US Lays Out Strategy Against Russia’s ‘Authoritarian’ Internet

The United States joined more than 50 countries in launching an initiative to protect a safe and free internet in the face.

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The rise of authoritarian governments, such as Russia, that restrict access to digital information.

The White House National Security Council presented a strategy, signed by more than 50 countries, to promote a “democratic” internet in the face of Russia ‘s attempts to  “suppress freedom of expression.”

“We have seen an increase in digital authoritarianism,” explained a high-ranking official of the US Administration in a call with journalists, in which he cited as an example the Russian disinformation campaigns after the invasion of Ukraine or the attempts of the Kremlin to attack the Ukrainian telecommunications infrastructure.

Against “fragmentation”

The source referred to Russia as one of the leaders of a group of countries, which also included China , promoting a “dangerous model” of digital politics.

The strategy, entitled “Declaration on the Future of the Internet”, has been signed by the European Commission and by countries such as Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Argentina or Ukraine. The US government hopes that new nations will join the list in the near future.

Although Russia or China are not directly mentioned in the text , the declaration asks the signatory countries of the strategy to put in place policies to prevent total or partial blockages of the Internet and to refrain from hindering access to the network.

Washington argues that the strategy is a response to attempts by Russia and China to create a “splinternet” (Balkanization of the Internet ), that is, increasingly fragmented access to the network depending on political or technological factors.

“We have not come to divide the Internet , we have come to save it from that division,” the official explained, alluding to the original idea of ​​technology as a network of networks designed to connect everyone. “We want to get that vision back,” he said.

Beyond the declaration, the US government is working on various strategies to promote this idea of ​​the Internet, of which the document is only a part.

As an example, the official cited the creation, at the beginning of April, of an Office for Cybersecurity under the Department of State.

Despite the emphasis on security, the Administration does not see this document as a cybersecurity treaty : “Some people consider interference in elections as cyberattacks, so it is compatible, but that is not what it is about,” the official explained.

Even so, Washington considers that there should be “constitutional principles” about what countries can or cannot do with the Internet , such as spying on citizens or blocking independent media. (EFE)