Aspirations for a better Internet for all of Aotearoa
We have released our research into a better Internet! Over the last year, Making Everything Achievable (MEA) and Toi Āria engaged communities across Aotearoa to understand what people want and need from the Internet.
Looking back on the mahi we’ve done and understanding what the people want
When the team at InternetNZ set out to do this in 2021, our goal was to understand what an ‘Internet for good’ means for people in Aotearoa. As our strategic direction transformed into ‘an Internet that benefits’ so did this research. We wanted to understand how people perceive and experience the Internet, and what their aspirations are for it.
These insights would feed into our vision and support our mahi so that we can continue to develop policy, make funding decisions and undertake our other work in a way that has public interest at its core and benefits all the people of Aotearoa.
Capturing the voices of people across Aotearoa
We believed it was important that this understanding be informed by the perspectives of a broad range of New Zealanders, rather than exclusive to those more highly engaged in the New Zealand Internet community. We asked MEA and Toi Āria to go out and talk with people, to gather the perspectives of underrepresented communities across the motu.
We actively sought to hear from tāngata whenua, Pasifika, people living with disability, LGBQTTQIA+ communities, migrant and former refugee communities and younger people. The reality of this involved conversations with over 140 people who personally identify with one or more of these communities, and with the design of each engagement tailored to suit each group.
What the results tell us and how they’re themed
The report has been put together in a way that allows you as the reader to hear the voices of the people. The researchers conducted a series of hui specifically designed to hear what people think, what makes them trust the Internet and feel comfortable, and what issues create barriers. They gathered quotes which form the bulk of the report and, through careful analysis, determined seven overarching themes.
Looking forward to the future and what’s next
The kōrero captured within this report is a taonga that will spark ongoing kōrero and mahi. By sharing the report, we look forward to continuing the conversation and finding ways to build off these insights through the work we do as InternetNZ. Some of the work it will be useful for at InternetNZ includes:
- Providing a jumping off point for discussions between Te Komiti Whakauru Māori and Māori communities,
- offering essential input into our strategic direction,
- informing the focus for our next grant round,
- providing the foundation for potential events and community engagement,
- and feeding into the development of policy positions, product development or .nz governance work.
Aspirations for how this research can be useful to others
We also hope this report will inform others.
The report may inspire further research to delve deeper into some of the questions raised. Community organisations who do so much to improve lives, can look to this report to further their awareness of community needs. Government agencies can draw on these insights to develop regulations and frameworks that protect at-risk communities and individuals while ensuring the protection of human rights. People who act in the Internet infrastructure and governance space can be guided by these voices to work for more equitable outcomes globally. Platforms can use these insights to consider how they can make their technology safer and more welcoming to diverse groups.
Another example is that the issues raised by the participants and their ideas for addressing them could inform discussions of the DIA’s proposals in its document “Safer Online Services and Media Platforms”, which is currently out for public consultation. The effect of online harms on youth, rangatahi, and marginalised communities is a key element of this discussion document, and the experiences of the participants suggest there is a need to address these harms.
We hope that this work can inform and inspire!
Ultimately, we want to see changes that will result in people across Aotearoa experiencing less harm online and able to fully harness the power of the Internet.
Thanks to MEA and Toi Āria for their incredible mahi on this project, and to all the research participants for sharing their time and perspectives!