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Webby Awards Judging Academy Names Privacy, Security, Net Neutrality Among Top Challenges for Web in Next 5 Years


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As Web Enters Third Decade, Webby Awards Enlist Judging Academy to Identify Key Issues
Vital to Medium’s Future

New York, NY (January 12, 2010) – On the heels of the 20th anniversary of the World Wide Web last month, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) has identified security, privacy, copyright law, net neutrality, and maintaining an open Web as the top five challenges facing the medium in the next five years.

Dedicated to the creative, technical, and professional progress of the Internet, IADAS’ 750 global members serve as the judging body of The Webby Awards, the leading international honors for excellence on the Internet. Members of the Academy range from Internet co-inventor Vinton Cerf, Martha Stewart, and Arianna Huffington to Federated Media founder John Battelle and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

As the Web enters its third decade and The Webby Awards marks its 15th year in June 2011, IADAS executive director David-Michel Davies said the timing was right to focus attention on the future of the medium.

“While the Internet gives us much to celebrate and honor, we feel it is equally important to shine a light on the challenges we’re facing as an industry,” said Davies. “By illuminating the issues and encouraging discussion, we hope to inspire policymakers, businesses, and advocates at all levels to work together to ensure that the Internet remains a dynamic and constructive network for us all.”

The full list of the top five challenges can be found below and at

The Internet’s Top Challenges:

Protecting Privacy

The Internet’s great trade-off is that while you get access to the rest of the world, the rest of the world gets access to you. The data collected can add value to the online experience through customized content and advertising – but such an extensive record of personal information can pose risks to consumers. The industry must take steps to demystify the privacy debate by establishing global standards, providing transparent policies, and educating consumers on its practices.

Modernizing Copyright Laws

Is it ok to copy an album and give it to a friend? How many paragraphs should one quote from an online news article? Will we ever be able to pass along an e-book to a colleague? As the Web enters its third decade, the answers to these questions remain unclear. The Internet’s power as a medium through which creators can distribute their work continues to grow, yet the current copyright laws are hopelessly out of date. For the Internet to fulfill its potential, new and modernized copyright laws must reflect the current relationship between technology and creativity.

Ensuring Net Neutrality

Ensuring that all Internet traffic is treated equally – meaning that data from and data from a teenager’s blog move along the pipeline at the same speed – is a worthy and complicated goal. Industry leaders and policymakers need to come together and identify solutions that will guarantee fair treatment of all Internet traffic. However, these solutions must also provide ISPs with enough flexibility to efficiently manage their networks and services.

Maintaining the Open Web

From commenting on articles and sharing videos to crowd-sourcing and user-generated content, the Internet’s interactivity and communal power is what makes it such a vibrant and useful medium. While social networks and mobile apps offer rich, interactive, and customized experiences, many of their features are often sheltered from the rest of the Web. If the Internet as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts, we must do a better job of maintaining interconnectivity.

Strengthening Internet Security

Until recently, there has been little examination of the consequences of storing large amounts of proprietary information online. The recent spate of high-level incidents – from WikiLeaks to China’s hacking of the Internet – has made the perils of weak online security a tangible issue. Everyone, from governments and businesses to universities and individuals, must re-evaluate how they share, store, and publish sensitive information on the Internet – take steps to ensure it is protected.

About The Webby Awards:

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile websites. Established in 1996, the 14th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards is presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: Microsoft Expression; AOL; YouTube; Pepsi; Aquent; Yahoo!; HP; Sony Electronics; .CO; Corbis Images; Rackspace Hosting; Motorola; Southwest Airlines; East Media; IDG; PricewaterhouseCoopers; 2advanced.Net; KobeMail; Museum of the Moving Image; Behance; Business Insider; Time Out New York; paidContent and The Guardian.