Battle lines for the future of the internet
Cameron F. Kerry for Brookings Institution considers the broader geopolitical context of the White House's recent initiative, Declaration on the Future of the Internet, and probes important next steps to be taken for the effort to be effective. The declaration aims to reclaim "the promise of the Internet", emphasising its importance as a single interconnected system regulated through principles of multistakeholder governance that is "open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure".
The declaration comes in response to a competing vision of the Internet, championed mainly by China and Russia, which is closed and used to facilitate repression, surveillance and disinformation. Of the 60 countries that signed the declaration, only 14 hail from the Global South, meaning that it will take sustained diplomatic efforts by the US and other participating countries to promote the ideas advanced in the Declaration. The author also outlines the importance of properly resourced and organised state organisations to support the aims of the Declaration, the need for a coherent and comprehensive privacy law in the United States, and working-level ongoing engagement both domestically and globally with technical groups and multilateral organisations.