The Internet Threats as Laid Bare in the Internet Health Report 2018
In the wake of the recent Facebook scandal, data privacy, especially over the Internet has dominated the news all over the world. Despite the attention, which is rightly given to the protection of private data on the Internet, online privacy is only just one of the numerous threats faced by Internet users. The Mozilla Foundation just released the conclusion of the Internet Health Report 2018.
There are 5 key areas that the study focused on. The study, which was published as Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO was set to stand before the US Congress to discuss issues relating to data breach, and the level of influence that the social platform had on the Presidential election of 2016. The 5 key areas emphases were placed on are: openness, privacy and security, web literacy digital inclusion, and decentralization.
The editor of the report noted once in an interview with Al Jazeera that thinking about the health of the Internet, people often focus on governance, business and the social use; going on to state that the circumstances around which a user uses the Internet as well as who the users are determines what would be their biggest threat.
For instance, living in a country where openness is a problem, where there is an authoritarian regime that represses the use of Internet however. In this region, minorities and women using the Internet might be more worried about online harassment or discrimination even more than security itself.
It’s difficult to focus only on a certain problem and pay less attention to the others. The security of the (IoT) Internet of Things (as it is so called) is one of these things and they include baby monitors that can be checked through smartphones and refrigerators connected to the Internet.
To maintain protection against threats like Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS) is crucially reliant on securing the IoT because it is aimed at taking websites and services down. Peoples privacy could also be violated via unsecured cameras because they can be used to spy on people.
People who buy these products should ensure that they buy from companies that provide properly secured devices while ensuring that on their own, they password the device to make it harder to hack.
The role of tech giants was also highlighted in the report while pointing out that only a handful of companies in the US and China has most of the power. For instance, over 80% of the ads outside China is by Facebook and Google while Tencent remains the most important company in Asia
In the end, companies garner a stupendous amount of wealth and power and this makes it very difficult to challenge them both as consumers and as competitors. However, there is a positive role that could be played by these companies despite their concentration of power; just like governments that have the capacity to shut down the Internet but can also decide to focus on making laws to protect the vulnerable communities.
Focusing on the positives from this report is crucial; for the future of Internet even though the report seems to have a rather bleak outlook on the future. This year’s study contains a couple of approaches that could be looked into in the quest to combat these threats.