The internet is for all of us to shape and make healthier. You’ve read the stories in this report, and now you’re probably asking “What can I do?”
10 minutes to a healthier internet
What you can do right now to improve your internet health:
Check the privacy of your apps.
Apps can be great for games, getting around town and staying in touch with friends. But they also know a lot about you, and they might be sharing your data. You can check the privacy setup of your favorite Android apps on AppCensus AppSearch to learn more about what data they access and share with other parties over the internet.
Protect your accounts.
Your private information is only as safe as your passwords.
Check to see if your account has been compromised. If it was, stop using the exposed password and change it everywhere, even for old accounts. If your financial information was involved, alert your bank and monitor your statements.
Protect yourself by using a different password for every account. A password manager like 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane, and Bitwarden can help you by generating super-strong passwords and remembering them all for you.
Think twice before getting a DNA test.
Your DNA sample has privacy implications not just for you, but also for your family members. Where possible, have a conversation with those affected about the implications for everyone’s privacy, and about whether or not the test is likely to give you accurate results, and make a plan for how to navigate potential surprises.
Join the movement
There are many organizations and groups worldwide –– and likely also in your country or city –– that work directly to make the internet healthier. Getting involved with an organization is often the best way to learn more and contribute to creating a healthier internet.
The organizations we mention in this year’s report are great places to start. We suggest ways you can connect with some of them below. The question is: what do you want to do?
You’re also invited to get involved with Mozilla, the organization that publishes the Internet Health Report. You can find opportunities to participate here.
I want to help
I want to help support an open internet
Support and contribute to Wikimedia: a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world. They’re probably best known for Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia. But they also have other projects, like Wikidata. There are many ways to get involved, including finding the local affiliate nearest to you.
Help Access Now fight internet shutdowns by joining their #KeepItOn campaign. Internet shutdowns are on the rise: Access Now documented 188 shutdowns worldwide in 2018. That’s more than double than the number of shutdowns in 2016. Through #Keepiton, Access Now is collecting and sharing stories about how internet shutdowns impact people’s lives, and gathering supporters to demand that world leaders pledge to keep the internet on.
I want to help make the internet more private and secure.
Run a relay for the Tor Project, a free browser that enables people to publish and share information online with a high degree of privacy and security. By supporting Tor, you’ll help defend anonymity online for millions of people worldwide.
Join The Internet Society, an organization that helps build and support communities that make the internet work, as part of their mission to create a globally-connected, secure and trustworthy internet. See if there’s an Internet Society chapter where you live. If not, consider forming a chapter.
I want to help create an inclusive internet.
Get involved with the Algorithmic Justice League to help fight bias and increase accountability in automated systems. Founded by Joy Buolamwini, the Algorithmic Justice League conducts research into topics like how commercial facial analysis systems encode gender and racial biases, and proposes solutions like the Safe Face Pledge: a guide to help companies build facial analysis technology that does not harm people.
Become a TrollBuster. When you spot online threats, cyberharassment or other troll behavior against women writers, report them to TrollBusters. The organization will send you, or whoever is under attack positive messages, virtual hugs or reputation repair services. Nearly two-thirds of female journalists surveyed by TrollBusters and the International Women’s Media Foundation in 2018 said they had experienced online harassment.
I want to help improve web literacy.
Help improve the readability of Terms of Service with the “Terms of Service; Didn’t Read” (ToS;DR) project. “I have read and agree to the Terms” is one of the biggest lies on the web. ToS;DR aims to fix that. Project contributors read and rate Terms of Service, with the goal of pushing companies to make it easier for their users to understand what they’re agreeing to.
Learn how to support Amnesty International’s Decoders to support human rights research. It’s a community of over 50,000 online volunteers from more than 150 countries who donate their time and skills online. In the hands of human rights defenders working to protect and seek justice for vulnerable people worldwide, the internet is a powerful tool for documentation. Decoders projects are broken into micro-tasks that anyone can help with.
I want to help keep internet decentralized.
Donate your voice to the Common Voice project. Common Voice was founded to spark more decentralized innovation, by helping to make the data needed to create voice recognition systems open and accessible to everyone. It is now the largest dataset of human voices available for use.
Consider alternative business models for the internet. Explore communities like the Platform Cooperativism Consortium; projects like The Internet of Ownership; or Zebras Unite, a women-led movement to push for more ethical and inclusive alternatives to the “unicorn” culture of Silicon Valley.