The text below is from the United Nations website
The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.
World Telecommunication Day
World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.
World Information Society Day
In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the Information Society raised by WSIS. The General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17 May.
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day
In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The updated Resolution 68 invites Member States and Sector Members to celebrate the day annually by organizing appropriate national programmes with a view to:
- stimulating reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council
- debating the various aspects of the theme with all partners in society
- formulating a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2017
The theme for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2017 (WTISD-17), "Big Data for Big Impact," focuses on the power of Big Data for development and aims to explore how to turn imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information in a development context. The insight brought on by advanced analysis can strongly complement the evidence-based nature of decision-making that can be leveraged at national, regional and international levels to drive success towards attaining all 17 of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.
The theme for WTISD-17 is in line with ITU's work highlighting the technological developments that have facilitated the emergence of Big Data, developing standards related to Big Data and identifying sources and uses of Big Data, including use of Big Data technologies for developing and monitoring improvements in information societies.
Activities undertaken by the ITU Membership will contribute towards building political momentum to embrace Big Data and leverage insights to identify new opportunities to creatively address sustainable development challenges.