The Internet: change gonna come

Jordan CarterA blog post from Jordan Carter, Chief Executive of InternetNZ
11 December 2018

It’s been a big year for the Internet. When I look back and think about 2018, it feels that some things that had been stable for a while have started to change. And in that changing environment, InternetNZ has been changing too.

Earlier this year, we were looking at some of the threats and opportunities out there that affect our ability to make the most of the Internet. This analysis drove us to chose our areas of focus for the next few years:

  • Internet for all – because the Internet is everywhere, and people risk exclusion from many aspects of life if they don’t have access to the Internet or the ability to make use of it.

  • Security and trust – because if the Internet isn’t safe and secure, people won’t be able to explore the opportunities it offers.

  • Openness – because if the Internet doesn’t stay fundamentally open, and maintain its collaborative way of working, the ideas people have tomorrow will be harder to make true.

On all these fronts there are challenges in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Too many households are on the wrong side of various digital divides. There are increasing incidents of cybercrime. Nearby countries are trying to put safe encryption at risk through legal change. Authoritarian countries are working to threaten and undermine the global, interoperable Internet that serves us all so well. People worry about their data going AWOL from major Internet platforms.

If the world and New Zealand don’t respond right, big risks abound. The Internet could become a literal Wild West, unable to be trusted. It could fragment into separate national networks, when the memory of an email being able to be sent to someone overseas is an historical curiosity from the old days.

If, however, we get it right, there is enormous opportunity for us as individuals and as a nation. We could be that country that cherishes and grows a safe and trusted Internet for everyone, if we choose to be.

Keeping the Internet open, secure, and for all New Zealanders is how InternetNZ can contribute to that vision. That’s the opportunity and responsibility that we are here to work towards. Helping New Zealanders harness the power of the Internet is a big job, but it’s one we are up for.

As an organisation, we’ve had a busy year of change and development. In April, NZRS and the old InternetNZ merged to form a new organisation. I have been privileged to lead that process, as we establish a new organisation that is both a capable steward for .nz, and reinvests the profits from the domain name business into the broader social investment we are committed to.

We have a unique position in New Zealand’s Internet landscape. It’s a pleasure to work with a dedicated, talented team across InternetNZ and the Domain Name Commission to keep the .nz domain thriving, and to be making a difference on the wide range of challenges and opportunities the Internet creates.

Working together with the Internet community, there is one thing that keeps us focused. Making sure the opportunities in front of us stop being theory and start – or keep – being real.

Thanks to all of those who have worked with us in 2018. We look forward to doing more of the same next year. Have a peaceful and restful summer holiday, and catch you in 2019.