How political beef threatens to destabilize and fragment the Internet

I tried to use a credit card, but it doesn’t work. In fact, no one’s credit card works. I’ve tried to visit some news sites to find out why, but I can’t access any of them. No one else can. Panic buying continues. People empty cash ATMs.

This kind of catastrophic pan-Internet meltdown is more likely than most people are aware of.

I will tell Internet Atlas Project At the University of California, Berkeley. Our goal is to shed light on the long-term risks to the Internet. Create indicators of weaknesses and bottlenecks that threaten the stability of the Internet.

For example, where is it Points of vulnerability in global cable connection??The physical cable on the seabed 95% of Internet voice and data traffic.. However, some countries, such as Tonga, are vulnerable to cable disconnection attacks because they connect to only one other country.

Another example Content delivery network, Used by websites to make content readily available to a large number of Internet users. NS Quickly stop the content delivery network On June 8, 2021, access to the websites of Amazon, CNN, PayPal, Reddit, Spotify, The New York Times, and the UK Government was temporarily cut off.

The biggest risk to the global internet

Measure at different layers of the Internet technology stack, from cables to content delivery networks. These measurements identify weaknesses in the global Internet. And these weaknesses make the Internet more resilient by understanding which parts of the Internet are at risk of disruption and who and how seriously those disruptions can affect them. Build a theory that will help you predict.

Currently, the Internet faces two dangers. On the one hand, there is the threat of full integration. Power over the Internet is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small number of organizations, primarily based in the United States. On the other side is fragmentation.Attempts to challenge the status quo, especially by Russia and China, May destabilize the Internet globally.

There is more than one best way to the Internet, but our indicators help policy makers, non-governmental organizations, businesses, activists, etc. understand if the intervention is working as intended. increase. Who is making the Internet more reliable? And who is the internet unstable? These are important questions.about 3.4 billion people are online right now In countries such as Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu. What kind of internet do they inherit?

Internet managed by the United States

At least since 2015, core services that power the Internet have become increasingly centralized in the hands of US companies.Estimates that U.S. companies, nonprofits, and government agencies could block Cumulative 96% of content on the global internet With some ability.

U.S. Department of Justice A long-used court order for tech providers To block global access to illegal content in the United States, such as copyright infringement. But lately, the US federal government has been more actively leveraging its jurisdiction. In June, the DOJ was easily seized using a court order Iranian news site He said the department was spreading disinformation.

Due to the interlocking web dependencies such as content delivery networks, one failure in applying this technique can bring down a significant part of the Internet infrastructure and cause a widespread outage. More likely..

Meanwhile, US-based tech companies are also at risk of havoc.Think about Australia these days Spit with Facebook over paying the press for their content.. At some point Facebook blocked all news on the Australian platform.As a result, many people in Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu Temporarily lost a major news source It relies on prepaid mobile plans that feature discounted access to Facebook.Like these skirmish Increasingly, countries around the world can suffer from disrupted Internet access.


Not everyone is, of course, happy with this US-led Internet. Russia curbs Twitter traffic.. China blocks access to Google..

These domestic operations certainly threaten a local meltdown.India now regularly Shut down the internet locally during public anxiety.. But overall, they present a more global threat. Internet fragmentation.. Fragmented internet, speech, trade, Global cooperation in science..

It also increases the risk of cyberattacks on the core Internet infrastructure. On the global Internet, attacks on infrastructure hurt everyone, but the walled domestic Internet will change that calculation. for example, Russia has the ability to separate itself from the rest of the world’s internet While maintaining service in the country.With that capacity it can Attack the core global internet infrastructure There is less risk of disrupting the domestic population. Advanced attacks on US companies can cause major Internet outages.

The future of the internet

For much of its history, the Internet was incomplete, but mostly open. Content can be accessed from anywhere across national borders.Perhaps this openness Because, nevertheless, because of US rule Via the internet.

Whether or not that theory holds, it is unlikely that US control over the Internet will continue.Currently facing challenges in the United States Adversary, this is Historical ally And that Own a domestic high-tech company.. Without action, the world would leave a mixture of unchecked US power and extraordinary decentralized skirmishes.

In such an environment, the challenge is to build a stable multinational Internet for future generations. It requires delicacy and accuracy. That’s where work like us begins. To stabilize the Internet globally, people need measurements to understand its chokepoints and vulnerabilities. Just as central banks monitor inflation and employment measurements when deciding how to set interest rates, Internet governance also needs to rely on indicators, but it is incomplete.

This article Nick Merrill, Researcher, University of California, BerkeleyWill be reissued from conversation Under a Creative Commons Original work.. How political beef threatens to destabilize and fragment the Internet

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