The relationship between platforms and their users has never been more fraught. To see the evidence, look no further than Congress today, where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify about how his company reportedly mishandled data belonging to up to 87 million people by allowing it to get into the hands of the Trump-affiliated data firm Cambridge Analytica. The hearings follow follow a tumultuous two years not only for for Facebook, but also for the rest of the world's dominant internet platforms, which face a blowback after years spent growing rich by monetizing your personal data. What better time, then, to examine whether the internet makes our lives better or worse, and in what way. In a sweeping report released today, the Mozilla Foundation asks that very question.
In its first full "Internet Health Report," the nonprofit combines research and stories to examine five main issues: privacy and security, openness, digital inclusion, web literacy, and decentralization. "It's really a look at human life on the internet," says Mark Surman, the executive director of the Mozilla Foundation.
'We're in this kind of fat data economy, where we collect as much as we can and let it interconnect, and then we end up with these toxic data spills.'
Mark Surman, Mozilla Foundation
Mozilla notes that the state of the internet isn't all bad; more people are connecting to it than ever, it's becoming cheaper for them to do so, and their data is more likely to be encrypted. In other areas though, things are getting worse. State-sanctioned internet censorship has become more widespread, online harassment has grown more severe, and the companies that control the internet largely don't reflect the diversity of