Sunday April 09, 2017

Internet health as a social issue

We could think of the health of the internet as a social issue just like the environment or education.

We could think of the health of the internet as a social issue just like the environment or education.

Listen 13:45

It may seem strange to think of the "health" of the internet.

But what if we started thinking about caring for the internet, collectively, in order for it to keep working properly?

"The health of the internet is something that we think needs to be a mainstream social issue just like the environment or education."

 Mark Surman is the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit dedicated to an open internet.

352 Mark Surman

Mark Surman (Mozilla)

Mark likens it to the time just before the environmental movement began to take hold:

"People didn't really think about it other than say, parks."

But that perception gradually changed as public awareness grew.

So much that now the environment is an issue that most agree matters.

"The internet is so critical to human life and the economy and society right now, that its impact is as significant as the environment," says Mark. 

"But we're not looking at whether it's healthy and whether it's taking us in the direction that's good for people."

Mozilla wants to change that with a new open source initiative all about the health of the internet.

By combining research from multiple sources, they hope to position internet health as a social issue, since it's become a critical part of our lives.

Good news in Canada's digital health

This past week saw the launch of Code for Canada.

It's a non-profit that's designed to bring together innovators in government with people in the tech community.

The aim is to help make digital government services more engaging and easier to use, in keeping with the design of apps and services in other parts of our daily lives.

The movement started in the US with Code for America back in 2009, when the push for open data and open government first rose.

Now there are "Code For" organizations in a number of countries, including Pakistan, Australia, and Mexico.

Code for Canada will have fellowships: folks that will be embedded in government departments to bring a bit of start up sensibility to government.