Year in Review

The Internet Society supports and promotes the development of the Internet as a global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people’s lives, and a force for good in society.

Our work aligns with our goals for the Internet to be open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy. We seek collaboration with all who share these goals.

Together, we focus on:

Building and supporting the communities that make the Internet work.

Advancing the development and application of Internet infrastructure, technologies, and open standards.

Advocating for policy that is consistent with our view of the Internet.

In 2023, Internet Society celebrated 31 years since our founding by early pioneers who were leading the technical development of the Internet. While technology has evolved substantially since our founding, our belief that the Internet is truly a resource to enrich people’s lives remains at the heart of our mission.

The very foundation of society lies in our ability to communicate with one another, and the Internet assumes a pivotal role in facilitating this fundamental human need. Connectivity empowers global collaboration among researchers, ensures families remain linked despite geographical distances, and allows individuals to broaden their economic opportunities by venturing into markets beyond their immediate environments. We passionately assert that the Internet functions as a positive force for good in society. While the Internet is undoubtedly a technological innovation, we recognize it as a deeply human one. Everyone deserves it if they want it.

That is why we are proud to offer this review of the positive difference we made for the Internet in 2023. In some cases, our focus was narrow or technical, making sure that the Internet remains secure and trustworthy. In other cases, we worked to keep corporations, governments, and judiciaries from undermining the very things that weave together many independent networks into the global Internet. This review shows how each step we took in 2023 had but one purpose—to ensure the Internet is for everyone.
a man with glasses wearing a suit posing for a headshot

Andrew Sullivan,
President and CEO,
Internet Society

2023 Highlights

a girl holding headphones with her arms on ears

Strong encryption protects freedom of expression for groups like human rights activists and journalists and ensures the online safety of vulnerable populations like children.

Each year on Global Encryption Day, we amplify our pro-encryption message with the support of our community and partners like Mozilla, Center for Democracy and Technology, Global Partners Digital, and the Institute for Internet Freedom. With its 75 events spanning five continents, 2023 Global Encryption Day brought awareness about the importance of encryption to millions of people around the world.

When governments shut down the Internet in an attempt to manage issues like civil unrest, the spread of misinformation, or cheating on national exams, it’s the citizens and national economies that suffer the cost.

We created a resource—the Netloss calculator—to estimate the cost of a past shutdown and the probability of a future shutdown in a given country. The NetLoss calculator provides powerful evidence about the devastating economic effects of Internet disruptions. This information can be used by citizens to advocate against shutdowns in their own country and by policymakers to consider the true costs of Internet shutdowns.

women in front of the computer screens

Together with our chapters, the Internet Society helped build infrastructure to connect 5,000 people in indigenous communities throughout the Gran Chaco region of South America, a remote region that spans Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.

We also worked with local partner NANUM Mujeres Conectadas in the Gran Chaco region to develop the digital skills of newly connected women in these communities. Whether it’s to learn about the latest agricultural techniques for more resilient crops or accessing new teaching resources to use in the classroom, these women are now empowered to benefit from the opportunities afforded by the Internet.

All over the world, passionate people are taking local action to protect the Internet against harmful policies and decisions.

We launched a new video series featuring these Internet heroes and their journeys to becoming Internet advocates. From a human rights lawyer in Pakistan to a software engineer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to an academic researcher in Brazil, these Internet heroes and their stories are powerful examples of the positive difference one person can make.

Three women proudly display their certificates in front of a building

Finding employment after graduation can be a difficult and daunting task, especially as more qualified graduates enter the job market. Many people pursue additional certifications to gain practical experience and to stand out in a crowded field, like the young women in Bolivia, Morocco, Pakistan, and Mali who completed our hands-on computer networking training. A certification in Fundamentals of Digital Deployment of Computer Networks opened doors for these female graduates, leading to better career prospects, internships, and jobs.

The vast and remote nature of Canada’s Northwest Territories makes access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet a challenge. In fact, communities in this part of North America are among the most underserved in terms of Internet connectivity. In partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, we helped train more than fifty local leaders and community members from Ontario and the Northwest Territories about alternative Internet access solutions. Trainees gained the knowledge, resources, and technical skills needed to create and sustain networks and are now empowered to shape the future of connectivity in their own communities.

