Tag Archives: Internet

Understanding root differences on the Internet to make progress on cybersecurity: my latest at China-US Focus

New at China-U.S. Focus, I argue that there is real potential for progress on cybersecurity in the U.S.–China relationship, but basic differences in the way the governments and peoples view the Internet cannot be brushed aside.

Probe Deep Differences to Make Real Progress on Cybersecurity

In a U.S.–China relationship confronting numerous challenges, perhaps no topic is as hard to discuss as cybersecurity. Unlike other strategic challenges, such as minimizing the potential for inadvertent clashes at sea or in the air, smoothing bilateral economic investment regulations, or even reducing the severity and effects of climate change, cybersecurity cuts across policy areas with a blade of uncertainty and mutual suspicion. Some observers have suggested U.S.–China differences are so deep that dialogue is futile, but even if it doesn’t produce a swift resolution, a recent increase in public and private discussions on the topic can build a foundation of understanding.

[Continue reading.]

Fighting 'the myth of unitary control' in China cybersecurity politics

My latest for Al Jazeera English asks for more recognition of pluralism and ambiguity when governments and firms accuse “China” or the “Chinese government” of hacking. Check it out!

For fun, my first piece for Al Jazeera fought the notion of a “cyber cold war” between the United States and China. In 2011.

[Crossposted on gwbstr.com]

The private sector battle over SOPA (me in Al Jazeera)

Following yesterday’s demonstrations against U.S. Congressional legislation that could severely constrict free speech and online innovation, I argue in Al Jazeera English that private interests in internet policy are here to stay.

It would have been the most expensive political ad buy in the history of the world. Google’s search engine, the most visited website in the world, displays a black block over its logo. Wikipedia, the sixth most visited site globally, has disabled its English-language service. This unprecedented action to oppose legislation under consideration in the US Congress signals the importance of the private sector in Internet policy – and it won’t stop here.

Private companies are almost entirely responsible for your ability to read this article. The text travelled through a purchased operating system, over an enterprise office network, through privately-owned wires and fibre optic cables, and finally reached the privately-run “cloud” service in which it was composed. If you’re overseas from Al Jazeera’s servers, the message also travelled through privately-owned undersea cables-the bedrock of international communication and finance.

Many experts, including Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard and the leaders of the MIT Media Lab, have described in detail the threat to free speech, innovation, and the technology business posed by the legislation: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate. Most people, however, learned of the controversy through today’s online demonstrations, in which the online goliaths of our day have filled the picket lines.

Read the rest at Al Jazeera English.

 

Wiring East Asia: increased fiber optic links over the years (maps)

About a year ago, I wrote about the limited “internet entrepôts of China,” those landing places where digital transmissions come ashore in fiber optic lines. I’ve long depended on the excellent maps from Telegeography to visualize the physical linkages that underlie the supposedly etherial network, and they’ve got a new map out. I just clipped a little (you should really look at the whole thing), but you can see that the cable network in East Asia and across the Pacific is increasingly dense. (This year’s map first, last year’s second.)

See also, from 2008, my take on the Trans-Pacific Express cable, which had just gained U.S. approval. A map from the Technology Review:

Foreign media depending on Chinese microblogs [graph]

Readers of English-language news on China have likely noticed a surge in references to netizens, microblogs, and a specific microblogging service called Sina Weibo. Angel Hsu noted this was increasing, and I thought I’d check to see how much.

For a really rough measure of how much foreign reporters are depending on Chinese microblogs to cover public sentiment, I searched LexisNexis’s “Major World Publications” database for mentions of China along with any one of the words “weibo,” “microblog,” or “micro-blog.” (Weibo, in addition to being Sina’s brand, literally means “micro blog.”)

This measure is horribly imperfect. To begin with, some stories are double-counted, and there’s no reason to assume Nexis is representative of foreign media. Moreover, some of these mentions are stories about Sina Weibo itself, not quoting its users. I wrote one such article for Talking Points Memo.

The trend, however, seems clear. After the first mentions in mid-2009, when Sina Weibo launched, Nexis shows few mentions until a surge beginning in late 2010. In the last few months, the trend is upward.*

See for yourself:

*Note: I counted 76 stories so far in August 2011, which leads to an estimate of 262.

If you want the data yourself, for what it’s worth, you can find a CSV file here. Please respect the Creative Commons license under which this site is published.

Update: Chinese translation / 译言网翻译