Cybersecurity, AI, IoT All Major Drivers of the Internet’s Future

Cybersecurity, AI, IoT All Major Drivers of the Internet's Future

There are many forces that are shaping the future of the internet today, from artificial intelligence (AI) and cyberthreats to the internet of things (IoT) and the rising role of government—all of which impact key areas, including digital divides, personal freedoms and rights, as well as media and society.

The internet Society (ISOC)’s 2017 Global internet Report found for example that AI and IoT, for all of their benefits to people’s personal and work lives, could result in a “surveillance society.” Therefore, ethical considerations should steer technology development and guide its use.

The survey also found wide-ranging fears that there are significant forces at work that may undermine the promise of the internet for future generations. For example, many believe that internet freedom will continue to decline around the world due to widespread surveillance, internet shutdowns and content regulation. At the same time, cybersecurity issues will pressure governments to take decisions that could erode the open and distributed global governance of the internet. Measures that may be intended to secure cyberspace may undermine personal rights and freedoms. Without a change of course, online freedoms may be nearing a point of irreversible decline, ISOC found.

“We cannot afford to let the ‘securitization’ of the Internet, and our digital lives, run rampant: there is a very real threat that online freedoms and global connectivity will take a back seat to national security,” ISOC said in the report. “Given the growing pressure from cyber-threats and security challenges such as terrorism, the ease with which our open societies and our freedoms and rights could become subordinate to pervasive surveillance regimes facilitated by AI and IoT should not be underestimated.”

There is also the view that the media landscape will become more difficult to navigate and that separating fact from fiction will become ever harder.

Yet, for all of the potential dangers, younger users and those in developing countries are particularly optimistic about the future of the internet and the ability to use the technology to better their lives and create their futures.

“We found that people share a sense of both optimism and disillusionment for the internet’s future in equal measure,” said Sally Wentworth, vice president of global policy for the ISOC. “While there are no guarantees of what lies ahead, we know that humanity must be at the center of tomorrow’s internet. The internet must continue to benefit people and create new social and economic possibilities to fulfill the premise on which it was built. We should heed the warnings in this report and begin to take the actions today that will help to keep the internet working for everyone, everywhere far into the future.”

To arrive at the findings, ISOC conducted three global surveys and two regional surveys that generated more than 3,000,000 responses from 160 countries. It also interviewed more than 130 Internet experts and users, and hosted more than 10 roundtables. While many in the ISOC’s global community shared the view that the internet is facing a period of unprecedented change, they also reaffirmed their belief in the core ideas that have shaped the internet to date.

“Our extensive research clearly shows that just as when the internet Society was founded 25 years ago, people believe that the internet’s core values still remain valid—that it must be global, open, secure and used for the benefit of people everywhere in the world,” Wentworth added.

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Source: Information Security Magazine