Spark

From access to Zoom: measuring internet health during the pandemic

The pandemic has underscored the importance of internet connectivity in an unprecedented way. Most of us are now using it as our primary means of communicating with friends, family, colleagues, even healthcare providers. Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, explains what this means for privacy and internet traffic generally.
How does our internet use during the pandemic influenced the overall health of the internet? (Adobe Stock)
Listen27:25

It's fair to say that many people's use of the internet has changed during the pandemic. For a lot of us sheltering in place or working from home, the internet has become our only portal into the rest of the world, whether it's communicating with family and friends, or keeping up with events in the news.

So how is the internet holding up? Usually, the Mozilla Foundation, which makes the Firefox web browser, releases a report on the health of the internet each spring.

This year, however, it is focusing on how the pandemic is affecting internet health, in terms of access, safety and privacy.

"It sort of feels like we have entered the Matrix, but in a really crummy way," said Mark Surman, the Mozilla Foundation's executive director.

Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation Mark Surman discusses the health of the internet during the pandemic. (marksurman.commons.ca)

"We're always connected, visually, with other people. And it works better than you expect, and it's a whole heck of a lot worse than real life," he told Spark's Nora Young. "And it's tiring."

"It's become clear that the issues of digital life are so intertwined with real life, and those digital life issues are playing out in the pandemic, and potentially in ways that will set norms that are better or worse for the future," he said.

To hear the full interview with Mark Surman, click on the "listen" link above.

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