IGF 2022 Lightning Talk #1 The weaponization of internet infrastructure

Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (10:50 UTC) - Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (11:20 UTC)
Speaker's Corner

Annenberg, USC
Juan Ortiz Freuler, Academia, Latin America (Argentina)


Juan Ortiz Freuler, Academia, Latin America (Argentina)

Online Moderator

Rohan Grover, Academia, North America (US)


Rohan Grover, Academia, North America (US)


17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The process of internet fragmentation would undoubtedly undermine the capacity to coordinate at a planetary level.


Lightning talk (+ discussion)

Duration (minutes)

The weaponization of internet infrastructure Much of the current literature on internet fragmentation focuses on “tech nationalism” by governments in the Global South. Although, data localization and other policies aimed at limiting cross-border data flows are often the more visible instantiation of this fragmentation, in this paper I argue that this weaponization of internet infrastructure by the US government is becoming the key driver of internet fragmentation. The paper examines recent policy decisions which indicate that the US government is increasingly willing to leverage its regulatory control over key companies to levy unilateral cyber sanctions on other countries.This marks a new era of internet governance in which the US government asserts its territorial sovereignty over US-multinationals that control key elements of the global internet to advance its national agenda. The paper is divided into three parts. In the first part I provide a rough sketch of three phases of internet governance, as seen through the lens of US policy actions. In the second part, I outline two case studies that exemplify the weaponization of internet infrastructure: the shutdown of GitHub services in Iran, and the blockage of Adobe’s cloud services in Venezuela. In the third part, I conclude by drawing implications for antitrust law enforcement in the US, and more broadly by reflecting on the need to reform global internet governance institutions to prevent unilateral cyber sanctions by the US or other countries with jurisdiction over companies that control key components of the internet ecosystem.

Thread synthesizing paper: https://twitter.com/juanof9/status/1592194860937015296

Paper: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20594364221139729 

In-person participants and online participants would be able to make comments and questions after the lightning talk.