When the Internet Hall of Fame asked South African inductee Anriette Esterhuysen to name one of her favorite Internet initiatives, she replied that, “as Africans we care about the Internet, and not only about getting access to it. We also care about how, and by whom, it is governed, and this is precisely where AfriSIG tries to contribute.” The African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG), which was first held in 2013, was created to get African countries to participate in all aspects of Internet Governance -- technical, social and political. Before this, few African countries had established sustainable open and inclusive policy discussion forums where government, civil society, businesses and technical people were able to interact effectively and collaborate to develop consistent national and institutional strategies aimed at mobilising the Internet for economic, social and political cultural development. To date, AfriSIG has yielded 85 graduates from 20 African countries.
As executive director of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Anriette Esterhuysen of South Africa works to make the Internet a safer, freer and more equal place for women, minority groups and people in the world’s developing regions. Recently she spoke with the Internet Hall of Fame about human rights and the intersection of the feminist and Internet-freedom movements. Here’s part of that conversation.
Q. What do you believe are the biggest Internet-related human rights challenges today?
A. One of the biggest tensions is the one between the people’s need for a public space to talk about politics, gender issues, or anything else they might want to talk about, and the governments that are trying to control that space. But it’s not just governments that are trying to control it: it’s also private businesses. For example, Internet.org, an initiative of Facebook, would give people access to the Internet only through Facebook, a private company. That’s an encroachment on the possibilities of the Internet, which is unacceptable. So, freedom of expression can be limited by governments, but also by business.
The Internet Hall of Fame caught up with 2012 inductee Vint Cerf at a recent summit in Washington, D.C. that was co-hosted by the Internet Society and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The summit, entitled The Internet Age: Founders to Future—which included Cerf, as well as Internet Hall of Fame inductees Mitchell Baker and David Farber— examined, in part, how the Internet will evolve and how this will impact our future. After the summit, following up on this theme, Cerf predicted that a whole new generation of Internet Hall of Fame inductees will arise from the proliferation of the Internet of Things. Watch this exclusive video on his description of our future in a connected Internet environment.
In an examination of the origins of the Internet and how that impacts the Internet’s long-term security, The Washington Post interviews Internet Hall of Fame inductees David Clark, Leonard Kleinrock, Steve Crocker and Vint Cerf.
The Internet is among the most powerful and influential “inventions” ever created, but what challenges does it face, how will it continue to evolve, and how will that impact our lives in the future?
On June 11, the Internet Society and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will co-host a summit entitled The Internet Age: Founders to Future, which will explore these questions and more with a distinctive panel that includes Internet Hall of Fame inductees Vint Cerf, Mitchell Baker, and David Farber.
The summit, also featuring Sebastian Thrun, is part of the Smithsonian’s program, ‘Raise It Up! America Innovates,’ which celebrates the July opening of the museum’s new Innovation wing. The new wing will feature exhibitions and learning spaces that explore America’s desire for game-changing ideas, and include memorabilia associated with the early development of the Internet.
“The Internet is not the invention of any...