What keeps internet experts up at night when it comes to security and privacy fears for the internet and its future impact on civilization? Well, the short answers include a catastrophic worldwide cyber-attack, the emergence of an IoT-enabled surveillance state, and the weakening of encryption.

These were the answers given by internet experts when polled about the new 2017 Global Internet Report, a work published by the nonprofit Internet Society (ISOC) that is “the culmination of an 18-month research project aimed at predicting what factors will most influence the internet’s evolution in the next five-to-seven years, and the impact of such changes.” To get an accurate interpretation of the landscape, the report data consisted of surveys of 3,000 ISOC members, professionals and partners in 160 countries.

The ISOC, a leading open standards advocacy group for internet technologies and OpenStand partner, wanted to get as accurate a look as possible into what the future holds for the internet and how we use it. An article from SC Media summed up the findings of the report this way:

“According to the study, stakeholders worldwide still believe that the internet’s benefits will continue to outweigh the risks in the coming years, transforming lives through the efficient delivery of critical services and revolutionizing industries across multiple sectors. But they also sense that the threat is growing, especially as businesses create new attack vectors by relying on a growing number of interconnected data sources.”

The report indicated that, in order to prevent these cybersecurity attacks, governments may look to scale back freedoms in the online world and seek to limit global internet connectivity in an attempt to maintain safety.

To combat that sort of situation, the report calls for “new accountability, incentive, and liability models to increase cyber-security readiness and reduce vulnerabilities but also to ensure end-user security.” The ISOC proposes to accomplish this through worldwide, multi-stakeholder collaboration to address these threats, as opposed to fragmented, unilateral efforts.

As it turns out, experts are keenly aware that there are more than a few things that go bump in the night out there in the internet world. But the way to shine a light and demolish those fears isn’t through retreating into separate corners, but rather open and transparent collaboration and cooperation.

What do you think about the latest report? Do you agree with the findings?