Splinternet – attempting to control the masses

2 min read

Split-internet

Some countries are using this idea of “Splinternet” in which the government or the concerned authorities control the content of the internet. 

So, the borderless internet becomes a victim of nationalism and political agendas.

Without a doubt the fragmented and divided internet is now upon us as a result of technology, commerce, politics, nationalism, religion or particular interests and is getting dangerous everyday.  The Internet is splitting into various versions ; every version offers something different depending upon where you are. 

The future of the “World Wide Web” is at stake.

The concept of creating a global information network  by connecting nodes regardless of the location was the basic concept of internet, communication and information of all kinds

flowed without any limits or attention to borders; if you can understand the language of the document, you can access the content. 

What has happened to that great concept of knowledge sharing? What is this so-called “network of networks”?

This is not just the Great Firewall of China anymore.  Europe, Brazil, Russia, and many more countries are requiring companies to follow laws on how they handle data within a border differently, sometimes requiring data be stored regionally.  This is what is changing the once borderless internet.

World Wide versions of Web (Internet)

Almost 20 years ago North Korea built a national intranet Kwangmyong, i.e. bright light, completely monitored by the government. Like any other internet, its content is accessible via web browsers, has an internal search engine, and offers e-mail and newsgroup services. 

Global internet is accessible only to foreigners, few government officials, academics and elites.

Arab spring of 2010 may not have happened if the governments attempted splinternet then. Good or bad, that revolution has happened, and its outcomes scare many governments.

In 2011, a senior Iranian official, Ali Agha-Mohammadi, announced his government’s plans to launch what he called a “halal internet”, in line with the values of Islam, designed to provide “appropriate” services and prevent access to unwanted information, also with its own email service and search engine.

China and its Great Wall is the best known example of an isolated internet: total monitoring of all activity, and a huge censorship system that prevents Chinese citizens from accessing content and services that their government doesn’t want them to.

Russia forces all service providers on its network to store their data in the country. 

Other countries, such as Cuba or Myanmar, also use similar systems that are not part of the internet we know. 

Impact on users

Living in a world where what you see or understand is controlled by someone else is frustrating. Access to limited knowledge not only narrows your thought process but also hinders the growth, not only as a consumer but also as an entrepreneur.

In the era of the modern world when everyone is looking at scaling their business worldwide with just a few clicks, you will eventually run across a country passing a law that affects you and your business  affecting its presence in that region. In case your business module fails to comply with new laws , you might be charged a hefty fine.

Where are we heading from here? 

The answer seems clear: to an internet divided into regions, with access passports and specific rules. Exactly the opposite of its original design. It starts with politics, follows with religion and culture, continues with the alleged dangers… and ends with intolerance.

This way, the internet may end up as a partially failed “global” experiment, proof of what awaits us: separated into tribes with different rites and cultures, humans are completely incapable of responding to the great challenges they face as a species. If we are not even able to communicate through a screen, then one can only imagine how we’re going to deal collectively with the most important challenge we face, i.e. to protect mother earth.

Finding solutions: 

There is a need for protecting our fundamental human right of online freedom. 

Authorities should implement a  transparent monitoring system which ensures, full resources of the internet, and ability to operate on it, are easily accessible to all citizens. 

This is not a hollow threat. A completely closed off splinternet will inevitably lead a country to isolation, low growth rates, and stagnation.

The Free countries with an open internet, zero undue regulation or censorship would have a clear path to tremendous economic prosperity and a free society. Countries who remain in the Not Free tier, attempting to impose their self-serving political and social values would find themselves isolated, visibly violating digital human rights law.