The Internet Society has issued a statement in response to recent continuing reports alleging systematic United States government efforts to circumvent Internet security mechanisms. In it Internet Society President and CEO, Lynn St. Amour is quoted as saying “If true, these reports describe government programmes that undermine the technical foundations of the Internet and are a fundamental threat to the Internet’s economic, innovative, and social potential. Any systematic, state-level attack on Internet security and privacy is a rejection of the global, collaborative fabric that has enabled the Internet’s growth to extend beyond the interests of any one country.”
The statement concludes with a general call for action by the Internet community.
The Internet has tremendous potential for economic and social good, but unless all stakeholders trust the Internet as a safe place for business, social interaction, academic enquiry, and self-expression, those economic and social benefits are put at risk. To fulfill its potential, the Internet must be underpinned by the right combination of technology, operational processes, legislation, policy, and governance. The recent reports suggest that U.S. Government programmes have systematically undermined some or all of those measures, and that is why we view the revelations with such grave concern.
With this mind, we issue these calls to action for the global community:
- To every citizen of the Internet: let your government representatives know that, even in matters of national security, you expect privacy, rule of law, and due process in any handling of your data.
Security is a collective responsibility that involves multiple stakeholders. In this regard, we call on:
- Those involved in technology research and development: use the openness of standards processes like the IETF to challenge assumptions about security specifications.
- Those who implement the technology and standards for Internet security: uphold that responsibility in your work, and be mindful of the damage caused by loss of trust.
- Those who develop products and services that depend on a trusted Internet: secure your own services, and be intolerant of insecurity in the infrastructure on which you depend.
- To every Internet user: ensure you are well informed about good practice in online security, and act on that information. Take responsibility for your own security.
At the Internet Society, we remain committed to advancing work in areas such as browser security, privacy settings, and digital footprint awareness in order to help users understand and manage their privacy and security. The citizens of the Internet deserve a global and open platform for communication built on solid foundations of security and privacy.