The problems we address

  • Access to the internet is not universal. Access divides often reinforce existing divides based on geographic location, gender, income, and level of education.

  • Civil society movements working on internet issues are fragmented, which weakens their influence.

  • Business models and practices are changing the internet’s character away from being a global public resource (or global public good).

  • Governments are introducing legislation that restricts people’s use of the internet for expression and participation.

  • Civil society organisations, including women’s rights organisations, lack the awareness and skill needed to use the internet effectively, securely and sustainably.

  • Internet-related development and governance do not include gender equality and sexual rights perspectives. Women’s rights and sexual rights advocates do not see internet policy and regulation as part of their agenda, which contributes to this lack of integration of their issues.

  • Non-state actors are impacting on the internet in ways that violate human rights and exacerbate discriminatory and fundamentalist behaviours and norms that result in inequality, oppression and, at times, violence.

  • Increasing digitalisation means more jobs are temporary, which risks eroding the rights of workers, and the interconnectedness of the global economy directly pits workers in the developed world against workers in less developed countries who earn less. Many workers are tethered by the internet to their workplace for up to 24 hours a day.

  • Free and open software solutions are easier to use and more reliable but awareness and uptake by civil society organisations is limited.

  • Most policy makers assume that increases in mobile penetration have addressed the “access” gap. Few consider public access or community-based solutions as viable solutions.

  • Internet policy and governance processes are complex and difficult for civil society to participate in and influence. Many in civil society are not aware of the importance of these processes to their work.