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Policy

  • 2010

  • European Bureau map

    Internet Society Establishes European Bureau

    January 2010
    European Bureau map

    Internet Society Establishes European Bureau

    January 2010

    The Internet Society opens its Regional Bureau in Europe in Brussels at the start of 2010. The Bureau focuses on engagement with the European Internet community on policy, regulatory, and technology issues; serves as a technical resource for policy makers who need to address issues related to the Internet and its future; builds partnerships with key stakeholders at the European and national levels; and works with key European decision-makers to promote a realistic model of the Internet based on the values of openness and transparency.

  • North America Bureau map

    Internet Society Establishes North American Bureau

    January 2010
    North America Bureau map

    Internet Society Establishes North American Bureau

    January 2010

    The Internet Society’s Regional Bureau in North American is opened in Washington, DC. The Bureau focuses on engagement and consultation with policymakers on issues such as US and Canadian strategies to increase high-speed Internet access, promoting Internet innovation, and confronting the challenges of the digital economy; serving as an important voice encouraging continued commitment to private-sector leadership, a collaborative approach to technology development, and the free flow of information online; and developing partnerships that demonstrate strong support for principles of openness and bottom-up decision-making in the regional policy dialogue.

  • Internet Society is Granted Consultative Status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC)

    July 2010

    Internet Society is Granted Consultative Status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC)

    July 2010

    The Internet Society is granted Consultative Status by ECOSOC at the organization’s Substantive Session in July 2010, entitling ISOC to accreditation and allowing it to participate in relevant UN conferences and preparatory meetings.

    ECOSOC is the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the UN system.  It is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress; identifying solutions to international economic, social, and health problems; facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

  • Internet Society Obtains Permanent Observer Status to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

    September 2010

    Internet Society Obtains Permanent Observer Status to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

    September 2010

    The Internet Society gains Permanent Observer status with WIPO during the organization’s General Assembly in 2010. Seeing its role as one of providing technical guidance and advice to policy makers involved in key Internet issues, the Internet Society co-organizes numerous workshops with WIPO concerning online copyright issues. The Internet Society is also an Observer Organization to the Steering Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) and Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks (SCT).

  • MoU signing

    Internet Society Signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA)

    January 2011
    MoU signing

    Internet Society Signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA)

    January 2011

    The Internet Society and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) sign a memorandum of understanding to work together to develop ICT (information and Communication Technology) in Africa by creating an enabling environment for Internet development, promoting the development of local content and enhancing the capacity of African ICT specialists to deal with Internet-related technical and policy issues.

    NEPAD is a program adopted by the African Union (AU) in 2001. Its overarching objective is to enhance Africa's growth and participation in the global economy by accelerating economic cooperation and integration among African countries. The NEPAD NCPA was established to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of continental and regional programs and projects, mobilize resources and partners in support of the implementation of Africa's priority programs and projects, conduct and coordinate research and knowledge management, monitor and evaluate the implementation of programs and projects, and advocate for the African Union (AU) and NEPAD vision, mission, and core principles.

  • Internet Society Gains Associate Status with Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT)

    1 May 2012

    Internet Society Gains Associate Status with Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT)

    1 May 2012

    Through its Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau based in Singapore, the Internet Society becomes an official member of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, an intergovernmental organization founded by a joint initiative of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The APT operates in conjunction with telecom service providers, manufacturers of communications equipment, and research and development organizations active in the field of communication, information, and innovation technologies. As an associate member of the APT, the Bureau is able to actively contribute to discussions shaping the region’s agenda and positions on areas relating to Internet and ICT (information and communications technology) development.

  • WSIS +10

    25-27 February 2013
  • GIR 2014

    GIR 2014

    June 2014
    GIR 2014

    GIR 2014

    June 2014

    The Global Internet Report is the first in a series meant to celebrate the progress of the Internet, highlight trends, and illustrate the principles that will continue to sustain the growth of the Internet.

    Open and Sustainable Internet 

    This report focuses on the open and sustainable Internet – what we mean by that, what benefits it brings, and how to overcome threats that prevent those of us already online from enjoying the full benefits, and what keeps non-users from going online in the first place.

    Given the rapid pace of change, it is important to solidify and spread the benefits of the open Internet, rather than taking them for granted.

    Report Highlights

    • Internet trends and growth
    • Benefits of an open and sustainable Internet
    • Challenges to the open and sustainble Internet
    • Recommendations to improve the Internet experience and increase access

    Executive Summaries

    The following executive summaries are now available for download:

  • IGFSA logo

    Internet Society to Establish Association in Support of the Internet Governance Forum

    07 July 2014
    IGFSA logo

    Internet Society to Establish Association in Support of the Internet Governance Forum

    07 July 2014

    At its Board meeting in London, the Internet Society Board of Trustees reiterated its support for the work of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in strengthening the multistakeholder model. The Board confirmed its resolve to take action to establish a legal structure with the objective of achieving stable and sustainable funding for the IGF.

    The Internet Governance Forum Support Association, as it will be named, will be based in Switzerland and contribute to the United Nations IGF Trust Fund and support related activities. The IGF Trust Fund finances the IGF Secretariat and contributes to Internet governance-related capacity building in developing countries, such as awarding fellowships. The Association will provide a complementary funding mechanism to the IGF Trust Fund and will also fund national and regional IGF initiatives and additional fellowships for participation in IGF-related meetings at national, regional and global levels.

