Politics Who's on top? The US-European struggle for internet leadership
Major US-EU meeting threatened by fallout from nuclear submarine deal that blindsided France
NEW YORK — U.S. diplomats could continue to get the cold shoulder from Europe if President Joe Biden's conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron failed to temper the outrage in Paris over an unexpected Australia-U.S.-U.K. arms deal. © Provided by Washington Examiner A plan for U.S. and European Union officials to launch a major trade and technology initiative could soon be canceled, as the French, in particular, feel snubbed by the deal. “There is a discussion, a rather animated discussion ...
The new, U.S./EU Trade & Technology Council's (TTC) first meeting in Pittsburgh in late September highlighted the differences between Europe and the United States on how governments should approach the internet. Broadly, the U.S. and Europe have offered different perspectives over the rules of the road for the internet for decades, and - combined with the Chinese-Russian highly nationalist model - offer three alternate pathways for the future of the internet. Most other countries, the internet and computer industries, and billions of users around the world are watching to see who's on top.
Although trade, R&D and climate policies are also important parts of the TTC's mandate, there are numerous other venues for US-EU talks on these three topics, suggesting that the real purpose of the TTC is how to manage the internet. While internet policies are only one piece of a much larger, increasingly tense, European-American relationship, the struggle over control of the internet has its own history, and - because of the internet's impact on society, trade, security, and national politics - internet policy may have now become the single most important feature of the transatlantic relationship.
In EU-China Talks, Beijing Warns of 'Shaky Relations' Over Taiwan
EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell did not budge on the bloc's relations with Taiwan when he met China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi virtually on Tuesday.A Chinese statement on the talks between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the European official called China an "important strategic partner," whose relationship with the bloc was "mature, multifaceted and non-confrontation," words that were missing from the readout produced by the European External Action Service—the EU's diplomatic arm.
To understand the different perspectives, one must begin a few decades ago.
The third perspective on internet governance - the highly nationalistic one pursued by China, Russia and around a dozen other countries - for brevity's sake, will not be addressed here. But it provides an important, third approach to internet governance.
By the mid-1990s, many European leaders recognized that the era of free-standing, unconnected computers was ending and that, in the future, networked computers would be a globally-dominant industry, as the aerospace, entertainment and the mainframe computer industries had been: Whoever housed and controlled the coming networked computing industry would hold the high ground in guiding and perhaps controlling the world's economy, security and culture.
2 women in Japan party leadership race get mixed reactions
TOKYO (AP) — The inclusion of two women in Japan's leadership race — the first time in 13 years there hasn't only been men — surprised many, prompting some hope of progress for a ruling party long seen as sexist and out of touch. But their sound defeat? That was no surprise. For some women, it also underscores that the Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled the nation almost without interruption since World War II, still operates in thrall of older, deeply conservative male heavyweights, and that women are a long way from being equal in politics.
Many Europeans were determined to not let Americans dominate yet another controlling industry, but, at the time, it was not clear whether private networks, like France's Minitel, or open networks, like America's NSFNET (also called internet), would come to dominate networked computing in the decades ahead.
By the time European leaders recognized that an open computer network, America's internet, had won, America's internet industry was already a decade ahead of Europe's... and well on its way to global domination. Unlike the aerospace and mainframe computer industries, however, this global open network was intimate inside each country, bringing together average people and wealth creation within and across countries.
Dominating the internet was tantamount to dominating commerce, media, education, wealth creation, political organizations and entertainment inside each European country (something that industries like aerospace or mainframe computers could never do.) So, for over two decades, Europe's leadership has understood that they simply could not concede unrestrained control over the internet to America's government and its industry without virtually losing control over their own identity and future.
Africa internet riches plundered, contested by China broker
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Outsiders have long profited from Africa’s riches of gold, diamonds, and even people. Digital resources have proven no different. Millions of internet addresses assigned to Africa have been waylaid, some fraudulently, including through insider machinations linked to a former top employee of the nonprofit that assigns the continent's addresses. Instead of serving Africa's internet development, many have benefited spammers and scammers, while others satiate Chinese appetites for pornography and gambling. New leadership at the nonprofit, AFRINIC, is working to reclaim the lost addresses.
