As we come to understand that our interactions with each other will continue to be primarily “virtual” for many months ahead, I find myself returning to the idea that friendship and empathy fueled the start and the success of the early Internet. I recently had the privilege of addressing the World Summit on the Information Society, where I emphasized that the future of the Internet must follow a similar path, with leaders prioritizing equity and “do no harm” policies in their shaping and design of new and old systems.
Some have called this time of COVID-19 our “World Wide Pause.” For some of us — especially in the United States, Russia, India, and Brazil, where cases continue to rise — the pause is lasting longer than we could have imagined, while our friends in New Zealand, China, and many in the European Union cautiously reopen.
In the midst of these unique circumstances, we joined the world in marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, which was signed in San Francisco on June 26th, 1945. The preamble to the UN charter establishes what can still, to this day, be rightly called one of the most ambitious visions for the world on behalf of “We the Peoples of the United Nations.” Of course, the signatories could hardly have imagined a time when half the world would be digitally connected with the ability to instantly share experiences and information, or the challenges that would bring.
Watch as PCI celebrates the 75th birthday of the UN. We asked, in a time of plague, poverty and protest, can people and the UN join together to Connect, Protect, Respect?
In 2018, following the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico, People-Centered Internet fielded a team of experts, working with the RAND Corporation, to offer recommendations for leveraging the Internet for the archipelago’s recovery plan. This initiative followed extensive disaster response work by PCI community member, Melvin Cordova, through his “Project Coqui.” PCI team members — including Marci Harris, Mei Lin Fung, and Lin Wells — traveled multiple times to Puerto Rico to engage with local business leaders, innovators, academics, and policymakers. They also participated in a knowledge-exchange trip, organized by Mei Lin Fung, for leaders from Puerto Rico to visit Singapore and engage with their counterparts in business, government, and academia to learn from Singapore’s post-colonial transformation. PCI’s work culminated in 11 recommendations (courses of action or “COAs”) for leveraging federal programs and private resources for Puerto Rico’s recovery and were included in the plan submitted to Congress.
This is the first article in which PCI appeared, written in 2015 by Bitange Ndemo in Business Daily Africa.
As PCI’s leaders remind us every day, the Internet was created by people, to connect people. This people-centered, cooperative essence permeates its history and at PCI, we want it to guide its future. Today, with the launch of our new Digital Cooperation and Diplomacy Initiative, PCI is committing to continuing on that path. By creating worldwide connections, facilitating critical conversations to solve today’s problems, and designing and imagining a people-centered future of the Internet, PCI’s new DCD Initiative seeks to follow in the footsteps of the originators of the Internet and harness their spirit of cooperation for a new age of connectedness.
As June begins, the world is still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. The toll of human lives lost and families forever changed continues to climb. The Internet has helped our societies stay connected and continue to function as we limit physical interactions to prevent further spread of novel coronavirus. It has also facilitated the spread of a shocking video illustrating the continued proliferation of another deadly disease in America: racism and systemic indifference to black suffering. At this writing, the streets of U.S. cities are literally aflame and platforms amplify cries for justice and peace.
PCI is excited to have Sarah Wright leading communications strategy and support for policy initiatives.
Palo Alto, CA, April 3, 2020 — People-Centered Internet, a California-based 501(c)3 organization with a mission to “put humanity at the center of the Internet,” announced the appointment of Kristin Little as Digital Cooperation and Diplomacy Fellow for a new “Digital Cooperation and Diplomacy” initiative. PCI’s Digital Cooperation and Diplomacy (“DCD”) initiative builds on the […]
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.