    “The Internet Society is a strong advocate of the IGF and its essential role in the Internet ecosystem,” noted Kathy Brown, Internet Society President and CEO. “Last November, the Board of Trustees agreed to increase its financial support for the IGF and to establish a legal structure to facilitate financial support by others. We are excited that this process is well underway and we look forward to launching the IGF Support Association at the upcoming IGF in Istanbul.”

    The IGF provides a venue for the global multistakeholder community to discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet. The IGF Support Association will be officially launched by a constituent General Assembly at the IGF meeting in Istanbul on 1 September 2014.

    “The IGF Support Association will provide businesses and individuals the opportunity to make financial contributions, big and small, and thus contribute to strengthening the IGF,” said Markus Kummer, Internet Society Senior Vice President. “The IGF is more relevant today than ever before, as it reinforces the distributed, de-centralized model of Internet governance that is necessary to ensure the future of the open, global Internet and the benefits it brings to all of us.”

    Bob Hinden, Chair of the Internet Society Board of Trustees, added, “The Board is very supportive of these steps to ensure the IGF is on a sustainable and stable path. The IGF provides a unique platform for all stakeholders to openly exchange perspectives and concerns on key issues that can impact the future of the Internet. The ISOC Board and I believe these steps will enable the IGF to have a more important role in the Internet ecosystem going forward.”

  • ITU, GSMA and Internet Society Unite in Fight against Ebola

    03 November 2014

    ITU, GSMA and Internet Society Unite in Fight against Ebola

    03 November 2014

    At the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the GSMA and the Internet Society (ISOC), announced that they are joining forces to fight against Ebola. The three organizations will bring together the global telecommunications and Internet communities, to leverage their extensive reach, capacity and respective memberships to increase the effectiveness of information and communications technologies (ICTs), especially mobile communications and the Internet, for better preparedness, early warning and response.

    Secretary-General of the ITU, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré convened a special session with ITU membership during the Plenipotentiary Conference currently underway in Busan, Republic of Korea, to identify recommendations for a more effective use of ICTs in the fight against Ebola.

    Dr Touré stated that: “The ICT Sector is critical in dealing with the Ebola threat. ICTs are already being used by ITU and its partners to support awareness raising and emergency communications, and our immediate challenge is to ensure regulatory barriers are removed to facilitate deployment and use of telecommunications applications for the purpose of saving lives. We will focus on innovative measures to increase the effective use of communications systems and applications. Human life has to be preserved and protected.”

    Dr Touré addressed Ministers, Regulators, Ambassadors, and other delegates and appealed to them to ensure that all measures are taken to facilitate the effective deployment of ICTs for addressing the Ebola crisis while balancing this with the need to protect consumer privacy.

    ITU has already deployed satellite terminals to support ongoing efforts and is currently developing new applications in close cooperation and coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO). The apps are being designed to improve awareness raising efforts, facilitate early warning alerts, report new cases of infection, and support coordination of humanitarian action at community, country and regional levels.

    The GSMA has led in coordinating and standardizing the response of mobile operators in affected countries, and has collaborated with the WHO to develop the “Ebola Mobile Response Blueprint”, which provides critical guidance for operators and regulators on running effective and best practice public health campaigns leveraging mobile technology. Director General of the GSMA, Anne Bouverot said: “The response effort to address the Ebola crisis is broad-ranging and complex, involving many different organizations globally. The mobile industry is committed to continuing to work closely with governments, international bodies and NGOs to utilize technology that will help address this outbreak, as well as deliver information to individuals in affected countries on symptoms, care and resources for this disease.”

    ISOC has set up the Ebola TECH Response Group aimed at harnessing the expertise of its extensive tech community around the world to aid the emergency response. Kathy Brown, CEO of ISOC said: “The spread of Ebola and the ravages that it is leaving behind in the affected countries in Africa are imprinting their mark on all of us and have a very personal impact on people in those communities and around the world. Like others, the ISOC community of staff, volunteers and members want to help. We have therefore come together to establish the Ebola TECH Response Group.”

    Combining the resources of all three organizations will facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of ideas, tools and increase their accessibility to the humanitarian community, mobile operators and the general public.

  • Internet Society Commends Internet Architecture Board Recommendation on Encryption-by-Default for the Internet

    15 November 2014

    Internet Society Commends Internet Architecture Board Recommendation on Encryption-by-Default for the Internet

    15 November 2014

    Ensuring user trust is key to the Internet's growth

    The Internet Society (ISOC) Board of Trustees strongly supports the Internet Architecture Board's (IAB) statement that encryption should be the norm for Internet traffic, and believes that this is an important additional step of ongoing efforts by the technical community to address the important issue of pervasive monitoring.

    The IAB's statement aligns with the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF) statement that pervasive monitoring, whatever the source, must be considered an attack on the Internet as well as current work across IETF working groups to strengthen protocols.

    User trust is critical to the Internet's continued growth and evolution. Realizing the IAB's aspiration would drastically reduce the ability to eavesdrop or modify information sent over the Internet.

    Like the IAB, the ISOC Board of Trustees recognizes that implementing this aspiration raises a number of practical issues and technical challenges. In addition to network management, intrusion detection, and spam prevention, we expect there will be economic and policy challenges. 

    As the organizational home for the IETF, the Internet Society will take an active role in facilitating and participating in the conversations required to address these challenges going forward.

  • Internet Society Approach to Cyber Security Policy

    22 January 2015

    Internet Society Approach to Cyber Security Policy

    22 January 2015

    The headlines of today regarding hacking, exposure of large quantities of personal data, denial of service attacks, and the continued revelations about pervasive monitoring are deeply disturbing.

