Nationalism on the Internet

Bruce Schneier has an interesting piece discussing the dangers of Internet nationalism:

For technology that was supposed to ignore borders, bring the world closer together, and sidestep the influence of national governments the Internet is fostering an awful lot of nationalism right now. We’ve started to see increased concern about the country of origin of IT products and services; U.S. companies are worried about hardware from China; European companies are worried about cloud services in the U.S; no one is sure whether to trust hardware and software from Israel; Russia and China might each be building their own operating systems out of concern about using foreign ones.

I see this as an effect of all the cyberwar saber-rattling that’s going on right now. The major nations of the world are in the early years of a cyberwar arms race, and we’re all being hurt by the collateral damage.


Nationalism is rife on the Internet, and it’s getting worse. We need to damp down the rhetoric and—more importantly—stop believing the propaganda from those who profit from this Internet nationalism. Those who are beating the drums of cyberwar don’t have the best interests of society, or the Internet, at heart.

Rampant nationalism online is an issue that has concerned me for some time now and it is one of the things that motivates me to push for Tor hidden services. I worry about a time when various states, in my case the United States government, being pursuing individuals who post things online that goes against the state’s desired message. If that day comes it will be important to be difficult, if not impossible, to track down. The future of the unconcealed web looks bleak but there is hope in anonymized networks such as Tor and I2P.