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Mozilla wants infosec activism to be the next green movement

Chief Mozillan calls for grass roots movement akin to 1960s' environmental awakenings

By Darren Pauli, 23 Jan 2017

Mozilla has issued a prototype of its first internet health report in a bid to make humans give security and privacy the same level of attention they devote to climate change.

The prototype report details rising breaches affecting healthcare and medical industries but largely serves as a pulpit from which the browser baron and enemy of surveillance can preach privacy.

Mozilla Foundation executive director Mark Surman explains, in a post dubbed "Calling all citizens of the internet", that the web has changed from a digital permaculture in the 1990s to a place where blind users wander about under the gaze of hackers and intelligence agencies.

"When I first fell in love with the internet in the mid-1990s, it was very much a commons that belonged to everyone: a place where anyone online could publish or make anything … it made me — and countless millions of others — very happy," Surman says

"Similarly, when I read about hackers turning millions of home webcams and video recorders into a botnet army, I wonder whether this precious public resource can remain safe, secure and dependable? Can it survive?

"We have started work on The Internet Health Report at Mozilla for exactly this reason."

Surman says environmentalists faced a similar problem in the 1960s as internet privacy and security advocates do today in that few people outside of specialist circles know of the dangers posed. "They built a global movement that helped the public understand nerdy topics like the ozone layer and renewable energy, eventually changing laws and sparking a swath of industries committed to green business," he says.

The report reveals countries that lack comprehensive data protection laws, including the United States, African nations, China, and Pakistan.

Secure site browsing has skyrocketed with half of all those on the internet using HTTPS, up 10 per cent in the last 12 months.

It cites a 2015 study revealing that millions of Facebook users do not realise the social network is on the internet in what it indicates as unhealthy digital literacy. ®

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