How do we measure the health of the Internet?

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How do we measure the health of the Internet?
Presenter(s) Solana Larsen
Title(s) Editor
Organization(s) Mozilla Foundation
Project(s) Internet Health Report
Country(ies) Denmark, Puerto Rico
Social media @solanasaurus
2017 theme Community

How do we know whether the Internet is getting healthier or unhealthier? If we consider the Internet as an ecosystem that adapts to our behavior, we can better estimate the effects of our actions, and appreciate the parts that are healthy but taken for granted.

Mozilla has begun work on a collaborative, global Internet Health Report that combines research from multiple sources, delving into topics that span decentralization, open innovation, inclusion, Web literacy, privacy and security. What are the metrics that matter to you, and what ideas do you have?

The session will begin with a super brief presentation of Mozilla's prototype for the Internet Health Report to help frame the discussion, followed by free-flowing conversation about whether "Internet health" is a useful term, and what individual participants find most important to document and how.

Format Conversation
Target Groups Journalists, Software Developers, Designers, Front Line Activist
Length 1 Hour
Skill Level Novice
Language English

Session Outputs

Next Steps

Additional Notes

Relevant Resources


  1. INTRO

Solana Larson has been working on/studing the internet for 10 years.


We can only read so mnay headlines about governemnet surveillance corporate surveillance without feeiling the premise of the inter net was a lie. IS THE INTERNET REALLY GETTING UNHEALTHIER FROM YEAR TO YEAR? we dont know the answer cause we dont normally ask the question. the general pubic doesnt have an idea of whatit means for the internet to be healthy or unhealthy health is something you would ascribe to a person or maybe to a ecosystem when you think of the internet as something that is constancly evolving and adapting to our behavior. it can help up understand. how we can matter in something os big even though it may have no beginning or end. this way we can talk about something as being healthy or unhealthy in different parts.

global warming didn't mean anything until scientific/environmental movement did a lot to promote the term. Now people know what global warming is or have an idea of what it is without necessraily knowthing the science behind it.


in january mozilla published the internet health report. if you only look at the media headlines youw ill think things are getting owrst to worstadn we are headed to our doom. but a lot of things are getin better. we want to document and show whats going on. we want to invite poeple to be part of the research, share the work they are doing, and publish a report each year.

  1. HALF OF THE WORLD IS ONLINE "digital inclusion"

you could say that more people coming online is a good/healthy thing. is it enough?no is there a digital divide. yes!


52% of tall wesites are in english even though only 25% of the global population understands english.


intenre adoption is slower for owmen than men in almost everywhere in the world.


Digital Inclsuion +++ mobiles putting internet within reach Open Innovationivac & Security ++ more oubud data shared online than ever before by governemnet Privacy and Security ++ around 50% of web traffic is encrypted over https Decentralization ++ over 1 billion websites exist, more daily, more are bing created all the time. we dont celebrate enought that thw web is open and a magic things. Web Literacy area 5 indicators are being hela ++Digital skills recognized as important.more and more digital skills are seen as what is important. using the internet for fact checking and research


Open Innovation ++Copyright laws outdated for digital lifef Digital Inclision ++Online censorshup is getting worse Privayc & security +SUrevaillanepwoers expanind Decentralization ++Just a few corporatios control so much Web Literac ++Just arriving onmline isn't enough. more and more people come online. its not enoguh cause half the people dont know what they are using it for. or they are using it from a cell phone where they are not goign to create a website.

Making a difference Featured stories

we experiement with tellign rela stories of people locally who do so much to change their situation.



Q: which sources were used from this report? A: mostly from western sources, but the goal is to make it expand to more groups.

Comment: i agree that this idea is helpful for having people grasp the idea. facilitator: over 120 articles from different countries but they would use "internet health" report

Comment: what help the studies be mor relateable is to make projection of how much longer to 100% people get online and things lik that. facilitator: we did health or unhealthy but we did a progrnosis.

Comment: i think this is quite interesting as far as the internet, is it healthy or unhealthy. i wonder how polciy makers would look at it. Q: how can we go about collaborating with mozilla. to get you info dorm the global south lets say africa in particular.if there was a red line, green line, yellow line. people would have a way. this project has a lot of data sources from other projects. privacy issies and net nuetrality isues. one thing, score based system is faces a lot of criticism. how can this thing be for a hub, for all the other projects. ranknig digital rights, net nuetrality map, etc. i think this would be interesting.

Question: something you said before, was healthy according to whom. this is the first time . Comment: this is first time presented this information. wondering if we are including infrastructure. one good way to do it is scenario/planning/analysis which started with oil industry . they make projections over. its good for policy as well. GOOGLE THAT!!!

Comment: using the word decentralization, or making a distiction of decetnralization from political business level vs.

Comment: curious about how the metrics and languages. are broken. from the netherlands perspective most people write a website in english bcause their audience is wider. however in netherlands so many people speak enlgish so they deliberitly publish in english to reach wider audience.

Comment: depents on the scale. and the challenge is how to teahc some of that nueance. decentralization is great but there is value in community behind some issues.

Comment: a lot of these healthy indicators effect on the cutlure, infratructure, policies, and lawas. and those are local properties. the health of the internet varies widely from country to coutnry. would be intesting to see the per country .

Comment: in an ecosystem we can say bananas are nice but it would be unhealthy to see acres and

Comment: one fo the aspects we might want to look at is fragmentation vs bulkanization. those barries are growing not just between coutnries but between ecosystems.

C facilitator: the preference is to use open data and enourage research partners who we work with to do that so we can share the data more openly and more widely. might not be worth it not ot say we only do that. any research we would do ourselves would be open.

Comment: if i went to the veterinarian and they told me my dog is sick. i would ask for ways i could make it better and make my dog healthier. a recommendation of what might help, is adding what can i do to help the health. with global warming people know they can recycle.

Comment: was wondering whether if cybercrime, data breatches, and online abuse were in it.

Comment: please dont use the word , accessibility if you dont consider more than devices.