Hi, people. It’s a big hall in here. Ethan, that was wonderful. Thank you so very much. And it’s making my life very easy. I’m not a particularly good speaker. I tell people that what I try to do is to speak with the people that are here. So I don’t have great slides to show you. I don’t have great things to share with you, but I want to take you on a journey. I want you to come with me. It’s interesting that Ethan has talked to us about what is happening today with the systems, with the norms and institutions in place. But what I want you to do with me is look at the Web yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That’s what I’m going to talk about.
I normally say my name is Nenna and I come from the Internet. Some fifteen years ago, I was just a fresh graduate and I really wanted to get my hands working. I wanted to make myself better. And I went to learn to write HTML. Then, I never knew… They didn’t even give me the history of HTML. I never knew who Tim Berners-Lee was. Then later on I’m like, “Oh…That is him.”
Okay, so I could write HTML and all of that. But now I work with the Web Foundation basically doing three things. We work on access, making sure that everyone gets access the Internet. We will talk about that with you. We work on voices, speaking about rights online and offline. And we work on participation, on data, and the possibility to use the Internet to engage at all levels, which is part of what Ethan was speaking with us today. This is what I do at the Web Foundation, apart from being an Internet junkie, like I said. Get connected, everywhere, every time, otherwise I would go crazy.
But what I want to ask you first all is how many people used numbers instead of DNS? How many people were here before the DNS days? Ethan is one of those, okay. I need to salute all of those. The Web has only been about twenty-five years old. How many of us here are less than twenty-five? How many of us are less than twenty-five? Okay.
Now, project. In fifteen years’ time, in ten, fifteen years’ time, it’s going to be 2030. How many of you are going to come back to Internetdagarna 2030? Now, we are all big liars. No one knows if we’ll be there, anyhow. But hey, I plan to be. I hope you will be. And we’re going to be looking at a new set of people.
Now, if you are speaking with a fifteen year-old today, I think some of us have seen that video of where the girl was asking how exactly do you drop a phone? How do you…? What is it? Why is it this way? So in fifteen years, I will have in Africa—because most of us did not have the fixed line—you will have a hell of a time explaining to your child, “This is what the telephones looked like in the year 1990.” They’ll be like, “Why would anyone be using this?” You’ll be like, “Shut up! This was wealth in those days.”
But let me tell you something. When I was younger, my parents didn’t have a fixed line. When I went to university, I would call someone in town, this Sunday. And they would find a way to send a message to my parents over the week. And then I would call back next Sunday. So I had to spend two Sundays for me to be able to speak to my parents on the phone.
So the first question is access. What was access yesterday? What is access today? Who has access? That’s the first question. I have a photo here I would like to share with you. It’s a photo of a horse up in the skies.
So we have this, it’s put up by one of the projects in Latin America. At the moment, only a third of the world population is online. What do we mean? We’re saying that Europe is online, and the North and a big part of South America, they are online. But what does that mean? It just means that only two out of seven billion people have the rights to Internet access for the moment.
So the question would be what is going to happen in fifteen years? Fifteen years ago, I remember how I used to get connected. Who remembers how they were connecting fifteen years ago? What did you use? Modems, dial up. [mimics the sound of a phone dialing and modem noises] Yeah, that’s what I used as well. So, we’ve come from those days to ADSL, to WiFi, to MiFi, and I don’t know what it is we’re using— Mostly we’re using them data packs here, and WiFi at the moment. What are we going to be using to connect, next fifteen years? We’ll come to that.
But who is online at the moment? In Europe, there are about fifty-odd countries, and about 725 million people. That’s about the population of Europe at the moment—at the most 750. What’s the largest country in Europe in terms of population? In Europe—I’m not talking about the EU. Russia is. Russia has about 144 million, 145 million. Let’s talk about that. But Nigeria has more than 170 million, and there are only about 40% of Nigerians who are connected.
The second most populous country in Europe is Germany. Germany has about 81 million. A lot of Germans are connected. Who knows the second-most populous country Africa? [no visible response] Come on. People are connected here. You can find— I found all of this this morning when I was preparing for a speech. The second most populous country in Africa is Ethiopia. Now, I don’t expect a lot of hands this time. Who has an idea of the population of Ethiopia? Ten? Twenty? Fifty? Ninety million. There are more people in Ethiopia than there are in Germany. But 10% of them, only, are connected to the Internet. Ten percent of 90 million people. So there’s a whole bunch— In fact, the number of people that are not connected to the Internet in Ethiopia is the same as the whole of the population of Germany.
Think ahead, in 2030. Internetdagarna 2030, that’s what we’re talking about. Let’s say there will be about 70, 80% of Ethiopians who are connected. What would that be, then? Think ahead. Let’s say there will be about 90% of Nigerians who are connected. There are a billion people in Africa are connected. Let’s say that there will be able at 750 million Africans connected to broadband Internet. We need to begin to think of the programs we will show up here in Internetdagarna 2030. That’s the program we’re making now.
