The internet is becoming less free globally, and democracy is dying under its influence. Online disinformation and misinformation have tainted public places. The unrestricted collecting of personal data has undermined long-held concepts of privacy, and a growing number of nations are going toward digital dictatorship by adopting Russia and China’s model of widespread misinformation and automated censorships. Global internet freedom dropped for the 11th consecutive year in 2021 due to these tendencies. Moreover, the current Ukraine and Russia war has demonstrated that the internet can destabilize and infiltrate democracies as easily as it can destabilize and invade sovereign nations.
Information Warfare in Ukraine War
The Ukrainian war is a case at hand; Russia and Ukraine have mastered the act of disinformation over the years. Disinformation serves to obscure the true intentions of whoever is using it. It perplexes the enemy and enables the user to conceal its agenda behind an aggressive propaganda effort. The information warfare domain provides several asymmetrical opportunities for weakening the enemy’s combat capability. In Ukraine, we saw the use of information networks to influence governmental structures and the populace. In Russia, we also witnessed the shutting down and restricting access to social media networks like Facebook and the likes. It is vital to perfect operations in the information domain, especially self-defence. Russian media and diplomatic sources have waged an ongoing campaign to portray Kyiv’s ‘Banderite’ administration as illegitimate and violent. Cyberspace is not immune, with ‘patriotic hackers’ attacking Ukrainian banks and government websites. These instances demonstrate a hybrid warfare’s use of disinformation.
Russia, which has a long history of employing this form of hybrid warfare to inflict psychological damage, followed a similar script in the days preceding the invasion, sowing confusion and distrust. These included disinformation tactics designed to instil fear: in one instance, Ukrainians got text messages notifying them that ATMs had ceased to function, bogus claims promptly debunked by Ukraine’s Cyber Police.
Decentralized Web Ensures the Flow of Information to Bypass Local Restrictions
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. The growth of digital technologies has created both possibilities and challenges to free expression. On the one hand, we can access and provide information more quickly through several channels; on the other hand, regulators can use technological and non-technical means to limit or restrict what can be shared or accessed on the internet. While Internet users can avoid Internet censorship to access or post content, regulators worldwide have considerably expanded their attempts to regulate the flow of information on social media. According to a new analysis, the internet is becoming increasingly limited internationally, and democracy is dying under its influence. Currently, the Internet infrastructure is very centralized. There are 13 logical DNS root name servers, and ICANN directly controls the IP address space. These are the dominant actors on the internet responsible for distributing messages to the people. This is being challenged by sophisticated censoring tactics such as DNS and IP blocking and hacking attempts against websites that host material (e.g. blogs, social media platforms, and more). As a result, there is an urgent need to address the issues associated with this barrier by developing more effective circumvention strategies.
In the early twentieth century, a decentralist movement arose in the United States in opposition to the centralization of economic resources and political power. We now access the web through our computers and devices, which employ the HTTP protocol in the form of web addresses to locate data stored in a fixed place, often on a single server. However, the decentralized web will instead find information depending on its content, storing it in distributed locations simultaneously. As a result, this version of the web now includes all machines that provide services in addition to those that access them, a concept known as peer-to-peer networking. This solution would enable us to decentralize the massive databases presently kept centrally by internet firms rather than by individual users (hence the decentralized web). In theory, this would also improve users’ protection against private and government spying, as data would no longer be retained in an easily accessible manner. This harkens back to the internet’s origins when it was designed to decentralize US communications during the Cold War, making them less susceptible to assault.
Unless blockchain technology is exploited to enable a decentralized future, the internet is on a collision course with corporate domination. As internet infrastructure becomes more concentrated in a few major businesses, decentralization becomes critical. Many people have grown suspicious of how their data is being utilized, and there are few viable alternatives to the centralized systems now offered. Businesses want an infrastructure standard that makes it easy for them to provide their offerings to expedite the concept of decentralized internet and provide users with a viable alternative to the current framework. NexBloc, a next-generation internet built on blockchain DNS (bDNS) and cross-chain interoperability, is forging this route by connecting blockchain digital entities to the decentralized web. Thus, the future of personal data security, user privacy, and circumvention of government sanction restrictions and misinformation campaigns.
The internet’s foundation is crumbling, and decentralization is the only path forward. NexBloc is collaborating with various blockchains to ensure that people have complete control over their data via decentralized web and bDNS.
Oke Taofeek Deji