Internet Impact Briefs – A New Way to Assess How Policies May Affect the Internet (and How You Can Create One) Thumbnail
Internet Way of Networking 8 November 2021

Internet Impact Briefs – A New Way to Assess How Policies May Affect the Internet (and How You Can Create One)

By Natalie CampbellSenior Director, North American Government and Regulatory Affairs
Carl GahnbergDirector, Policy Development & Research

There are plenty of things that keep us up at night. From Internet shutdowns, to laws that would poke holes in our strongest digital security shields, and proposals that would turn the Internet into islands… governments and businesses are increasingly making decisions that could harm the Internet – and often without even realizing it.

How can we help people understand what impact those decisions will have on the Internet? and on the people who rely on this critical resource?

Last year we launched the Internet Impact Assessment Toolkit (IIAT) to empower people worldwide to promote better decisions about the Internet. This set of tools has enabled Internet Society chapters, members, partners, funders and supporters worldwide to engage in conversations about the impact legislation and business decisions would have on the Internet – and to advocate for the Internet we want.

But people asked us the question, “before we go through a full Internet Impact Assessment, is there a way we can make a quick analysis to determine whether an issue could harm the Internet?

Internet Impact Briefs

Today we are pleased to announce a new addition to the IIAT, the “Internet Impact Brief“. This new tool can help you assess whether laws, business decisions and technology could harm the Internet. Once completed, it can help you promote better decisions about the Internet – and determine whether a deeper assessment is needed. Now available are:

Three of the Internet Impact Briefs were developed with members of Internet Society chapters, and one with an Internet Society Organization Member (Mozilla).

Additionally, we are publishing a new paper that helps us understand how to support the Internet we all want. Internet Society chapters and members worldwide contributed to “Enablers of an Open, Globally Connected, Secure and Trustworthy Internet“. This is an important part of the Internet Impact Brief, as it helps identify what elements enable the Internet to thrive – and how those might be affected by the issues.

The beginning of something great

The Toolkit was designed to help policymakers make more informed decisions, and for Internet advocates (like you!) worldwide to help people understand the impact of their actions on the Internet. Here’s a few examples of our advocacy in action:

  • We’re working with Internet Society chapters, members, and partners in the EU to fend off risks in legislative proposals like eIDAS and NIS2 that would fracture the open Internet.
  • Our Internet Society Brazil Chapter and local partners have used to the IIAT to produce intermediary liability recommendations and successfully push back on a decree that threatened the Marco Civil regime crucial for Internet success.
  • Our Internet Society Nigeria Chapter and the #DearGovernments organization are raising awareness of the impact of the proposed social media bill that has already influenced a shutdown of Twitter, with billions of dollars worth of impact on local economy.

It’s not just our privilege to use the Internet, it’s our responsibility to protect and defend it. The more people worldwide actively monitoring, analyzing, and promoting better decisions about the Internet, the more successful we’ll be to help make sure the Internet can reach its full potential.

Image credit: Jonnelle Yankovich

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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