Today marks three truly amazing years at the Internet Society. It was September 19, 2011, when I visited the main office in Reston, Virginia, and began this wonderful journey. I wrote back then about why I was taking this job to fight for the open Internet - and in truth the reasons haven't changed.
If anything, the situation has only gotten worse.
There are now far more threats to what I've taken to calling the "Internet of Opportunity" ... the kind of Internet we have today where anyone can start any kind of service or publish any kind of information.
Within the Internet Society (or "ISOC" as we are often called) we call this "permissionless innovation", not needing to ask permission of anyone to innovate. If you have a new idea or a new service or product... you can just do it. You don't have to plead with a "gatekeeper" or pay someone in order to launch your service out onto the Internet.
But that could change.
Some of the legacy telecommunications companies who have lost out on revenue as everyone has moved away from phone calls would really like their revenue back. Some of the entertainment and traditional media companies would like their revenue and control back, too. And many governments would like to regain some of their control - and tax revenue.
Money and control.
As I wrote in that article three years ago, there is a great quote from the 1992 movie Sneakers:
“There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think… it’s all about the information!”
That is definitely the case. And that war is only gotten stronger... and it's going to get even more fierce in the years ahead.
I'm personally glad that there are a group of organization including the Internet Society that are dedicated to shining the light on the changes that are happening... and arguing for why we need to keep the current "open" nature of the Internet so that we and our children, and their children, can all benefit from the kinds of opportunities we've had to date with the Internet.
Last year I wrote a good bit about how pleased I was to be part of the Internet Society. That hasn't changed! My passion for the work that ISOC does around the world has only grown stronger in this past year as I have learned more of the amazing things happening around the world. I continue to love my own work with the Internet Society Deploy360 Programme - I wake up each morning excited to write more and do more to help people learn how they can deploy new technologies to make the Internet work better, faster and be more secure. I absolutely love what I do!
But I was reminded this week of how many other things are done by my colleagues all over the world. I just game back from a 4-day all-staff retreat at a hotel in Virginia. This was the first time an event like this had been held in over 3 years and we've added so many new staff that many of us had never met each other. We spent the time talking about what our priorities should be... where did we see the organization going... how could we best help the Internet... what could we do......
It was an amazing time. VERY intense... although certainly with some time for fun mixed in. We came out with some great ideas and plans that I'm looking forward to making happen in the weeks and months ahead.
What struck me most is that the people are amazing. It's truly an honor and privilege for me to serve with them and to do what we do.
The mission of the Internet Society is quite simple:
To promote the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world.
It's that mission that brought me here... and that's the reason I continue to be as excited as I am about what I do. As I celebrate three years with the Internet Society, I'm very much looking forward to the next three years... and the next beyond that!
P.S. One great way you can help is to join the Internet Society to stay up-to-date on current issues affecting the Internet - membership is free for individuals. You can also subscribe to my infrequent email newsletter where I hit many of these topics.
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