Dec 9 2022 –

Dan York: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining this space hosted by the Internet Society to discuss our Action Plan 2023, titled Our Internet, Our Future, Protecting the Internet for Today and Tomorrow. My name is Dan York, and I’ll be your host for this next hour. I’m joined today by Andrew Sullivan, our President and CEO, and Sally Wentworth, our Senior Vice President for Project Staff. So, welcome Andrew and Sally.

Andrew Sullivan: Thanks. Nice to be here.

Sally Wentworth: Thanks. Thanks, Dan. It’s great to be here.

Dan York: Great. Well, we’re excited to have you here to talk about our action plan.

Andrew Sullivan: Andrew, let’s start with the basics. What’s an action plan? Why do we have one? Why can’t we just go out and do stuff? Why do we have to tell the world? Well, the Internet Society is a charity, and we like to tell people what we’re going to do, so that we can make commitments to other people, and thenpeople can look at what we’ve done over the time,over the following year, and examine whether we lived up to what we said we were going to do. So, it’s really an accountability mechanism for ourselves and to our community.

If you just start doing things, that’s valuable, and sometimes we react to conditions that have happened in the world, but most of the time what you like to do is, make a plan andsay what you’re going to do, and then you know whether you’ve actually achieved what you intended to do..

Dan York: That’s sounds like a good reason to have it. Now, I noticed on this one, the title of our action plan is, Our Internet, Our Future, Protecting the Internet for Today and Tomorrow. The tone’s a little different from some of our previous action plans, it’s a bit more protect and defend. Why do we need to protect the Internet and why now? Why this tone?

Andrew Sullivan: Well, the Internet is under threat. A million years ago when I first attached to the Internet, if you asked anybody,do you want to connect to the Internet? They would say one of two things. First of all, the main reaction, of course, was “What’s an Internet?” But, the other reaction was, “Oh yeah, that’s cool. I definitely want it.”. And so, for most of the history of the Internet, it has just been an obvious good. It’s been something that people want to embrace and accept and so on, but, over the last several years, that conversation has changed.

There’s been the so-called techlash and so on, but there’s really been a change in the interaction between the Internet and the wider society, and a lot of people seem to think that the Internet wasn’t such a good idea. Other people seem to think that the Internet should be more like television, they’d turn it into a kind of broadcast medium or something, and we think that’s quite dangerous. We think that the Internet is a tool for human development. It’s a tool that helps society, and it gives the control and the power really to all of the users of the Internet. And so, we want to defend that. We want to make sure thatwe don’t lose the Internet.

You could build a lot of networks. You could build networks in lots of different ways. You could build a global network in lots of different ways. We’ve done it before, that’s what the old telephone system was, but the Internet is special, because of the way it puts the power in the hands of the users to do things that they want without anybody’s permission. Gradually that’s being chipped away with various regulations, and corporations who want to control it, and we want to make sure that we don’t lose it, because if we do, we won’t be able to reinvent it.

Dan York: So, the time is really now. We need to ensure that, we need to protect it now, before we.lose it.

Absolutely. There are things that we could do. You know, it’s funny, the Internet is technically robust, it’s got a lot of tricks to it in order to keep itkeep it working well, and so on, despite the fact that it is built out of unreliable parts, you can build a reliable network from them, but politically and socially, it’s actually quite fragile. It depends on a lot of shared assumptions that other people make, and so on, and we see that gradually those shared assumptions are under attack. You mentioned these attacks. What do you see as these major threats out there?

Andrew Sullivan: The potential to close the Internet, to shut it down and have only specific groups, or specific applications, really have the ability to launch on the Internet, is one of the dangers. The Internet has expanded, and has taken off the way it has, and it has really replaced every other kind of networking technology, because of this feature of being able to do things without getting anybody’s permission, but what we’re starting to see are efforts to enclose it, and make it a place of control, and a place of centralization, and that is something that is happening all over the place.

And it’s happening in different ways, sometimes it’s happening because of consolidation and centralization, sometimes it’s happening because of regulatory efforts that are attempts to turn it into a well controlled broadcast medium with a small number of broadcasters, and sometimes it’s being attacked through various kinds of splintering efforts, shutdowns,various attempts to replace the network with a different kind of network of control and central direction. Lots of countries seem to be headed in that direction, and all of those things are threats to the Internet.

