The Splinternet is Growing Bigger

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The splinternet, also known as cyberbalkanization, refers to how governments split the World Wide Web into national internets.

It’s not just authoritarian countries trying to bend the global web to national values. The same social media companies that gave rise to unrest in the Middle East have come under fire in the West for allowing their services to be used to promote hatred and terrorism. In response, England and Australia have recently passed laws demanding tech firms provide easier access to web users’ communications.

Sometimes I think that in the future there will be no internet. There won’t be a web browser, there will just be apps that are easier to censor and control.

Check It Out: The Splinternet is Growing Bigger

The Splinternet is Growing Bigger

5 Comments Add a comment

  1. wab95

    geoduck aardman

    You both make excellent points, as we’ve come to expect.

    For those of us who have spent the better part of our lives living in countries under dictatorship or other authoritarian rule, with or without elections, we note two distinct but complementary objectives at play by these governments, both designed to define acceptable public information.

    One is simply the control of public access to non-State originated content and information, specifically any information that might prove disadvantageous, however defined, to the State. China is not the sole client of a great firewall, not by a long-shot. Country-depending, one finds all manner of information inaccessible in-country, or in some cases, access to an entire platform inexplicably blocked on any given day. Some call it censorship; the State calls it curation.

    The other objective is the distribution of State originated content and information, veracity aside, specifically any content that assists the State and/or its current leader to remain in power. Some call it propaganda; the State calls it the evening news.

    In short, the internet, like all domestic information nodes, should serve at the pleasure of the Ministry of Truth.

  2. geoduck

    It’s the story of The Golden Goose all over again. They will chop it up and filter it, and ban encryption, see the story just below this one, and then in a few years look around and wonder where all the innovation, all the creativity, all the PROFIT went.

  3. aardman

    The internet was broken by Google and Facebook when they pretended that they were ‘just a platform’ and thus aren’t answerable for the toxic garbage that their platforms disseminate. I mean, what do you expect when any Tom, Dick and Harry gets to broadcast to millions of people for free without anything like the code of conduct that traditional media are, by law, required to live by?

    • geoduck

      Actually that was the point of the Internet. A place where everyone was on a level footing. GM and Reggie The Shade Tree Mechanic could both have a web site, TimeLifeBooks and Leaning Tree Press could both have a web site. The market would determine where the traffic went. If Thomas Rational and Bob “Bomber” Wackjob each post their ideas the public would decide which one made sense and which one was crazy. Unfortunately that has been distorted with companies paying to get ranked higher. Companies buying up and squatting on domain names to keep other people from using them. The Internet was intended to be a grand commons where everyone could have their say. That is what is being killed off.

      • aardman

        If that was the point of the internet, then it was an ill-conceived point. We all accept that the right to free speech doesn’t include shouting “Fire!” in a crowded movie house. The reason is shouting Fire instantly causes panic and disorder and there really is no time for anyone to shout “Hey wait a minute! Let’s make sure there really is a fire before we kill each other in a stampede.” When an idiot is able, at the press of the return key, to instantly disseminate to millions of people that there is a Pizza restaurant in Washington that is the HQ for a child prostitution ring, then just like a fire in a movie house, there is no opportunity for saner heads to start a discussion and reveal that the whole story was a lie.

        It’s very comforting to think that all people are decent, well-meaning and mature and the internet will thus function as envisioned. In truth, one bad apple can ruin the whole thing and an open, unregulated, commons will attract more than just one of those bad apples. What’s appalling about Google and Facebook is that their choice to downplay the possibility of abusive actors on the internet was most likely driven entirely by the dollar signs that were popping out of their eyeballs.

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