Our Global Reach

Together with our community and partners, we worked to make the Internet more globally connected, open, trustworthy, and secure in countries around the world.

Global map showing all of the countries where Internet Society is at work—roughly half of the earth

Navy-colored countries are the countries where Internet Society was at work in 2023.

Our Efforts to Protect the Internet

We helped keep Internet users safe by educating policymakers on the critical importance of protecting and promoting strong encryption that ensures the confidentiality and integrity of online communications.

We protected the Internet against decisions that could break it by working with advocates and government officials worldwide to reject any actions that could divide or fragment the Internet.

We fostered network security research and collaboration by bringing together experts to consider the most pressing security challenges facing the Internet at the annual Network and Distributed Systems Security (NDSS) Symposium.

We improved the Internet’s security and trustworthiness by promoting increased routing security alongside a robust community of fellow supporters of Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS).

We gave the Internet a voice in critical legal cases by leveraging our technical and policymaking expertise to enlighten courts about the potential implications their decisions may have on the Internet.

Our Efforts to Build the Internet

We helped close the global digital divide by reducing barriers to access so that more people living in rural, remote, and underserved areas can connect to the Internet.

We improved the Internet’s infrastructure by supporting local experts and communities in self-organizing and setting up technologies that improve the quality and lower the cost of Internet access.

We made sure the Internet is more sustainable at a local level by empowering communities to advocate, grow, and maintain local Internet infrastructure and services.

We helped people understand the Internet’s health, availability, and evolution by curating data about its reach, reliability, and resilience on our Internet Society Pulse platform.

Our Community

Two women in traditional dress standing side by side
Workers with spades posing for a photo

Donor Spotlight

We give to the Internet Society because it’s a good way to contribute to the Internet’s well-being and growth and demonstrates our support for the Internet Society’s mission.”
Tim Draegen, Founder, dmarcian
Organization Member since 2017

Board of Trustees

Meet our dedicated volunteer Board of Trustees, a diverse team of passionate individuals committed to advancing the values and impact of the Internet Society.

A headshot of Olufunke Baruwa

Olufunke Baruwa

Ramanou Biaou headshot

Ramanou Biaou

Brian Haberman headshot

Brian Haberman
(United States)

Ted Hardie headshot

Ted Hardie

Victor Kuarsingh headshot

Victor Kuarsingh
(United States)

Barry Leiba headshot

Barry Leiba
(United States)

A man wearing a suit and tie with a pleasant expression on his face.

Luis Martinez

Charles Mok headshot

Charles Mok
(Hong Kong)

A headshot of Caleb Ogundele.

Caleb Ogundele

Robert Pepper headshot

Robert Pepper
(United States)

Jon Peterson headshot

Jon Peterson
(United States)

Andrew Sullivan headshot

Andrew Sullivan

Laura Thomson headshot

Laura Thomson
(United States)

Sagarika Wickramasekera headshot

Sagarika Wickramasekera
(Sri Lanka)

Our Advisory Groups

We are grateful to our volunteer advisory group leaders and members. The contributions and insights of these groups play a valuable role in advancing the Internet Society’s mission.

Organization Member Advisory Council (OMAC) 2023 Officers

Harald Summa, DE-CIX (Chairperson) 

Melchior Aelmans, Juniper Networks (Vice Chairperson) 

Helen Harris, Amazon (Secretary) 

Chapter Advisory Council (ChAC) 2023 Steering Committee

The Internet puts us closer to what we care about the most. It transforms our lives and our society for the better. It gives the gift of opportunity. It is our collective responsibility to preserve and care for it. That way, we can be sure that the Internet remains a sound infrastructure and transformative resource that we can all continue to count on for years to come.

With an astounding 2.6 billion people still unconnected, we need passionate people, creative solutions, and funding to build a healthy, sustainable, and resilient Internet. With your support, we can build a future where access to a robust and secure digital world becomes a fundamental right for all.

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You, too, can deliver on the Internet’s promise and help secure its future.