The Authoritarian Quest for a sovereign internet

Mar 2012
New Hampshire
Hearing a lot more Americans claiming we should "shut down the internet" to those who dont play nice. Thoughts?

The next steps by the likes of China and Russia toward segmentation of the internet, and the way private companies respond, will make or break the World Wide Web.

On February 12, the Russian State Duma passed a bill to create a “sovereign” internet, demanding independence from global servers and the creation of a localized network. The law, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin in May and due to take effect in November and informed by the Chinese Great Firewall, is the Kremlin’s most recent step in a slew of online censorship, data localization and internet surveillance measures. As of this week, the international dating app Tinder, became the latest addition to the list of companies required to share their Russian users’ data with the Kremlin’s Federal Security Service.

With greater coordination between governments and private tech companies, passing sovereignty bills will become easier and, ultimately, the global internet may be at risk of being segmented into disparate sections. Looking to replicate Chinese influence, cyber superpowers could attempt to cordon off “their” segments of the internet, restricting citizens and businesses from accessing information.

Multinational companies are now devouring their own competitive advantages by undermining international product standards through the sale of partially censored software to a range of countries. Over the next 10 years, businesses face a dilemma: fight to retain a global exchange of information or attempt to fit into cyber superpowers’ new restrictive norms.

The Authoritarian Quest for a Sovereign Internet