And, if we don’t defend it, if we don’t work hard to make sure that the Internet remains there for all of us, we will lose it for the future. And, this inheritance that we’ve received will be gone for our children.

Dan York: All makes sense, it’s a powerful time. So, let’s talk about this action plan. We’ve broadly divided it into strengthening the Internet, growing the Internet, and empowering people to take action. Let’s talk about the strengthening part. What do we mean by that? What are we going to do?

Andrew Sullivan: Sally, do you want to talk on that one?

Sally Wentworth: Yeah, sure. Thanks Dan. In the action plan, as you point out, we’ve divided our work into work we will do to strengthen the Internet, and then work we will do to build or grow the Internet. When we think about strengthening the Internet, we’re really looking at a work that we can do with our community, mobilize our community, to take steps to ensure that the Internet remains a secure and trustworthy tool for everyone.

There’s work that we’ve committed to doing in this action plan around strengthening encryption and the ability of people to communicate securely. There’s work that we are going to do to strengthen the underlying routing infrastructure for the Internet so that traffic can move in a secure fashion, and we can have confidence in the way the Internet is working across the globe.

And then this work that Andrew spoke about, these threats to the Internet, and I think that’s really a focus of this area on strengthening the Internet, is about. , building a movement and mobilizing our community, and working with our partners around the globe, to get people to understand the threats to the Internet and to take action with us to try to defend against those threats. Whether that’s advocacy with policy makers, with industry, with end users. we really need to stand up for the Internet, and work together to defend it from the threats that Andrew just mentioned.

Dan York: So that’s how we strengthen it. We also have a section there about growing the Internet. IWhy do we want to grow it? Isn’t it ok now? The reality is that there’s still nearly 3 billion people who don’t have access to the Internet, so they don’t have access to this fabulous tool that is part of many of our daily lives. It’s a part of our work, our education, our health systems, and our society. There are 3 billion people for whom those opportunities do not exist.

The Internet Society has had a longstanding commitment to doing what we can do to bring connectivity to people who don’t have it, particularly people in underserved or hard to reach places. We focus a lot on this idea of sustainable Internet growth, bringing connectivity to communities, but empowering those communities to build it themselves, maintain it, and then ultimately they will advocate and defend for it around the world.

There’s work in this plan around strengthening community access, community networks, again, working on the infrastructure and building out the infrastructure through Internet exchange points and interconnection, and also really being able to take a look and measure, how, what is the health of the Internet, and how is that improving, around the world?

So, that’s work that we are going to do, again, with this underlying commitment to connecting the connected.

Dan York: So, we’re going to strengthen the Internet and make it stronger, more trustworthy, the more secure in all those ways, we’re going to grow it and build it.

But then the plan also talks about empowering people. What’s that?

Really, what we want to see at the Internet society is people taking up this cause in their local communities, and we know that there are people around the world that are passionate about the Internet and the opportunities that it brings, and that are worried about the threats that they see to something that is so important to their lives.

At the Internet society, we have a lot of technical expertise and other things that we can contribute in order to strengthen and empower the ability of individuals to either learn about the Internet, study, and then also defend it and advocate for it in their local communities, so we do a lot of work and we are committed to work on training.

Sally Wentworth: We have a number of very important fellowships, that enable us to work with individuals and up and coming people in this space, to provide them with the information and the experiences that will help them be strong advocates for the Internet, and wherever they might be.

Dan York: That’s very cool. One thing I noticed, if we look at the strengthening, some of the things that we’ve been working on for a long time, encryption, securing global routing through the MANRS initiative, sharing knowledge at the NDSS Symposium, but I do see a new one on here, which is protecting the Internet from fragmentation.

I guess maybe I’ll throw it to you, Andrew. Why is this important? Why should anyone care if the Internet’s fragmented, and what does that even mean?

Andrew Sullivan: Well, these are all good questions. Over the past couple of years, we’ve been doing a bunch of work onthe Internet Way of Networking. We talked about, ok, what is special about the Internet, for that matter, what defines the Internet? And what we came up with was a set of conditions, the necessary conditions, that the Internet needs to grow and thrive.