Since Europe lost the first round of commercial/technological competition with America to dominate the global networked computing (i.e. internet) industry, it was thus forced to either create overnight a fully competitive European internet industry from scratch to prevent the Americanization of everything - or open a new type of competition with the Americans... which is what it did.
For over two decades, Europe and the U.S. have struggled over the rules and regulations governing the internet, with an alleged European higher intent of preventing the Americanization of everything until such time as there was a genuinely competitive European internet industry.
Notwithstanding the underlying strategic, economic, cultural, commercial and security issues that motivate the U.S.-European competition over a guiding philosophy for governing the internet, there are genuine differences in values and priorities between the two.
Were the underlying stakes not so high, however, specific rules of the road on such issues as taxing digital services where they are used, individual consent for commercial surveillance, or ultimate control over content could probably have been easily resolved. But the underlying stakes are high, making wholesale concessions by either side difficult.
Lawmakers using leadership PACs as 'slush funds' to live lavish lifestyles: report
Members of Congress are using their leadership PACs as slush funds to live lavish lifestyles bankrolled by corporate PACs and business executives, according to a new report from Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center.Ninety-two percent of lawmakers have leadership PACs, which are separate from their campaign accounts and aren't subject to the same restrictions on how donors' money can be spent. The report found that in the 116th Congress, 120 leadership PACs spent less than 50 percent of their money on politics, with the rest going to things like meals at upscale restaurants and stays at elite resorts.
During these decades, Europe and the U.S. have struggled over many basic rules governing (the primarily American) internet industry; the European mantra has been "values-based guide rails" while the American mantra has been "market-based innovation." And while there has been common ground in such focused areas as combatting terrorism and cybercrime, there has mostly been a growing sense in Europe that this is a struggle between America's strategic goal of preserving its global internet dominance vs. Europe's goal of preserving its own identity. Throughout decades of transatlantic negotiations on headline-making topics like security, trade, relations with China and climate change, the distinct trans-Atlantic dialogue over regulating the (mostly American) internet industry has only grown broader and deeper.
In their more candid moments, European leaders will point to the fact that the American government would never tolerate a situation in which Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Apple and nearly every other internet giant was located in - and subject to the laws and authority of - a single European country.
American leaders, in their more candid moments, will point to the fact that it was mainly America's non-regulatory "move fast and break things" approach to the internet - compared with Europe's "it's best to get government permission first" approach - that has led to America's dominance. Americans will sometimes also claim that Europe's "my values prevail" approach to internet governance only provides backhanded support for the Sino-Russian, national governmental control approach.
EU calls for relief funds to help energy price hit consumers
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union on Wednesday urged member countries to provide relief funds to consumers and small businesses hit hardest by rising gas and electricity prices, as criticism mounts that the bloc’s climate change fighting policies are fueling the problem. In recent days, France and Spain have led the charge for change to the rules governing EU energy markets as the price surge ramps up already-high utility bills and increases pressure on many people already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than any recent U.S. administration, the current one has been dedicated to improving U.S.-European relations. Whether they have been, or will be, successful is a matter of opinion. But, unlike transatlantic dialogues on defense, trade, China, Russia or climate policies, the U.S.-European dialogues over the internet will be constrained by the facts that any outcome will affect the daily lives of hundreds of millions of average Europeans and Americans - and that there is a third, purely nation state-based approach that has been quietly growing. Which suggests that, for good or ill, progress is likely to be slow.
provides consulting and advisory services in Washington, D.C. He was a senior executive with Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) from 1981 through 1994. He also directed internet public policy for IBM from 1994 through 2000 and later served as Senior Vice-President & Chief Policy Officer for VeriSign and Group Policy Director for CompTIA. He served on the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy during the Bush and Obama administrations, has testified on internet policy issues numerous times and served on advisory committees to the FTC and various UN agencies. He is the author of the .
Fishing, Northern Ireland: EU, UK back to Brexit wrangling .
BRUSSELS (AP) — It was late on Christmas Eve last year when the European Union and Britain finally clinched a Brexit trade deal after years of wrangling, threats and missed deadlines to seal their divorce. There was hope that now-separated Britain and the 27-nation bloc would sail their relationship toward calmer waters. Don't even think about it. Such was the bile and bad blood stirred up by the diplomatic brinkmanship and bitter divorce that, two months from another Christmas, insults of treachery and duplicitousness are flying again.