Washington [US], May 5 (ANI): The United States and 60 other partner countries signed a political declaration affirming their commitment to develop and promote a single global internet regime in the face of growing digital authoritarianism from China.
The “Declaration for the Future of the Internet” was signed on 28 April and is designed to champion “a single interconnected communications system for all of humanity” amid surging “state-sponsored or condoned malicious behaviour.”
The commitment called the “Declaration for the Future of the Internet” — the first such effort of its kind — protects human rights, promotes the free flow of information, protects the privacy of users, and sets rules for a growing global digital economy among steps to counter what two Biden administration officials called a “dangerous new model” of internet policy from countries such as Russia and China.
“This Declaration represents a political commitment among Declaration partners to advance a positive vision for the Internet and digital technologies,” the document reads.
“It reclaims the promise of the Internet in the face of the global opportunities and challenges presented by the 21st century. It also reaffirms and recommits its partners to a single global Internet – one that is truly open and fosters competition, privacy, and respect for human rights,” the document added.
It continued, “At the same time, millions of people still face barriers to access and cybersecurity risks and threats undermine the trust and reliability of networks”. The declaration aims to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people and promote a global Internet that advances the free flow of information.
It also advances inclusive and affordable connectivity so that all people can benefit from the digital economy and promote trust in the global digital ecosystem, including through the protection of privacy.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission said, “Today, for the first time, like-minded countries from all over the world are setting out a shared vision for the future of the Internet, to make sure that the values we hold true offline are also protected online, to make the Internet a safe place and trusted space for everyone, and to ensure that the Internet serves our individual freedom.”
The world is witnessing a global trend of rising digital authoritarianism, with countries such as Russia and China have acted to repress freedom of expression, censor independent news sites, interfere with elections, promote disinformation, and deny their citizens other human rights, US officials said.
The push toward a single global internet comes mere weeks after former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said the world was being broken up into different “technospheres” with authoritarian nations such as China and Russia developing their own technologies and standards that were both technically and ideologically incompatible with those of democratic nations.
Those comments were accompanied by a report that found that the Chinese communist regime was actively “seeking to co-opt nonaligned nations around the globe to align with its technosphere” and to develop for itself authoritarian dependencies throughout the world.
To combat this, the new declaration aims to protect human rights, promote a single global internet, promote trust and inclusivity, and protect a multistakeholder approach to internet development.
“Over the last year, the United States has worked with partners from all over the world – including civil society, industry, academia, and other stakeholders to reaffirm the vision of an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet and reverse negative trends in this regard,” the document reads.
Since it invaded Ukraine, Russia has launched cyberattacks, including hacking into a satellite internet provider’s network at the beginning of the invasion. The administration officials said the new effort is not an attempt to address cyber warfare.
The declaration is a modified version of the White House’s efforts from last year to rally a coalition of democracies around a vision for an open and free web. The countries joining the US include EU members, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Georgia, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. (ANI)