And then, this year, we also did some work on this idea of digital sovereignty. People throw that term around all the time, and yetit was very obscure to us what that means. That work was an effort to try to understand all of the different meanings of this, and through this, what we have seen is a bunch of policy efforts, a bunch oftechnical efforts, on the part of both governments and corporations to try to break the Internet up in various ways.

Sometimes that means turning various chunks of it off. Sometimes that means attempting to sanction pieces of the Internet, and close down other people’s connections. Sometimes it meanswalling off portions of the Internet. All of these things have the same feature that it doesn’t work towards a network of networks, it doesn’t work towards more connectivity.

Andrew Sullivan: What we’re seeing is this broad theme, and what we’re trying to do is push back against those themes. We’re trying to show that actually a network that is more widely connected, that is better connected around the world, that has greater resiliency, so it’s more resistant to failures, to shut downs, whether they be accidental or on purpose, all of those things are what we’re trying to work on here, to show people and remind people how valuable the Internet is. A lot of the theme, that I have seen over the past several years,of fragmentation and the gradual decline of the embrace of the Internet, to me it’s a sort of case of familiarity breeding contempt. We have forgotten how magical the Internet is, because now we just live with it all the time. People who are policy makers, many of the people who are writing legislation today, or writing regulations today, have never lived without the Internet, and so they don’t remember how incredible it is to have this resource at our fingertips.

We could lose it, and that’s the reason that we want to make sure that we don’t want to fragment the Internet. We have this experience of a network of networks, the underlying pieces are all individual networks, and yet we have this smooth experience of a single network that covers the whole world and allows us to reach out beyond borders, beyondany kind of a communication technology that we ever previously had, and to do things that we never could do before. The very experience that we’re having right now was complete science fiction. When I was growing up, this was not the kind of thing that you could do cheaply and easily like this?

Dan York: No, when we were in those early Internet stages, we could never have imagined this kind of conversation. Well, we thought about it, but it was like, how could we ever do that?

But, I want to ask you that. So, how do you get people to care about fragmentation?

Andrew Sullivan: Well, that’s the reason for this project.

What we’re trying to do is make sure that people understand what the consequences are of losing the Internet, and get them to understand what policies, and whatdevelopments, are in fact threatening the Internet, and we will do that through variousInternet Impact Assessment briefs.

We’ll do that throughworking with public policy makers,when they’re trying to adopt regulation that is contrary to the interest of the Internet, and contrary to the interest of the people who want to use the Internet. This is a technology that we have got, that we’ve inherited, because people built it for us, and somebody is trying to come and steal it from us. And I think that’s wrong, and that’s the reason for this project.

Dan York: Oh, that’s awesome. I think they’re wrong, too.

Sally, one of the things when you were talking about grow, I noticed that in the action plan in the past, we’ve often talked about community networks, which are a crucial thing we’ve been supporting for years. But this year we’ve expanded to talk a little bit more about connecting the unconnected. What brought about that change?

Sally Wentworth: Thanks, Dan. We remain deeply committed to this idea that the Internet is a bottom up technology, that anyone can and should be able to connect themselves to the Internet, and this goes for communities as I mentioned, and difficult to reach places, hard to reach places, or just simply underserved places.

We’ve been working in this space of community networks, as you point out, for a long time. It used to be a relatively new field, and now we’re seeing a lot more organizations, and even policy makers, coming along on this journey and supporting this notion of community networks or community connectivity. One of the things that we’ve observed in the recent years is thatthere are multiple ways in which communities can connect themselves, and there’s not a single model that fits every need, and so, we’re looking at ways to support alternative solutions to this connectivity challenge. We’re continuing to identify the barriers to connectivity and do our part, again, to work to address those.

We remain committed to this notion of community networks, and have a strong plan this year to participate in the deployment of a number of community networks, but also wanting to look more broadly at the barriers to connectivity, and the different kind of solutions that can help bring people online.

Dan York: Interesting. It’ll be very curious to see. I know very well about some of that having worked on…

Sally Wentworth: Yes. You do.

