As of 2015, about 40% of the world’s population has access to the Internet. That number was less than 1% in 1995.
For more than 3 billion people and growing, the Internet is gradually making its way into every aspects of our lives. Finding a job, accessing knowledge, staying in touch with family and friends, shopping, voting and petitioning online, finding the latest recipe or organizing a protest.
In essence, the Internet is very much part of the fabric of our most fundamental rights, ranging from freedom of expression, access to education, privacy or freedom of association.
The challenge is that the Internet has a double-edge: it can either promote and expand our rights, or be used in ways that undermine them.
At the Internet Society, we firmly believe in the power of an open Internet as a positive force to empower people with opportunities. We believe that the integrity of the Internet and the rights of users go hand-in-hand: hurting the Internet’s functioning will undermine people’s use of the network, and undermining people’s rights online will hurt the potential of the Internet as a network of networks.
In order to reach that vision, we need to maximize the benefits of the Internet for people’s rights and to minimize the risks. This requires different many of us - from governments, companies, engineers, civil society, and people - to work together.