Internet versus internets

Posted by on August 10, 2020  /  0 Comments

For the longest time, US negotiators of international resolutions, statements, etc. which had something to do with the internet, used to quibble over capitalization of the word. They insisted on uppercase Internet because they said it was one single thing and therefore should be capitalized. Negotiators from countries like China and Iran, obviously disagreed. They preferred internet.

Now under Trump, the US has given up on the one single thing. It has gone further and is actively breaking up the already fragmenting Internet in the name of national security, trade wars, whatever. But what everyone who is watching this drama from outside should realize is that there will no longer be a principle to appeal to and support to be had when your government starts building the national firewall and requiring all data be stored in a manner convenient for interrogation by the national security agencies.

And there is a fear running through Silicon Valley that Mr. Trump — seen as eager to punish the Chinese, and as angry at viral TikTok videos that mock him and at the app’s role in deterring attendance at his rally in June in Tulsa — is opening the door for countries around the world to declare Facebook and Google to be similar threats to their own security.

Measuring national security threats has always been tinged as much by politics as intelligence assessments: Think of John F. Kennedy’s warning of the “missile gap” with the Soviets in the 1960 election, or George W. Bush’s declaration of an imminent Iraqi nuclear ability on his ill-fated march to war 17 years ago.

Mr. Trump’s warning about the Chinese threat has been expanding: Days before the executive order, the State Department announced a “Clean Network” initiative, threatening to ban not only apps, but Chinese undersea cables, telecommunications firms that have operated in the United States for years and businesses that store information in the cloud.

Full article.

Broader discussion.

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