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Member News: Ethiopia Launches Internet Society Chapter

Ready, set, launch: An Internet Society Chapter launched recently in Ethiopia, with a goal of advocating for the development and expansion of open, secure, trustworthy, and affordable Internet access to everyone in the country. The idea of starting an Internet Society Chapter came from a workshop, “where we became conscious of the fact that more than 85% of the Ethiopia population is losing countless opportunities every day because they don’t have access to the Internet,” wrote Adugna Necho, a networking professor at Bahir Dar University. “We believe the Internet is for everyone and we are here to work with all people – from communities to businesses to governments and ordinary people to connect the unconnected and create a bigger and stronger Internet in Ethiopia.”

More Internet, please: The Internet will keep people connected while the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, the India Chennai Chapter notes. Governments should resist urges to shut down service, the Chapter says. “With factories, offices, public places, transportation, schools are colleges shut down, and no clear picture of whether normal life would resume in 4 weeks or 4 months, it is the Internet that could make life go on,” the Chapter writes. “While it is necessary to keep an eye on fake news and the dangers of fake news causing panic, it is equally important to keep the Internet globally connected, perhaps even with directives to access providers NOT to disrupt connectivity to any user under any pretext together with a heightened awareness among Governments that everyone needs Internet …”

Internet values: The Switzerland Chapter, with support from other organizations, has launched a new project, called VIT Labs, an urban laboratory for collective learning and outreach on the “Values of Internet Technologies.” A long-term goal is to encourage people to use more secure and privacy-respecting digital platforms and tools.

Education is key: The Benin Chapter recently hosted a training session on free software, computer hygiene, and cybersecurity. Trainer Oliver Kwami talked about free software as a tool for the benefit of Africa’s development, and he emphasized Internet education about cybersecurity and cybercrime.

In it for the long term: The Israel Chapter has revised the registration rules for domain names, expending the renewal period from two years to five years. The .il registry manages close to 250,000 domain names. “The clear advantage of long-term registration or renewal of a domain name is mitigating the risk of losing control of this asset when users forget to extend it,” the Israel chapter wrote. “That way, owners can guarantee their domain name continues to point to their online content, establishing an online reputation that improves the website’s search ranking.

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