Happy Birthday: eco celebrates 25 years of Internet with Responsibility

  • In a quarter of a century, the eco Association has evolved to become the voice of the Internet industry in Germany and Europe
  • 25 years of commitment to a free, technology-neutral and open Internet based on fundamental ethical, civil and democratic values

Today eco – Association of the Internet Industry celebrates its 25th  birthday. On June 26, 1995, a group of determined Internet pioneers including the current eco CEO Harald A. Summa founded the “Electronic Commerce Forum”, eco for short. The aim was to make the then new Internet more popular among German companies and to bring together companies interested in the commercial use of this innovative technology, and get them talking to one another.

Today, eco is the largest association of the Internet industry in Europe, with more than 1,100 members. The association is celebrating this online with members, friends and partners within the framework of a big birthday show, which will review the decisive developments of the commercial Internet in Germany under the motto “25 years of Internet with Responsibility”. Outstanding minds in the field of digitalisation from politics and business will have their say.

Importance of the Internet industry continues to grow

The importance of the Internet industry to society as a whole has grown steadily over the last 25 years. The potential solutions that digitalisation now offers for many areas of life and work were impressively demonstrated during the Corona crisis. Although the volume of data has increased significantly, the Internet, which eco has played a major role in shaping for 25 years, has proven to be flexible and robust. At the same time, the share of the Internet industry in the German gross domestic product is also growing. Whereas in 2019 it was 4.2 percent, in 2025 it will be significantly higher, forecast to reach 7 percent. This is shown by the latest study The Internet Industry in Germany 2020-2025 (German language, English forthcoming) by eco and Arthur D. Little.

“The overall social importance of the Internet industry continues to grow, and there is no end in sight to this development. What began 25 years ago as a marginal technology has now become the key technology for many industries,” says eco CEO Harald A. Summa. The goal is to continue to shape the further development of the Internet in a responsible manner in the new decade that has just begun and to drive forward the digital transformation for the benefit of all. “In the next 25 years, we will continue to work for a free, technology-neutral, and open Internet that is oriented towards ethical, civil and democratic values,” adds eco’s Managing Director Alexander Rabe.

Framework conditions through self-regulation

Over the last 25 years, eco has not only made a significant contribution to the development of the Internet in Germany and promoted the development of digital infrastructures. From the very beginning, eco has also driven forward the design of legal framework conditions. Originally founded as a marketing network, the then still rather small industry of providers in Germany was quickly confronted with legal issues and restrictions, which led to eco evolving into an interest group. From the very beginning, eco has always advocated for innovation-friendly regulation, and therefore accompanies regulatory processes intensively both in Germany and at the European level.

A registration for today’s 25 years eco birthday party (in the German language) from 14:30 – 16:00 clock is possible under

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