Internet is Unhealthy

Internet has become an indispensable part of our personal and professional lives. Whether it is keeping in touch with a relative abroad or doing business all around the world, internet has made all this possible. But, what if I tell you that the thing you’re this dependent on is very unhealthy and urgently needs attention? Well this is exactly what Mozilla has to say.

According to Mark Surman, executive director of Firefox maker the Mozilla Foundation, while we have been in awe of what all internet has made possible over the last three decades, we somewhere have turned a bling eye to the perilous state of the Internet, and how we, as its users, need to help save it.

From last year’s very dangerous Mirai attack that had single-handedly caused one of the worst distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyberattacks that the world and infected internet-connected devices in over 177 countries all around the world to government surveillance, market concentration and data breaches, censorship and policies that are putting an axe on innovation, all these are signs that the internet is dangerously unhealthy and needs immediate attention.


Pointing towards the rise of Internet of Things, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence, Surman said that internet’s safety has now become more important than ever because now we don’t just use a computer, “we live inside it.”

According to Surman, How the internet works — and whether it’s healthy or now — now has a direct impact on our privacy, our economies, our democracies and ultimately, our happiness.

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Surman’s insights on the health of internet coincides with the release of nonprofit Mozilla’s first ‘prototype’ of the Internet Health Report, which is a detailed report on the various healthy and unhealthy trends that are shaping the modern day internet. The report talks about five key areas: decentralization, open innovation, privacy, digital inclusion, and security, and web literacy.
Mozilla is looking to officially launch the first report after October, once it has successfully incorporated all the feedback received on the prototype.

While according to statistics available, currently, there are more than over 1.1 billion websites running on mostly open-source software, which is being considered as a good sign for open innovation, but Mozilla thinks that the internet has to constantly dodge hardballs from bad policy, such as outdated copyright laws, restrictive digital-rights management, and secretly negotiated trade agreements,

Mozilla also notes that since mobiles have ben responsible for putting more than three billion people online today, there were a total of 56 internet shutdowns last year, a number significantly up from 15 shutdowns in the year 2015.

The report also highlights Mozilla’s fears about how even though internet’s decentralized design is protected by laws, it is under a serious threat by a few players, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Tencent, Alibaba and Amazon, who are monopolizing the messaging, search and commerce sectors.

According to it,”While these companies provide hugely valuable services to billions of people, they are also consolidating control over human communication and wealth at a level never before seen in history.”

Mozilla is in favour of the wider adoption of encryption in communications and on the web, but it wants us to keep an eye out for the new emerging surveillance laws, such as the United Kingdom’s Snooper’s Charter.

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The report wants to draw the world’s attention towards the policies on web literacy which just focus on learning coding or how to use a computer, while completely ignoring other literacy skills, such as separating ads from search results and educating them on how to spot fake news.

The report also called for safety standards, rules and accountability measures in the light of the Mirai malware attack that happened last year and abused unsecured webcams and other IoT devices in over 177 countries.

[Top Image – Shutterstock]

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