    The Internet Society believes that with each new cyber-related incident, we risk losing the trust of users who have come to depend on the Internet for many of life's activities. And we believe that we also risk losing the trust of those who have yet to access the benefits of the Internet, thereby discouraging the kind of investment needed to complete the job of connecting everyone in the world.

    Public policy can have a positive role to play in meeting the demands of public interest. However, while action is required, all policy initiatives must be both measured and balanced. There is a danger for legitimate policy responses to go too far in addressing security challenges, thereby jeopardizing the very infrastructure that both ties together the global economy and provides the engine for its growth. We are wary of a tendency for government to expand its powers in ways that:

    a) may not ultimately be effective; and 
    b) may further undermine individuals’ online privacy. 

    The technical community has long recognized that the future growth of the Internet hinges on the ability to secure core aspects of Internet infrastructure AND to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the data that flows over it. We continue to play a leading role in these areas.  

    We note that there have been significant strides made in just the past 18 months within the technical community to secure core aspects of the Internet (such as routing and the Domain Name System) and to empower end users to protect their own information with tools like encryption.

    Perspectives on cyber security

    Today’s cyber security trends are evolving at an overwhelming pace, posing an ever-present threat to our connected world. 

    At a global and individual level, while everyone talks about “cyber security,” it has been our experience that often we do not all mean the same thing. The reality is that because the Internet crosses all sectors of the economy and many aspects of people’s lives, we need to recognize the complexity of creating a secure Internet environment. 

    Security is not achieved by a single treaty or piece of legislation; it is not solved by a single technical fix, nor can it come about because one company or sector of the economy decides security is important. Creating security and trust in the Internet requires different players (within their different responsibilities and roles) to take action, closest to where the issues are occurring. Perspectives on cyber security are far from uniform, for instance:

    • Businesses need to safeguard customer information, protect commercial data, or prevent intrusions and damage to their corporate networks. 
    • Small companies and large companies face very different security issues. 
    • Users want to be secure and feel threatened about the effects of leakage of personal data.
    • Governments have to take into account the concerns of citizens and businesses while also dealing with any national security threats that an Internet attack might pose.
    • And, there are differences between developed and developing countries in how they address cyber security. While developed countries might be most focused on securing advanced computing infrastructure or funding cyber security R&D, a developing nation might well be more concerned with developing the technical and policy capacity to deal with online fraud.

    It is the legitimate claims of all of these stakeholder groups that explain why it is so difficult to reach consensus on how to define or address cyber security. Any framework for tackling cyber security needs to work from an understanding of the different ways in which the Internet is valuable to its different stakeholders.

    The path ahead

    From an Internet perspective and in the context of the growing threat vector from hacking, targeted cyber attacks on networks and individuals, and surveillance, the Internet Society’s approach to the development of cyber security policy initiatives is based on the following key considerations:

    1. The essential need to ensure international cooperation and cross-border collaboration.
    2. The adoption of policies that are based on open technical standards. The Internet would not have had the explosive success it has had if the software that has driven its growth weren't easily adaptable for other purposes on the network. Security solutions that are developed within expert communities—the Internet Engineering Task Force being an example—are more likely to be effective and scalable, and consistent with the Internet's basic principles.
    3. The need to develop policies that are flexible enough to evolve over time. We know that the technology is going to change. The solutions need to be responsive to new challenges.
    4. The fundamental importance of developing policies using a multi-stakeholder model. This means that effective policies cannot be unilaterally created by government and that all stakeholders must work together.

    We believe that within this policy framework, the core critical values of basic privacy protections and the freedom of speech cannot be overlooked.

    And finally, as a reflection of the Internet Society’s continued commitment to ensuring that the “Internet is for everyone,” this approach requires a willingness of those who are developing policy to truly listen to those who are affected by and who design and implement their decisions.

  • CANTO and the Internet Society Announce Partnership to Promote Internet Development and Education in the Caribbean

    11 February 2015

    CANTO and the Internet Society Announce Partnership to Promote Internet Development and Education in the Caribbean

    11 February 2015

     The Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO) and the Internet Society have joined forces to promote Internet development and education programs in the Caribbean region.

    After years of collaborating on a wide range of programs, including a successful SPAM workshop conducted by the Internet Society at a CANTO event in the Bahamas, this new agreement will formalize the work between the two organizations. 

    CANTO, which started in 1985 as a state-owned telecommunication operators’ organization in the Caribbean, is now a leading trade association in the ICT sector committed to helping operators and its members take advantage of and embrace the possibilities that the Internet brings.

    Regenie Fräser, Secretary General of CANTO, commented, “The Internet is a key instrument to foster economic and social development, but it is not always well understood by all stakeholders. Some stakeholders may be experiencing the Internet as disruptive to their traditional business model. This agreement with the Internet Society will give us the opportunity to level up our partnership, and help us assist our region and members in getting up to speed on Internet matters and challenges, such as IP numbering, VoIP blocking, and cybersecurity. I look forward to continuing our excellent work with the Internet Society.”

    A global organization with more than 65,000 members, the Internet Society promotes the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for everyone. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet's premier standards organization. With its focus on Internet technology, policy, and development, the Internet Society is well equipped to help CANTO achieve its goals.

    “This partnership will give the Internet Society the opportunity to show its commitment to the Caribbean area,” said Sebastian Bellagamba, Internet Society Regional Bureau Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We are aware of the challenges that are important for the Caribbean; for example, we know that hackers are quite active here. Through this partnership with CANTO, we will have the opportunity to address real world challenges and help to increase awareness of critical Internet issues and opportunities in this beautiful region.”

