Fears about the global internet ecosystem intensified this week with Trump’s executive orders banning the popular video app TikTok and Chinese social network WeChat, following a US government directive to prohibit the use of other “untrusted” applications and services from China.
Analysts say that the restrictions announced on the basis of what Trump called national security threats move further away from the long-promoted American ideal of a global, open internet and could invite other countries to follow suit. “It’s really an attempt to fragment the internet and the global information society along US and Chinese lines, and shut China out of the information economy,” said Milton Mueller, a Georgia Tech University professor and founder of the Internet Governance Project. This represents a move “to create a Western firewall” similar to the Chinese barrier, which would be enforced with US economic sanctions globally.
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