Working to Prevent Internet Fragmentation World

Pierre Human Rights, World 0 Comments

The Internet is approaching a crossroads. Since coming into public use, it has been an interoperable, unified network of private, public, academic, business and government networks. Yet today, it is increasingly threatened with fragmentation: a loss of its characteristic openness, its global reach and its ability to seamlessly transfer data.

That’s because various governments and other entities are increasingly adopting policies and regulations that restrict trans-border data flows, impose market access barriers on the importation of ICT [information and communication technology] goods and services, and block the free flow of information. In the most extreme cases, governments are creating home-grown parallel pathways that split internet traffic.

“The open, global, interconnected internet is the backbone of the global digital economy. Its ability to enable the transfer of data and information across borders and between people and things is our best hope for global economic and social development,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Sepulveda, who serves as the U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy.“The United States is working to keep the internet open and unrestricted precisely because its fragmentation would constitute a grave threat to innovation, productivity, democratic discourse, and the public good.”

The United States is working to keep the internet open and unrestricted. We are pushing back against authoritarian regimes demanding greater government control of Internet governance and Internet resource management.

Sixty percent of the global public has no access to the Internet, so we launched the Global Connect Initiative, an effort to catalyze efforts to bring an additional 1.5 billion people online worldwide by 2020. And we have increased political, bureaucratic and financial resources committed to strengthening cross-regional support for the principles of openness and interoperability.

“We don’t think that governments should control the internet either domestically or in its global development,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski:

“Nongovernmental organizations, the business community, ordinary citizens, are part of internet governance, there isn’t a single dominating force.”

“The internet has become the extraordinary medium that it is precisely because it hasn’t developed under the guidance of governments,” said Assistant Secretary Malinowski. “It has developed organically through the creativity and genius of people all around the world who have contributed to its development and we want that to remain the case.”

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