Category Archives for "Internet Society"

Celebrating a Successful Chapterthon 2019!

We are incredibly inspired by the collaborative projects brought to life by our Chapters for the 2019 Chapterthon, the global contest in which Internet Society Chapters develop a project within a set timeline and budget to achieve a common goal for the development of the Internet. This year’s theme was “Connecting the Unconnected” – because every last person on the planet is part of having an Internet for “everyone”, and we won’t rest until each person has the option of choosing to be connected.

Internet Society Chapters from all corners of the world developed innovative solutions that will continue to serve as inspiration for communities everywhere working to connect the unconnected. At the end of the contest, each project presented a three-minute video about the project specifics and its benefits to the community. Winning projects received a prize.

See how they addressed this global issue through local community initiatives!

Announcing the Winners!

1st Prize (USD 3000)
US New York Chapter
First Annual NYC Mesh Installathon: This project aims to mobilize a large team of volunteers on a single day to expand the NYC Mesh community network to at least six new locations, and connect underserved areas of New York City.

2nd Prize (USD 2000)
South Africa Chapter
Qokolweni Wi-fi Hotspots: This Continue reading

Claudio Jeker Honored by Internet Security Research Group with Radiant Award

This week another Radiant Award has been awarded by the Internet Security Research Group, the folks behind Let’s Encrypt. The award puts the limelight on the heroes who make the Internet more secure and trustworthy each day.

The newest Radiant Award winner is Claudio Jeker, who receives the prize for his work of a BGP4 implementation on OpenBSD. This makes me horrendously enthusiastic. Why?

OpenBSD is a open-software based operating system that is focused on being secure and feature complete. It comes with a set of tools that make it ideally suited to be deployed, for instance, as a secure route server in an Internet Exchange Point (IXP). A route server is a service that an IXP can host in order to make the participating network service providers lives a little easier. They do not have to get the routing information from each other, but can simply talk to this piece of centralized infrastructure. OpenBSD allows this type of infrastructure to be build from commodity components in a scalable and secure way.

With a route server in place, an IXP can take additional measures to secure the Internet, namely by taking the MANRS actions.

Ultimately this would not be Continue reading

The Week in Internet News: Australian Lawmakers Push for ‘Fix’ to Encryption Law

An encryption fix: The Australian Labor Party says it will push for changes to an encryption law, passed in late 2018, that requires tech comp anies to give law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communications, ZDNet reports. Labor Party lawmakers have raised concerns about the law’s effect on the country’s tech industry, but it appears they don’t have the votes to make changes.

Telemedicine needs access: The use of telemedicine is growing, but low speeds in rural Internet are delaying its benefits to parts of Indiana, according to a story from the Kokomo Tribune, posted at Some Internet-based diagnosis services need interactive videoconferencing technology with fast broadband speeds that aren’t available in parts of the state.

The future of IoT security: IoT World Today has six predictions for Internet of Things security in 2020. Among them: Facilities managers will become more concerned about smart building security, with buildings becoming a new avenue of attack. The security of 5G networks will also become an issue with new attacks on the way.

Goodbye WhatsApp: WhatsApp has begun automatically removing Kashmiri residents from WhatsApp, due to a long-running Internet shutdown in the region controlled by India, The Verge reports. WhatsApp’s Continue reading

Rural Development Special Interest Group Organizes Internet Connectivity Tag 2019

In November, the Internet Society Rural Development Special Interest Group (RD SIG) organized an event called the Internet Connectivity Tag 2019 in Bangalore, India to deliberate on emerging technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT) and security, and what this means for rural development in India.

RD SIG invited a number of distinguished speakers to the event, many of whom are Chapter members. Adarsh B.U., for instance, is the president of RD SIG, a member of the Bangalore Chapter, and the program chair of the Hyderabad Chapter, which is currently being established. B.U. has been recognized as one of the top eight IoT thought leaders for his contribution towards the advancement of IoT in India. At the event, he organized an interactive, hands-on session with Contiki OS and Cooja Simulator.

Leading up to the event, RD SIG issued a call for fellowship applications from which over 300 expressions of interest were received. Out of the applicants, seven fellows from different parts of India were selected to participate in the event.

