Working For An Internet That Works For People
People-Centered Internet (PCI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working to ensure that the Internet is a positive force for good, improving the lives and well-being of people around the world. This includes promoting connectivity, fighting disinformation, contributing to the discussion about technology ethics, supporting the development of people-centered applications and initiatives, advising policymakers, and leveraging technology to help communities be more resilient.
A Message from the founders
Vinton G. Cerf
“The People-Centered Internet (PCI) was founded in the belief that computers and networking could be the foundation for significant enhancement of the utility of the Internet for everyone. That the Internet and its applications have the innate ability to be powerful tools for progress has been demonstrated repeatedly ever since the operational beginning of the Internet and especially after the arrival of the World Wide Web. At the same time, we have learned from experience that this powerful platform can be and is being abused by people who do not have society’s best interests at heart. In the tussle between beneficial and harmful behaviors, our challenge is to preserve and encourage the former and discourage the latter. This should be a concern for all Internauts everywhere and is a key pillar of PCI focus from its founding. PCI welcomes all who feel a sense of mission aligned with the goal of making the Internet useful for everyone.”
Mei Lin Fung
“When we organized the 40th anniversary of the TCP/IP spec in 2014 I realized the global spread of the Internet was not a national or corporate or religious or political phenomenon but a rare and infinitely unique gift of people all over the world who wanted to bring it to their communities. We now face serious challenges as one of the most powerful tools in the hands of half of humankind, like fire, can be harnessed for good or bad. The People Centered Internet is just a short name for those who believe in an Internet by the people of the people and with the people of the world.”
Reliable information about access to broadband is essential to efforts designed to ensure equal access to broadband. The Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband map is missing the mark, however, because it relies on self-reporting by Internet service providers for information. That was the message of Sascha Meinrath, the Palmer Chair in Telecommunications at Pennsylvania State University, when he joined the January 19 PCI Community call. The reporting discrepancy exacerbates the digital divide and disadvantages rural communities.
It has been quite a month for PCI, as our new board has gotten up and running and activities within our six areas of focus for 2020 are beginning to take shape.
We at PCI are thinking a lot about cities and how governments around the world can better engage with and respond to the needs of their residents. I was honored to join the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for a panel on “Governing and Managing Smart Sustainable Cities” at the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi on Feb 8–13th, where I argued that “smart cities” should be about making “smart people,” setting the conditions to allow all individuals to thrive.
What good is a “smart city,” if it doesn’t improve people’s lives?
The trajectory of smart cities has evolved from a purely technology-centered approach to a government-centered approach. It is now becoming increasingly clear that “smart” technologies must be implemented for and with the people they are meant to serve. While many initial attempts at building smart cities have not evolved past the technology-centered phase, there is growing understanding that a people-centered approach is the future.
The “PCI Community” consists of those around the world who share ideas together and support PCI’s goals.Members of the PCI Community share ideas in a community listserv and are invited to participate in video calls in which members or invited guests present new projects, ideas, or host in-depth discussions.
PCI Cofounder, Mei Lin Fung leads an international delegation and members of the PCI Community on a tour of Sonoma County that included an introduction to library connectivity programs at Sonoma County Library and a discussion of agricultural tech at Iron Horse Vineyards.
How PCI Works
As a volunteer-led organization, PCI supports mission-aligned projects by convening experts and stakeholders, producing papers and recommendations, and through project advising and fiscal sponsorship.