Announcing Mozilla’s Equal Rating Innovation Challenge, a $250,000 contest including expert mentorship to spark new ways to connect everyone to the Internet.
At Mozilla, we believe the Internet is most powerful when anyone – regardless of gender, income, or geography – can participate equally. However the digital divide remains a clear and persistent reality. Today more than 4 billion people are still not online, according to the World Economic Forum. That is greater than 55% of the global population. Some, who live in poor or rural areas, lack the infrastructure. Fast wired and wireless connectivity only reaches 30% of rural areas. Other people don’t connect because they don’t believe there is enough relevant digital content in their language. Women are also less likely to access and use the Internet; only 37% access the Internet versus 59% of men, according to surveys by the World Wide Web Foundation.
Access alone, however, is not sufficient. Pre-selected content and walled gardens powered by specific providers subvert the participatory and democratic nature of the Internet that makes it such a powerful platform. Mitchell Baker coined the term equal rating in a 2015 blog post. Mozilla successfully took part in shaping pro-net neutrality legislation in the US, Europe and India. Today, Mozilla’s Open Innovation Team wants to inject practical, action-oriented, new thinking into these efforts.
This is why we are very excited to launch our global Equal Rating Innovation Challenge. This challenge is designed to spur innovations for bringing the members of the Next Billion online. The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge is focused on identifying creative new solutions to connect the unconnected. These solutions may range from consumer products and novel mobile services to new business models and infrastructure proposals. Mozilla will award US$250,000 in funding and provide expert mentorship to bring these solutions to the market.
We seek to engage entrepreneurs, designers, researchers, and innovators all over the world to propose creative, engaging and scalable ideas that cultivate digital literacy and provide affordable access to the full diversity of the open Internet. In particular, we welcome proposals that build on local knowledge and expertise. Our aim is to entertain applications from all over the globe.
The US$250,000 in prize monies will be split in three categories:
- Best Overall (key metric: scalability)
- Best Overall Runner-up
- Most Novel Solution (key metric: experimental with potential high reward)
This level of funding may be everything a team needs to go to market with a consumer product, or it may provide enough support to unlock further funding for an infrastructure project.
The official submission period will run from 1 November to 6 January. All submissions will be judged by a group of external experts by mid January. The selected semifinalists will receive mentorship for their projects before they demo their ideas in early March. The winners will be announced at the end of March 2017.
We have also launched www.equalrating.com, a website offering educational content and background information to support the challenge. On the site, you will find the 3 key frameworks that may be useful for building understanding of the different aspects of this topic. You can read important statistics that humanize this issue, and see how connectivity influences gender dynamics, education, economics, and a myriad of other social issues. The reports section provides further depth to the different positions of the current debate. In the coming weeks, we will also stream a series of webinars to further inform potential applicants about the challenge details. We hope these webinars also provide opportunities for dialogue and questions.
Connecting the unconnected is one of the greatest challenges of our time. No one organization or effort can tackle it alone. Spread the word. Submit your ideas to build innovative and scalable ways to bring Internet access to the Next Billion – and the other billions, as well. Please join us in addressing this grand challenge.
Mozilla’s annual celebration of making online is challenging outdated copyright law in the EU. Here’s how you can participate
It’s that time of year: Maker Party.
Each year, Mozilla hosts a global celebration to inspire learning and making online. Individuals from around the world are invited. It’s an opportunity for artists to connect with educators; for activists to trade ideas with coders; and for entrepreneurs to chat with makers.
This year, we’re coming together with that same spirit, and also with a mission: To challenge outdated copyright laws in the European Union. EU copyright laws are at odds with learning and making online. Their restrictive nature undermines creativity, imagination, and free expression across the continent. Mozilla’s Denelle Dixon-Thayer wrote about the details in her recent blog post.
By educating and inspiring more people to take action, we can update EU copyright law for the 21st century.
Over the past few months, everyday internet users have signed our petition and watched our videos to push for copyright reform. Now, we’re sharing copyright reform activities for your very own Maker Party.
Want to join in? Maker Party officially kicks-off today. Here are activities for your own Maker Party:
Be a #cczero Hero
In addition to all the amazing live events you can host or attend, we created a way for our global digital community to participate.
We’re planning a global contribute-a-thon to unite Mozillians around the world and grow the number of images in the public domain. We want to showcase what the open internet movement is capable of. And we’re making a statement when we do it: Public domain content helps the open internet thrive.
Check out our #cczero hero event page and instructions on contributing. You should be the owner of the copyright in the work. It can be fun, serious, artistic — whatever you’d like. Get started.
For more information on how to submit your work to the public domain or to Creative Commons, click here.
Mozilla has created an app to highlight the outdated nature of some of the EU’s copyright laws, like the absurdity that photos of public landmarks can be unlawful. Try the Post Crimes web app: Take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower’s night-time light display, or the Little Mermaid in Denmark.
Then, send your selfie as a postcard to your Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Show European policymakers how outdated copyright laws are, and encourage them to forge reform. Get started.
It’s absurd, but it’s true: Making memes may be technically illegal in some parts of the EU. Why? Exceptions for parody or quotation are not uniformly required by the present Copyright Directive.
Help Mozilla stand up for creativity, wit, and whimsy through memes! In this Maker Party activity, you and your friends will learn and discuss how complicated copyright law can be. Get started.
We can’t wait to see what you create this Maker Party. When you participate, you’re standing up for copyright reform. You’re also standing up for innovation, creativity, and opportunity online.