Internet Way of Networking

Governments are increasingly moving towards sovereignty-based approaches to the Internet. At the same time, a winner-takes-all global economy means that a few major gatekeepers have control over Internet data and infrastructure. Both state and market-driven centralization are risks to the decentralized Internet way of networking. Centralization encourages single points of failure and moves away from the open and voluntary set of standards and practices that have sustained the Internet as a source of innovation and economic growth. These systemic risks to the global Internet’s future, and to the Internet Society’s core vision, require a broad and sustained response.

What Will This Project Address?

This project will articulate and promote aggressively a positive vision for the decentralized “Internet way of networking.” This encompasses the unchanging properties that describe how the Internet is built and operated, even as technologies and uses evolve. Our work will include engaging with the Internet Society community, as well as connecting and collaborating with partners and like-minded organizations around the world. We will focus on key regulatory initiatives, which present the greatest risk, and where highlighting ill-considered proposals can most clearly influence regulation and legislation in the future.

Longer term, we must take a broad approach to illustrating the benefits that flow from the Internet way of networking and demonstrate the power of ensuring the Internet remains a global, general-purpose technology free from control by vested interests.

Our Work in 2020

Efforts aimed at influencing deliberative, regulatory processes take time to produce results. This is especially true as we aim to reverse current trends towards centralization. In 2020:

  • We will continue work from past years to more clearly and compellingly describe the core technical properties of the Internet.
  • We will build a strong understanding and interest around the Internet way of networking within the Internet Society community and foster enhanced relationships with key partners and communities with whom we must work to be successful.
  • We will test our approach with specific pieces of proposed legislation, such as the European Union Digital Services Act, and will undertake targeted outreach.

Leading image: Middle East 2019 Chapter Advocacy Meeting, © Urban Pixel Lebanon