‹ Back
Strengthening the Internet 7 April 2022

Defend the Internet, Stop the Splinternet

The Internet is facing an unprecedented threat. As the war in Ukraine evolves, governments, businesses and other organizations are considering sanctions to thwart Russia’s invasion that would damage the global Internet.

In the short term, people will lose access to a critical lifeline for safety and accurate information. In the long term, actions that undermine the apolitical nature of the network would divide the Internet along geopolitical lines and irreversibly alter the Internet we know today.

We cannot let the Internet become a pawn of geopolitics. Politicizing decisions about the Internet’s inner workings sets a dangerous precedent that puts us on the fast track to a ‘splinternet’ — an Internet artificially carved up along political, economic, and technological boundaries. The effects may be irreversible, opening the door for further restrictions across the globe.

The Internet Society, a global community of members and chapters in over 105 countries and territories, calls for governments, businesses, and organizations worldwide to ensure:

  • The day-to-day technical governance of the Internet is not politicized. Management and operations of Internet infrastructure, including the naming, addressing, routing and security systems, should remain apolitical.
  • Sanctions do not disrupt access and use of the Internet. Where needed, sanctions regimes should offer exemptions to ensure continued service of Internet infrastructure.
We must protect the open, globally connected Internet and hold governments and service providers to account for their actions. Safeguarding one of humanity’s best tools to solve global challenges is everyone’s responsibility, especially in times of crisis.
‹ Back

Related resources

Strengthening the Internet 4 February 2022

Internet Society Statement on EARN IT Act 2022

The Internet Society calls on senators to protect strong encryption by opposing the re-introduced EARN IT Act.

Strengthening the Internet 3 August 2021

Internet Society Statement on Potential Destabilization of the Internet in Africa

The Internet Society is closely following the current situation of the African Network Information Center (AFRINIC). We are concerned that any interruption...

Encryption 12 May 2021

Internet Society: UK Online Public Safety Bill is trying to legislate the impossible – a safe Internet without strong encryption

In the Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021, the UK Government said it wants to “harness the benefits of...