Though the dream of the original internet pioneers was a completely open, non-hierarchical internet, over the years barriers have been springing up that restrict this freedom.
Bit by bit, the internet is becoming more cordoned off, experts have warned.
The idea of splitting up the internet into different, ‘balkanised’ or nationalised internets – with a completely separate infrastructure – is not new.
Like Brazil, the Germans took action after Snowden and started looking into the construction of an ‘Internetz’.
This would see the creation of a German-only network, with the possibility of expanding to the rest of the European Union. The current state of this project is unclear.
Another example is the Great Firewall of China.
Though China hasn’t built an entirely separate infrastructure, its internet looks entirely different from what we are used to.
Content is heavily censored and many platforms and websites completely banned.
Moscow has also reportedly been working with Beijing to implement something similar in Russia.
Last November, Russia also banned LinkedIn from operating in the country, because the social network did not adhere to a new law that mandated all data generated by Russian users should be stored within Russia itself.
The European Union has also been flexing its muscles when it comes to internet policy.
The EU is in the process of implementing some of the strictest data protection regulation in the world.
In this case the aim is not to curb citizens’ rights but instead to bolster them, as concerns grow about the immense power wielded by the handful of tech giants controlling our data.
The EU is also a strong proponent of the construction of decentralised internets through citizen initiatives.