Dan York: our projects around low earth orbit satellites, and yes, that’s all amazing, what we can do out there to help connect people all around.

Another new project, that I see on the empowering part, is securing resources for growth and greater impact.

Andrew, Sally, why is that important? it’s fundraising, it looks like. What are we going to do with the money, Andrew?

The reality is that the Internet society is a tiny operation. We have a talented staff,butit’s fewer than 150 people all in. It sounds like we have a lot of money, when you hear that the total budget for the Internet society is like a nearly 40 million. If you think about the people who want to steal the Internet from us, they are nation states who can literally print money, and corporations that are the best capitalized corporations in the history of capital, those are the people that we have to argue against.

if we don’t have a way to build all of the resources that we need, if we don’t have all of those, then we are not going to win this fight. So, we need to be stronger, and that means we have more resources and we can do more.

Andrew Sullivan: It also means we have more resources, which we can make sure can be brought to bear on the problems of connectivity. It means we have more resources that we can bring to bear on the problem of the Internet gradually being chipped away at by various interests, and there isn’t anybody else who is speaking for and on behalf of the network itself, that’s our job. We have to do it. In order to get that message out, we need more resources than we have today.

It’s also, though, important to recognize that this is part of the way charities work. it’s how charities are evaluated, in terms of whether people support what we’re doing. Because we’re a charity that’s, registered in the United States, so the IRS looks at us, and what they do is they say, Well, are you really a charity? Do people support you? This is a way to make sure that we continue to have that vibrant support for the organization, when the IRS comes calling and says, do people really support you? We can say, Yes, see here are all of these people who contribute to our mission.

Actually, if you look up in the thing, if you’re interested, we have a couple of tweets that we put on here with the talks about the action plan, so you can read it if you haven’t read it there as well. We also have a piece around what is the splinternet, and we’ll also put a piece up there where you can learn a bit more about how you can donate directly. it’s interesting, so I, it looks like very aggressive goals as well as what we’ve got in inside of here. To your point earlier, Andrew, if people look at the action plan, they can get very specific, right? I mean,if you see what we’ve put in there, you weren’t kidding about holding us accountable, were you, Andrew?

Andrew Sullivan: No, of course not. Look, the reality is that if you want to do a big thing, you have to set your bar high, and we are in an urgent fight. We’re really at a moment where the internet could be taken from us, and the only people there are who are going to defend this, are like us, those of us who are interested in this, the entire Internet Society community, we are the only people who are going to do this.

So, we have to do it for ourselves, and we have to make sure thatwe’re defending this marvelous tool, because if we don’t, people are going to…

I mean,we’ll still have a network probably, and it’ll probably be something that people call the Internet, but it won’t be the tool that we have today. It will not be something that is in your hands for you to learn with, open standards published, and shared for anybody in the world to, to implement for themselves. Instead, it will be a tightly controlled,engine of the state and very large corporations, and that’s, I think, a bleak future, so I want to make sure that we don’t go there.

Dan York: Yeah, we talked a lot in 2022 about the splinternet idea, and to your point, that you could have, for instance, the network in China, which is not the Internet, but it’s really China Online or something like that. It’s not the Internet, it’s their own network, there. We could see more of that, which is this whole sense around the fragmentation piece. We can definitely see more of that.I used to worry, what might broadly be called authoritarian countries and their approaches to the network, I used to worryhow do we make sure that people who are living under such regimes have access to this marvelous tool for humanity?

Andrew Sullivan: But now I’m worried about my home country of Canada, we’ve got legislation now that is quite hostile to the Internet. We have legislation proposed in the UK, in various countries in Europe, really by the European Commission. We see it in South and Central America. We seeattacks in Africa. We see them in Asia. We see them everywhere in the world. And this is, I think, a very serious danger to this tool for human development. Think about, we’re still living with the the pandemic, even though everybody seems to think that it’s over, but think about during the height of the lockdown. How lonely it would’ve been without the Internet, and yet we somehow managed to use this tool to keep people together. It wasn’t perfect, it’s not like it’s the same thing. Saying goodbye to a loved onethrough a screen is not the same thing as comforting them at their bed. But it’s better than nothing. It’s way better than just having no connection at all.

