Feeds

Mozilla: Web's future rests with millions outside IT

'Seat-belt moment' is here

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?