The irony of the internet freedom agenda
I wrote a piece for Quartz Ideas on irony and tragedy of Hillary Clinton, architect of the internet freedom agenda, and the prospects of a “splinternet”:
The open internet, she suggested, could help open up closed societies and support the “peace and security that provide a foundation for global progress.” (…) Seven years later—and in light of US intelligence community’s consensus that Russia weaponized social media to influence the 2016 election—it’s worth reflecting on Clinton’s call for a borderless, open internet.
Clinton, the odds-on favorite to win the 2016 US presidential election, argued that the free flow of information could topple the world’s autocrats. But she was herself vanquished—at least in part—by state-sponsored hackers who aggressively exploied the free flow of information (…)
Clinton, the architect of America’s internet freedom policy, now wants American leaders to better defend against foreign influence. There’s a strange metonymy in her calls to protect American democracy, the Kremlin’s call to the patriotic traditions of defending the Fatherland, and Beijing’s call to vigilance against the erosion of cultural values. Each of these warnings speaks to the same underlying desires: sovereignty, and the right way to manage information and open borders.