Internet Society

The Internet is for everyone.

aka ISOC   |   Reston, VA   |


The Internet Society supports and promotes the development of the Internet as a global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people’s lives, and a force for good in society. Our work aligns with our goals for the Internet to be open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy. We seek collaboration with all who share these goals. Together, we focus on: - Building and supporting the communities that make the Internet work; - Advancing the development and application of Internet infrastructure, technologies, and open standards; and - Advocating for policy that is consistent with our view of the Internet.

Ruling year info


President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Andrew Sullivan

Main address

11710 Plaza America Drive Suite 400

Reston, VA 20190 USA

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NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (W05)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (W12)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Connecting the world

One of the earliest priorities of the Internet Society was to increase the reach of the Internet. That priority continues today because the Internet is for everyone. Every last person on the planet is part of “everyone”, and we won’t rest until each person has the option of choosing to be connected. We promote policies and build communities to sustain an Internet that is a universally accessible platform for innovation, creativity, and economic opportunity. We advance the development and application of Internet infrastructure, technologies, and open standards to enable an open Internet for all.

The most prominent part of our investment in connecting people in 2019 remains our campaign in favor of community networks. In 2018, we undertook successful efforts to support the creation of community networks. In the coming year we will shift our work by establishing enduring technical, policy, and regulatory frameworks that will help communities of the world connect themselves. The whole Internet community—a global, self-sustaining community of industry, governments, technical experts, policy makers, and the community members themselves—is needed to complete this work.

The culmination of this effort will be a global summit for this community by the end of 2019, hosted by the Internet Society. The summit will be the expression of a roadmap to advance community networks, and be a foundation for a community-driven organization of community networks to implement the roadmap. We have set intermediate objectives to ensure we are on track to achieve this result. These include garnering economic and political support for community networks. We will work to get at least four governments to express a willingness to use public funds (e.g. Universal service funds) for community networks. We also expect to have two international development agencies pledge to make community networks part of their funding portfolios.

Additional priorities in 2019 for our Connecting the World focus area will include continuing to strengthen interconnection and peering ecosystems around the world:

Continuing our support and development of Internet exchange points (IXPs). We previously shifted away from direct involvement in this area, but are continuing to support others in their efforts. Success will be measured by observing the ongoing viability of IXPs where we have been involved, as our involvement declines. Our goal is that 80% of African Internet traffic remains in Africa.

Collaborating with Facebook in Africa. We will provide equipment, build capacity, and promote best practices to scale the technical operations of at least 10 IXPs in Africa. We will also support the 2019 edition of the African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) with a goal of attracting 20% more participants than in 2018.

Training and skills development, in collaboration with other capacity-development organizations. Success will be measured by the incorporation of trainees into direct network operations, and also by the use of previously-trained people as instructors in subsequent training sessions.

Continued support of forums like the African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) and the Indigenous Community Summit (ICS), including ensuring evolution towards becoming true community events. Success will be measured by the extent to which organizations other than Internet Society are involved in operating the events.

Because our efforts on community networks are maturing, 2019 will also be a period of research for viable future efforts. For example, a focus on connecting schools and children, increasing accessibility, or addressing the connectivity needs of displaced people might provide another fruitful approach to promoting connectivity. During 2019 we will conduct research, collect data, and run pilot activities in order to properly assess different options and alternatives that will inform our planning for 2020 and beyond.

Population(s) Served

Global infrastructure is required so that Internet endpoints without a prior relationship can communicate in a trusted and secure way. Unmediated connections are a hallmark of the Internet. Technologies such as encryption infrastructure, time security, and identity and authentication functions comprise the necessary infrastructure. It is this shared connectivity and trust infrastructure that enables a trustworthy and secure Internet for everyone, so it is where we will focus our efforts in 2019.

To that end, the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) campaign, successful in 2018, continues in 2019. MANRS has historically focused on measuring companies’ and organizations’ commitments to take action. This theme will continue in 2019 with a goal of doubling the number of MANRS members by the end of the year. We will also engage the community in discussions with the aim of establishing a governance model that supports a sustainable MANRS community, so that the project does not need further incubation.

Beyond strengthening the community, the deployment of the MANRS Observatory in 2019 will permit something more dramatic: the ability to note how many routing leaks happen on the Internet, whether there is a downwards trend in such failures, and whether the efforts of MANRS (and other routing security efforts such as route signing) appear to make any difference. For the first time, we will be able to report to the Internet community about the outcomes of MANRS. This will allow a mid-year decision on where MANRS will go next: whether there are new norms to embrace, or indeed whether MANRS can be effective at all.

Beyond MANRS, we will work within various communities to create the technical and policy building blocks that allow trust infrastructure to be developed, promoted, and implemented. We will continue to support developments that are needed for confidential end-to-end communication. We will examine the deployment issues surrounding network time synchronization security mechanisms. At the beginning of 2019, we will undertake an effort to identify and report the hurdles in standardization, usability, software availability, and operationalization, and to identify next steps; the report will be complete and published by the end of the year. More generally, we will develop a methodology for identifying how certain trust technologies can be deployed effectively, and test the methodology’s utility in improving those technologies.

