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Measuring the Internet 10 August 2020

Measuring the Internet – Mid Year Project Update

Susannah Gray
By Susannah GrayDirector, Communications

Here at the Internet Society, we believe that the Internet is for everyone. Our work centers on increasing the Internet’s reach, reliability and resilience, as well as ensuring that the network of networks remains open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy.

But how do we assess whether our efforts – and the efforts of the global ecosystem of organizations that facilitate the smooth functioning of the Internet – are working? How can we see where protocols, such as IPv6, are being deployed and at what rate so we can better understand where more education on the benefits of such technologies might be helpful? Where can policy makers find a comprehensive set of data from various sources to help show decision makers that Internet shutdowns damage local economies and potentially harm citizens?

A Single Platform

There are many people, projects and organizations that are collecting data on various facets of the Internet, but there’s no single site that provides a curated set of insights. So, to help everyone gain deeper, data-driven insight into the Internet, the Internet Society is building a tool that consolidates trusted third-party Internet measurement data from various sources into a single platform –

We’ll use the data presented on the Insights platform to examine Internet trends, generate reports, and tell data-driven stories so that policymakers, researchers, journalists, network operators, civil society groups and others can better understand the health, availability and evolution of the Internet. 

Data Partners

It’s important to note that the Internet Society is not collecting data or performing measurements itself. Instead, we’re collating and curating publicly available data and making it available in one place so that users do not have to go to many individual sites to get the multiple sources of information they need. Our data sources include Internet Society Organization Members Facebook, Google and Oracle, among others. 

We’ve also put in place agreements and partnerships with several other organizations in the Internet measurement community and are continuing these outreach efforts to secure access to more data. These key strategic relationships will enable us to present and use Internet measurement data that is currently not publicly available and data that might have limited public availability. And, as the Insights platform develops, these relationships will also facilitate collaboration with industry leaders on other aspects of data collection and Internet measurements.

Strategic Relationships 

One such relationship is with Internet Society Organization Member, AFRINIC, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa. Signed on 23 July 2020, the agreement builds upon a strategic, long-term partnership agreement held between both organizations aimed at strengthening collaboration throughout Africa. The primary goal of this partnership is to drive the development of the Internet in the region through projects and research related to Internet measurements, Internet resilience, routing security, open Internet standards, and Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). 

An agreement has also been signed with the Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA). CAIDA’s long-standing work on monitoring the Internet in near-real time to identify macroscopic Internet outages will further strengthen the Insights platform’s focus on Internet Shutdowns and Internet Resilience. 

Making Progress  

We’ve been working on the Insights platform as part of our Measuring the Internet project since the beginning of 2020 and are making good progress. Development work is already under way and we plan to launch by the end of the 2020. As we want to make Insights available as soon as possible, we’ll initially launch with two focus areas, Internet Shutdowns and Enabling Technologies. Meanwhile, work will continue on finalizing metrics and data sources for our other two focus areas, Internet Resilience and the Internet Way of Networking (IWN), as well as on outreach and partnership development.

Stay Informed

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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