I think that is something that we really need to dig into, and remember what this tool can do for us. Whether it is during a worldwide health crisis like that, or whether it’s,something more prosaic, like having these conversations online that we can do right now with people all over the world.

You are so right on that. Another question I had was, what are the ways that our community, or even people outside the Internet Society, allies or other folks like that, how can they help be involved with this work that we’re doing next year?

Dan, there are a number of different ways that our community can be involved, and it depends on areas of interest and expertise. We are pleased to have a community of chapters all over the world, and these are our local organizations, chapter organizations, of volunteers that are interested in the Internet’s development in their own countries and in their own communities, and have a lot of different activities and projects to try to raise awareness, so one thing that someone can do is look for, join your local chapter. If there isn’t a local chapter, you can help develop one, and we’d be delighted to help you do that.

The Internet Society offers training,and a number of resources, if what you’re looking for is information that can help strengthen your ability to take action in your local community.

You can join the Internet Society as an individual member, and join the community that way, and through that community you can learn more about the topics. You can spot issues in your country, your local community. What are the things that are happening that are a barrier to this global Internet that Andrew described that we care so much about? How are these threats playing out in your local community, and what could we do to address them together? So, there’s a number of ways, and we try to make it very easy to be part of the community, and really, speak up and speak out about what’s happening, because together we can make an impact,and really demonstrate to our policy makers, and to industry and others, that this Internet is worth preserving, and there’s power in numbers, as we try to do that.

Sally Wentworth: So, we think joining the Internet society through a chapter, through an individual membership,and using the resources we have, and then also speaking up and giving us your insights about what’s happening in your communities, is a really great way to be involved.

Dan York: You mentioned individuals. What about companies? What if I want to get my organization or company involved?.

Sally Wentworth: We would love to welcome you and your company to the Internet Society. We have something called organizational members, and organizational members are just that, they are organizations that believe in our cause, and want to join us in building and defending the Internet all over the world. We have a global membership of organization members that support what we do, and bring a particular kind of expertise to the table that’s really crucial to our work.

Dan York: Andrew, any thoughts on that? About the way people outside the Internet society can be involved?

Andrew Sullivan: Yes. of course. If you believe in our goals, and you want to support it, we are always, welcoming, please come and join us. Individual membership in the Internet Society, by the way, is free. So, it’s something that we try to make sure that we have as big a community as possible.

it’s also, of course, true that you can donate to us. I never like to leave that off the table, and that is also a valuable thing that you can do.

Andrew Sullivan: But, the other thing is that we have built a number of resources that allow you to do the analysis yourself. We have a relatively small staff, we’re not in every place in the world. We do have a global presence, but for such a small organization, I think we punch above our weight in terms of global presence. But, we’re still not limited in numbers, and there’s only so many hours in the day, and so we’ve provided these mechanisms, like theInternet Impact Assessment Toolkit, that allow people to do analysis of various policy proposals, or things that people are doingin their own locality, or in their own area of interest. This is a tool, it’s a little bit likean environmental assessment. You know, if you build an airport or a bridge or a dam,you analyze what the effect on the world is going to be, because, maybe you say this environmental change that we’re going to introduce is worth doing because it provides these other benefits, but here are the costs and here are the things thatwe should offset and so on, this is the damage to the environment that we might be doing.

And what we thought was, it’s the same thing for the Internet, that there are ideas that people bring forward. and they say, Hey,we want to do, this regulation, or we want to control this part of the network, or something like that, and it’s possible to analyze that and say, what does this do to the critical properties of the Internet? What does this do to the enabling factors that allow the Internet to be this marvelous tool for human development, and for all humanity really? And so, that’s a thing that people can do. They can actively do that, and they can bring those to our attention, put them into the repository, so that other people can see them.

But also, then use those tools to talk to their local representatives, or to talk to their governments, or talk to theirregulators, or talk to the company that is trying to do this, and say, Hey, this is what you’re going to do to this shared resource that all humanity has to depend on. Why are you doing that? Is that such a good idea? What is it you’re trying to achieve? Do you understand how the Internet works?