Highlights from the event included a presentation by Abhijan Bhattacharyya on IPv6 in the context of 5G for digital convergence. In his talk, he looked at the Continue reading

Online Trust Audit for 2020 Presidential Campaigns Update

On 7 October 2019, the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance (OTA) released the Online Trust Audit for 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaigns. Overall, 30% of the campaigns made the Honor Roll, and 70% had a failure, mainly related to scores for their privacy statements. As part of this process, OTA reached out to the campaigns, offering to explain their specific Audit scores and ways to improve them. The campaigns were also told that they would be rescored in mid-November and the updated results would be published in early December. As a result, several campaigns contacted us to understand the methodology and scoring, and several of them made improvements.

Rescoring of all elements of the Audit was completed on 25 November, and the table below shows the updated results since release of the original Audit. Several campaigns have been suspended since early October (Messam, O’Rourke, Ryan, and Sanford, as well as Bullock and Sestak in early December). Campaigns shown in bold in the Honor Roll column made enough improvements to earn passing scores for their privacy statements and thereby achieve Honor Roll status. Campaigns shown in italics at the bottom of the table are new entrants since the Audit was released. Continue reading

The sale of PIR: The Internet Society Board Perspective

Logos of PIR, Ethos Capital, and the Internet Society

[Published on behalf of the Internet Society Board of Trustees.]

Last Friday we held a webinar with Internet Society members to answer questions about the sale of the Public Interest Registry (PIR). We were also able to unveil more details about the sale and its long-term contribution to the stability of the Internet Society (ISOC). On that call, we listened to our community members carefully. We heard the concerns regarding this decision from those who are worried about the future of the .ORG community, and who believe that we – as a non-profit and mission-driven organisation- are risking undermining our own legitimacy and responsibility to the public Internet.

First and foremost, we take the reaction from our community very seriously. Clearly, some members of the community believe that the decision to move forward with this transaction is harming our reputation. We fully understand the concerns expressed by our chapters and members, and we know that a lot of the criticism we have faced since announcing the transaction stems from the fact that we have not consulted openly, or been as clear as we should have been about what this sale would mean for both .ORG, and the Internet Society. It has always been the Board’s intention to be as open, transparent, and Continue reading

The Week in Internet News: $1,200 a Month for Internet Service?

Gold-plated Internet access: Ulukhaktok, a small town in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is exploring ways to build its own broadband network after complaints of slow speeds and data caps, reports. The price for exceeding the 10 GB data cap cost one resident $1,200 for the month. As part of the community-led effort, several residents have completed training on community networks with the Internet Society, which is supporting the project.

Editing ordered: Singapore’s government has ordered Facebook to “correct” a user’s post that contained accusations about the arrest of a supposed whistleblower and election rigging, in the first use of the country’s fake news law, Reuters says. The government called the allegations “false” and “scurrilous” and ordered blogger Alex Tan to issue a correction. But Tan does not live in Singapore and says he is an Australian citizen, and he refused to comply.

China joins in: Meanwhile, the Chinese government is targeting fake news and deep fake videos under new Internet content rules, Reuters reports. In addition, any use of AI or virtual reality needs to be clearly marked in a prominent manner in the government’s efforts against deep fakes. Failure to follow the rules could be considered a criminal Continue reading

Passion and Dedication at the 4th Summit on Community Networks in Africa

The 4th Summit on Community Networks in Africa took place in Dodoma, Tanzania from 28 October to 2 November 2019 in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and hosted by the University of Dodoma. The format consisted of two days of valuable training sessions on defining the community network (CN) movement in Africa, the importance of exclusivity and communications in building CNs, and strategies for sustainability cooperative models among others. The next two days were dedicated to plenary sessions, which focused on discussions to promote the creation and growth of community networks, increase collaboration between CN operators in the region, and improve their business skills. The Summit concluded with a two-day site visit to the Kondoa Community Network for more hands-on technical learning and sharing of best practices.

This year, the Summit received 134 participants from 18 countries globally: Argentina, Cameroon, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Uganda, the U.K., and the U.S. Of these 36 participants were women and 77 participants were from Tanzania. The participation of women was notable – and important in addressing gender gaps related to access in particular.