  • GCCS2015

    Statement From Members Of The Internet Technical Community After The Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015 (GCCS2015)

    17 April 2015
    GCCS2015

    Statement From Members Of The Internet Technical Community After The Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015 (GCCS2015)

    17 April 2015

    A statement from members of the Internet technical community – the African Top Level Domains Organization (AfTLD), Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA), Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Internet Society (ISOC), Latin American and Caribbean TLD Association (LACTLD), the Ripe Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), Dr. Michael R. Nelson, Dr. Alejandro Pisanty, George Sadowsky and Andrew Sullivan.

    We would like to congratulate the Dutch government on an innovative and successful conference. We also wish to thank the conference organizers for inviting governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to contribute to the development of the Chair's statement.

    We welcome the spirit of openness and transparency that has prevailed in the preparations of the Conference.

    The Internet technical community

    Organizations from the Internet technical community were actively engaged in the preparations for the Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015 and associated meetings, including the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) and the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) ONE Conference.

    Participating organizations and individuals from the technical community come from all around the world. They work with governments, national and international organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector to pursue their objectives in a collaborative and inclusive manner. While each organization has its own mission and role to play, these Internet technical community organizations are motivated by a common vision of an open and accessible Internet that brings shared economic and social benefits to all the world’s citizens, now and in the future.

    The Chair's statement

    We welcome the Chair’s statement and believe it will serve as an important guiding statement as the global community works together to tackle cybersecurity issues. The statement notably recognizes that Internet security should be approached from the perspective that the Internet is “an engine for economic growth and social development” as well as the importance of trust. Furthermore, it promotes the notion that security is a collective responsibility and that we need to foster a culture of collaborative security. We are very pleased to see these concepts included in the statement.

    One of the examples of such collaborative security is the initiative proposed by the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to foster a smart coalition of interested parties to enhance and expand anti-spoofing efforts across the world - the root cause of large-scale Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. We look forward to active participation in this initiative, and the impact it will have on Internet security and trust.

    We are also pleased to see that the Chair's statement highlights the role of open voluntary consensus-based Internet standards in protecting and improving the security and resilience of the global Internet infrastructure. It also emphasizes that collective action from all relevant parties is needed to effectively implement these standards at the international level. Further, it underlines the importance of human rights, and that protection of human rights and security online are complementary concepts.

    Another initiative, launched at the conference, Internet.nl is an example of how adoption of such standards and best practices can be stimulated, by raising awareness and providing a platform where experience is being shared.

    Finally, we are pleased that through this statement, participants reaffirmed their "commitment to the multistakeholder model of Internet governance and called upon all stakeholders to further strengthen and encourage the sustainability of, participation in and evolution of this model”.

    We applaud the "commitment [of the participants] to the multistakeholder model of Internet governance [who] called upon all stakeholders to further strengthen and encourage the sustainability of, participation in and evolution of this model”. We support the view that “the multistakeholder approach has also been key in facilitating the implementation and realization of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) goals”. We join the call for “this year’s concluding stages of the ten-year Review of the WSIS to be as open and inclusive as possible, ensuring the meaningful participation of all stakeholders”. We would like further to express our support for the renewal of the Internet Governance Forum’s (IGF) mandate by the UN. We also support the inclusive and transparent process currently taking place globally leading towards the transition of the oversight of the IANA functions from the US to the global multistakeholder Internet Community. We recognize the value of the multistakeholder model as a key factor towards an enabling Internet environment.

    Global Forum on Cyber Expertise

    We are interested in learning more about the initiative of the Dutch government to create a Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE). We hope that the initiative develops to be inclusive towards all stakeholders. As further information becomes available, we look forward to sharing our expertise, especially that related to the development, implementation and deployment of open Internet standards, to the newly launched Global Forum on Cyber Expertise.

    Going forward

    As the Internet grows and continues to spur economic and social development around the world, the policies and practices of tomorrow must grow from the shared principles and the shared vision that underpin our collaboration throughout this week. It is now essential that all stakeholders, including governments take concretesteps to build together a stable, resilient and trustworthy cyberspace.

    To achieve this objective, all stakeholders must ensure that human capacities and fundamental rights are enhanced or enabled by the Internet, including:

    a) The ability to connect: The end-to-end architecture of the Internet is essential to its utility as a platform for connecting people, and thus for education, innovation, creativity and economic opportunity. In an information society, to support human development and protect human rights, all people need to have affordable access to an open and neutral network, and to the services that it provides.

    b) The ability to communicate: By enabling communication on an unprecedented scale, the Internet is a revolutionary medium for expression and collaboration. Genuinely free communication can only be guaranteed when privacy and anonymity are assured in principle, and where content controls are an exception rather than a rule.

    c) The ability to innovate: The remarkable growth of the Internet and its applications follow directly from the open model of Internet connectivity and standards development. Policies must encourage open technical standards and protocols that are developed through open, transparent and accessible processes.

    d) The ability to trust: Everyone’s ability to connect, speak, innovate, share, and choose depends on the Internet’s ability to support trustworthy internetworking—ensuring the security, reliability, and stability of increasingly critical and pervasive applications and services.

    Conclusion

    As leading actors of the Internet technical community, we wish to underline our strong commitment to maintain a safe and stable Internet environment that could further support the worldwide social and economic development in the ultimate interest of all stakeholders. 

