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On Wednesday 21 March, Nesta hosted Reimagining the Internet, the first event in a series of provocations on how European citizens can retake control over the future of the internet.

Read our recap of the event

2017 was a crucial year of reckoning for the internet: from public outcry about the impact of fake news on our democracies, to the emerging risks of rule-by-algorithm. As the dark side of the internet is becoming increasingly clear, public demand for more accountable, democratic, more human alternatives is growing.

But challenging existing dynamics won’t be easy. The internet finds itself dominated by two ruling narratives: the American one, where power is concentrated in the hands of just a few big players, and a Chinese model, where government surveillance appears to be the leitmotif. Between big tech and government control, where does this leave citizens?

  • Could Europe build the kind of alternatives that would put citizens back in the driver’s seat?
  • Rather than trying to build the next Google, should Europe focus on building the decentralised infrastructures that would prevent the next Google instead?

This event was part of the Next Generation Internet initiative, the European Commission’s ambitious new flagship programme focused on building a more democratic, inclusive and resilient internet by 2025.

We brought together policymakers, civil society leaders, innovators, activists and anyone else involved with shaping and thinking about the future of the internet.

Speakers

Professor John Naughton

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge

Adam Rang

Chief Evangelist, e-Residency, Republic of Estonia

Marleen Stikker

Managing Director and Co-Founder, Waag Society