And that is something that’s very, very valuable. That’s what our chapters are often interested in doing. They are often focused on how these values of the Internet, and how the technology of the Internet, apply in the local environment, and therefore we see the chapters very active with that. But, you know, this is a volunteer organization, more hands make light work.

Dan York: I think it’s a brilliant comparison to an environmental impact assessment,and I think that’sa powerful tool that people have had. We’ve seen some creative usage this year already of our Internet impact briefs that various people have created, sometimes by our staff, sometimes by partners, with partners or others, and we’ve seen the impact that those have of being able to be brought into policy makers, and really just get this view of, what does it really mean for the impact on the Internet? Super powerful things. I see the action plan, as well, is filled with ideas for plans to create some more of these kind of things, toolkits for helping connect the unconnected, and other different kinds of things to provide more tools for people to take action in some way.

Andrew and Sally, maybe this question, I think could go for both of you.. A year from now, December 2023, what would you like to say we’ve done, out of all of this? I mean, obviously everything, but what would be the highlights for you if we were doing this a year from now?

Sally Wentworth: Yeah, Dan, I was going to answer that, all of this…

Dan York: all of it, yes, everything!

Sally Wentworth: But, I think this topic that we’ve really been emphasizing today of, we have this enormously powerful tool here that we care about and that’s important for our lives, and it’s under threat, and I think that if, by the end of the year, we can see more understanding of what the threats are and positive action to address them, where we can see real impact of advocacy work, either by the Internet Society or others out in the world, partners or individuals, and others really being able to successfully redirect the negative attention that policymakers or others are putting on the Internet, and really, I think, shift the conversation towards the opportunities that the Internet brings, and how do we channel those, rather than these persistent efforts to shut it down, or take control of it in some ways.

So, I think, this notion that we need to defend the Internet, and we would like to see a movement developing, over the course of the next year, that we can point to and show thatthere’s a community out there that cares about this, and is willing to stand up for it, that would be really quite important by the end of next year.

Andrew Sullivan: I agree with Sally. I think that…

Dan York: She kind of summed it up, didn’t she?

Andrew Sullivan: She did, but there are some more detailed things that I would say about this, like, for instance, at the end of the year, I hope that we have connected more people, and connected new people, that even maybe projects that we didn’t know about, because the reality is, there are lots of efforts in the world to try to make connections, and we don’t know about everything, so we want to make sure that people understand there are those opportunities there, and we’re going to continue to press to make that true.

We haven’t talked very much, for instance, about the infrastructure, and the community development that is an intrinsic part of this, that many network technologies are really top down, there’s an organization and they’re in charge, and the Internet doesn’t have anybody in charge, because in a network of networks there’s no center, so there’s no center of control, and so what that means is, you have to build up all of this technical capabilityin the various communities. It’s no good to fly in and drop some Internet out of the helicopter and then leave, you have to build the capability within the place that this connectivity needs to happen, so the people have the ability to continue to use this tool for themselves and to their own ends, not to the ends of somebody else, and that’s a big part of what we’re trying to do all the time, to make sure that things like Internet Exchange Points and community development of network operating groups, and so on, that capacity is there, that people have that abilityto do that work.

And so, that’s another piece thatI hope to see in a year, that we have a really vibrant community, not just a community of people who joined the Internet Society, that’s really important to me, but also that we have a wide array of different groups that are all working to make sure that the Internet works according to what the local needs are. One of the things that we see, for instance, is that some countries are offering foreign assistance to do connectivity, but the way they do it is not by enabling people locally, it’s not by giving people the tools. Instead, they come in, they do the connectivity, and they control it remotely, they control it from their home base, but that isn’t building the Internet. That’s building a network, alright, but it’s not building the Internet. The Internet is really a human tool, it’s a tool that gives people the power to do these things for themselves, puts that power in your own hands, and that is why it’s such a transformative technology.

This is not to say that there aren’t serious problems on the Internet that we’ve got to address. We’ve got to address some of those issues, but we’ve got to do it in an Internet-like way. And so, that’s the other piece that I’m hoping at the end of this year, that we’ve changed that conversation and we’ve got people thinking about, ok, I have this social problem that,I think, it’s coming from the Internet. I mean, some of the things that people are claiming, coming from the Internet, are not really Internet problems, but the ones that are, when somebody says, Hey, I want to fix this thing with the Internet, we should do it in an Internet-like way, a way that continues to preserve and promote the thing that makes the Internet special, which is this distributed network of networks.