  • GIR 2015

    Internet Society’s 2015 Global Internet Report: Mobile is Key to Fulfilling the Promise of Internet Connectivity for the Next Billion People (2015 GIR)

    07 July 2015
    GIR 2015

    Internet Society’s 2015 Global Internet Report: Mobile is Key to Fulfilling the Promise of Internet Connectivity for the Next Billion People (2015 GIR)

    07 July 2015

    Challenges remain as ‘affordability’ and ‘relevant content’ surpass ‘availability’ as main barriers to global Internet access

    The Internet Society released its 2015 Global Internet Report, the organization’s second annual report on the global state of the Internet. Focused on the impact of the mobile Internet, 2015 report shows that mobile has fundamentally transformed Internet access and use, and holds the key to fulfilling the promise of Internet connectivity for the next billion people.

    People are increasingly accessing the Internet through mobile devices. Today there are more than 3 billion people online and the mobile Internet offers hundreds of millions around the world their primary, if not only, means of accessing the Internet. In addition to providing access, benefits of the mobile Internet arise from using all the features embedded into smart devices, which are typically accessed via convenient apps.

    “We applaud this global shift in the Internet dynamic, with mobile playing a significant role in the rapid pace of new Internet users,” said Internet Society President and CEO Kathy Brown. “The Internet is truly global and every new user online benefits other users, for social interaction, economic opportunities and many other benefits that were previously unimaginable.”

    While the digital divide around the world is closing with the help of mobile, challenges still exist. One key finding of the report is that given the availability of the mobile Internet, affordability and lack of relevant content are now the main barriers to Internet access. Even taking into account regional variations, in most, if not all, countries, the availability of mobile Internet service far outpaces adoption rates, meaning that a significant number of people have access to service, but do not subscribe.

    There are numerous countries for which the cost of mobile Internet service is more than 5% or even 10% of average per capita income. Further, while a significant segment of the population can access and afford the mobile Internet, they do not yet have enough interest to begin using it. This can be attributed to language barriers and limited locally-relevant content, including a lack of access to major app stores in some countries, which limits the usefulness of a smart device.

    Apps are increasingly used as the primary means of interacting with the Internet, and the report highlights the many benefits of apps as well as the challenges. The vast majority of apps are native to a particular proprietary mobile platform, such as Android or Apple. This raises the costs for developers to make apps for all platforms and for consumers to switch between platforms, limiting choice and competition between platforms.

    “Today we associate the mobile Internet with a smart device that runs on a specific platform and provides access to the apps that we use,” suggests Michael Kende, Internet Society Chief Economist and author of the report. “While this has created amazing benefits for users and an entire app economy for developers, it locks users into a chosen platform and ultimately limits choices in a way that is new to the Internet.”

    The mobile Internet has allowed more people to access the Internet to do more things in more places. The report celebrates the role of the mobile Internet in shifting the digital divide debate from whether access is available, to whether the access is affordable and relevant. However, Kathy Brown notes that, “Despite the remarkable evolution of the mobile Internet, there are challenges that need to be addressed to ensure that all users – existing and future – enjoy the full benefits of access to the open Internet.”

    Report Highlights:

    • 94% of the global population is covered by a mobile network, 48% are covered by mobile broadband, and 28% have subscribed to mobile Internet services.
    • The gap between availability and adoption of mobile Internet is due to affordability and lack of relevant content. Policymakers should focus on filling this gap by making the services more affordable by removing taxes on equipment, devices, and services, and eliminating regulatory barriers for operators. Local hosting of content can also help lower costs by avoiding the use of relatively expensive international capacity to access content.
    • As demand increases, governments will need to ensure an adequate allocation of spectrum for mobile Internet use.
    • More than 80% of online time on mobile is spent on apps, as opposed to a browser. Even adding in desktop browsing, users spend more than 50% of overall online time using mobile apps.
    • Smart devices provide many useful services and features, such as location awareness and cameras; however these offerings raise increased privacy issues.
    • Usage of the mobile Internet depends on wireless interfaces and access to apps, which can lead to heightened security concerns.
    • An increasing reliance on mobile apps, combined with those apps being native to a particular proprietary mobile platform, raises the cost of creating apps for each platform, the cost for users switching between platforms, and thereby limits platform competition.
    • The web app environment enables developers to create websites with advanced features that can be installed on a mobile device with an icon similar to existing apps. Developers can create one web app for all platforms – consumers can easily move between platforms the way they switch browsers today – and new platforms can enter and compete on more of an even ground.
  • Bnet logo

    Internet Society Boosts Global Internet Development with New Grants Programme (Launch of Beyond The Net)

    09 July 2015
    Bnet logo

    Internet Society Boosts Global Internet Development with New Grants Programme (Launch of Beyond The Net)

    09 July 2015

    ‘Beyond the Net’ designed to support ideas that promote an open, secure Internet and enhance the Internet’s potential to empower people 

    The Internet Society today announced the launch of its new grants programme, Beyond the Net, which will support innovative ideas that promote the open development of a secure Internet and explore the potential of the Internet to empower people and communities.

    The Internet Society is a global organization with more than 70,000 members in 92 countries, and 110 volunteer-led Chapters. Under the new programme, as part of the Internet Society’s strategic focus on boosting Internet development initiatives around the world, Internet Society Chapters are able to apply for grants ranging from up to USD$3,500 ─ $30,000, depending on the project scope and length.  

