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“All of the people, all of the Internet, all of the time.”

Web Foundation · April 16, 2015

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This morning, the Web Foundation’s Africa Regional Coordinator, Nnenna Nwakanma, delivered a barnstorming speech during the opening ceremony of the Global Conference on Cyberspace. Nnenna called for:

  • Urgent action to drive down high prices that keep 60% of the world offline.
  • An end to unwarranted bulk mass surveillance.
  • All of the people, to be able to access all of the Internet, all of the time.

The video is embedded below, and we’ve also pasted the full text of Nnenna’s speech below that. Please check it against delivery.

Global Conference on Cyberspace

The Hague
April 16, 2015
Keynote address by Nnenna Nwakanma (check against delivery)

Africa Regional Coordinator, World Wide Web Foundation
On Bridging the Digital Divide, Freedom and Privacy Online


Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen

My name is Nnenna. I come from the Internet. I am part of the team at the Web Foundation that is dedicated to affordable Internet, to the free and open web, and to open data. I live for social justice.

A very special Dank je wel to the Netherlands, to Minister Bert Koenders, who used to live in my city, Abidjan, for opening up this space for more participant, especially from Civil Society

And thank you for inviting to speak about the Internet, our global common good.

Affordable Internet is what bridges the digital divide. The latest Affordability Report published by the Alliance for Affordable Internet shows that in 2014, almost 60% of the world remained unconnected to the Internet, with high prices being the primary barrier.

Affordable Internet access is critical to Human Rights, to development and to social justice. While we chart a way forward in freedom, growth and security, we must be reminded that “we” does not yet include “all of us”. High prices hit marginalized groups such as the poor, women and rural dwellers the hardest. Zero-rating a few services is not sustainable. Our challenge is to make sure that all of the people can access all of the Internet affordably, all of the time

Freedom. Freedom and Freedom again. Our collective challenge is to uphold it; before, during, and after speech.

As I speak, a lot of citizens are still in prisons for speaking their minds online:

Nabeel Rajab and Ali Mearaj in Bahrain

Bassel Khartabil in Syria

Barret Brown in the US

And dozens in Egypt, China, and Ethiopia
And let us collectively call on Turkey, on Gambia, on Russia, on China and all governments who from time to time block certain platforms to stop.

We must uphold


I will uphold.

In the Netherlands, it is said as “Je maintiendrai”

Ladies and gentlemen,

As a citizen of the Internet, our privacy has never been as threatened as it is now. Officials are avoiding the rule of law, mounting pressure on the private sector, to be transferred to ordinary citizens. Even Democratic States around the world are competing with each other to see who will be the most pervasive, unwarranted and illegitimate CHAMPION in the game of “Mass Surveillance. Democratic countries! Wow!

The Web Foundation’s Web Index found that last year, the proportion of countries whose legal safeguards for privacy were judged weak to non-existent rose from 63% to 83%.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Security and Privacy, I believe, can live together. We cannot sacrifice one for the other. At every point in time, we need to inquire if surveillance actions are:

  • Legal
  • Legitimate
  • Necessary
  • Adequate
  • Proportionate
  • Transparent
  • Following due process
  • Under public oversight
  • Notify users
  • Guarantee the integrity of systems
  • Safeguarding international cooperation
  • Protected against illegitimate access

All governments must commit to increased levels of transparency and accountability. Bulk data collection by default, with laws made and enforced in secret can never be acceptable. And let us listen to the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy, when they tell us that in order to sustain the growth and the integrity of our global network, the backbone protocols and infrastructure of the internet are in urgent need of protection against unwarranted interference.


This congress, in continuing the London process, must recognize that its future success depends on inclusiveness. Openness and democratic processes entrenched in multi-stakeholder engagement are here to stay. Therefore we need to grow, be more open and inclusive. And we must uphold, promote, engage with, and maintain processes like the IGF, the NetMundial and the IANA transition.

In Africa, at home, I ask for your support for the African movement for the Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms. And, I hope we can count on your engagement with the Global Magna Carta project that Sir Tim Berners-Lee is about to launch.

Ladies and gentleman, here, remotely and even offline. The internet belongs to all of us. An Internet of diversity. An Internet free from mass surveillance. An Internet for all. Diversity: men and women, young and old, rural and city-dwellers, people, challenged, like Judy Okite, my friend from the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), people, everywhere.

Every morning, this what I tell myself:

All of the people should be free and able to access all of the Internet,all of the time.

All of the people! All of the Internet! All of the time!

Je Maintiendrai!


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  1. Akin-Awokoya Emmanuel

    April 22, 2015

    Wonderful speech!!!


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    1. Mensah grâce

      September 22, 2017

      I am Just Proud as a young lady to see Ma neenna fight for our Internet rights especially at adreessing africa challenges !! May God bless her and strenghen the whole team achieve their humble goals.


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