Community Networks provide Continue reading

Member News: Innovative Projects to Help Close the Digital Divide

Vote of Confidence: Voting is open for Chapterthon 2019, the global Internet Society Chapters marathon, where Chapters can develop projects within a timeline and budget to achieve a common goal for the development of the Internet. This year’s theme is Connecting the Unconnected. Twenty-eight Chapters – from Argentina to Zimbabwe – have submitted projects.

Keep the connections: The Venezuela Chapter is among several groups calling for large technology companies to maintain the availability of their services to Venezuelans. While an executive order from U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to block support for the government of Nicolás Maduro, the order does not ban the Internet and other technology services from serving the nation, the chapter notes. Access to the Internet and online services is “critical” because it brings access to independent news and allows citizens to express their opinions, the chapter said.

Trading chips: The Washington, D.C., Chapter recently hosted a conference on digital trade, including the impact of some nations’ policies that require data to be stored locally. “Data has become the most traded good and/or service across borders,” the Chapter said. “Meanwhile, many countries have adopted policies that inhibit digital trade, including requirements that Continue reading

Winners of the 2019 Chapterthon To Be Announced On 11 December – Voting Is Open Now!

"Connecting the unconnected" on a delegate's t-shirt at the 4th annual Summit on Community Networks in Africa

We’re thrilled to showcase this year’s creative, innovative and impactful projects aimed at ‘Connecting the Unconnected’. These short-term projects were run by twenty-eight of our Chapters that participated in the 2019 Chapterthon. We highly encourage you to take a few minutes to view the amazing work accomplished by your peers, and vote for your favorite project.

The winners of the 2019 Chapterthon will be announced during the upcoming Community Forum on 11 December, 13:00 UTC. Please join us in celebrating the amazing projects. The winning Chapters will be rewarded with a 1st prize of 3000 USD, 2nd prize of 2000 USD, and 3rd prize of 1000 USD. 

Make your vote count before 6 December: vote now

Find out who the winners are on 11 December: register here.

Image credit: © Internet Society / Nyani Quarmyne / Panos Pictures

The post Winners of the 2019 Chapterthon To Be Announced On 11 December – Voting Is Open Now! appeared first on Internet Society.

Deep Dive: A Look at Top Retailers’ Security Practices

In April 2019 the Internet Society’s Online Trust Audit released its 10th Online Trust Audit and Honor Roll. One of the longest-running sectors covered in the Audit is online retailers. In this blog post we will look at the top 500 online retailers in the US based on online sales and how they fare in security best practices advocated by OTA.

Overall 65% of online retailers in the top 500 made the honor roll this year, a marked improvement over 2017 when just over half (51%) did. With the upcoming holidays many consumers will be doing much of their shopping online, therefore it is more important than ever that any online retailer practices good email and site security. After all, consumers are sending highly-sensitive data like credit cards and addresses at a much higher rate during the holidays.

In site security retailers fared well, as did most sites. Fully 92% of the top 500 online retailers has AOSSL/HSTS on their sites (virtually the same as 91% of sites overall). The good news this year is that this is a significant increase over the the 38% that had AOSSL/HSTS in 2017. The bad news is that the fact that this is Continue reading

What Is a Man in the Middle (MITM) Attack?

Simply put, MITM is an attack in which a third party gains access to the communications between two other parties, without either of those parties realising it. The third party might read the contents of the communication, or in some cases also manipulate it. So, for example, if Gerald sends Leila a message, intending it to be private, and Max intercepts the message, reads it, and passes it on to Leila, that would be a MITM attack. If Gerald wants to transfer £100 to Leila’s bank account, and Max intercepts the transaction and replaces Leila’s account number with his own, that would also be a MITM attack (in this case, Max is putting himself ‘in the middle’ between Gerald and his bank).

Why should I care?

