Thoughts from Gary Kovacs

Gary Kovacs is the CEO of Mozilla. He loves the Web. And Hockey.

Bringing the World’s Next 2 Billion People Online

I am pleased to be here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona sharing our plans for Firefox OS with the world. Last year, we showed a vision for what the Web could be on mobile, and this year we are making that vision a reality. On Sunday, we announced widespread industry support for Firefox OS, and I want to thank our dozens of partners for helping to make this possible.

Today, I had the honor of participating in a Mobile World Congress keynote session about bringing the next billions of people online. Currently, less than a third of the world’s population are connected to the Internet. But two billion more people will come online in the next five years, primarily through mobile devices and in emerging markets. Every one of those two billion individuals has a unique voice, and an open system is necessary to help them find it.

It is time to embrace the freedoms and potentials we know about the Web on mobile and give these next billions of users the opportunity to participate and stay connected, on their own terms.  Firefox OS will open the Web on mobile devices and become a catalyst for individual and collective progress, everywhere.

Go to the Mozilla Mobile World Congress 2013 website to learn more about what Mozilla is doing at MWC.

Gary Kovacs keynote at Mobile World Congress

Gary Kovacs keynote at Mobile World Congress

From CTIA Wireless 2012: The Web Will Connect our Future

Today I have the honor of delivering the opening keynote at CTIA Wireless 2012 with a presentation titled “The Web Will Connect our Future.” Alongside speakers that range from the CEOs of the top US mobile operators to President Bill Clinton, I was humbled to be asked to represent Mozilla and present on an inspirational topic I am passionate about. What I am most motivated and inspired by is the open Web and in my speech I shared with the audience that not only has the Web changed our lives once, but in mobile, the open Web is about to do it again.

At a show like CTIA, it’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement of new devices, or fun applications or services just launched. Most people don’t realize it, but the devices available today not only define our expectations of our Web experience, but they also constrain it, not unlike AOL did back in the days of “you’ve got mail.” As we increasingly expect to access more of the full Web on mobile devices, our passion will take us to a place where today’s devices can’t reach. That’s why we need to move beyond the silos of native operating systems, and hybrid apps on proprietary platforms, to device-agnostic platforms that run the full, standards-compliant, and open Web.

My call to action is for the mobile ecosystem participants to stop developing proprietary platforms, requiring proprietary tools, and to start to focus on developing the open environment. Innovation needs to happen beyond the language of the web. We all need to work together to stress the Web as a platform, to push over a few remaining hurdles like graphics and video and native device API access, and work together on the common language – HTML5. Web technology doesn’t lock you into a specific development environment. It’s egalitarian and open. It enables people to create as well as consume information, to share, and the technology is standardized, free to implement, and easy to learn. It’s time for us all to collaborate to create the Web of the future. It is exciting to share this message, on behalf of the open world, with the mobile ecosystem players at CTIA.

You can watch the live stream of my talk here: beginning at 9:30am CT.

Quest for Transparency

I’ve just finished up presenting at TED University this morning on a topic I’m very passionate about — privacy.  Few people realize the extent to which the tracking of our online activities is occurring, and who is doing it. At best, it would make most uncomfortable. And at it’s worst, it makes many of us outraged, particularly those of us who are parents. I had the opportunity to demo Collusion, a tool that visualizes the entities that track our behavior on the Web.

Collusion will allow us to pull back the curtain and provide users with more information about the growing role of third parties, how data drives most Web experiences, and ultimately how little control we have over that experience and our loss of data.

The good news is that others are joining us in this quest for transparency. Today, we are happy to announce that the Ford Foundation is supporting Mozilla to develop the Collusion add-on and
build large-scale education programs on privacy and tracking. We look forward to this collaboration with the Ford Foundation, an organization that has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change for more than 75 years.

Mozilla and PIPA/SOPA

On Wed, Jan 18, Mozilla will demonstrate our opposition to PIPA/SOPA by blacking out key Mozilla websites. While we generally support the end goal of the legislation – to limit online piracy of legitimate content – we believe that both PIPA and SOPA, in their current drafts, have serious flaws in the proposed implementation of the legislation. Among them is the requirement for online service and content providers to police the system. This would create an undue burden on businesses that were not designed for this purpose, would require more lawyers to be involved, and would extend the hand of government much deeper into these organizations. All of this would spread a chilling effect across the Web that would significantly limit innovation, which has implications for all of us. More alarming is the reality that sites could be taken down based solely on the mere suspicion of illegal content, not based on the ruling of a body of legal authority. The lack of due process is a serious flaw, a threat to each of our rights as citizens, and simply should not be accepted. Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Chairwoman has a comprehensive post outlining our stance on PIPA/SOPA.

We can find a solution. Mozilla has been part of this discussion from the beginning. Several months ago, I went to the White House to discuss alternative approaches to combating online piracy and addressing the specific problems raised by the content industry. What became very clear is that we are not going to solve this problem with more government regulations. We need all parties to come to the table and find solutions that remedy the situation without bypassing due process. We’re not in support of the suppression of free speech. We are in support of working with the content industry to solve the problem.

What is unique for us at Mozilla is that our only commitment is to all of us as Internet users who rely on an open Web where content, imagination, and innovation can thrive. We are not motivated by anything other than what’s good for the Internet. We don’t have a commercial stake in whether SOPA passes. We don’t answer to shareholders, or government agencies, or powerful unions. Our only motivation is to do what’s right for the Web. That is why we are taking a stand. We hope the blacked out Mozilla websites got your attention. Now that you’re paying attention, we’d like you to act. For more information about how you can get involved, please click here.

Mozilla in 2012

Today is an exciting day for Mozilla:

We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years.

As 2011 comes to a close, I reflect on my year with Mozilla. It has been a year of investment and transition for all of us.  We grew. We forged into new areas.  We led in privacy.  We introduced Do Not Track and for the first time, users had a way to express their preference not to be tracked by websites. We pushed hard on Apps, Identity, and we aligned the organization around delivering a best in class mobile product.  In 2012, we’ll see the returns on those investments. It will be a year of execution, a year of bringing stellar products to market and extending our incredible reach beyond the desktop.

Mozilla continues to be a worldwide community of passionate contributors organized solely for the good of the Web.  We are disruptive, we are dedicated, and we are passionate. And we work tirelessly to deliver on the promise of the Web because we know that open always wins.

As the Internet continues to expand everywhere in our lives, the mission of Mozilla is as important as ever.  Today we move forward for the good of the Web…I look forward to continuing the journey with all of you.