Future Thinking

We're interviewing people around the world on the forces shaping the future of Internet and their impact on Media & Society, Digital Divides, and Personal Rights & Freedoms. Read these diverse perspectives and explore the 2017 Internet Society Global Internet Report: Paths to Our Digital Future.

For further inquiries, contact Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Senior Director, Global Internet Policy.

The Technical Impact of Consolidation

January 2019
Alissa Cooper, Fellow at Cisco Systems and Chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force


Alissa Cooper

Alissa Cooper is a Fellow at Cisco Systems. She has been serving as the Chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) since 2017. Previously, she served three years as an IETF Applications and Real-Time (ART) area director and three years on the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). She also served as the chair of the IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG). At Cisco, Cooper was responsible for driving privacy and policy strategy within the company’s portfolio of real-time collaboration products before being appointed as IETF Chair. Prior to joining Cisco, Cooper served as the Chief Computer Scientist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, where she was a leading public interest advocate and technologist on issues related to privacy, net neutrality, and technical standards. Cooper holds a PhD from the Oxford Internet Institute and MS and BS degrees in computer science from Stanford University. Her responses are personal views and do not represent the views of the IETF.


December 2018
Chris Yiu of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change


Chris Yiu

Chris Yiu is a senior policy fellow for technology in the Renewing the Centre team at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. His work focuses on how new technologies can be used to enhance the functioning of liberal democracy, and on policy solutions to the new economic challenges of automation and the digital economy. Chris was previously a general manager at Uber and has held senior roles in a number of public, private, and third-sector organizations. He recently authored the report, “A New Deal for Big Tech: Next-Generation Regulation Fit for the Internet Age” (Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, 2018).

Data in the Age of Consolidation

November 2018
London School of Economics and Political Science associate professor of law Orla Lynskey.


Orla Lynskey

Orla Lynskey is an associate professor of law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her primary area of research interest is European Union data protection law. Her monograph, The Foundations of EU Data Protection Law (Oxford University Press, 2015), explores the potential and limits of individual control over personal data, or “informational self-determination’” in the data protection framework. More recently, her work has focused on collective approaches to data protection rights and mechanisms to counterbalance asymmetries of power in the online environment. Lynskey is an editor of International Data Privacy Law and the Modern Law Review and is a member of the EU Commission’s multistakeholder expert group on GDPR. She holds an LLB from Trinity College, Dublin, an LLM from the College of Europe (Bruges) and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Before entering academia, she worked as a competition lawyer in Brussels and as a teaching assistant at the College of Europe.


October 2018
The Competition Commission of India's Chief Economist Payal Malik on its impact by consolidation.


Payal Malik

Payal Malik is the Economics Adviser and Head of the Economics Division (Chief Economist) at the Competition Commission of India. She is on secondment from the University of Delhi, where she is an associate professor of Economics. Her areas of expertise are competition law, policy and regulation. She has many years of economic consulting experience in network industries such as power and telecommunication, information and communication technologies (ICTs), innovation systems, and infrastructure. She was previously a senior research fellow at LIRNEasia and a senior consultant at the Center for Infrastructure and Regulation, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), India. At NCAER she was a lead researcher on various infrastructure development projects, including telecoms, electricity, highways, and water and sanitation. She was also on the team that drafted the Electricity Act of India, ushering competition into the sector.

Read the article Read our concept note on consolidation

Media Diversity

September 2018
Professor of Information Law Natali Helberger on its impact by consolidation.


Natali Helberger

Natali Helberger is a professor of Information Law at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Law. She researches how the role of information users is changing under the influence of information technology, and the regulation of converging information and communications markets. Focus points of her research are the interface between technology and information law, user rights and the changing role of the user in information law and policy. Natali has conducted research for the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and national governments and is a regular speaker at national and international conferences. Among others, she is member of an Expert Committee of the Council of Europe on AI and Human Rights, and one of the leaders of the Dutch VSNU Citizenship & Democracy research agenda.

Read the article Read our concept note on consolidation

The Internet Economy

August 2018
Mozilla Director of Public Policy Chris Riley on consolidation trends in the Internet Economy.


Chris Riley

Chris Riley is Director, Public Policy at Mozilla, working to advance the open Internet through public policy analysis and advocacy, strategic planning, coalition building, and community engagement. Chris manages the global Mozilla public policy team and works on all things Internet policy, motivated by the belief that an open, disruptive Internet delivers tremendous socioeconomic benefits, and that if we as a global society don’t work to protect and preserve the Internet’s core features, those benefits will go away. Prior to joining Mozilla, Chris worked as a program manager at the U.S. Department of State on Internet freedom, a policy counsel with the nonprofit public interest organization Free Press, and an attorney-advisor at the Federal Communications Commission.

Read the article Read our concept note on consolidation trends in the Internet Economy

IP Addresses for the “Real” World

July 2018
Giles Rhys Jones, chief marketing officer at what3word, on how mapping locations can support social mobility, growth, and development.


Giles Rhys Jones

Giles Rhys Jones is the chief marketing officer at what3words, which has developed an algorithm to convert complex GPS coordinates into unique and memorable three-word addresses; thus becoming the geographical equivalent of an IP address. In doing so, the company is helping to provide addresses to the more than 75% of the world, which still suffers from poor or non-existent addressing, meaning they struggle to open bank accounts, register births, or access basic services like water and electricity. By better or more simply mapping locations, W3W supports social mobility, growth, and development.

