How do you mobilize a movement for the Internet, on the Internet?
Every day and all over the world, governments and other organizations make decisions and implement policies that threaten our ability to speak freely. Blue State Digital has partnered with Google for several years on projects around transparency, policy, and freedom of speech in service of a free and open web.
When a United Nations proposal threatened free speech on the web, we helped design a responsive site in 23 languages that gave people everywhere a chance to take a stand—by signing a petition, speaking up on social media, or putting their marker on a dynamic map—with just a couple of clicks. Millions made their opposition known. In response, 55 countries refused to sign the UN treaty—which proved to be just enough support to defeat the measure.
Simplifying the complex
We sat down with Vint Cerf, considered to be one of the “fathers of the Internet,” to create a video that would break down a complicated issue—how IP addresses are managed, and what it means for Internet freedom—in a compelling (and fun) way. Spoiler: rainbows, cats, and animations ahead.
Transparency for all
Every year, Google manages hundreds of thousands of requests for user data and content removal. The Google Transparency Report, a project initially penned by a group of engineers, is a multifaceted review of these requests and sheds light on how laws and policies affect Internet users and the flow of information online. We helped reimagine the look, feel, and format of the Transparency Report, with the ultimate goal of making it accessible to a broader network of supporters. The Safer Email section of the report has led to improved safety by making it easy for customers of companies that don’t encrypt data to advocate for more security. Several major email providers quickly cleaned up their act thanks to customer demands through this tool.
For years, Google wasn’t able to disclose data requests related to issues of national security. We worked with the report’s authors to create telling graphics that illustrate this act of censorship. Today, in response to increasing public pressure on the government, Google is permitted to share these requests publicly.