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Connecting the World 28 June 2019

Community Dispatch: New Hawaii Chapter Says the Internet Still a Force for Good

My first exposure to the Internet Society was back in 1995 when they held the 5th Annual INET International Networking Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was a time when accessing the Internet was a new experience, at least for the public. Terms like hyperlinks, HTTP, FTP, Pine, and the World Wide Web were exciting and the innocence of connecting the world was full of potential.

Fast forward 25 years and the Internet is truly a worldwide resource. With the advent of smartphones, high-speed Internet, wireless technologies, and robust web protocols, accessing and communicating has become a rich experience. But within a quarter of a century, the innocence of the Internet has also tarnished. Not a day goes by without a story in the media about security breaches, privacy lost, horrible things broadcast over social media, online bullying, surveillance, hate speech, and the list goes on.

It is in this environment that we’re launching the Internet Society Hawaii Chapter. The mission of the Internet Society still rings true today: to bring the Internet of opportunity to everyone everywhere, an Internet that is open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy. These principles apply whether you live in an urban center or rural community. And despite misconceptions people may form based on access in Hawaii’s popular tourist destinations, many nearby communities still lack fast, affordable, and reliable Internet.

I look forward to working with Hawaii Chapter members and the community to tackle issues like digital inclusion, privacy, and security, with rural access being front and center. Having a direct connection to the Internet Society will be an important part of establishing Hawaii as a communication hub of the Pacific.

One of the upcoming ways the Hawaii Chapter hopes to shed light on both local access issues and Internet success stories is by co-hosting the upcoming 2019 Indigenous Connectivity Summit November 12-13 in Hilo, Hawaii.

The first two Indigenous Connectivity Summits have already proven great things happen when we work together. We look forward to connecting with Native Hawaiian community members, Indigenous leaders, community network operators, Internet service providers, researchers, and policymakers with a common goal of connecting Indigenous communities across North America to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. If you are interested in joining us, you can register now.

Despite the gloomy narrative increasingly portrayed in media, the Internet is still a powerful force for good. The Hawaii Chapter looks forward to participating in the 2019 Indigenous Connectivity Summit and many other opportunities to highlight how connectivity can support health and wellbeing, economic development, education, and innovation.

Want to get involved? Join the new Internet Society Hawaii Chapter today! If you haven’t already done so, you can also become an Internet Society member and join a global community that believes the Internet is for everyone.

For event updates and information about exciting sponsorship opportunities, please visit the 2019 Indigenous Connectivity Summit website.

Learn about the Internet Society’s work with community networks to support Internet access solutions around the world.

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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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