“For a Secretary of State for the digital divide”

Today, digital plays an important role in our daily lives. New technologies have become essential or even indispensable in all areas of our society, from entertainment or information to employment, education and even administration.

In this context, the situation of the nearly 14 million French people who have difficulties with digital tools is especially dramatic. This multidimensional digital divide, at the same time social, geographical and generational, effectively has multiple detrimental consequences for generally vulnerable or precarious audiences. It strengthens social exclusion, aggravates educational inequalities, accentuates difficulties in accessing employment, restricts access to rights and contributes more macrosocially to the accumulation of socio-economic inequalities.

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While the dematerialization of administrative procedures is accelerating and the challenges to which digital technology is able to respond are multiplying, particularly in health or education, it is urgent to take concrete and effective action against the digital divide in our territories. .

For this reason, it is necessary to create a Secretariat of State dedicated to the digital divide in order to make great strides in the next five years.

“The specifics of some of these issues, such as responsible digital or the fight against cyberbullying, require special attention. »

The prerogatives of the current Secretary of State for Digital Affairs are numerous and range from cybersecurity to open data, to innovation, start-ups and even responsible digital technology.

Faced with this multitude of diverse issues, the creation of a great digital ministry would make real sense. Indeed, the specificities of some of these issues, such as responsible digital or the fight against cyberbullying, require special attention as well as a concrete and continuous commitment from public officials, which a general and de facto secretariat conditions, versatile.

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Despite the growing presence of actors committed to the fight against the digital divide and the gradual launch of several flagship devices in recent years (Digital Passes, Digital Advisors, Maisons France Services, etc.), the digital inclusion sector is currently lacking. of referents and structure. .

Although today the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion – ANCT and the Caisse des Depôts are launching and monitoring these solutions today throughout France, these actors do not have as their primary vocation to act against the digital divide and, in particular , in certain cross-sectional sectors. topics such as digital and professional integration, or even the digital divide in QPV.

“The challenge is well known: 14 million French people have difficulty with digital tools. »

The creation of a Secretariat of State in charge of the digital divide would not only allow the accession of the numerous territorial, associative, public and private actors to a central body, but also maximize the impact of the measures deployed through a scope, concrete and operational.

This forum is not intended to ask the question of “who” but to answer the question of “what”. To be useful, relevant and effective, this Secretariat of State must, in my view, be built around key principles. The opportunity, in particular, to turn it into a ministerial innovation laboratory and to give life to this promise of politics “in another way”.

First of all, it must be a small team, an agile company, able to carry out multiple projects in parallel. At its head, an operational Secretariat of State, on the ground, in the territories, in the suburbs, active every day in accelerating the deployment of state systems where digital today is an insurmountable obstacle for many of our fellow citizens.

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Transversal in nature, this Secretary of State will be called upon to intervene outside of dogma and large institutions, to act on specific issues that the Ministries of Solidarity or Territorial Cohesion cannot deal with with the same flexibility, the same capacity to respond.

This Secretary of State is, therefore, a rare opportunity to innovate in politics, to establish a small-scale field culture, concrete action and efficiency.

The challenge is well known: 14 million French people have difficulty with digital tools. Let us have the audacity to set ourselves a clear ambition and maintain a constant horizon. It begins, I am convinced, with the courageous decision of a major Digital Ministry, and a Secretary of State in charge of the Digital Gap.

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