Growing the Internet

Read the Internet Society's Framework for Access Policy and Share Your Views

As part of our efforts to advance global Internet connectivity, the Internet Society is pleased to release today a “beta version” of A Policy Framework for Enabling Internet Access, which provides recommendations for policymakers in creating an environment that supports Internet growth. We welcome your comments on the document which can be sent to 

One year ago this month, through the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), governments around the world set a priority on achieving universal and affordable Internet access by 2020

In spite of the increasing availability of the Internet around the world, still just 43% of the global population has Internet access.  

Of even greater concern is that the rate of Internet access growth is slowing down. If gaps persist between those who access the Internet’s opportunities and those who do not, there is a risk of increased social and economic inequality. We believe an integrated and updated approach to access policy is needed in order to ensure Internet growth continues and meets the challenge of the SDGs. 

Based on the Internet Society’s nearly 25 years of experience and our new research in the field, the policy framework describes and provides practical guidance in three interrelated policy areas that are critical for successfully advancing access and a strong Internet economy:

  • Expanding Infrastructure: Today, simply promoting growth and investment in access infrastructure is no longer enough to increase Internet use and affordability. Policymakers also need to create an environment where local content and its hosting and distribution infrastructure can flourish.
  • Fostering Skills and Entrepreneurship: The development of skilled and engaged people who can create and sustain access infrastructure, online content, and e-services is essential for a sustainable Internet economy and creating jobs. Policymakers need to support professional skill development, innovation, and entrepreneurship, as well as promote digital literacy for all citizens.

You can read the full framework here on our website.

In addition to supporting the efforts of policymakers, we developed this framework in response to requests from our community for additional tools to use in advocating for Internet growth and development.   

We are also very pleased to provide this framework in advance of our upcoming InterCommunity event, and look forward to the community discussions about how all stakeholders, including governments, can continue to advance and expand Internet access for all.  

With the collaboration and efforts of our broad community of members, chapters, and partners around the world, the Internet Society is committed to connecting the world and ensuring that all people have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the Internet.

Community Projects

Webinar held on “Internet Society Africa Team 2014 Update and 2015 Outlook”

The African regional Bureau (ARB) team held an “Internet Society Africa Team 2014 Update and 2015 Outlook” webinar for all Internet Society members and Chapter leaders from the region on Tuesday 16 December 2014. The two sessions, one in English and one in French, were attended by more than 50 and offered a significant opportunity to reflect on the ARB’s activities in 2014 and to get a sense of what 2015 will bring.

The webinar was also a unique occasion for the participants to ask questions and learn about the wide range of activities, which are implemented by the ARB across Africa in the field of technical capacity building, improvement of traffic exchange and interconnection as well as the Internet infrastructure, and provision of trusted resources throughout the region.

The ARB team presented the latest activities and achievements of the bureau in 2014 on:

  • Policy
  • Africa Interconnection and traffic exchange (ITE) Program
  • ccTLDs, DNSSEC, Capacity building, IPv6, open standards
  • Internet Society Chapters in Africa
  • Africa Team 2015 Outlook
If you missed the webinar, you can find the recording at:

We believe that these kinds of opportunities will enhance the knowledge and increase the contributions of different communities in promoting the greater objectives of the Internet Society.

If you would like to get involved with the work the Bureau is doing in Africa you can;

Identity Improving Technical Security Privacy

When law isn't enough

While an individual’s privacy must, in appropriate circumstances, give way to matters of public interest such as safety, law enforcement and security, what recent events have shown us is that some governments have stretched the boundaries of “appropriate” so far that they have snapped. Legal concepts such as “necessary”, “proportionate” and “reasonable” have been effectively rendered meaningless by surveillance programs that:

  • collect wholesale Internet user data (including metadata) without due regard to individuals’ rights and expectations of privacy;
  • lack proper independent and transparent judicial oversight;
  • are no more than “fishing expeditions”; and/or
  • fail to respect internationally-recognised state sovereignty.

While such surveillance programs may be said to comply with the letter of the law or an interpretation that is maintained to allow such programs to exist, they run contrary to fundamental ethical principles regarding what is just and fair. If law can be made to allow such programs or if law cannot prevent it, a strong statement of internationally agreed ethical principles must fill the gap and curtail the practice.

It is time that data trawlers hang up their nets and learn handline fishing.

Let 2014 be the year that the global community unites to:

  • confine the ambit of data collection for national security purposes to those truly exceptional instances where the public interest objectively outweighs an individual’s right to privacy; and
  • agree a set of strong principles for ethical data handling in the national security community.