Tuesday, August 21, 2018

"Foreign Affairs" issue "World War Web" for the fall of 2018

The September-October 2018 issue of “Foreign Affairs” has a big red cover “World War Web”, “The Fight for the Internet’s Future”, which is not the same as FTFF.

Adam Segal opens with “When China Rules the Web: Technology in Service of the State”.  Not only does China want technical autarky (which Trump says he is trying to deal against with tariffs) and data on its people stored within its borders, it wants to rightsize all its citizens in one communal national whole. That culminates in the social credit score to be implemented in 2020.  China believes that muzzling individual speech is a major tool in controlling inequality once some controlled statist capitalism attracts the outside world. China is already provoking anger by courting Google again if Google will follow China’s censorship within its borders. The danger is that China could some day have so much sway over global companies that China affects what Americans can say online within our borders.
Chapter 2 is “Data to the People: India’s Inclusive Internet”, by Nandan Nilekani, which talks about a government sponsored biometric id utility but tries to give people some ownership of their data.

Chapter 3 is  “Regulate to Liberate: Can Europe Save the Internet”, by Helen Dixon, which talks about the GDPR, but doesn’t address the controversial Copyright Directive, which comes up again in September, with its controversial Articles 11 (link tax) and 13 (prescreening for copyright infringement). But the GDPR marked a shift away from responsibility of the consumer to the platform for respecting privacy.

Chapter 4 is “The Internet’s Lost Promise: And How America Can Restore It”, by Karen Kornbluh, with emphasis on the American Internet’s libertarian origins with Section 230 and DMCA Safe Harbor (not presented);  they are under attack, as the growth of identity politics lessens the values of free speech, and as America comes to terms with ills like sex trafficking (FOSTA), and most of all the manipulation of user generated content opportunities by Russian bots to drive American readers into their own echo chambers, given social media algorithms. Suddenly gratuitous speech (not part of a business) is seen as meddling.

Chapter 5 is “Battlefield Internet: A Plan for Security Cyberspace”. By Michele Fluornoy and Michael Sulmeyer, surveys cyber security, even to the point of the dangers to the power grid, and mentions how “air gapping” might be overcome by enemies with manual external software updates and even by radio, microwave, or acoustic devices (which can also spy “offline”, as the CIA and NSA know).  The authors recommend that college students have the opportunity to train for military service in the ROTC program specifically in cyber security, bringing military security to utilities.
Chapter 6 is “A Big Choice for Big Tech: Share Data or Suffer the Consequences,”  by Viktor Mayer and Thomas Range.

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