Taking one step at a time, Mozilla first took the wraps off its fresh branding and logo yesterday evening. And now, the non-profit saviors of the internet are launching a new open-source initiative to document how online behavior is affecting the health of this valuable resource on an annual basis. The first version of the report (PDF) is now live and here are some prominent findings from the same.
Our individual actions shape the health of the Internet ecosystem. Only by recognizing where the system is healthy can we take positive steps to make it stronger. Only by understanding where it’s at risk can we avoid actions that weaken it.
We’re hoping that you will share, critique and hack what we’ve started to make it better,
says the foundation in this report.
The Mozilla foundation plans to keep track of the health of the internet by collecting and combining research as well as reports from various sources. This will be accomplished with the help of the already active community, who’ll also pour in ideas for the betterment of its status. It currently focuses on five key health markers — decentralization, digital inclusion, open innovation, privacy and security, and web literacy.
It starts off by splitting what one may define as healthy and unhealthy for the internet. Creative practices, easy website building and hosting, open-source software and ideals constitute as the former. Whereas outdated copyright laws, policy interventions into privacy and security, hate speech and trolls add up to form the latter. And these practices are harming the open innnovation of the global internet.
Though most of the same is hindered due to intervention by government authorities, they are now pushing towards an open architecture. It is steadily moving towards transpareny — offering more data available for public scrutiny. And India, as you can see below, lies pretty much in the middle of the scale with a pale yellow shade. However, the country is now readily accepting digitisation under the PM Narendra Modi.
While this data sheds light on the openness of the internet at its present stage but we also need to talk about the incoming traffic of people. It has been mentioned in the report that a noticeable number of individuals can’t get online in the first place. Currently, nearly 39.5 percent of the world’s population can’t access internet services on their mobile whereas 57.8 percent of them cannot afford broadband internet. There are only 3.3 billion online at the moment and Mozilla wants to launch initiatives to connect all 7+ billion of them.
And that’s not it. Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation is pushing the message of the open internet now being under threat. The freedom which had been provided to us with this valuable resource might be in trouble, courtesy of you know who. Speaking on the same, he told Business Insider,
The last five years really started to erode some of the things that made the internet so great. It impacts our economies, our societies, our democracies … if we screw it up, we screw everything up, for a very long time. Living in the digital age is not about to go away. We’ve unlocked something that will be with us for many centuries.
Today’s report is just a prototype of what the actual report will define when it reaches version 1.0 by next year. Mozilla has also provided us with a tentative timeline of how it plans to construct this report:
January: Release v0.1 of Internet Health Report (prototype)
February to March: Gather feedback on prototype and ideas for v1.0; summarize feedback and other resources in new blog
April to June: Decide on metrics to revisit every year as a minimum; collaborate with partners to identify research questions
July to September: Collaboratively shape next version of the report with key allies
October to December: Launch v1.0 of Internet Health Report
For Mozilla, the primary goal of releasing this annual report to the populace is not providing them solely with insight into the health of the internet. But, in the hindsight, it is trying to push us to understand the healthy as well as unhealthy practices and incite a discussion about what can be done to further improve on it. The non-profit is calling upon the community to join hands and further the need for an open and connected web in the near future.