Today we stand at a crossroads. Will the internet continue to be a global system for commerce, politics, and social discourse, or will that world-girding network fracture into component parts? The road we take will help to define the vitality of the cyber network for the foreseeable future.
There are many policies that contribute to internet balkanization. Pervasive government surveillance, content limits, and even censorship all inhibit the free flow of information across the network. However, one of the most insidious causes of splintering is the phenomenon known as data localization – the all-too-reasonable-seeming idea that data about a country’s citizens should mandatorily be stored only in that country. While sensible in theory; in practice, it foreshadows the death knell of the global network as we know it.