The Politics of Internet Control

Government and the Web


This form of governmental control as discussed above was particularly necessary in the case of eBay, in order for it to succeed. The phenomenal success eBay has had, has been reliant on letting the market run of its own accord. However, for that to work there must be a system of punishment in place for the small minority who don’t want to play by the rules. The auction system that eBay houses, is dependant on a hidden virtue of government power that is setup to deter those who given the chance would look to ‘break’ the system. This highlights a key factor in the success of the Internet and its companies, which is that the stability needed comes from the country directly beneath it.

Large multinationals won’t be interested in branching out to countries which are unstable no matter how strong their economy is, therefore indicating the importance of government stability. A prime example of this is Russia, the tenth biggest economy worldwide, an economy that eBay and Yahoo have no interest in branching out to because of Russia’s un-stability.
In 2000, Pierre Omidyar’s company eBay had reached its self-execution. A success, that could only have been made possible by the hidden, background virtues of governmental law.

When exploring government involvement in the politics of Internet control, there is no better example of a government controlling the Internet within its borders than China. The Chinese Internet is slowly pulling away from the rest of the world, not just because of linguistic and cultural differences with the western world but because of the governments extraordinary monitoring and filtering system. China does not just indicate an extreme example of control but another example of the Internet becoming bordered by government and geography. It has found a way of surrounding itself with the worlds most sophisticated information barrier acting as a type of membrane that allows the government to block and allow whatever information it wants.

Just as Cisco routers are setup to patrol Chinese borders, American companies like Yahoo and Microsoft run even more sophisticated programs of information control internally. The Chinese government has developed these sophisticated forms of control as it wants to become one of the worlds most advanced networking countries, whilst still maintaining complete control over its information. This type of governmental approach to the Internet gives China enormous power and raises the question, does China have the capabilities to affect the future of the Internet.

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