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Connecting the Unconnected and Building Trust is the Work of our Time, says Internet Society

10 November 2015

UN-convened forum provides opportunity to map Internet’s future; connect the next billions to an open, trusted Internet

João Pessoa, Brazil -- Today at the 10th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting taking place in Brazil, the Internet Society highlighted its belief that connecting the unconnected and building trust are the two most pressing imperatives facing the Internet today. The organization used its presence at the meeting in Brazil to call on the global Internet community to act now on these issues to unlock the full potential of the Internet for the future and to affirm once again that the Internet is for everyone, everywhere. The Internet Society noted that the meeting in Brazil is an opportunity to celebrate the 10 years of transformative change that have been brought about by collective efforts to build an Internet from the bottom up for the benefit of society, but also to engage in much needed dialogue on the key challenges ahead.

Delivering an address on behalf of the Internet Society, President and CEO Kathryn Brown highlighted the organization’s belief that the Internet is the fundamental tool for empowerment in the 21st century and that it will be the catalyst for positive change in people’s lives through the creation of social and economic opportunity. Referencing the United Nations’ 2030 Development Agenda, she noted how the Internet’s value has increased exponentially as more people have become connected. She outlined how it continues to impact and transform the world around us and how it offers the potential to further accelerate human progress, bridge the digital divide and develop knowledge-based societies.

Ms. Brown spoke to an audience of more than 2,500 business leaders, government officials, Internet technical experts and civil society representatives during the opening ceremony of the IGF event today. Remarking on her address, she said, “It is not surprising that the important new Sustainable Development Goals just adopted by the United Nations recognized the role of the Internet as an enabler for economic and social progress, and as a tool for the  implementation of these universally agreed new goals. The Internet offers an incredible opportunity to advance these goals, but it can only truly support sustainable development if it is available to all. This means that we must continue to connect the unconnected as a key priority and place Internet access at the very heart of the foundation we build for the future.”

However, while drawing attention to the need to continue to build a better, stronger Internet and make it available to more people around the world, she also stressed the need to repair the levels of trust in the Internet in order to safeguard its future and bring value to those that use it.

“An increasing number of security and privacy issues have undermined trust in the Internet itself. Government surveillance, corporate and government data breaches, commercial practices that erode privacy, mass hacking incidents and systemic gaps in security practices have led to disillusionment among Internet users. Together with connectedness, this is one of the key issues of our time and we must now undertake the work to promote and restore trust in the Internet as a priority.”

In her address, Ms. Brown outlined the Internet Society’s belief that the collaborative governance system of the Internet capitalizes on the collective strengths of the community, giving it the ability to develop the trust based mechanisms required to resolve these important issues. She urged the community to take full advantage of the opportunity offered by the IGF to set the Internet on the right path to the future. She also highlighted the opportunity the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) offers in reaffirming an Internet governance ecosystem that remains open and inclusive, and involves a diverse range of stakeholders from across the global Internet community.

“I am convinced that it is this unique multistakeholder system of governance which has enabled the quite extraordinary progress we have seen over the last decade and I believe that collaboration and coordination as part of a truly inclusive WSIS process is the only way to achieve greater trust in the Internet of the future,” said Ms. Brown. 

Noting how, under this model, all stakeholders share a responsibility to work together to develop policies, services, tools and applications that will bring the benefits of Internet access and use to everyone, Ms. Brown reinforced the Internet Society’s belief that it represents the only viable path forward for a sustainable, global, independent, open, trusted and empowering Internet of the future.

In attending the IGF meeting this week, the Internet Society aims to illustrate how inclusive governance is the vehicle for the ultimate shared objective of connecting the unconnected to a trusted Internet that continues to be a platform for human, social and economic development and for improving the exercise of human rights.

The Internet Society stands ready to play its full part in making this happen. For more information, please visit:

About the Internet Society
The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. It is also the organizational home for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone.

Media Contact: Wende Cover,, +1-703-439-2773