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Action Plan 2023
Our Internet, Our Future:
Protecting the Internet for Today and Tomorrow

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We demand a lot from the Internet. It always rises to the challenge,
whatever may be happening in the world around us.

We have learned to count on the Internet as a critical constant, and today it’s hard to think of life without it.

But as much as we need the Internet, the Internet also needs us. It needs all of us to help it grow, because at least 2.7 billion people still don’t have access, and to protect it against the increasing number of threats it faces.

Some of these threats pose a serious risk to the very existence of the Internet in the future.

The Internet is fragmenting into separate networks dominated by governments and corporations, which control what people see and what services they use. It’s called the splinternet, and this reality is closer than you think.

Internet shutdowns stifle human expression, threaten the Internet’s resilience, and weaken our ability to weather global challenges. They’re on the rise, at a time when our world cannot function without an open Internet.

When we use the Internet, we trust that our information is private and secure. Encryption makes this possible. But nearly everywhere, policymakers are coming up with proposals to undermine it, jeopardizing our security.

Fortunately, we know the solutions to these threats. We can protect the Internet way of networking—the open, collaborative model that has helped the Internet grow and flourish. We can persist in our work to connect the billions of people who remain unconnected. We can give decision-makers the information they need to make the right choices to support the Internet’s growth and development, and we can empower new generations of Internet champions.

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We all have a stake in the Internet’s survival, and it needs our help.
The Internet needs us to act now to protect its future. Our future.

This Action Plan shows us the way forward.

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the Internet

We’re working every day to protect the Internet’s open architecture. This means identifying and mitigating threats to ensure a secure and trustworthy Internet. Together with our partners, policy advocates, and the Internet Society community, we are committed to reducing risks so that people can be secure online, wherever they may be.

Extending Encryption

Strong encryption is vital in keeping online data and communications private and secure. It’s essential for securing digital infrastructure, protecting freedom of expression, preventing theft of sensitive information, and safeguarding our daily online activity.

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Despite the importance of strong encryption, it remains under threat around the world as its opponents seek to undermine or ban it to gain access to encrypted communications.

In 2023, we will continue to mobilize in support of strong encryption, strengthen the voices of new and existing allies in the Global Encryption Coalition (GEC), and mitigate attempts to undermine or ban the use of strong encryption.

How we will extend encryption in 2023:

  • Introduce a “government use of encryption” course and end-to-end encryption training for journalists
  • Mobilize and rally the community to act on Global Encryption Day
  • Engage in at least 900 advocacy activities
  • Urge government officials to make pro-encryption statements at least 10 times
  • Encourage governments or press to reference Internet Society encryption-focused documents or statements at least 30 times

Securing Global Routing

The Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) initiative has close to 900 participants committed to global routing security best practice. MANRS participants—network operators, content providers, IXPs, equipment vendors, and enterprise networks—ensure the global Internet routing system is protected from leaks, errors, and attacks.

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MANRS participants ensure the global Internet routing system is protected from leaks, errors, and attacks.

In 2023, we will continue to support MANRS in becoming a sustainable community-led effort and will implement a plan that optimizes MANRS’s financial and operational capacities. The plan will also incorporate higher levels of routing security conformance and auditing for MANRS participants.

How we will secure global routing in 2023:

  • Increase conformance of MANRS participants by 10%
  • Encourage 5 MANRS participants to join the Internet Society as organization members
  • Grow the MANRS community with the addition of 10 organization members and 10 IXPs

Sharing Cutting Edge Knowledge at the NDSS Symposium

The Network and Distributed System Security (NDSS) Symposium convenes academic and industry researchers and security practitioners from all over the world. The NDSS Symposium is a dynamic event where security experts can build relationships; share the latest peer-reviewed research about network and distributed system security; and collaborate about cutting edge solutions to mitigate attacks and vulnerabilities.

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Established in 1993 and held annually ever since, the NDSS Symposium will mark its 30th Anniversary in 2023.

As hosts for the 2023 conference, we aim to maintain the NDSS Symposium’s position as one of the world’s premier academic research symposium for computer and network security. To do this, we will facilitate valuable information exchange, provide meaningful networking opportunities, and develop the next generation of security experts.

How we will support the sharing of cutting edge knowledge at the NDSS Symposium in 2023:

  • Expand funding through sponsorship and grants with a target of $75,000 USD
  • Facilitate at least 2 collaborations between the NDSS research community and the open standards community
  • Secure 10 sponsors
  • Maintain the NDSS Symposium as a top-5 premier academic research symposium for computer and network security in the world

Protecting the Internet from Fragmentation

Governments and businesses across the world are increasingly making risky decisions that have the potential to adversely impact the open, global Internet—and they may not even realize it.

