey that has already been implemented, may justifiably raise some eyebrows, the desire to provide an email address to everyone may be more than a marketing and political gimmick. By allowing people to communicate smoothly with each other it may be another infrastructure that may be rightly provided by government.
Of course it is a different matter altogether whether government should be leading the infrastructure segments or is there more scope for privatisation and private players here. But one thing this project highlights is viewing online communications infrastructure too as a critical national asset prone to security concerns just like the traditional transport or communication infrastructure is.
Which leads me to the Indian scenario.Â We discussed national security concerns with respect to UID project earlier too. Of course suspecting Google, Yahoo, MS, with regards to national security,Â is more of paranoia than truth; so I will not focus on security aspects, but will more focus on infrastructure aspects and why having an email id and public internet hotspot where you could use that email id may be a good idea.
Suppose the UID comes bundled with a public URL of the individual pointing to a page on the web that contains public information about that individual (the individual will have some say in what information he/she wants to make public) , along with aÂ contact form, just like the contact form you see on WordPress blogs. Also a private email id may be allocated to the UID holder and linked to the contact form.
Thus, using the contact form, anyone can potentially contact anyone in IndiaÂ without knowing the email address or revealing his/her own email address publicly. Enabling communication between citizens to such a great extent is a potential game changer.
Of course security and misuse protection would have to be built in by means of captcha (to prevent spam) and senders’ email address validity requirements. Also provisions may be there to send the message/alert about the messageÂ to recipient using SMS in case the person has more easy access to mobile than an email. The possibilities are endless and have the potential to cover at least the population that has access to mobile services if not internet services.
To me, enabling communications infrastructure like this has the potential of speeding up C2C business (consumers-to-consumers or peer-to-peer business) by effectively enabling anyone to contact anyone at the click of a button.
What do you think? Is dreaming of an online home( URL/contact form/email address for all) an unreal and insensitive dream even when millions continue starving and have no access to physical real-world homes?Â If Turkey can dream, cant we? In a future I do see great innovation happening as a result of everyone having a digital online home- the million dollar questionÂ is – how far in the future that is?