Internet Society Global Internet Report

Paths to Our
Digital Future

The future of the Internet is ours to shape for the next generation. Humanity must be at the centre of tomorrow's Internet.

Introduction

No one can predict the Internet’s future, but it is too important to ignore. Most believe the Internet will continue to shape...

Executive summary

The Internet has profoundly shaped our world and has changed our lives in both big and small ways. The technology change around us has happened both quickly and imperceptibly. The very first connections between computers nearly fifty years ago have been transformed into a wave of connectivity that covers the planet. New devices and innovations have given us more ways to harness the power of connectivity wherever we go and have given us functionality we could never have imagined.

 

Drivers of Change & Areas of Impact

The Drivers of Change encompass technological, economic, regulatory, security and network related challenges for the future Internet. In all cases, the implications of one Driver are inextricably tied to another – for example, we fully expect the role of governments in the Internet to grow in large part due to the rise of cyber threats.

ISOC-IMAGE-09-RGB-min
ISOC-IMAGE-08-RGB-min-crop
apples

Foreword by Kathy Brown, President and CEO, Internet Society

The Internet Society’s history is inseparably tied to the history of the Internet itself. We were founded in 1992 by Internet pioneers Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf, along with ...

The Internet evolved from openness, inclusivity, collaboration, and transparency – core principals that are critical to its future success.

Future of the Internet

"My hope is to see continued expansion, connectivity and interoperability in all parts of the network..."
Vint Cerf

We asked what might happen to the Internet of the future...

These questions explore how the Internet might evolve. But the path we take is up to us.

Recommendations

Put users’ interests first with respect to their own data

Put users in control of their own data. All users should be able to control how their data is accessed, collected, used, shared and stored. They should also be able to move their data between services seamlessly.

Make the Internet economy work for everyone

Governments, insitutions and industry must prioritize skills development and training to allow people to keep pace with innovation and its impact on jobs. They must prepare the workforce for “new collar jobs”.

Empower people to shape their own future

Stakeholders should support civil society and its critical role in protecting and promoting human rights online.

Address the need for online social norms

Make the Internet a safe place where everyone is free from online violence and harassment.

Build strong, secure, resilient networks

Interoperability based on open standards, global reach and integrity, and permissionless innovation must remain a cornerstone of future network development.

Increase accountability for data handlers

Create an accountability regime, including liability provisions to ensure that those entities that collect, compile and manipulate data are liable for its abuse and its security, not the users.

Take a collaborative approach to security

Online security must be made easier for users. Industry and governments should invest in the creation of usable tools and information to help users make informed decisions about privacy, rights and security.

Human values must drive technical development and use

We must have a public debate for society to agree on ethical standards and norms for the use of emerging technologies.

Apply human rights online as well as offline

Governments should stop using Internet shutdowns and other means of denying access as a policy tool: we must keep the Internet on.

Act now to close digital divides

We need to keep the Internet on. Governments should stop using Internet shutdowns and other means of denying access as a policy tool…

No one knows exactly how the Internet will evolve.

We do know it will require new thinking, new approaches and new tools to adapt to this rapidly changing world.

Learn more about the Internet Society

Join the Internet Society and get involved

For questions about the Internet Futures report, please contact
media@isoc.org