The Internet Economy

June 2018
Roxanne Varza, director of Station F, a large startup incubator in Paris, and Biddemu Bazil Mwotta, a 25 under 25 awardee who introduced the mobile-agribusiness-app AgroDuuka, share their thoughts on the Internet economy.


Roxanne Varza

Roxanne Varza is the director of Station F, a large and popular startup incubator in Paris which recently celebrated its first full year of operation and is already reported to be the largest startup campus in the world. Situated in a former railway shed, Station F provides a vibrant hub for more than 3,000 entrepreneurs and businesses, including upcoming as well as established organizations like Facebook, L’Oréal, and Microsoft. Born in California to Iranian parents, Roxanne moved to Paris in 2009 where she led Microsoft’s startup activities in France before joining Station F, which was created by the French billionaire Xavier Niel.


Biddemu Bazil Mwotta

Biddemu Bazil Mwotta, a 25 under 25 awardee, introduced the mobile-agribusiness-app AgroDuuka, which connects farmers directly with buyers in Uganda, his home country. AgroDuuka creates a market for local farmers, where there was none before, and eliminates the cost of working through intermediaries. To date, it has connected more than 800 smallholder farmers from 36 villages to buyers throughout Uganda.


May 2018
Arnaud Castaignet, the head of public relations for the Republic of Estonia’s e-Residency programme, share his thoughts on Estonia's e-citizenship.

Arnaud C_Web Summit

Arnaud Castaignet

Arnaud Castaignet is the head of public relations for the Republic of Estonia’s e-Residency programme, a government-issued digital ID offering the freedom to join a community of digitally empowered citizens and open and run a global EU company fully online from anywhere in the world. Previously, he worked for the French President François Hollande as a digital strategist. Arnaud is also a Board Member of Open Diplomacy, a Paris-based think tank established in 2010, and a member of the Young Transatlantic Network of Future Leaders, a flagship initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States specifically geared toward young professionals 35 years old and younger. Estonia not only became the first country to say that Internet access was a human right, but has given their citizens free public WiFi, enabled them to vote online since 2005, and are protecting them with strong privacy, transparency and data protection laws.

Digital Divides

April 2018
Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and Augusto Mathurin, developer of Virtuágora, an open source digital participation platform, share their thoughts on digital divides.


Getachew Engida

Getachew Engida is the Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). He has spent the past twenty years leading and managing international organizations and advancing the cause of poverty eradication, peace-building, and sustainable development. He has worked extensively on rural and agricultural development, water and climate challenges, education, science, technology and innovation, intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity, communication and information with emphasis on freedom of expression, and the free flow information on and offline.


Augusto Mathurin

Augusto Mathurin is a 25-year-old Argentinian who strongly believes in the need to enable all people to participate in decision-making which can impact them and their communities. With this in mind, Augusto developed an open source digital participation platform as part of a university project. The main goal of this platform, Virtuágora, was to create a common space in which citizens’ opinions and their representatives’ proposals could converge. The concept was derived from the Greek agora – the central square of ancient Grecian cities where citizens met to discuss their society. In 2017, Augusto was awarded the Internet Society’s 25 under 25 award for making an impact in his community and beyond.

Media and Society

March 2018
Nicholas Thompson, Editor in Chief of Wired shares his thoughts on the role of media.


Nicholas Thompson

Nicholas Thompson is Editor in Chief of Wired. Prior to joining Wired, Thompson was a journalist at The New Yorker, where he was also the editor of newyorker.com. Thompson has written about politics and technology for numerous publications, and has spent time reporting from West Africa on the role technology plays there. He is also the author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War.

Cyber Threats

February 2018
François Gratiolet, co-founder of Cyrating, a cybersecurity ratings agency, and Niel Harper, Senior Manager, Next Generation Leaders at the Internet Society share their thoughts on the future of cybersecurity.


Niel Harper

Niel Harper is Senior Manager, Next Generation Leaders at the Internet Society and a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. He has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of telecoms management, cybersecurity, IT governance and strategy, ICT policy research and advisory services, and program management.



Cyrating is the first cybersecurity ratings agency anchored in Europe, and helps forward-thinking organizations maximize their cybersecurity performance and investments. It identifies potential for improvement, benchmarks it against industry best practices, and provides standardized cybersecurity metrics.

Freedom of Expression Online

January 2018
We interviewed two people – the new OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and an emerging leader from Brazil, an Internet Society 25 Under 25 awardee – to hear their different perspectives on the forces shaping the Internet’s future.


Harlem Désir

Harlem Désir is the Operation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media. Prior to his current position, Désir was French Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and a member of the European Parliament for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2014.


Paula Côrte Real

Paula Côrte Real is a 24-year-old Brazilian who hopes to help create a safe and secure Internet experience for Brazil’s youth through her involvement in several youth engagement programs. One of those, led by the Commission of Information Technology Law from the Brazilian Bar Association in Pernambuco, helps students learn how to protect themselves while using the Internet. It also tackles current issues such as cyberbullying and cyberstalking. To date, the project has reached approximately 2,000 public school students between the ages of 15 and 18. In 2017, she was awarded the Internet Society’s 25 under 25 award for making an impact on her community and beyond.


The Future of Journalism in the Internet Age: Watchdogs or Lapdogs?

Media watchdogs, increasingly criticized, threatened and attacked by corporate interests and global governments, are also among the prominent victims of falling public trust in the wake of the proliferation of so-called ‘fake’ news...


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