Partly because MITM attacks can undermine so much of our modern way of life. In a connected life, we depend on the reliability and security of every connection. It’s not just about your conversations, messages and emails, either. If you can’t trust the connections you make to websites and online services, you may be vulnerable to fraud or impersonation, and if your connected devices and objects can’t communicate securely and reliably, they may put Continue reading

The Week in Internet News: Balloon-Based Internet Comes to the Amazon

Internet from the skies: Loon, Google’s sister company, is teaming up with Internet provider Telefonica to provide Internet access to remote areas of the Amazon rainforest in Peru, TechCrunch reports. Loon, the high-altitude balloon company, plans to have the service available in 2020. The area of Peru targeted by the service has about 200,000 residents.

Internet from the highway: Meanwhile, Osceola County Schools in Florida has equipped an unused bus with computer equipment in an effort to bring Internet access to homeless students living in motels, reports. The school district, south of Orlando, has about 500 students living in motels, some with limited Internet access.

Investigating encryption: A top official at the U.S. Department of Justice has hinted that end-to-end encryption services could be part of a sweeping investigation into some big tech companies, the New York Times reports. The DOJ and law enforcement agencies from other countries have been pushing large tech companies like Facebook to drop their end-to-end encryption services, to the chagrin of many security experts.

Iran shuts it down: The Iranian government shut down Internet access for citizens for several days in response to protests about huge hikes in fuel prices, reports. Continue reading

Rachel Player Honored by Internet Security Research Group with Radiant Award

Internet security is accomplished by many unsung heroes. People who put their talent and passion into improving the Internet, making it secure and trustworthy. This is a feature of the Internet: security isn’t achieved through a central mandate but through the hard work and tenacity of individuals working across the globe.

Rachel Player, a cryptographic researcher, is one of those unsung heroes. She’s just been awarded the Radiant Award from the Internet Security Research Group, the folks behind Let’s Encrypt, for her work in post-quantum cryptography and homomorphic encryption. Homomorphic encryption allows people to do computations on encrypted data, so that information can remain private and still be worked with. This is a highly-relevant field in any area that deals with sensitive and personal data, such as medicine and finance. Player is also interested in lowering the barriers for young people – young women, especially – to work professionally on topics like cryptography.

To learn more, read the announcement by the Internet Security Research Group and Rachel Player’s blog post about her work and her interest in making the profession more accessible.

Want to know more about Let’s Encrypt? Read a comprehensive overview of the initiative – from inspiration to Continue reading

Alain Aina: 2019 Jonathan B. Postel Service Award Winner

Alain Aina has been a key player in the Internet in Africa. While the winner of this year’s Jonathan B. Postel Award has had support from organizations and others, his leadership in building technical communities has helped countless people to spread the Internet across Africa and the world.

As the chief technology officer of the West and Central Africa Research and Education Network (WACREN), Aina has been building a Regional Research and Education Network to interconnect National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in the region and connect them to the global Research and Education Network. He wants the world to see the work of Africa’s premier researchers and carve out its spot in the academic world – in a way that would be impossible without the resources of this new network and community. He also contributes to AfricaConnect2, a project that supports the development of high-capacity networks for research and education across Africa, by building on existing networks in Eastern, Northern, and Southern Africa to connect to West and Central Africa​’s WACREN.

Aina fell into this work after graduating in the early 90s with a degree in electrical engineering and in the maintenance and analysis of computer systems. He was hired to be a technical seller Continue reading

Five Key Takeaways from the Summit in Asia-Pacific on Deploying, Sustaining and Scaling Community Networks

Community networks (CNs) offer a solution to connect the unconnected billions. They are becoming all the more important as recent trends reveal a slowdown in Internet connectivity growth through national operators in the Asia-Pacific region.

Late August, the Internet Society and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific organized the Asia-Pacific Regional CN Summit 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event brought together about 110 participants that included high-level government officials from Asia and the Pacific, and a multidisciplinary group of regional experts on community networks, civil society groups, industry representatives, and academics and researchers to deliberate on critical issues surrounding CNs.

What are Community Networks?