So we’re looking at more people connected. We’re looking at Asia. India has 1.2 billion, and China has 1.3 billion. So in fifteen years’ time, the connection we had ten, fifteen years won’t be there anymore. The connection we have now…you know when you hop into the plane and they’re like, “Could you please switch off all devices.” And then you have to be offline. I’m not doing any adverts, but I really love flying Emirates, and any other airline that has onboard WiFi, because I need to keep sane when I’m doing long travels. So really, I don’t think that in 2030 when we’re coming to Stockholm or any other city, by the way, for Internetdagarna, we’ll be flying in planes where we have to put off our devices. That’s for sure; I hope I don’t have to. So we cannot really get connected to everyone, because not everybody is connected. We cannot connect every time, because there are places where we are told that we cannot connect.
I’d like to show a second slide. I think most of us have seen this image one way or the other. It’s by Facebook. It was done some three years ago. It’s the live capture of Facebook connections at a given time of the day. So you see the places where people are connected. And you see where I come from, which is West Africa. So you see how the upper parts of the image are slightly more connected than the lower part of the image.
So in 2030, we’re looking at a time when all of the planet, it will be lighted up. But the thing about this image I would like to share is that when we go online, what do we access? What’s the content? Who remembers what we were accessing online fifteen years ago, what we were using the Internet for? Emails. News. Chatting, yeah. I was out of high school, and I was a second-year student. I wanted to check out boys. Me, all the time, that’s what I wanted to do. Fashion, those kind of things.
The first project I had online was to mount a football team. Something I couldn’t have done with my means on the ground, because I’m a football fan. But the question here is content. What were we accessing on the Internet then, and what what are we accessing on the Internet today? Today, what do we not do on the Internet, will be the question. What do we not do on the Web. Travel, education, business, commerce, banking, friends, family, all of those we do online today.
But then the question is what will we be doing by Internetdagarna 2030? Should we even hold one physically? Maybe that’s the question. Because if all of us are connected and we can have hyper, super Internet speed, should we be meeting face to face? I don’t know what it is going to be in 2030.
But what I want to ask us here is what are people accessing online? What were they accessing online? What are we accessing online today? We are more into audio-visuals. We have more videos today. We have more active things. We have more of data. We have more of heavy stuff. How many of us saw that image of a 4 megabyte drive being hauled by six men carrying it? You know how it feels. But now, if someone gives you a 2 gigabyte dongle, what would you do with it? Nothing. I need like 16 gig, 24, 64…stocking is the big deal. And someone says for fifty years of humanity, all of the knowledge we created was produced by the Internet in less than five years. And they can fit in here. [indicates index finger] and you go away with it.
So I’m looking at content in the next thirty years. It’s going to be huge. It’s going to be bigger than what it is now. And if we add that to the number of people who would already be connected, then we are going boom.
I would like to share one other image with us. That’s the hand of someone. The thought I would like to share with us about this is about shadows and light. This time last week I was in Brussels. I was in Brussels consulting with an EU member about their cyber diplomacy, if I should use that word. And I live in Africa, where for one thing or another there is an Internet shutdown. Most of us have been to places where you cannot access certain content online. So we’re not sure whether we’re living in the state of light, or in the state of shadows.
Last year, when Turkey, the Turkey that has been mentioned— And what happened is that because there is some state-level censorship, even ISPs have taken the liberty to include their own censorship, and everyone is censoring everyone, for whatever reason they find suitable for themselves. And so we are there on a UN meeting, the Internet Governance Forum, but we’re holding a side meeting in a hotel. And you find that even the UN web site could not be accessed from one of the hotels in Istanbul because probably the ISP of the hotel itself or someone somewhere said “political content.” Oh yeah? I thought this country was hosting this event. And one of our initiatives, Web We Want…political content.
Yeah, I understand that that is an advocate site. But quite a number of things happen when you cannot access all of the Internet. We cannot tell people, “Oh, because there is a terrorist attack in XYZ, we’ll clamp down on the Internet.” And I’m speaking to us here in Stockholm. Because things are happening in the EU in the past one week, that before you even wake up next week a whole lot of laws would have been passed and we don’t have the energy to engage on it. Because we are told this is the fence, this is security, this is hyper-important. We cannot argue with the institutions. We can not engage with the institutions, because we are told it’s just something that has to be done at the moment. If we continue going this way, if we continue making Web access to individuals a game of shadows and darkness, light and dark, shadow and that, where will we be in 2030?
Ethan talked about institutions. He talked about coding. He talked about markets. He talked about norms. But if we do not come down on the things that matter to human beings, where will we be in 2030?
Today we have media. Today we have services. And I understand there’s a group here working on the Internet of Things. That is the future of the Internet. Today we are accessing the Internet from our mobiles. We’re accessing the Internet from our homes. We’re accessing the Internet on WiFi. What will it be tomorrow? I’m looking at a tomorrow of ubiquitous Internet access. Tomorrow when almost everyone will be online. Not almost, everybody. Why not? Everyone who wants to be online should be online, should have broadband Internet access.
But I’m afraid. I’m afraid because there’s a big debate going on in encryption. Who are the people working on encryption here? Okay, not a lot of us. By the time we have six out of the seven billion global population online, by the time we have extended content available online, by the time we have high-speed Internet at very low cost, my fear is that we will have greater challenges managing identity. Because most of the things we’ll do, we’ll be doing them online.
