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Internet of splinternet?

CAMBRIDGE – Van wie is het internet? Het antwoord luidt: van niemand en van iedereen. Het internet is een netwerk van netwerken. Ieder van de afzonderlijke netwerken komt toe aan andere bedrijven en organisaties, en is afhankelijk van fysieke servers in verschillende landen met uiteenlopende wetten en regels. Maar zonder een paar gemeenschappelijke regels en normen kunnen deze netwerken niet effectief op elkaar worden aangesloten. Fragmentatie – wat het einde van het internet zou betekenen – is een reële dreiging.

Volgens sommige schattingen bedraagt de economische bijdrage van het internet aan het mondiale bbp in 2016 maar liefst $4,2 bln. Een gefragmenteerd “splinternet” zou de wereld duur komen te staan, maar het is een van de mogelijke toekomsten die vorige maand werden geschetst in het rapport van de Global Commission on Internet Governance, onder voorzitterschap van de voormalige Zweedse premier Carl Bildt. Het internet verbindt nu bijna de helft van de wereldbevolking, en nog eens een miljard mensen – evenals zo'n 20 miljard apparaten – zullen naar verwachting de komende vijf jaar worden aangesloten.

Maar verdere groei staat niet vast. In het worst-case-scenario van de Commissie brengen de kosten die voortvloeien uit de kwalijke acties van criminelen en de politieke controles van overheden mensen ertoe hun vertrouwen in het internet te verliezen en hun gebruik ervan te beperken.

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