Go back some 30 years and those of us who anywhere past adolescence by that time would be dumbfounded to learn just how life-changing this new ‘Internet’ thing would become, along with being impressed with dial-up modems in a way that would seem bizarre nowadays considering where that technology has gone in such a short time. As with anything there’s been growing pains with the Internet too, and like any influential and game-changing technology it has been used for ill in the same way it’s provided good for society.
It’s also become an integral internationally shared resource, and that goes beyond just the sphere of business. The inter connectivity of the modern world is increasingly dependent on the submarine cables laid across entire ocean floors so that the globe can be connected by the Internet, and here at 4GoodHosting we are like any good Canadian web hosting provider in that it’s something that is near and dear to our hearts given the nature of what we do for people and the service we provide.
This is in part connected to the need to safeguard the future of the Internet, as there are so many complexities to it that didn’t exist previously and no doubt there will be more of them in the future. This is why the recently-signed Declaration of the Future of the Internet is such a big deal and more than worthy of being the subject for this week’s blog entry here.
Protecting Democracy & More
One of the ways that the Internet has most notably been abused is to threat democratic institutions like the legitimacy of election results and the like, and there’s no doubt that there are anti-North American interest groups in other parts of the world that are using the Web as the means of infiltrating and being subversive withing democratic institutions. The belief is that if no efforts are made to nip this in the bud or counter it now then it may become too big to rein in in the future.
This is why there was such a push to get countries onboard for this declaration now, and it seems there was enough enthusiasm and resolve to see it through. The Declaration of the Future of the Internet is to strengthen democracy online as the countries that have agreed to its terms have promised they will not undermine elections by running online misinformation campaigns or illegally spying on people. At least this is according to the White House.
More specifically what the declaration does is commit to the promotion of safety and the equitable use of the internet, with countries signed on agreeing to refrain from imposing government-led shutdowns and also committing to providing both affordable and reliable internet services for their populous. This declaration isn’t legally binding, but countries signed on have been told that if they back out they will get a very disapproving finger wag from Sleepy Joe at the very least.
Bigger Picture Aim
What this declaration is more accurately aiming to do is have the principles set forth within it will serve as a reference for public policy makers, businesses, citizens and civil society organizations. The White House put out a fact sheet where it provided further insight on how the US and other partners will collaborate to safeguard the future of the internet, saying they and their partners will work together to promote this vision and its principles globally, but with respect for each other’s regulatory autonomy within our own jurisdictions. Also being in accordance with our respective domestic laws and international legal obligations.
60 and Counting
So far 60 countries have committed to the declaration and there is the possibility of more doing so in the next little while. Russia, China and India were the notable absents and while India is a bit of a surprise the other 2 are not considering the reasons they might have for interfering into democratic processes and utilizing the web within the most effective ways of making that happen. Google is among the US-based tech giants endorsing the declaration, and their assertion is that the private sector must also play an important role when furthering internet standards.
What is likely is that something similar will be required every couple of decades so moving forward, and particularly if the web is to make even deeper inroads into life beyond a shallower level. It certainly has shown it has the potential for that, and that potential is likely growing all the time.