    “Beyond the Net augments our long-standing support of community-based initiatives that advance Internet access, leadership, education, and development around the world,” said Kathy Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society.  “The Internet Society is committed to encouraging innovative and collaborative initiatives that support our mission of an open, global, resilient Internet for everyone.  We are proud to offer this new programme to further the important regional and local work of our Chapters.” 

    The Beyond the Net programme is focused on supporting Internet Society Chapter projects in one of three areas:

    • Access and Development:  Projects that provide equal development opportunities for all people by promoting the relevance, deployment, and adoption of the open Internet.
    • Open Standards, Security and Resilience: Projects and best practices that increase development and use of security and resiliency technologies, shape the evolution of online identity infrastructures, and improve choice and consent in the handling of user data Initiatives.
    • Policy environment: Projects that facilitate and promote global, regional, and local environments that enable the continuing evolution of an open Internet.

    The Internet Society has long supported community-based Internet projects, both operationally and financially.  Over the years, the Internet Society has helped fund more than 180 different projects on four continents, across a wide range of initiatives from education and policymaking, to the implementation of new standards and Internet Exchange Points. 

    For more information on Beyond the Net, visit www.internetsociety.org/beyondthenet

  • Digital Watch

    Geneva Internet Platform and the Internet Society launch Digital Watch

    28 September 2015
    Digital Watch

    Geneva Internet Platform and the Internet Society launch Digital Watch

    28 September 2015

    The Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) and the Internet Society (ISOC) announced the launch of the Digital Watch, a new online tool to empower diplomats and other Internet policy participants by providing a concise overview of Internet policy issues, participants and ongoing developments.

    The tool can be accessed at http://digitalwatch.giplatform.org

    Participating in Internet governance can be a daunting experience, due to its decentralised nature, diverse participants and parallel processes. The challenge is to provide a global space where people with limited resources can seek such information and become informed stakeholders on issues they care about.

    Addressing this challenge, the GIP Digital Watch will provide a neutral one-stop-shop for an overview of Internet related issues, featuring both explanatory texts and live updates.

    The Head of the GIP, Dr Jovan Kurbalija said that “the need for having a navigation mechanism for digital policy is clear and urgent. The GIP Digital Watch addresses this need. It is broad enough to provide comprehensive coverage yet specific enough to supply detailed summaries on digital policy issues.”

    This new platform aims to draw from the strengths of its partners’ assets: the resources DiploFoundation has developed over the last 15 years, GIP’s international reach and the Internet Society’s network of Chapters that will help shape localized content.

    Internet Society’s CEO Kathryn Brown stressed in her opening remarks: “With the accelerating pace of Internet governance discussions, our community has expressed a clear call for the Internet Society to step up in developing tools to better address issues and navigate Internet governance processes. This partnership with the GIP Digital Watch allows us to respond to this need and also to involve our local Internet Society Chapters, who will over time enrich the platform with their knowledge of local issues, processes and participants.”

    The GIP Digital Watch combines traditional analytical research and modern data analysis.

    At launch, the GIP Digital Watch features:

    • 42 issues
    • 158 organizations and entities
    • 335 policy instruments such as treaties and documents
    • 291 events
    • 1638 cross links among issues/actors/instruments/events
    • 28862 articles and documents gathered for data analysis

    The GIP Digital Watch also offers:

    • Monthly briefings on Internet governance in Geneva/online - held every last Tuesday of the month.
    • Geneva Digital Watch - a monthly newsletter with a focus on Geneva digital policy developments.

    According to the Swiss Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Alexandre Fasel, “Digital Watch will provide a unique contribution to global digital policy by facilitating a smart interplay between traditional knowledge analysis, tested by centuries of human learning, and new forms of research based on cognitive science and big data. Ultimately, more evidence should help shape more informed policy.“

  • WSIS+10

    Internet Stakeholders Urge the United Nations to Safeguard Key Principles for the Future of the Internet

    24 November 2015
    WSIS+10

    Internet Stakeholders Urge the United Nations to Safeguard Key Principles for the Future of the Internet

    24 November 2015

    Multiple organizations sign statement; support calls for open processes at pivotal U.N. meeting 

    The Internet Society announced that it has joined more than 200 organizations and individuals who have signed a statement intended for leaders and governments participating in the United Nations General Assembly's 10 Year Review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10 Review). 
     
    Key Internet stakeholders convened during the Internet Governance Forum contributed to the joint statement which urges the U.N. General Assembly to safeguard fundamental principles for the future of the Internet. The statement highlights the need for collaboration, transparency and inclusiveness in the Internet and calls upon the U.N. to ensure an open process of governance as it looks back at past Information Society achievements and maps goals for the future.
     
    On 15-16 December, government officials from more than 190 countries will meet in New York City for the WSIS+10 Review to assess progress in achieving a people-centered and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, use and share information. Leaders will discuss a wide range of issues, including the role of governments in Internet oversight, expansion of Internet access, and the impact of Internet technologies in supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
     
    The discussions at the WSIS+10 Review can influence how the Internet is governed for the next decade and beyond. Since the last WSIS summit 10 years ago, the Internet has evolved in ways previously unimagined. Today, the digital economy contributes five to nine percent of total GDP in developed countries and is growing 15 to 25 percent per year in developing markets. Governments, private sector, civil society, academia and the Internet technical community have worked together over the years to make the Internet an invaluable tool for economic and social development. This multistakeholder approach is critical in achieving the WSIS goals.
     