So what are we going to do with identity? What will be the future of anonymity and encryption? What would we have rights to do, and rights to not be shown to do? Where will be the lines between privacy and “public surveillance?” And if we can sousveillance, at what extent? These are the things we need to begin to think of even today.
I want to close with another one, the Internet for all. As we sit here in 2015, I will look forward to 2030. There are questions we have to ask ourselves. What will happen when everyone gets the Internet? What will happen when the Internet becomes open for all? What will happen when we can access all of the Internet? I don’t know exactly what will happen to everyone, but I know that there will be increase in economic emergence for many people. I know there’ll be increase in communication capacities in education. I know that humanity will benefit from an open Internet for everyone. I know that as we sit here, we will all benefit from it.
Whether we are activists like myself, because the Web would allow us to connect with other people. Whether we are the norm-setters, we will see that participation, mobilization, will not only be national but global. Whether we’re writing code—I’m from the open source world—we’ll find that it will be indeed a community. And whether we’re operating in the market, we know that one billion in Africa is a better market for only 750 million in Europe.
As we begin to think about Internetdagarna 2030, I would like to challenge us to do something. When we work at the Web Foundation for access to be given to everyone, it is not just as a work of activists. It is because we believe that part of the future of the world lies in everyone having access to the Internet. When we say that the rights that people have offline should also be applied online, it is because we know that the respect of human rights is the basis on which the Internet of the future can reliably move forward. And we say you should not cut off part of the Internet, or shut down the Internet for any reason. It is because we believe that inherently human beings are free beings, and we want openness in architecture, we want openness in access, we want openness for the Internet.
My boss Tim Berners-Lee says the Internet is for everyone. This is for all of us. And personally, I always say my name is Nenna, I’m from the Internet. You must have heard it from me that we have to [?], that everybody, everyone, all of the people, should be able and free to access all parts of the Internet for all of their needs whether they be social, cultural, or commercial. And at no point in time should one part of the Internet be cut off from the people. And that is why we say all of the people, all of the Internet, all of the time.
Are you a coder? Are you developing products? Are you developing RFCs, standards and norms? Are you advising lawmakers? Are you a lawmaker yourself? Are you an activist for human rights? Are you creating content? Are you organizing and convening like we’re doing here? What exactly is your role? Are you a DNS registrar? What exactly is our role, that is the question.
The one good thing is that the Internet does not ask you whether you’re male or female, whether you’re old or young, whether you’re tall or short, whether you’re African or European. The Internet is in need of human beings, and one of those is you seated here today. So I would like to call you to join me to work for an open Internet that will be open for all, all the time. That all of the people should have access to all of the Internet, all of the time. All of the Internet, all of the, all of the time. And that was me in Stockholm. Thanks.
Moderator: So, we’ve got a question from the audience that I would like to ask you. There is some amazing leapfrogging happening in Africa at the moment, which is enabled by the Internet. Can you share one of those stories and also how you see these spur future developments?
Nnenna Nwakanma: Is that from…[Nirani?]
Nwakanma: Hi, where are you? Good to have you here. A lot of things are happening. Like I was saying, some of us did not have the fixed-line telephone. So there is no point going into the fixed-line telephone anymore. A little story: I was walking in Burundi. Burundi’s a very sad country now. That was 5 years ago. And so we went to a place to install their very first Internet connection. And you called a chief of the village. We installed the Internet connection in a school. And so the chief came. And before then, we asked him, “Where is your son?” “Oh, my son is in Europe somewhere.”
So we called the man on Skype, the young man living in Europe. Of course it was on video. And the father was looking at him. “Is it real? Can he see me now?” We said yeah. He says, “What time is it there?” Then the man said, “If you can see me, describe what I’m wearing.” And he says, “You’re wearing… And there’s this person besides…” He said, “Now I can die in peace.”
So that is how shocking it was to him. So, I can keep in contact with my family. For people who live in Stockholm, for people who live in Central Europe who’ve had communications all the time, you don’t know what it means for an old man to see his son who he hasn’t seen for ten, fifteen years. Someone in North and South Korea, may be able to tell you what it means. And these are things that very simple Internet connection can do.
You know, when I’m here and they tell me, “Your mother is sick in Africa,” and I’m like okay, take her to the hospital. And they’re like, “We can’t pay for the bills.” I’m like, get down there. I’m calling the doctor on Skype or I don’t know what. And I’m like give me your account number. And as I’m speaking with him on my phone I’m logging into my online portal and I’m paying the hospital bill from wherever I am. That alone gives my mother an extra ten years of life. You know what it meant.
In the US they have systems they don’t trust. In Nigeria and West Africa we don’t even have systems. So, in places where you don’t have systems, that is where you build your trust on the Internet. So folks, for people like us who come from the Internet, we actually have great trust in technology. And it is up to any of us here not to disappoint those of us whose 90% trust is on the Internet.
I work for an office that is based in Washington DC but I live in West Africa. Most of my life is online. Most of my work is online. Were it not for the Internet, maybe I would’ve been jobless or in jail, because I’m originally an Internet activist.