A new U.S. Presidential Administration takes office today. While there are many serious issues to tackle and many hard-fought debates to commence, no matter what your political views are, I think one thing we can all agree on is the need for progress on the issues that impact internet users around the world.
So, I’ll make a short and sweet request to all U.S. policymakers, new and returning:
Please make the internet a priority.
What do we mean by that?
Protect and advance cybersecurity.
Many of the most critical issues that affect internet users are related to cybersecurity. It’s about more than just attacks and protecting nation states. Encryption, secure communications, government surveillance, lawful hacking, and even online privacy and data protection, at the end of the day, are fundamentally about securing data and protecting users. It’s about the importance and challenges of the day to day necessities of making systems secure and trustworthy for the internet as a global public resource.
We’ve talked about how protecting cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. There is a need for governments, tech companies and users to work together on topics like encryption, security vulnerabilities and surveillance. We want to help make that happen. But we need this Administration to sign on and sign up to do it.
A bipartisan Congressional working group recently released a report that concluded encryption backdoors aren’t really necessary and can, in fact, be harmful. The report included questions about other important cybersecurity issues as well, including “lawful hacking” by governments and government disclosure of security vulnerabilities. We were encouraged by these recommendations, but we need to see more progress.
Promote innovation and accessibility.
No one owns the internet – it is all of ours to create, shape, and benefit from. And for the future of our society and our economy, we need to keep it that way – open and distributed.
The internet gives everyone a voice and creates a place for self expression and innovation. We need to keep the internet open and accessible to all.
We need to create pathways and partnerships for the public and private sectors to work together to make progress on challenging issues like net neutrality, copyright and patent policy. We can also create a space for innovation by investing more in, promoting and using open source software, which benefits not only technology but also everything it touches.
I promised to keep it short and sweet, so these are just a few of the most important internet issues we need to work on, together.
The Obama Administration worked well with Mozilla and other companies, researchers and constituents to make progress in these areas. We were pleased to see the recent appointment of the nation’s first Federal Chief Information Security officer as part of the Cybersecurity National Action Plan. We hope this type of bi-partisan activity continues, to advance cybersecurity and internet health for all of us.
We’re calling on you, new and returning U.S. policymakers, to lead, and we stand ready to work with you. We make this ask of you because we’re not your average technology company. We do this as part of our role as the champions of internet health. Mozilla was founded with a mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity online. We fight and advocate for that mission everyday to protect and advance the health of the internet, in addition to creating technology products and solutions to support our mission.
We know there are many policy challenges in front of you and many competing priorities to balance, but we can’t sit back and wait for another blow to internet health – we must work together to make the internet as strong as possible.