Defeating Digital Perseus: 2022 Version
2022 was a tough year for the Internet. Digital Perseus came out in full force to fragment the Internet, to stop unfettered access and sometimes even friends turned into Digital Perseuses. But overall, it has been a productive year for Digital Medusa. Despite all the trouble and barriers that Digital Medusa faces, this year was filled with exciting projects.
Sanctions and the Internet
We have been dealing with sanctions and their effect on the Internet for years. Ordinary users of the Internet in sanctioned countries,sanction regulators and those who have to comply have been struggling. As Digital Medusa had done some work on Iran and Afghanistan on sanctions, it made sense to make it an agenda for 2022 as mentioned in Digital Medusa’s last year blog. Little did we know that sanctions became the talk of town and everyone would want to get involved with it one way or another due to the unfortunate barbaric war Russia started in Ukraine. Then the Iranian uprisings happened and more sanctions ensued. As Internet governance organizations and other service providers on the Internet are increasingly dealing with sanctions imposed on many countries, RIPE NCC funded Digital Medusa to undertake some preliminary research on the effect of sanctions on access to the Internet. Read more about the projects and progress here.
Christchurch Call and Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism
Digital Medusa was more active this year as a member of CCAN (a network that provides advice to governments about handling terrorist, violent extremist behavior, attending the multistakeholder leaders summit as well as writing a report about the human rights impact of crisis protocols during terrorist attacks with an online angle.
Human Rights Impact Assessment: DNS Over HTTPS (DoH)
The DNS over HTTPS is a protocol that brings privacy to Domain Name System queries. Taraaz and Digital Medusa got involved with a project that assessed the human rights impact of a product that used DNS over HTTPS. Our partners plan to publish this report in the coming months.
United Nations and Internet Governance Syllabus
The Internet Governance Forum at the United Nations commissioned Digital Medusa to do an Internet Governance syllabus as a guide for Internet governance educators. The syllabus can be found here.
Digital Medusa is an organization
I promised Digital Medusa won’t remain a one woman show and I more or less made it happen: GEORGIA EVANS has finalized a report on how Canada upholds its Christchurch Call commitments, ZHENYE (RYAN) PAN helped with mapping the actors in sanction and Internet space and attended the workshop on sanctions at the IGF. LAURA VUILLEQUEZ did some preliminary work on sanctions and the Internet literature review and mapped the European Trust and Safety actors.
ANGIE OREJUELA has helped with so many aspects of preparing and presenting the research update regarding trust and safety and Internet and sanctions and RITHIKA SHENOY works on the humanitarian aspect of access to the Internet and has co-authored a few funding proposals with us. Working with the other Medusans was the best part of 2022. Their ideas, their enthusiasm and words of encouragement got us where we are at.
In 2023, Digital Medusa will continue to protect the core values of our digital space: interconnectivity, interoperability, security and the global and open nature of the Internet. We will do so by promoting decentralization of the Internet, increasing access to the global Internet especially during crises and contributing to governance mechanisms that help connectivity and trust and safety. In order to do that, we will vigorously work on and provide a few services in 2023:
Outreach and engagement: hopefully Digital Medusa will continue with Digital Trust and Safety Partnership’s outreach and engagement but will try to provide this aspect as a service
Research and impact assessment: we will provide various governance impact assessment analysis and do research on the Internet stack.
Policy and advocacy: we will promote policies and work with various vulnerable communities around the world who do not have access to the Internet or are in crisis such as Afghanistan and help them be connected and use the Internet to have access to essential services and education.
Dear Digital Peruses
2022 was only the beginning of Digital Medusa. Despite your every effort in weakening the Internet and Internet governance organizations, the Internet is here to stay: “Don’t ever say it’s over if I am breathing”.