What are connected objects? Consider home assistants, smart thermostats, fitness wearables and connected cars to name but a few which advocate the advantages of convenience, home efficiency, health monitoring, safety, and security. Collectively known as the Internet of things (IoT), these are devices with unique identifiers that interconnect via the Internet, Bluetooth and other means.
Ever since people learned to fight autocracy and oppressive regimes, the battle has raged between ‘accommodationists’ and revolutionaries. The first ones pleaded for dialogue and used, if necessary, civil disobedience. The others discounted protest as ineffectual and called for outright revolution.
Internet governance (IG) is a particularly challenging puzzle when viewed from the perspective of countries in the Global South. Many of these countries are asymmetrically integrated and constrained by structures of dependence established by more advanced countries. This is clear in the push for IG reform by countries in the Global South, arguing that the current model does not adequately address their concerns about access and affordability.
Anyone that shops online, uses social media, or even sends an email has most likely had their personal data sent around the world. Data, including your personal details, is transferred over the global network without regard for national borders. Countries have attempted to regulate these data flows in the interests of their citizens, national security, and their own economies.
First it was the Foreign Office (FO), then it evolved into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and today it becomes – as foreshadowed by Boris Johnson on 16 June – Britain’s ‘super-department for international affairs’, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Was this a good idea?
Behold America: A history of America First and the American Dream (Sarah Churchwell, 2018, p. 356):
History is not ancestral memory or collective tradition. It is what people learned from priests, schoolmasters, the writers of history books and the compilers of magazine articles and television programmes.
Dr Jovan Kurbalija, conductor of the orchestra called DiploFoundation, proposed a project called HumAInism: Visionary governance for humanity with artificial intelligence. The main aim of the vision would be to find a way towards an outline of a ‘new social contract’. A wise initiative in the right place! The old social contract of Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva, too.