    The joint statement highlights several other key issues:

    • Full support of the renewal of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) mandate. The IGF, which was initiated at the 2005 WSIS meeting, brings people together from various stakeholder groups to discuss Internet-related public policy issues on an equal footing and in a free and open environment.  The joint statement calls for the extension of the IGF’s mandate to continue its important work.
    • A critical need to connect the unconnected.  Access to an open and inclusive Internet is a fundamental tool that enables free speech, empowers people and creates economic opportunities. It should be a priority of all stakeholders to expand Internet access as the digital divide only increases existing economic and social disparity. To this end, the newly adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the Internet and connected information and communication technologies (ICTs) as a critical enabler for economic and social progress. The WSIS +10 Review provides an important opportunity to showcase how Internet technologies can help the world achieve key development goals, such as access to health care, educational opportunities and gender equality.

    To view the Joint Statement and the current list of signatories, visit: https://www.openwsis2015.org/joint-statement-on-wsis10/. Other stakeholders are invited to add their signatures to the list.

    For more information on the WSIS +10 Review, visit http://www.internetsociety.org/wsis.

  • The Internet Society Opens Regional Bureau in the Middle East and Appoints New Director

    21 September 2016

    The Internet Society Opens Regional Bureau in the Middle East and Appoints New Director

    21 September 2016

    The Internet Society announced that it has opened a new regional bureau in the Middle East and appointed Salam Yamout to the role of Regional Director. 

    Ms. Yamout brings over 25 years of experience to her new role, where she will be responsible for building awareness of the Internet Society and advancing its mission of promoting access to the Internet for the benefit of people everywhere.   

    Prior to joining the Internet Society, Ms. Yamout was the National Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Strategy Coordinator for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, in Beirut, Lebanon.  She was responsible for planning and implementing national ICT projects in addition to advising on regulatory and legislative issues related to ICT as well as Internet Governance.

    Ms. Yamout is founder and executive board member of the Lebanese Internet Center and the Lebanon Chapter of the Internet Society.  She also serves on the board of various organizations including RIPE NCC (the Internet Registry for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia); MIT Enterprise Forum for the Pan Arab Region, and Lebanon for Entrepreneurs. 

    “The Internet Society has been looking for the right person who can help us engage with regional partners, policy makers and Internet communities throughout the Middle East.  With her extensive experience in technology and working with various stakeholders in the region, she is well positioned to help the Internet Society promote the benefits of an open, trusted, Internet,” explains Raúl Echeberría, Vice President of Global Engagement for the Internet Society.

    Ms. Yamout holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Ecole Supérieure des Affaires (ESA) in Beirut and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arizona.  She will be based in Beirut, Lebanon.

  • gir 2016

    Internet trust at all time low; not enough being done to protect data, says Internet Society report (GIR 2016)

    23 November 2016
    gir 2016

    Internet trust at all time low; not enough being done to protect data, says Internet Society report (GIR 2016)

    23 November 2016

    Five step approach identified to address data breaches and increase online trust 

    The Internet Society has released the findings from its 2016 Global Internet Report in which 59 percent of users admit they would likely not do business with a company which had suffered a data breach. Highlighting the extent of the data breach problem, the report makes key recommendations for building user trust in the online environment, stating that more needs to be done to protect online personal information.

    “One of the key questions raised by this report is why are organisations doing so little to protect their customers’ data?” said Michael Kende, Economist and Internet Society Fellow who authoured the report. “Everyone knows that data security is a major issue for both consumers and businesses, yet companies are not doing everything they could to prevent breaches.” 

    “According to the Online Trust Alliance, 93 percent of breaches are preventable. And steps to mitigate the cost of breaches that do occur are not taken – attackers cannot steal data that is not stored, and cannot use data that is encrypted. This status-quo isn’t good enough anymore. As more and more of our lives migrate online, the cost and risk of a data breach is greatly increased, and will lead to lost revenues and a lack of trust,” added Kende.

    The average cost of a data breach is now $4 million, up 29 percent since 2013.  With a reported 1,673 breaches and 707 million exposed records occurring in 2015, the Internet Society is urging organisations to change their stance and follow five recommendations to reduce the number and impact of data breaches globally:

    1. Put users -who are the ultimate victims of data breaches- at the centre of solutions.  When assessing the costs of data breaches, include the costs to both users and organisations.
    2. Increase transparency about the risk, incidence and impact of data breaches globally. Sharing information responsibly helps organisations improve data security, helps policymakers improve policies and regulators pursue attackers, and helps the data security industry create better solutions.
    3. Data security must be a priority – organisations should be held to best practice standards when it comes to data security.
    4. Increase accountability – organisations should be held accountable for their breaches.  Rules regarding liability and remediation must be established up front.
    5. Increase incentives to invest in security – create a market for trusted, independent assessment of data security measures so that organisations can credibly signal their level of data security. Security signals help organisations indicate that they are less vulnerable than competitors.

    The IoT security black hole

    The report also draws parallels with threats posed by the Internet of Things (IoT). Forecast to grow to tens of billions of devices by 2020, interconnected components and sensors that can track locations, health and other daily habits are opening gateways into user’s personal lives, leaving data exposed.

    “We are at a turning point in the level of trust users are placing in the Internet,” said Internet Society’s Olaf Kolkman, Chief Internet Technology Officer. “With more of the devices in our pockets now having Internet connectivity, the opportunities for us to lose personal data is extremely high.  Direct attacks on websites such as Ashley Madison and the recent IoT-based attack on Internet performance management company Dyn that rendered some of the world’s most famous websites including Reddit, Twitter and The New York Times temporarily inaccessible, are incredibly damaging both in terms of profits and reputation, but also to the levels of trust users have in the Internet.”

