According to the Financial Times, the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has received a proposal to replace the TCP/IP protocol with a new one – New IP.China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Huawei and China Unicom and China Telecom have jointly proposed changes to the current state of the Internet.
According to the publication, the new IP offers a more efficient address and network management than the existing TCP/IP standard, though it can also allow authoritative regimes to censor and control its citizens. In particular, it is possible to create “shutdown commands” that will have access to all data.
“The proposal has caused concerns among western countries including the UK, Sweden and the US, who believe the system would splinter the global internet and give state-run internet service providers granular control over citizens’ internet use. It has gained the support of Russia, and potentially Saudi Arabia, according to western representatives at the ITU”, — told Financial Times journalists.
According to a Huawei representative, the new technology is “open to scientists and engineers around the world” and is designed solely to meet the technical requirements of a changing digital field, but not for establishing control.
New IP addresses will allow devices in different networks to communicate directly with each other, increasing speed and reliability, as well as meeting the needs of such growing areas as unmanned vehicles and the Internet of things.
It is not known whether ITU will accept this proposal from China, but the technology is already under development, and testing is scheduled for early 2021.
“Below the surface, there is a huge battle going on over what the Iinternet will look like. You’ve got these two competing visions: one which is very free and open and… government hands-off… and one which is much more controlled and regulated by governments”, — said a UK delegate to the ITU, who asked not to be named.
Forthcoming paper for Nato by Oxford Information Labs, a cyber security company, whose authors are also UK delegates to the ITU, warns that New IP will enable “fine-grained controls in the foundations of the network” and that the Chinese approach “will lead to more centralised, top-down control of the internet and potentially even its users, with implications on security and human rights”.
Considering that China does not disdain by cyber espionage in the development of new technological solutions, in control over its citizens and even tourists – it is difficult to believe that China really seeks to share new achievements with the whole world, or these achievements reflect only a Chinese view of technological progress.
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