2018 a pivotal point in internet's development: ISOC

The year 2018 will be a pivotal point in the internet's development, according to global non-profit advocacy group the Internet Society (ISOC).

In its newly published 2018 Action Plan, the society identified the need for heightened security for the IoT, increased safeguards to the internet's routing system and for more communications between stakeholders and governments to counter forces threatening to compromise the freedom and safety of the internet today.

The Internet Society noted that the number of devices and systems that comprise the IoT are expected to swell to 20.4 billion by 2020 – more than 2.5 times the global population. But while issues with data breaches are well-known, there is little effort to strengthen the privacy and security of consumer IoT devices.

As well as the threat of data breaches, a combination of data points or data triangulation can cause individuals to be easily identified based on isolated pieces of information gathered online.

At a recent Internet Society workshop in Singapore, participants discussed the need for organizations to have foresight and incorporate privacy safeguards during the early stages of developing IoT products and services, to adopt privacy-enhancing technologies and to define how collected data will be used.

The Internet Society has also stressed the need to strengthen the security of the internet's core, by adopting norms that mitigate common risks like route hijacking, traffic detouring and address spoofing for DDoS attacks.

But the society noted that the Trump administration's recent repeal of net neutrality rules allows for blocking content, throttling and paid prioritization, which can make DDoS attacks harder to detect and ultimately undermine the security of the internet.

Finally, the Internet Society called on stakeholders and governments to work to reinforce the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance, which it said is under threat due to shifting global forces, changing business models and emerging issues such as cyber threats.

“As is the case with most terms and conditions clauses, users aren’t asked for their inputs. In order to gain access, we have to trade our privacy by ticking the agree boxes,” Internet Society regional bureau director for Asia-Pacific Rajnesh Singh said.

“Stakeholders at our event concluded that if users aren’t given avenues for their voices to be heard on how the internet should be governed, it will be a case of soft coercion where decisions are made on their behalf.”

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