Internet.org, the ambitious project of Mark Zuckerberg

 Internet.org The project, launched at the initiative of the CEO of Facebook, aims to provide internet access to all, especially the most disadvantaged populations.

image internet.org

Providing internet access to the entire population

Internet.org is a global partnership between several companies: Facebook, Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, and Opera Software Qualcommm. The purpose of this partnership is to promote Internet access for everyone, especially in developing countries with no or limited access to the Internet. Internet.org was initiated in August 20, 2013 by the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. The coverage will be based on different technology according to the different zones. Thus, in the most densely populated areas (areas of high urban density), the mesh network solution will be used: the connection is peer to peer without a central hierarchy, this technique would increase the access points Internet for a large number of people gathered at moderate cost. In medium population density areas, Internet access could be provided by the connected drones powered by solar energy. In the less densely populated areas, satellite connections may be considered but for now they remain expensive.For this project a strong involvement of mobile operators is required.Internet.org has also started a partnership with Reliance Communications, an Indian operator. This partnership allows to provide Internet access to those who do not have the financial resources in six Indian states.

A platform offering free basic services

The project sets three main objectives. First, organize a technical collaboration to develop cheap smartphones. Second goal, work to reduce the consumption of data for mobile browsing and use of applications using compression techniques and caching data. Finally, support initiatives that will help achieve these goals.The mobile application is currently offering free basic services in health, employment, local information and various core features such as Google Search, Facebook …

Many drawbacks

The project was the subject of much criticism from various associations. First there would also be a risk to freedom of expression. Indeed it could not circumvent censorship in some countries beacause Internet.org is based on cooperation with locals internet providers. Furthermore, Internet traffic becomes easier to monitor when powered only by a handful of services. Another big problem, privacy and users data are threatened: Internet.org prohibits the use of HTTPS encrypted protocol, or TLS and SSL encryption technologies. This allows the phone company to spy on you without any problem and the same applies to governments. Your intimate informations can be intercepted on the connection between the client and the website by a hacker. Moreover users will not be sufficiently informed about how the social network can use their private data. Facebook also retrieves the user’s phone number. The project also risks creating a two-speed internet: a first free and one paid.Facebook is certainly not selflessly thereby allowing a larger part of the population to access the Internet: the Californian company could thus reap more personal data.

A mediocre reception

However the project not takes place as expected. Several partners have already left the project for fear of being associated with the bad reputation revolving around internet.org .The service has not been well received in India , tens of thousands of Indian Internet users have participated in a ” black-out ” operation : deactivating their Facebook profile for twenty-four hours, they wanted to make clear to the leaders social network application internet.org they considered inappropriate.Facebook has finally decided that the application will be a little more “open”: users can themselves choose the thirty sites they prefer and they will be able to amend this list every month.

 

Thomas Bertrand

Thomas Bertrand

Etudiant en Master 2 Droit de l’économie numérique. Optimiste concernant les nouvelles technologies et attaché au droit du numérique.

 

 

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