Looking at the ongoing militarization of the Internet, one could rephrase Rousseau’s famous incipit to The Social Contract: “Internet was born free and everywhere it is in chains”. In fact, the Internet is increasingly militarizing, and cyberspace has become the domain of choice for destabilising campaigns and hostile activities that would be unsustainable in the conventional domain.
Now more than ever we need politics to work and our ruling classes to be able to do it. It is a matter of democratic resilience. Indeed, the magnitude of the tasks our states are now facing, from managing the health crisis to mobilising resources to spur reconstruction, put pressure on our political institutions, especially the collective ones (parliaments or national assemblies). The obvious health concerns that arose with the spread of Covid-19 could hamper and even block parliaments’ activities.
To talk about Over-the-Top companies (OTT), like Google or Facebook, and their successful data-driven business model implies the need to take technological development into account. The idea is quite simple and reasonable: new technologies – from big data to machine learning - allowed unprecedented technical possibilities that were not only simply available but also thinkable less than 20 years ago.
The field of privacy and data protection is probably the one where the most interesting moves occurred in the European Union's legal system over the last decades, leading to remarkable political externalities, most notably in the relationship with the United States. If a “Balkanization” of cyberspace did take place, the protection of privacy and personal data offers a privileged standpoint from which to look at how the European Union institutions, and above all the Court of Justice, contributed to such a result.
Russia’s sovereign Internet law, a series of legal acts that came into force in November 2019, has made headlines as a sign of the increasing fragmentation of Internet governance.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC), and more importantly the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is a major factor in the global information environment. China is both a consumer and a supplier for that network. Some 850 million Chinese people have access to the Internet. China is an integral part of the global supply chain for information and communications technologies (ICT).
Last February, a few days before the presidential election in Togo, around 30 human rights and press freedom organizations sent a letter to the incumbent president calling upon him to maintain the stability and openness of Internet.
The Internet is a decentralised structure whose functioning depends on a series of complementary technical protocols, laws, and international regulations. As a result of this, its well-functioning entails negotiations among a variety of stakeholders, including those responsible for developing digital markets, policies, legal frameworks and technical standards.
‘Cyberspace’ became a UN issue in 1998 when Russia first tabled a resolution on ‘Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security’ with the aim of starting negotiation of a treaty to regulate the possible use of ICTs in international conflict. Interestingly, what Russia feared most at that time was the ‘development, production or use of particularly dangerous forms of information weapons’, i.e.
Once upon a time there was a space, the cyberspace, which was a common ground: without boundaries and dominating powers, open to anyone who could connect to it. Less than three decades later, however, the panorama has changed radically. The growing geopolitical importance of cyberspace pulled governments into the digital arena.