That is another piece that I hope, within a year, we have created that, and we won’t get there without the movement that Sally is talking about, without people who are ready to stand up and say to governments, or to corporations, Hey, you’re trying to take this from me, leave it alone, it’s mine too.

I think that is really the thing that we’ve got to do as an organization.

Dan York: Powerful words, and speaking of the global movement, we had somebody raise their hand, and Shonson, you are welcome to come on stage and ask your question, if you would like.

Shonson: Good evening. How are you? I’m Nabusha, and I’m from Bosnia chapter, like I’m individual, but I joined the Bosnia chapter of Internet Society, and I want to thank you for making one great thing here in Bosnia, Internet Society is sponsor of first Internet Exchange in Bosnia Herzegovina. It is a great thing for our country and thank you very much for that.

Dan York: Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you for coming on, and letting us know that. Did you have a question, or did you just want to say that?

Shonson: I want to say that, and I want to make a bit of a statement, like Mr. Sullivan said that he doesn’t see bright future for Internet, he sees bleak future. I think that community networks are bright thing, so we have to invest much more in community networks, Wi-Fi community networks, which arefrom bottom to top. So, like we made a first full circle from huge network, huge bandwidth, and we can go back to real community networks.

Andrew Sullivan: I couldn’t have said it better. That is so exactly right, that the bright future, if we’re prepared to take it, if we’re prepared to reach for it, is there for us. But, we’ve got to reach back to those Internet principles, and build this system according to those principles, according to that way of doing things, and you’re absolutely right that community is the fundamental way in which that’s going to happen. The network doesn’t build itself, and, if somebody comes and builds you a thing that they control and they own, and they’re in charge of, you don’t have the ability to influence it, but actually the way networks developed historically was, people built these things together, and they interconnected them. It’s right there in the name, right? Inter-net. That interconnection is the critical thing that we need to remind ourselves, Hey, that’s the thing that we want to make sure we don’t lose.

So, thank you so much for stating that, because I think you’re right on.

Shonson: I will make definitely, this year, recommendation to Bosnia chapter that we go with some initiative, so we can place at least one community network, wi-Fi routed, somewhere on one place, so that we can promote that here in Bosnia.

Dan York: Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you.

Shonson: You’re welcome.

Dan York: That’ll be fantastic. We would love to see community networks all over the place, and all around the world. It really is this opportunity to look at, as Andrew said, how the Internet was originally built, and to build those to strengthen the resilience of this network of networks that we all agree on.

So, thank you so much.

Shonson: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Dan York: Thank you. We have a few minutes Andrew and Sally, I think we’ve talked a lot about this, what would you like people to do? We’ve published an action plan, it’s up on our website, people can read it obviously, but what else would you like them to do with it.

Andrew Sullivan: I think that there are several calls to action in this plan, and some of that is, here are the resources that we’re able to provide, so please take them up and use them. For instance,we just heard about this potentialfor a chapter to say, Hey, we’re going to take this work that we’ve already done, we’ve got this Internet Exchange, and now we’re going to build some more networks, and that’s a great thing to do. We want to support that and help, we have technical capability, advice that we can offer, and so on. There are also some opportunities for funding at our Internet Society Foundation, there are programs there that people can apply to, to try to furtherthe goals of this action plan. I do hope that people will take up the Impact Assessment Toolkit, and apply it to various challenges that they’re seeing in their own countries, in their own places, sometimesin corporations, that they see are embracing, technologies that are contrary to the values of the Internet, and I hope people will take that and use it.

We havepeople who are ready to try to help work through that, the use of that toolkit, in the event thatyou need some help, and that will help us make these arguments about how dangerous the splintering of the network is.

