Aug 01, 2023
Digital Sovereignty: Who Controls the Online Realm?
Take a moment to consider the vast online realm—the Internet, an all-encompassing force that shapes our lives in communication, entertainment, business, and much more. Yet, hidden in its depths lies a crucial question: who truly holds the reins of this digital landscape?
It's a nagging concern at the back of our minds, and should be of yours. After all, the decisions of these controllers significantly impact our daily lives and activities.
Once an unregulated territory, the internet now faces a changing landscape. In recent years, governments and businesses have steadily asserted more control over this online realm, a trend known as digital sovereignty.
So who controls the digital realm? What exactly is digital sovereignty? And what are its implications for individual privacy and freedom?
These answer is not so simple. But by understanding the concept of digital sovereignty, we can better protect our online autonomy.
In this article we’ll explore the concept of digital sovereignty, and how it is being used by governments and businesses to exert control over the internet, and in some cases, over each of us as individuals.
Also known as Internet sovereignty or cyber sovereignty, digital sovereignty refers to a concept or policy approach in which a nation-state asserts its authority and control over the internet within its borders. It is essentially the idea that each country should have the right to govern and regulate the flow of information, data, and online activities within its territory according to its own laws and regulations.
This means that governments can regulate how the internet is used within their borders, and can even block access to certain websites, services or information.
Internet sovereignty has a number of implications for individual privacy and freedom. For example, internet sovereignty can make it more difficult for individuals to access information that they need. It can also make it more difficult for individuals to express their opinions freely.
There are a number of reasons why internet sovereignty is important. Firstly, it empowers governments to safeguard their national security, a justifiable aim. For example, governments can use internet sovereignty to block access to terrorist websites or to prevent the spread of misinformation, thereby bolstering their defense measures.
Secondly, internet sovereignty can help to protect individual privacy. Governments can use internet sovereignty to require companies to store data on their citizens within their borders. This can make it more difficult for foreign governments to access that data. Once again, totally justifiable.
Lastly, internet sovereignty is a catalyst for economic development. Governments can use internet sovereignty to create a more favorable environment for businesses to operate online. This fosters job opportunities and propels overall economic growth, a favorable outcome celebrated by all, including us at Hola.
Digital sovereignty is being used by governments and businesses in a number of ways. For example, governments are using internet sovereignty to:
Censor content: Governments are using internet sovereignty to block access to websites and services that they deem to be harmful or objectionable. For example, China has blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
Monitor citizens: Governments are using internet sovereignty to monitor the online activities of their citizens. This can be done for a variety of reasons, such as to prevent crime or to protect national security.
Collect data: Governments are using internet sovereignty to collect data on their citizens. This data can be used for a variety of purposes, such as to target advertising or to track the spread of disease.
These above three points are a mixed bag - of course, keeping us safe from harm is a noble cause, one that Hola takes seriously - but there’s a thin line between protecting us and ringfencing us from information or content we should enjoy free access to.
Digital sovereignty has a number of implications for individual privacy and freedom. For instance, internet sovereignty can make it more difficult for individuals to access information that they need. In some cases this can mean the difference between life or death, or simply staying in touch with loved ones we want to update on our situations. It can also make it more difficult for individuals to express their opinions freely - now that, for Hola, is a red line.
In addition, internet sovereignty can lead to a fragmentation of the internet. This means that different countries may have different rules and regulations governing the internet - the phenomena known as “splinternets” keep growing and don’t seem to be going anywhere. This can make it difficult for businesses to operate online, and it can also make it difficult for individuals to access information, news, and services from other countries.
Of course, you can use a VPN like Hola to encrypt your traffic and change your location. Being a peer-to-peer VPN means that we don’t use servers and you join a community of likeminded internet users. Our approach of relying on a community of users ensures better scalability, faster speeds, and the ability to access geo-restricted content.
Importantly, you should also be aware of the laws and regulations governing the internet in your country. You should also be careful about what information you share online.
Hola is the gateway to your favorite movies, shows, games and more, no matter where you live!