What’s in store for the Internet this year?
At the beginning of each year, our brilliant staff hover over a crystal ball and make predictions about the Internet.
This year, we have one prediction from six of our experts. So what do you think? Who’s prediction is a shoo-in? Who’s is far fetched?
David Morrison, Commercial Director
Building on my 2020 prediction, I see the DIA’s Digital Identity Trust Framework being formalised in legislation and this will be the catalyst that will enable citizen-centric identity solutions to be offered in Aotearoa. There will be increasing interest in emerging identity standards and active exploration of real-world use cases. However, there may be some work to be done when it comes to considering digital inclusion, accessibility, and bi-cultural approaches in order to shape truly inclusive digital identity solutions.
Sam Sargeant, Chief Security Officer
Sadly, there are no easy fixes to the current situation of many high-profile security incidents. These attacks will continue to increase. And with the new NZ Privacy Act we will be hearing more about local security incidents in 2021 – perhaps with a backlash when customers become aware of the impact of giving their personal data to a company that didn’t protect it adequately.
I expect to see more targeted ransom campaigns. Like with the NZX, criminals design their activity to deliver maximum impact and extort as much money as possible. Will this be the year the young cyber-insurance market falls over? With so many big-ticket ransoms out there, at a minimum, I think some premiums and policies will need to be revised.
I hope it’s not all just doom and gloom. Over the next year, I hope to see nation-states progress the international rules-based order for state-sponsored attacks online. When is it okay for one country to hack another? Should activity on the Internet lead to a military response in the real world? The next year holds promise alongside challenges.
Brent Carey, Domain Name Commissioner
So what to make of 2021? Well, we have new data breach reporting requirements to the Privacy Commissioner. Judging by other jurisdictions, where this is already in place, we can expect to see some big numbers being reported on the volume and size of online privacy breaches.
Collaboration is likely to increase among online safety agencies in the wake of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch Mosques.
What we should be seeing in the aftermath of the Commission’s report is greater shared expertise and coordinated responses between safety agencies especially where the lines are blurring between online and offline criminal activities.
There will also be some local Internet community buzz over the rewritten .nz policy rules. The community will get a say on whether the right matters have been addressed in the right way to keep .nz fair for everyone.
Ellen Strickland, Chief Advisor - International
As we continue into the second year of the global pandemic, it’s looking hopeful that the year ahead, globally, will be the year of the COVID-19 vaccine. A key Internet issue in 2021 will be the continuation of COVID-19 related misinformation, particularly vaccine-related misinformation.
We are lucky to benefit from the Internet and the connections it brings during this pandemic. But, we need to ensure that misinformation via the Internet doesn’t undermine our ability to move to the next phase of global vaccination, reducing deaths and illness worldwide, and allowing for the relaxing of global travel restrictions.
I hope that the work done by platforms will be complemented by work in communities and by governments in order to fight misinformation.
Kim Connolly-Stone, Policy Director
This year it's a mix of prediction and perhaps a dash of resolution and wishful thinking. Having made it through 2020, there is a much bigger appreciation of the impacts the Internet and digital technologies have on our lives. For some families, getting online to work, shop, and learn became a social lifeline. Apps and alerts became a vital part of our community response to COVID-19. But stories about creepy online exam software and biased facial recognition tools show that sometimes digital technologies can be bad for people and communities.
In 2021, I think people will demand a say in how digital technologies affect their families and communities. Starting with how our government approaches tools like facial recognition, and how they impact identity and privacy.
Andrew Cushen, Engagement Director
Like last year's prediction, I’ll stick to the access theme. I think satellite connectivity will start being more noticeable in 2021. That market is moving rapidly — you only have to look up at the sky as a chain of StarLink satellites go overhead to see that this next generation of satellite connectivity may completely change the landscape for connecting online.
There’s still a lot to learn about the likes of StarLink, and other next-generation satellite connectivity products, but there is the potential that the very few corners of Aotearoa will be out of their reach. Imagine what challenges we could take on next in getting everyone in New Zealand online if we could stop talking about Internet infrastructure once and for all…that’s a prediction that excites me!
We’d love to hear what you reckon may come up for the Internet in 2020. You can share your thoughts via our social pages!