A Note from Mark Surman about MozFest and Internet Health

By Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla

Earlier this year, Mozilla released its first full-length Internet Health Report — a deep look at how the internet and human life intersect, in ways both good and bad.

Writing the report was a chance to reflect on how remarkably the internet has changed. Today we have artificially-intelligent voice assistants and VR web browsing — innovations we couldn’t fathom in the days of 56k modems and static web pages.

There have also been harmful developments. Like sophisticated misinformation campaigns. The erosion of privacy and user control. And a handful of technology giants controlling what was once a more open, decentralized space.

This October, the people and ideas in the Internet Health Report will leap off the screen to discuss, debate and address these issues in person. Our ninth-annual Mozilla Festival is returning to London. And it feels more vital and necessary than ever.

Mark Surman at MozFest

Like the web, the Mozilla Festival has evolved over the years. It started as a small gathering in Spain — a few hundred fiery thinkers in a Barcelona museum. Our goal was to connect people building a healthy internet.

As the internet became more entwined with everyday life, the festival’s goal remained the same — but the scope grew. We moved to a bigger space: the Ravensbourne campus in London. Participation swelled: In 2017, we hosted 2,500 activists, coders, journalists and educators from every continent except Antarctica. And the festival now unfolds across seven days and two venues.

In October, we’ll have that same fiery spirit from 2010. We’ll also have the people and resources to make a big impact. A seven-day festival with hundreds of experts means we can build tools that better protect user data. We can advance thinking on topics like ethical AI and common-sense tech policy. We can forge new partnerships, we can train tomorrow’s leaders and we can fuel the movement for a healthier internet.

MozFest is just the start. Every year, we leave London inspired and committed. The ideas we bat around grow into influential and global campaigns. The code we craft becomes polished open-source products. All the while, we move toward a more open, inclusive and healthy internet.

Hope to see you there.
 — Mark Surman

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