They are “do-it-yourself” networks built by people for people. They are not just connecting communities, but are empowering rural and remote communities to improve their lives. Speakers and participants at the Summit shared some successful examples from the region, including India’s Garm Marg Rural Broadband Project, which has improved communities’ access to government and financial services, Nepal’s community networks, which have helped communities recover from the devastating Gorkha Earthquake in 2015 and prepare for future disasters, and Pakistan’s community network, which has enhanced learning for girls at a remote Continue reading

The Week in Internet News: Let’s Encrypt Doubles the Number of Secure Websites

A more secure Internet: Let’s Encrypt, the nonprofit certificate authority, has helped the percentage of websites protected with HTTPS encryption jump from 40 percent in 2016 to 80 percent now, TechXplore notes. The free certificate service has “turned the implementation of HTTPS from a costly, complicated process to an easy step that’s within reach for all websites.” Let’s Encrypt has become the world’s largest certificate authority and provides more HTTPS certificates than all other certificate authorities combined.

The right to the Internet: A new study by Merten Reglitz, a lecturer in global ethics at the University of Birmingham, suggests Internet access should be a human right, Vice reports. Internet access is “highly conducive to a multitude of crucial human interests and rights,” the study says. “Internet access is a uniquely effective way for lobbying and holding accountable global players like global governance institutions and multinational corporations.”

You must include these apps: The Russian government may require PC and smartphone makers to pre-load Russia apps, ZDNet reports. The Russian parliament is debating a bill to require the pre-loaded apps. If the bill passes, the Russian government would publish a list of electronic devices that will need to comply Continue reading

IETF 106 Begins Nov 16 in Singapore – Here is how you can participate remotely in building open Internet standards

photo of the "super trees" in Singapore

Starting Saturday, November 16, 2019, the 106th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will begin in Singapore. Over 1,000 engineers from around the world will gather in the convention center to join together in the debates and discussions that will advance the open standards that make the Internet possible. They are gathered, in the words of the IETF mission, “to make the Internet work better“.

Pick your protocol – the future of DNS, DOH, TLS, HTTP(S), QUIC, SIP, TCP, IPv6, ACME, NTP… and many, many more will be debated in the rooms and hallways over the next week.

What if you cannot be IN Singapore?

If you are not able to physically be in Singapore this week, the good news is you can participate remotely! The IETF website explains the precise steps you need to do. To summarize quickly:

  1. Register as a remote participant. There is no cost.
  2. Review the agenda to figure out which sessions you want to join. (I will note that there are some very interesting (to me!) Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) sessions at IETF 106.)
  3. Choose the channel(s) you will use to participate, including:

IoT Security Policy Platform Wants to Raise the Bar On Global IoT Security

By next year, five Internet of Things (IoT) devices are projected to be in use for every person on the planet.

IoT devices offer endless opportunities to improve productivity, economic growth, and quality of life. Think smart cities, self-driving cars, and the ways connected medical devices can monitor our health. The potential growth of IoT is virtually infinite.

But with opportunity comes a significant amount of risk. As much as we’d like to trust manufacturers to make sure burglars can’t watch our homes through data from an automated vacuum, many new devices lack even basic security features. And thousands of new devices are coming online each year without commitment to basic measures such as using unique passwords, encrypting our data, or updating software to address vulnerabilities.

To help people and businesses around the world prepare, a dedicated group is rising to the challenge of securing the Internet of Things though cooperation across borders and sectors.

They are government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations and experts working on IoT security joined together to form the IoT Security Policy Platform. We are proud to say the Internet Society is amongst them too. Together we’ve been discussing and sharing best practices and Continue reading

The Internet Society & Public Interest Registry: A New Era of Opportunity

Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the .ORG Community.  Earlier today, the Internet Society and Public Interest Registry (PIR) announced that they have reached an agreement with Ethos Capital, an investment firm that helps transform and grow companies in today’s rapidly evolving digital economy, under which Ethos Capital will acquire PIR and all of its assets from the Internet Society.  

As brief background – in 2002, the Internet Society won a competitive bidding process for the .ORG registry and established PIR to manage and operate the .ORG domain.  Since that time, the Internet Society and PIR have worked to grow .ORG into the largest purpose-driven domain – used today by millions of organizations and others to achieve their online goals – and PIR’s contributions to the Internet Society have helped make the Internet more available, accessible and secure for people around the world.

This transaction aligns PIR with a strong, new strategic partner, Ethos Capital, that not only possesses a deep understanding of the intricacies of the domain industry, but also has the ideal mix of expertise, experience and shared values to further advance the goals of .ORG into the future.  Continue reading

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