Four Internets: Data, Geopolitics, and the Governance of Cyberspace

Book by Kieron O’Hara and Wendy Hall: “The book describes the Internet, and how Internet governance prevents it fragmenting into a ‘Splinternet’. Four opposing ideologies about how data flows around the network have become prominent because they are (a) implemented by technical standards, and (b) backed by influential geopolitical entities. Each of these specifies an ‘Internet’, described in relation to its implementation by a specific geopolitical entity. The four Internets of the title are: the Silicon Valley Open Internet, developed by pioneers of the Internet in the 1960s, based on principles of openness and efficient dataflow; the Brussels Bourgeois Internet, exemplified by the European Union, with a focus on human rights and legal administration; the DC Commercial Internet, exemplified by the Washington establishment and its focus on property rights and market solutions; and the Beijing Paternal Internet, exemplified by the Chinese government’s control of Internet content. These Internets have to coexist if the Internet as a whole is to remain connected. The book also considers the weaponization of the hacking ethic as the Moscow Spoiler model, exemplified by Russia’s campaigns of misinformation at scale; this is not a vision of the Internet, but is parasitic on the others. Each of these ideologies is illustrated by a specific policy question. Potential future directions of Internet development are considered, including the policy directions that India might take, and the development of technologies such as artificial intelligence, smart cities, the Internet of Things, and social machines. A conclusion speculates on potential future Internets that may emerge alongside those described….(More)”.