The Internet has been vital to our response to the COVID-19 crisis:
enabling researchers to communicate with the rest of the world, connecting resources with people who need them, and sharing data about the spread.
COVID-19 impacts on Internet traffic
The last few weeks have seen unprecedented changes in how people live and work around the world. Over time more and more companies have given their employees the right to work from home, restricted business travel and, in some cases, outright sent their entire workforce home. In some countries, quarantines are in place keeping people restricted to their homes.
These changes in daily life are showing up as changes in patterns of Internet use around the world. In this blog post I take a look at changing patterns in northern Italy, South Korea and the Seattle area of Washington state.
The Impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable groups on the Internet
Consistent with our mission to “help build a better Internet,” Cloudflare believes that one of the most important roles for the Internet is to empower marginalized voices that may not be heard, or bring together oppressed groups of people that may otherwise find themselves isolated and alone. Six years ago, Cloudflare started Project Galileo to provide free services to vulnerable nonprofits, journalism and independent media voices online who might otherwise be in danger of being silenced by cyberattacks. Much has changed in the past couple of months as the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world while the United States faces a wave of protests addressing racial violence and inequality. These events have put further strain on vulnerable groups working in these spaces, and we have seen many organizations step up to ensure that those who are most affected by these circumstances are protected. At Cloudflare, we believe that protecting these groups from attack is essential to helping build a better Internet.
We are excited to mark the 6th anniversary of the project this month, and it is a good time for us to reflect, talk to participants, and see how the Project has grown and changed over the course of the previous year. This year, the spread of COVID-19 and the global response to the pandemic has shown us new ways that Project Galileo can help. Our goal for the 6th anniversary of Project Galileo is to share updates and stories from the field from organizations that have stepped up in this time of uncertainty.
Earlier this week, we published a blog post on the increase in cyberattacks on advocacy organizations fighting racism. We believe that these stories of racial injustice in the United States need to be heard and we are committed to ensuring groups working in fighting racism, promoting inclusiveness and diversity get the protections they need. While we will continue to update on those ongoing events, we want to take the time to share additional stories from heroes in Project Galileo.
A year ago, we reported that we were protecting nearly 600 organizations and partnering with 28 civil society organizations to identify and provide services to politically and artistically vulnerable entities on the Internet. A single year has brought us more than a 60 percent increase in the total number of participants in the project, with more than 1,000 participants currently receiving Cloudflare’s security protections in every region of the world.