In response, users are about to see a more robust Internet.org. On Monday, Facebook announced the arrival of the Internet.org Platform, an open program for developers to integrate their services with Internet.org. The announcement included an impassioned, egalitarian plea from Zuckerberg himself: “Everyone is welcome to join. It’s not exclusive to any mobile operator or company. Now, we had to start somewhere so we launched first with partners who wanted to work with us on this mission to connect the world, but we’ll work with anyone who wants to join us. No company pays to be included in Internet.org. No operator is paid to offer these services.”
Of greater consequence, Internet.org is completely unencrypted, save for its Android App. Services submitted with SSL/TLS/HTTPS will be relegated to the aforementioned app; Internet.org as it exists via any other platform has no regard for user privacy.
Users should not underestimate the significance of this fact. Zuckerberg has positioned Internet.org as the only available web connection for two-thirds of the world’s population and he takes no responsibility in providing a secure, private connection along with it. The developed world, on the verge of accepting encryption as the smart and safe approach to the internet, has given its neighbors a no win situation—either use Internet.org and let Facebook track your every move while you hand your financial information to hackers, or don’t touch the internet at all. Even the service’s technical guidelines admit that this is a problem deserving of a solution; if Zuckerberg were guided by the humanitarian aims he claims, he would not ask the majority of the world’s population to forego their rights to privacy.