As ever, Internet Society staff will contribute to the development of best practices or technical standards resulting in standards that are secure and deployable in global setting. We will assess potential deployment issues in the deployment of new standards such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3, and Domain Name System (DNS) over TLS and HTTPS. To reach communities such as network operators, we will use the proven Deploy360 Programme channels to report on these issues and to drive deployment of these and other trust technologies.

In addition, we continue to advocate for the importance of security and trust in the components and operations that make up the Internet’s infrastructure. The adoption and implementation of industry and community-wide norms of behavior that protect the public core, including in the international security community, is an important objective in that context. Not only will we continue to advocate strongly that trust in the Internet’s infrastructure is an important foundation for the Internet itself to be secure and trustworthy, but we will continue to seek technical and policy levers that affect the ecosystem positively.

Population(s) Served

Trust is the key issue in defining the future value of the Internet. The Internet Society’s policy agenda on trust is guided by our “Policy Framework for an Open and Trusted Internet“. This document underscores the challenge that diminishing trust presents to the Internet. And, it provides a blueprint for addressing the complexities of establishing the solid foundation of trust required to realize the Internet’s full potential. At its core, trust is created by taking responsibility for securing that piece of the Internet for which one bears responsibility, and by being held to account when one doesn’t.

Among our activities for 2019 in this focus area, we will prioritize improving the security posture of producers of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The goal is to make IoT security a differentiator for consumers. We will use the Online Trust Alliance’s (OTA) trust framework as a cornerstone of an expanded IoT-focused effort. For example, we have set a goal of obtaining commitment to the OTA’s IoT Framework from at least five manufacturers of IoT devices by the end of 2019, representing at least 10% of their segment in the consumer market. We believe such penetration is enough to influence the market in a desirable direction. We will test at least ten consumer IoT devices against the IoT Framework, and we will further the adoption and advocacy of the IoT Framework through workshops and training that empower others to advocate for IoT security. Finally, we will help make security and privacy a purchasing consideration for consumers of IoT devices, with the aim of raising consumer awareness in targeted demographics by 20%.

As part of this priority focus area, and beyond IoT specifically, we will continue to grow the OTA as a vibrant community of enterprises and businesses that care about a trusted Internet and that are ready to lead by example.

We approach the critical issue of trust from many dimensions. Beyond consumers, we provide a home for the Network and Distributed System Symposium (NDSS). NDSS is a top academic conference on network and systems security, with a unique open-publication policy. This conference not only attracts top researchers from around the world, but shares contributions in a way that promotes diffusion of information to industry and beyond.

In addition, we will continue our work in the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC), and contribute to the global norm development around Cyber and International Stability. We will of course continue to weigh in on discussions around privacy, identification, and encryption in various policy-oriented forums. We will continue to speak out against Internet shutdowns, lending our technical expertise to communities impacted by government mandated disruptions of Internet access. Where applicable we will contribute to trust-enabling technical developments, such as technologies that enhance transparency or improve privacy.

Population(s) Served

As does every technology, the Internet has grown, evolved, and adapted to new technologies and new uses. As a global infrastructure, the Internet is also shaped by economic and policy forces. A key part of the Internet Society’s work is to understand and anticipate how these various factors might affect the Internet’s future, and work to ensure changes do not undermine the key attributes that have allowed the Internet to thrive over the past three decades.

The 2017 Internet Society Global Internet Report: Paths to Our Digital Future underscored that emerging trends (such as the Internet of Things) have the potential for great benefit, but also carry with them risks to the Internet itself. That observation led the Internet Society to attempt to do something about the issues, through the effort on IoT security. Similarly, the upcoming Global Internet Report looks at how consolidation—including growing forces of concentration, vertical and horizontal integration, and fewer opportunities for market entry and competition—might influence the Internet’s fundamental technical properties, shape the role of Internet stakeholders including governments, and affect Internet users themselves. The insight gained from these reports informs the Internet Society’s work in 2019.

During the upcoming year, based on issues raised the soon to be released Global Internet Report, we will improve our understanding of how consolidation at all layers of the Internet could shape not just the ways in which the Internet is used by people around the world, but its future technical evolution in the next three to five years. Our 2019 efforts will focus on understanding these issues, and on steps that may need to be taken to address the impact of consolidation on users, including opportunities it might bring.

Specific activities in 2019 will include a broad-ranging effort to clearly formulate the issue of consolidation so that directed research can be undertaken to understand how it might affect the Internet in the future, and what steps may be taken to ensure the Internet remains an open global platform for permission-less innovation. The understanding gained through this effort will be applied across the organization, for example in our work within policy forums where governance decisions that may affect the Internet are made.

We continue to ensure that our baseline understanding of emerging issues is current by working through the community. This is part of how we work. Staying abreast of topics of consequence is critical to informed and coordinated approaches to issues that cut across policy and technical fields. But, given the breadth of issues in play, we know we must be smart about our efforts. Therefore, in 2019 we will develop criteria by which we evaluate which industry, technical, and policy events we participate in, and how our participation there is reported to the rest of the organization. We will publish that for our communities to understand, so that our members and Chapters have a clear idea of why staff participate in some venues, and not others.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Internet Society

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Internet Society

Board of directors
as of 08/27/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gonzalo Camarillo


Term: 2018 - 2021

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes