The solution to a safer internet—and world—might be more digital borders, not less.
The internet freedom agenda presumed the benefits of the free flow of information only cut one way: in favor of open societies, values, and ideals. But we’re now seeing that its destabilizing effects cut both ways. And that doesn’t bode well for the borderless internet we enjoy today.
The open internet provides a vast canvas for states to undertake information warfare, manipulate each other’s citizens, and project their interests past national borders
China’s internet policy may be a forerunner of a federated, loosely connected set of national internets called “the splinternet.” This future potential state of affairs would be characterized by digital borders that are meant to protect both real and cognitive sovereignty while keeping out unwanted foreign competition or influence.
This system would not likely appear suddenly or dramatically: It would emerge over decades as a sea change of small technical and legal changes slowly add up.
the underlying values of the internet freedom agenda are still the right ones: freedom of expression, freedom of exchange, and a more open world. Will we still cherish these values, even as we learn of new threats to sovereignty and security?