    “Up-to-date security systems, usable security, and awareness on how to deal with threats and social engineering are needed for reducing the opportunities for data breaches and device compromise. The report shows that as much as 93 percent of all breaches could have been avoided if the correct measures were put in place. In a day and age where having a positive online presence really is a case of sink or swim for businesses, gambling with online security isn’t an option. This is why we are urging people to take action and follow our five recommendations to protect themselves both now and in the future,” added Kolkman.

    Other report highlights include:

    • The average cost per lost record is $158, up 15 percent since 2013

    • Within business, the retail sector represents 13 percent of all breaches and six percent of all records stolen, while financial institutions represent 15 percent of breaches, but just 0.1 percent of records stolen, indicating these businesses might have greater resilience built in to protect their users

    Download the 2016 Global Internet Report.

  • Internet Society calls on governments to stop Internet shutdowns

    January 2017

    Internet Society calls on governments to stop Internet shutdowns

    January 2017

    The Internet Society calls on all governments to stop Internet shutdowns. Often used in the context of elections, demonstrations or other tense social situations, this technical measure is rarely effective and has a negative impact on citizens, national and regional economies, the Internet’s stability and, ultimately, the country itself.  Cameroon is just one of the most recent examples.

    The increasing number of government orders to temporarily shut down or restrict access to Internet services, from social media sites to entire network closures, is cause for deep concern.

    In today’s connected world, network restrictions have wide-ranging economic and social consequences: people rely on the Internet to do things like stay in touch with families and friends, conduct online commerce and financial transactions, or do their everyday jobs. Internet shut downs impact all of those and more, including preventing the use of emergency services that might be particularly needed in the situation where shutdowns happen. The result is social instability, human insecurity and loss of people’s trust in situations that are often already marked by social and political unrest.

    Recent studies give a sense of scale on the economic costs that shutting down all or parts of the Internet can have.

    The Brookings Institute estimates network shutdowns cost countries $2.4 billion from June 2015 to June 2016. Examples of recent economic costs to countries include:

    • India: $968 million
    • Saudi Arabia: $465 million
    • Morocco: $320 million
    • Brazil: $116 million

    A recent report from Deloitte estimates that countries with high connectivity stands to lose at least 1.9% of their daily GDP for each day all Internet services are shut down.

    Today, policymakers have a choice to make. One leads to an open and trusted Internet with all the social and economic benefits it brings. The other leads to an increasingly closed off network that fails to drive growth and is distrusted by people around the world. One path leads to opportunity, the other to stagnation. The key is trust, and building it will take all of us.

    Preventing access to information and communications online is not the solution.

    In this sense, we join the landmark Resolution from the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/32/L.20, July 2016) that “Condemns unequivocally measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law”.

    Additionally, the technical means used to block access to information online often dangerously undermine the stability and resiliency of the Internet. For example, interfering with a country’s routing of Internet traffic not only harms citizens’ ability to communicate and innovate as part of the global Internet platform; it can also lead to a fragmentation of the network at the regional and global level.

    Unilateral technical measures are rarely appropriate tools to fix political, social or legal issues. Instead, dialogue, transparency, due judicial process and openness should be the first steps to find solutions to difficult issues, in a way that is inclusive of all stakeholders.

    Policymakers have a choice. We understand that governments are faced with sometimes challenging situations that may threaten public order and national security. But we do not believe that shutting down communications for whole or part of a country is an appropriate and proportional measure. We encourage governments to look at alternative means to address such issues.

    The Internet Society has been at the forefront of the struggle from the beginning.

    We believe that trust is a cornerstone for all successful connectivity strategies, in developing and developed countries alike. This cannot happen when the network and its applications are arbitrarily restricted.

    Together with Access Now, help us call on all governments to stop Internet shut-downs. Not only is this mechanism rarely effective, but it negatively impacts citizens, national and regional economies, the Internet’s stability and, ultimately, the country itself.

  • Internet Society begins celebration of 25th Anniversary

    January 2017

    Internet Society begins celebration of 25th Anniversary

    January 2017

    The Internet Society's 25th anniversary is a moment to celebrate the contributions of the millions of people across more than 100 countries who stand for the opportunities the open Internet brings.

    Whether technologists, students, politicians, teachers, or concerned people, without their help, enthusiasm and support, the Internet Society would not be the organisation it is today.

    Through this network of volunteers and supporters who span the world and bring different points of view, are we able to bring lasting solutions. 

    This silver anniversary is also a chance to look back and see how much the world has changed. How people around the world have addressed these challenges shows determination and passion behind our cause.   

    Over the year we'll be celebrating our 25th in many ways. All with the intent to highlight the work of the amazing community that keeps the Internet open and ready for opportunities.

The Internet Society and Policy

Throughout its history, the Internet Society’s core principle that the Internet is for everyone has guided its activities in the realms of Public Policy and Internet Governance. That belief found expression in the Internet Society's early advocacy of the multistakeholder model and it finds expression today in a wide range of global, regional, and local policy initiatives that promote Internet access and development, foster innovation, and work to improve online security and protect privacy. 

By connecting the world, working with others, and advocating for equal access to the Internet, the Internet Society strives to make the world a better place.

In pursuing its public policy objectives, the Internet Society has built a history of working collaboratively and inclusively—with governments, national and international organizations, civil society, the private sector, and other parties to reach decisions about the Internet that conform to its core values.