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About Internet Society 30 December 2017

Making a Lasting Impact: A Look Back at 2017

By April FroncekFormer Senior Editor, Internet Society Foundation

As just a couple of days remain in 2017, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the year’s highlights! It was an extraordinary year, with the Internet Society celebrating its 25th anniversary and launching a new website – while continuing to advocate for an Internet that is open, globally connected, and secure. These values were evident in the many projects undertaken throughout the year and in some of my favorite blog posts:

Access is fundamental.

We shared stories of people working to create community networks around the world, including remote Tusheti, Georgia, where pack horses carried equipment up mountain peaks; rural South Africa, where one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the country became a telecom operator; and Yemen, where the Internet@MySchool project connected classrooms in four secondary schools. We also published resources such as Spectrum Approaches for Community Networks and the Small Island Developing States report, which offered practical solutions to building community networks. But access also means accessibility, and the Internet Society recently launched the Accessibility Toolkit, which aims to reduce barriers so that people with disabilities can get online.

So is privacy and trust.

The WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks earlier this year made a powerful case for collaborative security, while the Equifax data breach raised the question, “how did the social security number become the default identifier?” We advocated for encryption – for our security and for a strong global economy  – and with the African Union Commission the Internet Society developed the first ever Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa. Finally, the Online Trust Alliance released its most comprehensive ever Online Trust Audit, which offered practical advice to organizations.

Humanity is at the core of the Internet.

There are everyday heroes who are at the forefront of much of this work. They are trailblazers, such as the 2017 Internet Hall of Fame inductees, the 25 Under 25, honored for using the Internet as a force for good, and this year’s Postel award winner, who measures the Internet. They are entrepreneurs, teaching programming in Arabic, and academics, building community networks in remote regions. Their stories are incredible and inspiring, but there was one person in particular we kept returning to: you.

You created projects for Chapterthon to help increase educational opportunities around the world. You participated in the first ever Indigenous Connectivity Summit. And you magnified your impact via Beyond the Net grants.

You are helping to make the Internet a force for good! As we look forward to the new year, let’s resolve to make an even greater impact on our communities and across the globe. The 2017 Global Internet Report: Paths to Our Digital Future identified the trends affecting tomorrow’s Internet. Let’s make our mark on 2018 and help shape tomorrow!

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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