Categories: Internet Health

Is the future of the web open?

Russia wants to cut itself off from the global internet,” “Tech addiction is real”, “Facebook stored hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text for years”, “Huawei deal could have changed the US-China tech war

 

Headlines about technology today not only seem overwhelmingly negative, but the very actors driving these news items, from industry leaders to political decision-makers, don’t come off in a good light either. No one seems able to protect us as users or citizens.

When we’re feeling disheartened about tech, where do we turn for support? What do we do if we’re being surveilled, targeted, manipulated, controlled, and exploited on all levels?

It seems like we’re at a crossroads where we should take a step back to critically revisit what we envision for the future of our digital lives — and how we can bring about the change that we want to see in a connected world.

This is why we’re launching an open consultation process about the future of the web and openness online. We want to hear from you.

At Mozilla, we are united by a firm sense of the opportunity, participation and empowerment that the open internet provides — but we think there’s a need to refine our vision and find new relevance. We’ve started to revisit the historical open architecture and design features of the internet to figure out whether these can help us untangle and address today’s challenges in a positive, constructive manner.

That said, we’re also wondering whether and in which ways the idea of an open internet resonates beyond us.

We know how hard it can be to come out of your “bubble”, to seek exchange with people outside of your immediate circles, to find a common language to talk about the challenges and opportunities each of us sees. We also believe that scandal-driven headlines can overshadow public perception and cloud our ideas for how to do better.

We’d love to hear from you: What are you passionate about or concerned with, you as a consumer, as an investor, a business person, technologist, activist, decision-maker, interested citizen? When you think about the future of the web that leaves you feeling…? Who do you think is most responsible for making the internet a positive and safe place to be?

From now until the end of June, we will be soliciting feedback on these questions and our early assumptions. We’ll host discussion groups with high-level representatives across the tech industry, policy-makers, activists, and technologists in the margins of events like the Internet Freedom Festival in Valencia, re:publica in Berlin, the Stockholm Internet Forum, or Transform Africa in Kigali.

But equally important is to hear from daily internet users — from you: the more perspectives and ideas you share with us, the better we’ll be able to figure out how to build the products, promote the change, and advocate for the ideas that benefit us all.

We invite you to fill out this broad-based survey to help us gain perspective and better understand your concerns and hopes for the future of the web.

And we intend to share back what we learn. In the second half of the year, we will consolidate the feedback and insights we receive to refine our vision and decide on next steps. Whatever we decide, we’ll keep you posted.

Your perspectives matter: Help us refine our vision to address the challenges we are facing on the internet today.

In addition to filling out the survey, you can meet us at IFF Valencia (April 1-5), re:publica (May 6-8), Transform Africa (May 14-17), and Stockholm Internet Forum (May 16-17).

Or share your own reflections on Mozilla Pulse: How have you benefited from the open internet? What do you think about its future? What is needed to provide businesses with the opportunity to grow responsibly on the open internet? How can we make sure regulation incentivises positive outcomes while protecting critical elements of the open internet? Do you see a tension between privacy and openness? What else should people be thinking about?

We look forward to the conversations.

One comment on “Is the future of the web open?”

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  1. cheapskate wrote on

    It’s important to understand that politician’s knee-jerk response to all internet-related problems is to lock down the internet–unless we make this politically untenable for them. This means that in the final analysis, we are the one who are responsible for maintaining the openness of the internet. Today, the prospects for internet openness are not bright: cheapskatesguide.org/articles/what-i-learned-about-the-internet.html .

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