It’s a variation on a question we ask every year to identify the most relevant and timely topics of the moment, but it’s the first time we’ve asked in the middle of a pandemic.
Among the 425 responses we received from different countries (most in English) COVID-19 was often top of mind: How may contact-tracing measures affect privacy? With schools closed, what can be done for students without adequate internet access?
Across all responses, privacy and security were the leading concerns. We saw numerous questions around encryption, around fraud and identity, and around meaningful regulation to protect personal data. In this context, there was no love lost for tech giants.
Disinformation and misinformation were also common themes. How to combat it, and what roles major social media platforms and regulators should play. Tellingly, quite a few responses themselves displayed some belief in online conspiracy theories.
Common to the vast majority of responses is how avidly everyone is looking to connect the dots between the root causes for problems (and their potential solutions): from cloud computing and decentralized technologies; to datasets that are used for machine learning; business models and data collection; and the sustainability of internet infrastructure.
This year’s responses also showed an extra degree of concern about geopolitics and how it affects the global internet. These are hardly entry level topics.
A huge thank you to all who took the time to respond. We look forward to digging into much of this in the next Internet Health Report, as well as in other work across Mozilla. Do join us in participating in advocacy campaigns and community-led events like MozFest.