The Internet Monitor project's second annual report—Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World—is a collection of roughly three dozen short contributions that highlight and discuss some of the most compelling events and trends in the digitally networked environment over the past year. The report focuses on the interplay between technological platforms and policy; growing tensions between protecting personal privacy and using big data for social good; the implications of digital communications tools for public discourse and collective action; and current debates around the future of Internet governance.
The publication, intended for a general interest audience, brings together reflection and analysis on a broad range of issues and regions—from an examination of Europe’s “right to be forgotten” to a review of the current state of mobile security to an exploration of a new wave of movements attempting to counter hate speech online—and offers it up for debate and discussion. Our goal remains not to provide a definitive assessment of the “state of the Internet” but rather to provide a rich compendium of commentary on the year’s developments with respect to the online space.
The report reflects the diversity of ideas and input the Internet Monitor project seeks to invite. Some of the contributions are descriptive; others prescriptive. Some contain purely factual observations; others offer personal opinion. In addition to those in traditional essay format, contributions this year include a speculative fiction story exploring what our increasingly data-driven world might bring, a selection of “visual thinking” illustrations that accompany a number of essays, a “Year in Review” timeline that highlights many of the year’s most fascinating Internet-related news stories, and a slightly tongue-in-cheek “By the Numbers” section that offers a look at the year’s important digital statistics. We believe that each contribution offers insights, and hope they provoke further reflection, conversation, and debate in both offline and online settings around the globe.