The day had previously been known as ‘World Telecommunication Day’ to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union on 17 May 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.
The main objective of the day is to raise global awareness of societal changes brought about by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.
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. The first World Information Society Day took place on Wednesday, 17 May 2006.