For the last two centuries, great powers have fiercely competed to set the technical standards for leading technologies. By imposing their preferred standards, nations not only solve technical problems to their advantage, but also project power globally. Given the internet’s economic, political and social importance, its governance represents the regulatory battleground of the future. The internet is heavily dependent on shared standards that enable highly decentralised components developed by disparate parties to be integrated into an effective overall system. However, authoritarian regimes want the basic governing structure of the internet to be determined by states. In particular, China is now proposing a fundamental internet redesign, known as the ‘New IP’. Although the West has strenuously resisted any such transformation, the battle for the internet governance of the future will be fierce. Setting the rules is not exclusively about addressing technical issues or projecting global power. It also turns on promoting different visions of the world – a decentralised and democratic one, or a centralised and authoritarian one.
Campanella, Edoardo, and John Haigh. "The Battle for the Internet." Survival 66.1 (2024): 69-84.