Andrew Sullivan: I hope that people will join the MANRS community. Network operators can join MANRS, can join their network up to MANRS, and improve the routing security of the whole world, because the commitments in the MANRS community really allow network operators to state how they’re going to prevent various route hijacks and mistakesfrom happening. It’s important actually to recognize that most of the problem with routing, we often talk about it as attackers and so forth, but a lot of what happens with routing problems are really just errors, andthat’s something that you try to make sure good operationsdon’t have that problem.

We also want people to join us in advocating for strong cryptography. if you’re as old as I am,you must feel as I do that we are having the same conversation we did 30 years ago, and we’re back having, over and over again, this conversation about how dangerous cryptography is.

But, cryptography is the only thing that keeps us safe. It’s the only thing that will allow us online to do things reliably, and to be able to be sure that we’re talking to the person that we think we are, that our data isn’t being stolen. Without that strong cryptography, all of that is a threat.

And so,once again, as Sally was saying before, we need a movement of people who are ready to stand up and say, Hey, don’t take this tool from me, I want to be able to do banking, I want to be able to do commerce online, I want to be able to protect my information. Those things are really important capabilities that are available on the Internet right now.

And, of course, if you’re a researcher, I just want to point out we also,sponsor the NDSS conference every year. This is a conference that is, among the top five conferences in the world forcomputer security and so forth, and we try to make sure that grows, and is healthy. It’s an anniversary year, so there’s going to be a little bit of an event around it this year. So, if you are a researcher, I hope that you willconsider submitting a paper or participating in that conference, as well.

Dan York: Thank you, Andrew. And I think that’s actually a pretty good place to start to wrap up. Any final words more that you’d like to say, Andrew?

This is the opportunity that is here for us. We heard in this conversation already today that the future doesn’t have to be bleak. We’re at a very risky moment, but the future doesn’t have to be bleak. It can be bright if we take the opportunity, and we make sure that we work together to ensure that the Internet is for everyone, that we work together as the Internet Society, a society of people who care about the Internet, that we work together to make sure that this future is not taken from us. That is the thing that I hope people will take from this action plan, that this is an opportunity for us to do that.

Dan York: So, I hope that all of you will join us in trying to make sure that the Internet is for everyone.

Thank you, Andrew. Sally, any final words you want to add to that?

Sally Wentworth: Hard to top that, right? Just reiterating what Andrew said, we hope that you find inspiration in this plan, that you understand the threats that are in front of us, but also I’m really mindful of what Shonson said, the opportunities, right? When we get infrastructure and networks into communities that haven’t had them, or haven’t had them reliably, there’s enormous opportunity that comes with that, and so we hope that, with this plan, you will find inspiration, you will want to join with usand do the bits that you can do to ensure that the Internet, that we care so much about, is still here 12 months from now, and in a sustainable way into the future.

Dan York: That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Sally and Andrew, both for coming here and being part of this Twitter Space, taking time out of your busy days to explain this action plan. As Andrew and Sally have both said, this plan’s available, you can just go to, to our homepage, and if you just scroll down a little bit, it’s right there.

As Andrew mentioned at the beginning, part of why we have this is to hold ourselves accountable, so we would ask you, quite honestly, hold us to it. Come look at us, see how we’re doing as the year goes on, and a year from now, when we’re here talking about the action plan 2024, you can say, Did you all do what you said you were going to do? So, that’s why we put it out there in some way.

Dan York: Thank you all for joining us, for the questions. You’re also, as was mentioned, welcome to join us as a member. As an individual member, you can get connected in, and access some of the resources or separate discussion areas that we have for members. You’ll find out about more of the things that we’re doing, get notices about items like this, and other different ways that you can participate. You’ll be able to engage in some of the development, even, of some of the different parts and pieces that we’re involved with, in different ways.

Also, as Sally mentioned there, we have organizational members. This is an opportunity, you can bring your nonprofit organization, your business, your company, whatever, and participate in the Internet society as an organization, as a company. You can meet other companies that are such as yourselves, and find out about how to be involved with policy work that’s going on, or how to share common ideas, and help be those champions, within the business and organizations sphere, for this Internet that we all want to ensure is out there.

So, thank you for doing all of that, for joining us, for being part of this. Please donate if you can. Help us continue to use that to build a wider movement.

So, with that, I will wrap it up. Thank you all again, and please go to to learn more.

Thanks for listening.