Feeds

Mozilla: Web's future rests with millions outside IT

'Seat-belt moment' is here

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The future of the web rests with millions of people outside the IT industry being persuaded to take an interest security, privacy, and freedom.

That's according to Mozilla Foundation executive director Mark Surman, who believes the web has reached a "seat-belt moment," where we know there are problems that need to be solved, but doing so requires a mass-movement of support from ordinary users.

Like the seat belt, security, privacy, and freedom are important. But they're dull to non-technicians.

"We need millions more people to love, strengthen and protect the web - to do what we've seen in the past on car safety, cigarettes and the environment for people beyond this room to understand what's a stake and to get involved in practical ways," Surman told a recent open-source conference in Silicon Valley.

"Technology is not the biggest barrier. We need people to care and we need people to act," Surman said.

Surman hopes this month's OneWebDay will raise the awareness of challenges in security, privacy, and freedom, starting conversations that lead to action and solutions.

The Foundation is a supporter of OneWebDay, an annual event that was created in 2006 by Susan Crawford and is modeled on one Earth Day. Other backers include the Ford Foundation.

Three years in, the group's site says its mission in 2009 is to: "Scale up the support we can provide to our network. This support will include a clearer vision and mission, leadership development and resources for volunteer organizers, a robust and inviting set of collaboration tools, and a more effective public presence."

Picking up, Surman said it's important to identify concrete solutions to the biggest threats on the internet. He listed some of these threats as carriers attempting to crush net neutrality through pricing, the risk to privacy and openness as users identity is locked in silos the user doesn't control, and the risk to security caused by the ubiquity of old versions of Flash and Internet Explorer.

Some specifics Surman suggested include campaigns for OneWebDay to upgrade to latest versions of Flash or dump IE 6. With eight million downloads of Firefox in two days, Surman believes people can be mobilized.

Of course, the challenge with a mass movement is that so many people have different notions of problem and priorities.

"On security and privacy maybe we need to get people to install IE 6 but you may have a totally different idea, but as long as you are contributing to the solution, that's fine," Surman said.

Also, there's little consensus on the specifics in other areas such as what is meant by "freedom" in the cloud other than that things could go very badly. "One of the things I'm committed do doing besides mobilizing people about the immediate problem, is to convene a conversation around what the next problem might be," Surman said. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.