Is The Global Internet Disintegrating?

Is The Global Internet Disintegrating?

‘The global internet is disintegrating,” argues BBC Future, calling Russia “one of a growing number of countries that has had enough of the Western-built, Western-controlled internet backbone…aided as much by advances in technology as by growing global misgivings about whether the open internet was ever such a good idea to start with.”
“The new methods raise the possibility not only of countries pulling up their own drawbridges, but of alliances between like-minded countries building on these architectures to establish a parallel internet…”

It’s DNS that Russia has been setting its sights on… The plan — which was met with skepticism from much of the engineering community, if not dismissed outright — was to create a Russia-only copy of the DNS servers (the internet’s address book, currently headquartered in California) so that citizens’ traffic would be exclusively directed to Russian sites, or Russian versions of external sites. It would send Russian internet users to Yandex if they typed in Google, or the social network VK instead of Facebook. To lay the groundwork for this, Russia spent years enacting laws that force international companies to store all Russian citizens’ data inside the country — leading some companies such as LinkedIn to be blocked when they refused to comply…

According to estimates from the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, China is now engaged in some 80 telecommunications projects around the world — from laying cables to building core networks in other countries, contributing to a significant and growing Chinese-owned global network… One possibility is a scenario where enough countries join Russia and China to develop a similar infrastructure to a point where they could sustain each other economically without doing business with the rest of the world, meaning they could shut themselves off the Western internet. Smaller countries might prefer an internet built around a non-Western standard, and an economic infrastructure built around China might be the “third way” that allows countries to participate in a semi-global economy while being able to control certain aspects of their populations’ internet experience.
Maria Farrell of the Open Rights Group (an internet freedom organisation) tells BBC Future that “Nations like Zimbabwe and Djibouti, and Uganda, they don’t want to join an internet that’s just a gateway for Google and Facebook” to colonise their digital spaces. And there’s also fears about western espionage.

“Along with every other expert interviewed for this article, Farrell reiterated how unwise it would be underestimate the ongoing reverberations of the Snowden revelations…”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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