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Risks to the Internet’s infrastructure can take many forms and can lead to geographic, political, or empirical fragmentation of the Internet.

In 2023, we will proactively counter such risks, thereby protecting the Internet from splintering into isolated networks that may not be able to interconnect or interoperate efficiently. Together with our community, we will promote the Internet way of networking (IWN) and map the most imminent threats against the Internet.

How we will protect the Internet from fragmentation in 2023:

  • Create an Internet fragmentation threat matrix
  • Urge governments or press to reference Internet Society documents or statements at least 8 times
  • Encourage government officials to make IWN statements at least 2 times
  • Author 6 new Internet impact briefs in collaboration with community partners
  • Engage in at least 100 advocacy activities to protect the Internet from fragmentation

Helping Shape Legal Precedent in Alignment with Our Mission

Established in 2022, our Amicus Program provides the Internet Society with an opportunity to scan important, precedential legal cases and file amicus curiae—latin for “friend of the court”—briefs to help shape legal precedent.

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We lend our subject matter and technical expertise to issues that provide value to courts, influence judicial decision-making, shape public perception, and build alliances with our organization members and other institutions.

In 2023, we plan to file briefs in significant cases for the Internet, especially to address threats to encryption or routing security, defend against fragmentation, or protect the Internet way of networking.

How we will help shape legal precedent in 2023:

  • Identify at least 12 important, precedential cases and controversies
  • Pursue up to 3 filing briefs at appropriate U.S. courts of law
  • Leverage at least 4 amicus briefs as a mechanism for new allies to collaborate with the Internet Society
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Growing the Internet

Greater possibilities exist for people with Internet access. And with nearly 3 billion people throughout the world unconnected, much work remains to be done. We must develop the Internet’s infrastructure to bring us closer toward universal connectivity and to help the Internet flourish as the robust, resilient resource it is designed to be.

Connecting the Unconnected

We remain committed to empowering unserved and underserved communities to build and maintain their own Internet connections.

In 2023, we will continue to build new community networks (CNs) and improve existing ones to connect the unconnected; empower communities to consider alternative solutions like municipal networks and cooperatives; help communities secure local support from technology partners, Internet champions, and the community itself; advocate alongside our community and allies for enabling policies that favor the growth of independent networks; and make it possible for any community in any part of the world to independently grow the Internet.

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The availability of diverse connectivity solutions is important to give more people the option to be connected.

Connecting communities with local, secure, and trustworthy Internet service is, in large part, thanks to the generous support of financial contributors. In 2023, we look forward to deepening relationships with funders and securing additional support through a mix of sponsorships, grants, and donations.

How we will connect the unconnected in 2023:

  • Build or improve 30 CNs or other access solutions
  • Create useful resources, including a do-it-yourself toolkit and interactive map
  • Raise $1,000,000 USD so we can help more communities gain access

Fostering Sustainable Peering Infrastructure

We envision a resilient Internet anchored by a vibrant peering ecosystem, where networks can freely exchange traffic through Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). This approach is key to building protection against intentional and unintentional network disruptions that can impede the growth of a strong local Internet ecosystem.

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Regional IXP associations and community-led project teams are key to strengthening peering ecosystems and an open, resilient Internet.

We will continue to encourage our partnerships and deliver technical training together; educate about IXP best practice and sustainability; and provide tools and instructional resources. Equally important, we will convene events where attendees can establish peering agreements and share ideas.

How we will foster sustainable peering infrastructure in 2023:

  • Increase local traffic in select emerging economies by 20%
  • Provide support to 6 IXPs and ensure they conform to routing security best practice
  • Build local capacity in collaboration with 4 regional entities

Enabling Sustainable Technical Communities

Local Internet ecosystems are healthier and more sustainable when they are backed by strong technical communities—groups of people who collaboratively participate in building, maintaining, and protecting the Internet at a local level. Beyond strengthening the Internet’s local infrastructure, strong technical communities bring much needed insight into policy discussions and help defend the Internet model of networking.

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Without strong technical communities, providers of local Internet ecosystems are at risk of adopting policies that may undermine or splinter their local network from the global Internet.

In 2023, our efforts will build up strong technical communities capable of protecting the Internet.

How we will enable sustainable technical communities in 2023:

  • Provide support to 6 technical communities to improve capacities
  • Train a minimum of 2,000 people in courses related to Network Operations and Local Area Networks
  • Create publicly available instructional guidance and tools

Measuring the Internet

The Internet Society Pulse platform is an online destination for journalists, researchers, policymakers, analysts, civil society organizations, and other Internet users to access trusted data about the health and evolution of the Internet.

