MacDirectory Magazine

Asia Ladowska

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 32 of 123

You try to use your credit card, but it doesn’t work. In fact, no one’s credit card works. You try to go to some news sites to find out why, but you can’t access any of those, either. Neither can anyone else. Panic-buying ensues. People empty ATMs of cash. This kind of catastrophic pan-internet meltdown is more likely than most people realize. I direct the Internet Atlas Project at the University of California, Berkeley. Our goal is to shine a light on long-term risks to the internet. We produce indicators of weak points and bottlenecks that threaten the internet’s stability. For example, where are points of fragility in the global connectivity of cables? Physical cables under the sea deliver 95% of the internet’s voice and data traffic. But some countries, like Tonga, connect to only one other country, making them vulnerable to cable-clipping attacks. Another example is content delivery networks, which websites use to make their content readily available to large numbers of internet users. An outage at the content delivery network Fastly on June 8, 2021, briefly severed access to the websites of Amazon, CNN, PayPal, Reddit, Spotify, The New York Times and the U.K. government. The Biggest Risks to the Global Internet We take measurements at various layers of the internet’s technological stack, from cables to content delivery networks. With those measurements, we identify weak points in the global internet. And from those weak points, we build theories that help us understand what parts of the internet are at risk of disruption, whom those disruptions will affect and how severely, and predict what would make the internet more resilient. Currently, the internet is facing twin dangers. On one side, there’s the threat of total consolidation. Power over the internet has been increasingly concentrated primarily in the hands of a few, U.S.-based organizations. On the other side, there’s fragmentation. Attempts to challenge the status quo, particularly by Russia and China, threaten to destabilize the internet globally. While there’s no single best path for the internet, our indicators can help policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, activists and others understand if their interventions are having their intended effect. For whom is the internet becoming more reliable, and for whom is is it becoming more unstable? These are the critical questions. About 3.4 billion people are just now getting online in countries including Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu. What kind of internet will they inherit? A US-controlled Internet Since at least 2015, the core services that power the internet have become increasingly centralized in the hands of U.S. corporations. We estimate that U.S. corporations, nonprofits and government agencies could block a cumulative 96% of content on the global internet in some capacity. The U.S. Department of Justice has long used court orders aimed at tech providers to block global access to content that’s illegal in the U.S., such as copyright infringements.

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