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Julie Owono: How local voices will shape the global internet

An expert in international law and digital content explains why she thinks the future of the worldwide internet is very much in local hands.

illustration of connected lights on a map

The internet is not the same for every person, in every part of the world. | iStock/imaginima

Julie Owono is a lawyer, executive director of Internet Sans Frontières and a fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and she wants the world to know that the internet is not the same for every person, in every part of the world.

Born in Cameroon, and having grown up in Russia, she understands firsthand that every nation sets and maintains its own content standards.

Owono has dedicated her career to establishing and securing basic digital rights, but also to developing standards by which social media giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter can distinguish hate speech from free speech. In many ways, Owono says, the global internet is a local endeavor.

On Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast, Owono tells host Russ Altman that this dynamic means local voices will be critical to fairly determining standards of speech and, by extension, to charting the future of the global internet. You can listen and subscribe here.