One who controls the internet rules the world
August 25, 2010

We recently came across a very interesting editorial that highlights our opinion that Asia when viewed though an Asian mindset actually makes more sense to us – Indians and Chinese, as compared to assessing Asia from a purely western, alien perspective.

At a time when Eastern countries are demanding server information from Blackberry, China is controlling google and banning facebook, twitter and several blogsites and the threat of security has gone cyber, we ask is China or India wrong in demanding the veracity of the information that zooms through their routers? Isn’t it time we take a step back, analyse the imperialistic forces that govern the internet and think about who is actually controlling the megabytes of information that flood our monitors everyday?

Vociferously tracking back the hands that control the internet, the editorial by Chen Baoguo a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council of China in the Global Times, a Chinese English Language daily, explains how the internet is completely controlled by the US, which literally has the powers to turn it off and on. – ‘In 2004, the US cut off the “.ly” domain name by using the root server, resulting in Libya’s disappearance in Internet for three days. It generated worldwide criticism of the US hegemony on the Internet and concerns over Internet security,’ Baoguo wrote.

Other excerpts from the editorial read –

At present, the five core areas of Internet infrastructure are monopolized by US IT giants, including high-performance computers, operating systems, database technologies, network switching technologies and information resource libraries.

Across the world, around 92.3 percent of personal computers and 80.4 percent of super computers use Intel chips, while 91.8 percent of personal computers use Microsoft operating systems, and 98 percent of core server technology lies in the hands of IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Meanwhile, 89.7 percent of database software is controlled by Oracle and Microsoft, and 93.5 percent of core patented network switching technology is held by US companies.

After the control of Internet infrastructure, hardware and software system, the US is now turning to Internet content….

For an Asian nation which already has the world’s largest number of Internet users, more than 420 million, values its internet security, is concerned over the content available to its citizens and which aims to provide its people with an imperialist free network, China doesn’t seem to be wrong in checking what information flows into the country. If viewed as China’s way of preventing its citizens from being swayed by western powers and protecting their national integrity, then China is right in blocking google, twitter and facebook, for every country has the right to protect its people against an alien invasion. The great firewall of China then, is probably a good thing?

China though, being the dragon economy that it is, is not a lame sitting duck.  The country recently announced plans to create a government-controlled search engine to compete with home-grown but privately owned Baidu. Beijing said the state-owned China Mobile — the world’s biggest cellphone carrier — and Xinhua, China’s official state-run news agency, have agreed  to create a joint venture called the Search Engine New Media International Communications Company.

At the announcement of the joint venture in Beijing two seeks ago,  Zhou Xisheng, vice president of Xinhua, said the new company would build a leading search engine platform. But he also said the move was “part of the country’s broader efforts to safeguard its information security and push forward the robust, healthy and orderly development of China’s new media industry.”

The middle kingdom is also in the process of putting its final touches on IPV6 (Internet protocol version 6), the gen-next for web addresses. It is estimated that witin the next few years, the current number of web addresses currently running on IPv4 will be exhausted and the next generation of Internet Protocol will be in high demand. Developed as part of a five year plan, already in progress, Beijing hopes to construct China’s next generation Internet backbones, develop key network technology and major applications for the next generation Internet, promote industrialization and application development of next generation Internet equipment and software and participate in international organizations, and playing an important role in standards setting.

It is a scary thought for in the future, if China like the US today is able to control the internet and the information we read and how we read it and what is available to us, it will have the power to change future mindsets and alter the way the world thinks and what they believe in.


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