Internet Multipolarity


December 16, the Chinese city of Wuzhen started the World Internet Conference. It is an alternative to such events, taking place under the auspices of the Western countries. It united more than 10 thousand representatives of governments, international organizations, business companies and civil societies. According to the forum main topic, "An Interconnected World Shared and Governed by All-Building a Cyberspace Community of Shared Destiny", it started a debate on the global Internet space future.

Sovereign Internet

China is the ancestor of the sovereign Internet idea and combines successfully the modern communication technology and the state ideology. The Great Chinese Firewall, i.e. the content filtering, became a narrative of the Beijing cyber politics. Such an approach shows that the determination and stress of the boundaries in cyberspace is not a universal norm, but depends on the civilizational identity. If the Western countries, following the political liberalism, prefer to combine the Internet Freedoms and active cyber politics instruments (web diplomacy 2.0, virtual embassy, support of the cyber activists in other countries), the non-Western governments insist on national control of the Internet space. In other words, cyber Domain is also a battlefield of the forces, defending the two different world orders: the unipolarity and the multipolarity.

Cyber Multipolarity

For the States, defending the idea of ​​a multipolarity, the one of the key factors is the need to transfer the rights to delegate and to control the domain names from the ICANN Company (the USA) to the International Telecommunication Union under the auspices of the UN.

The other important task is the right to filter the content on the sovereign territory and the responsibility for illegal activities on the Internet. For example, if the US servers allow the adult sites, Iran, Russia and others countries where there is a criminal liability for the dissemination of the pornography, such resources will be blocked, and the attempts to visit them will arouse the interest of the competent authorities.

Deep Web

As the cyberspace is a very broad range for action, it is often used for illegal operations. Sales of drugs and weapons, arrangement of murders and other serious crimes, Internet fraud, as well as tools such as Bitcoin and special programs – all of these represent the Dark Net that constantly challenges governments and citizens of different countries.

Moreover, the Internet is used more and more often as the source of the classified or top secret information.

Russia’s and other partner-countries’ position

The issue of the Internet space future is not solved completely in Russia, as thre are two groups in the country, which have opposite views on it. The first one is pro-liberal and follows the Western politics. The second one insists on the Chinese experience use, as well as the introduction of additional laws and regulations for the Internet space, designed to restrict the criminal activities in the Russian segment of the global network, as well as the capacity to block the attempts of the external interference and manipulation. In view of the sanctions against Russia and the attempts of political manipulation via the Internet, the Kremlin monitors carefully the political activity in the network; the liberal lobby continues to influence through the support of the economic aspect of Internet technologies (the need to continue the modernization with the help of the hardware and the software produced abroad).

The other countries, such as Brazil, Iran also has critics of the Western approach. Even few years ago, the project of the BRICS cable creation that can be an alternative to the main current Internet traffic routes. In addition, the Color Revolutions and the Arab Spring showed that the Internet technology can be used to organize coups d’etat, so some countries introduced more control and responsibilities for network activity.

West is Concerned about Cybersecurity

The Western countries use a twofold approach. On the one hand, they criticize the methods of sovereignty cyber-supporters, but on the other hand, they strengthen measures of the Internet security. Recently, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers decided to oblige by the law the European companies to report the cyber incidents to the national computer emergency response teams. The draft law has been prepared for two years under the auspices of the European Commission that proposed to develop the legislation on cyber security within the overall cybersecurity strategy.

October 27, 2015, the US Congress approved the law on sharing of information about cybersecurity (the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act). It is addressed to the Director of National Intelligence, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Defense to jointly develop methods of the cyber defense and the information sharing among government agencies, private and public sectors.

The US State Department is also actively involved in the development of the US cyber strategy in the international arena.

Inevitable Conflict and Utilitarian Interests

The number of the forums on the Internet regulation has increased significantly in recent years that shows the growing cyberspace competition between the different actors.

November 2015, the Brazilian Joao Pessoa held the Internet Governance Forum under the auspices of the United Nations. Early December, Dubai arranged the Internet of Things World Forum. Both events had dominating pro-liberal agenda, so-called multistakeholderism, the concept, expecting the participation in the global Internet space governance and the elaboration of the standards of not only the government agencies, but also IT-companies and corporations. As the world's leading companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo, LinkedIn, eBay, Cisco and others are the American organizations, in fact, so the multistakeholderism means the transfer of more decision-making tools to Washington.

The United States also continues to actively lobbying their interests in Europe. December 7, Washington hosted a meeting of the EU-US working group on cyber dialogue on where the parties have agreed to continue cooperation in a number of spheres, particularly, to implement universal standards in the cyber governance. At the same time, the West is using diplomatic rhetoric to create advantages in the cyber politics. The US regularly accused China of the web freedoms violation. According to US experts, in the last year, Beijing was a malicious oppressor of the civil rights in the network, as well as was involved in the cyber intelligence.

Such charges can be used to control new markets, as the demand for Internet services and products, connected with it (so-called Internet of Things), is growing rapidly.

A creation of the optical networks, casual gadgets, smart cities technology, etc. represent a great potential for big businesses and the state economies. Therefore, the struggle for the right to establishing and monitoring the Internet traffic is to continue.