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Journalists, policymakers, and other Internet users need trusted data about the health and evolution of the Internet.

In 2023, we will focus on expanding tools with more regional data, improving the user experience of the platform, and providing more resources and programs to make it easier to access and act on trusted data.

How we will measure the Internet in 2023:

  • Develop and launch country reports and a new economic model to calculate the cost of shutdowns
  • Expand the Internet Resiliency Index to include new region
  • Train a minimum of 30 journalists and increase awareness of Pulse platform with 30 media mentions
  • Pilot an academic measurement research residency program on defending the Internet
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Empowering People to Take Action

We are thankful for our global network of organizations, champions, and partners who provide us with the reach and influence to grow, strengthen, and protect the Internet. Supported by our community of remarkable individual members, organization members, chapters, and special interest groups, our collective work has led to a powerful global movement defending an open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet.

Empowering Internet Champions to Defend the Internet

Our fellowship programs and online learning tools ensure Internet champions are equipped with policy and technical expertise critical to protecting the future of the Internet. In 2023, we will continue our fellowship programs; foster the Alumni Network through events, networking activities, and opportunities for alumni to protect the Internet’s future; develop new original courses and refresh existing content for Learning @ Internet Society while making it more accessible; and improve and more intentionally shape the learner journey with curated educational tracks.

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It’s our goal to provide Internet champions with the experience, skills, knowledge, and connections they need to make the biggest possible impact for the Internet.

To better understand if we are meeting the needs of our learners and fellows, we will gather feedback and use it to make future improvements.

How we will empower Internet champions to defend the Internet:

  • Develop and improve 6 training programs
  • Collaborate with at least 5 partners to deliver training 
  • Maintain at least a 92% satisfaction rating from learners and fellows
  • Double the number of people in our Alumni Network
  • Empower alumni to support our Action Plan and defend the Internet

Our Programs:

  • Early Career Fellowship
  • Mid Career Fellowship
  • Youth Ambassadors Program
  • Internet Engineering Task Force Policy Program
  • MANRS Ambassador Program
  • Pulse Academic Fellowship.

Securing Resources for Growth and Greater Impact

Advancing the Internet for everyone is no small task. It will take all of the Internet Society, including our staff and global community, working together and applying our passion and expertise, and we will need the appropriate resources to do so.

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We will further our outreach, increasing and diversifying the number of people and organizations that support the Internet Society mission through giving.

Through these efforts, in 2023 we aim to secure a total of 10 million dollars through a mix of organization member contributions, individual donations, sponsorship, and grants. Additionally, we will complete the step of moving all grant management to the Internet Society Foundation, giving the community an improved and more efficient experience when applying for funding.

How we will secure resources for growth and greater impact in 2023:

  • Nurture a culture of fundraising and philanthropy
  • Increase and diversify the number of people and organizations that support our mission so that we can meet our fundraising goals: 

    • $1,000,000 USD in sponsorships
    • $5,000,000 USD in grants
    • $1,200,000 USD in membership fees
    • $2,800,000 USD in individual donations

Recognizing Internet Champions

We delight in recognizing significant contributors to the development, growth, and defense of the Internet. While award scheduling is typically staggered, 2023 is special—all three of the following awards will occur within the same year: Internet Hall of Fame, Jonathan B. Postel Service Award, and Itojun Service Award.

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We look forward to celebrating those who champion an open, globally connected, trustworthy, and secure Internet.

In addition to the three awards, we are equally thrilled to host our third-annual Community Week in 2023. Launched in 2021, this two-day event is a moment to recognize our global community—individuals, organizations, chapters, special interest groups, and standing groups from across all regions—and celebrate our collective efforts to grow and strengthen the Internet.

How we will recognize Internet champions in 2023:

  • Increase award applicants by 10%
  • Evaluate and improve our awards portfolio in consultation with the Awards Advisory Board
  • Increase year-over-year Community Week participation by 10%
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The Internet is powered by people, for people

The Internet is powered by people, for people. It’s a human technology that enriches our lives, and it falls on all of us to help safeguard this vital resource—to shelter it against policies and regulations that could undermine its reliability or safety. This Action Plan outlines what we will do in 2023 toward our overall mission. And how you can help.

Keeping the Internet protected as the people’s resource doesn’t happen by itself. It’s up to all of us to act. You can make a difference today that will drive real results. Join us in making the Internet more trustworthy, reliable, and secure in the decades to come.