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In 2013, Snowden tore up the U.S. government for the purpose of”protecting the basic freedoms of people all over the world”, causing an uproar. What Snowden exposed was the”Prism Project”, a top-secret network surveillance program implemented by the US National Security Agency since 2007. The operating method is to monitor various groups of people at home and abroad through 9 large American Internet companies, including Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

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According to Snowden,&34 ;Once you are connected to the network, you can verify your machine; no matter what measures you take, you can’t be safe&34;. This means that no matter which country you are from, you are running naked on a server in the United States. From a small perspective, personal privacy disappears. When you look at a bigger picture, the public opinion environment, confidential information, and network security of a country are almost in the hands of the United States.

This can be said to subvert the three views of many people. In the Internet age, there is an assumption that the world is flat. This is an era where everyone has opportunities. But facts have proved that the world is not flat at all. Countries with Internet hegemony still dominate the distribution of resources, and they are more silent. I guess everyone has guessed that the country that enjoys Internet hegemony is the United States.

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then , Why can the United States establish such a strong Internet hegemony? How terrible is this hegemony?

Nowadays, the first thing many people do when they wake up is to play on their mobile phones, and they think that being able to access the Internet is justified. In fact, the Internet was born in the United States in 1969, and China only connected to the Internet in 1994, and it has only been 26 years. For the veteran American player, the first mover advantage is affirmative, but in order to establish long-term Internet hegemony, the United States has done a lot in the three aspects of network technology resources, information discourse power, and Internet system formulation.

  • 1. The hegemony of network technology resources

The first is technology resources. The Internet originated from the struggle for hegemony between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the beginning, the United States, in order to ensure that there is still a well-developed communication network in the event of a nuclear war, funded research on networks without obvious central nodes. In 1969, this experimental network was officially launched and was named ARPANET (referred to as ARPANET in English), which was the embryonic form of the Internet.

After the end of the Cold War, the United States established the &34;Internet domain name and address management agency ICANN&34; to manage Internet root servers. It’s a bit hard-core here. Simply put, everyone who surfs the Internet knows the domain name, which starts with www, but what many people don’t know is that these domain names require a root server for resolution. The root server is equivalent to the”central nervous system” of the Internet. Whoever controls it is equivalent to controlling the entire Internet.

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Although ICANN’s domain name jurisdiction is now completely independent in name It is outside the US government, but 10 of all 13 root servers in the world are located in the US. If the US government waved a big hand and asked ICANN to stop the root server from providing domain name resolution services to a certain country, then the Internet in this country would be useless. Don’t think about surfing.

Before the outbreak of the Iraq War, the then President of the United States J. Bush issued the &34;16 National Security Presidential Decree”Under this directive, ICANN suspended the analysis of Iraq’s national top-level domain name”34;.iq” during the war. Overnight, all websites with the suffix”34;.iq” evaporated from the Internet world. So technically speaking, if the United States can’t understand anyone, there is no need for economic sanctions or military strikes. Just move your fingers and disconnect the root server, and that country will be immediately isolated from the world and evaporated in the Internet world. .

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In addition to the root server, the United States also dominates the network industry chain The key link on the American manufacturers occupy the core resources of global Internet hardware and software. For example, Intel monopolizes computer chips, Windows, iOS and Android operating systems dominate PCs, tablets and smartphones. Social media sites determine what content many people can see online. These key resources allow the United States to ride the wind and waves at will in the Internet world.

On this seemingly free Internet, the United States controls absolute technological resource hegemony due to the power of root server management and the core resources of the network industry chain.

  • 2. Network information hegemony

The hegemony of the United States in Internet technology resources directly brings another advantage. Information hegemony determines what you can see and what you have done online.

Specifically speaking, the dissemination of information requires language. Since the United States dominates network technology resources, English naturally has the highest status. For example, programmer code must use English; English is still the common language in the global cyberspace. According to W3Techs survey data in 2020, nearly 60%of the content on the Internet is in English. By comparison, there are more than 900 million Chinese Internet users, ranking first in the world, but Chinese content only accounts for 1.3%. Taking advantage of language dominance, the United States continues to export American culture and values ​​to the world.

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Furthermore, the United States also controls information sources on the Internet. The United States has the world’s largest number of website visits, and portals and search engines dominate the world, typically Yahoo and Google. The information that can be searched on these websites can be filtered by the United States.

If you look at someone who is upset, you can recommend more negative information about him and strengthen everyone’s prejudice. It is easy to hack opponents from the public opinion environment, and vice versa. In recent years, this information power has also been questioned as affecting the political trend in the United States. For example, after Trump was elected President of the United States in 2016, some people accused Facebook of helping spread misinformation and false news, which affected the votes of American voters.

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In addition to leading the Internet language, controlling information sources, and monitoring network The United States is also very proficient in operating the United States, and from time to time, the”prism door” we talked about at the beginning is just the tip of the iceberg. As early as the 1970s, the”Shamrock” project was exposed in the United States, and in 2000 and 2001, the”Carnivore” and”Echelon” projects were revealed. The monitoring program is omnipotent. The content includes e-mails, phone records, address books, mobile phone location, etc. The targets of monitoring are all over the United States and foreign citizens.

  • 3. Internet institutional hegemony

Using network technology resources and information right to speak, the United States is in the online world&34; In order to maintain and promote this hegemony for a long time, the United States has also come up with a high-end gameplay. It develops its own Internet system and allows others to play games according to its own rules.

We always feel that the virtual network space is invisible and intangible, but the actual operation of the Internet requires a lot of technical standards, such as how to resolve domain names, how to communicate between two computers, and what kind of links are. Etc., these standards are Internet specifications, and behind them are the ideas of the standard setters. In the process of the Internet going global,”American Standards” have also been promoted globally.

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In recent years, American hegemony has actually begun to decline, such as The financial hegemony of the US dollar is being impacted by”de-dollarization”. At this time, the United States has even more protected the Internet hegemony. For example, in 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense issued the”Cyberspace Operations Strategy”, which stipulates that any cyber attack against the United States will be regarded as an act of war. The United States reserves the right to fight back with the military in order to preemptively deter other countries. What are the consequences of the US attacking the networks of other countries, guess?

In addition, the United States also wants to develop a roadmap for all countries to make it clear how to fulfill their international obligations and responsibilities in cyberspace. On the one hand, strengthen cyber alliances, allow other countries to follow the &34;American Standards&34;, and pull up the&34;Five Eyes Alliance&34; small groups, allies can share intelligence information; on the other hand, to punish those potential&34;violators”For example, in June 2009, the United States used the Internet to intervene in the Iranian election, which once caused turmoil in Iran.


From the hegemony of technological resources, to the hegemony of information, and then to the hegemony of the system, the United States has stepped deeper and established a strong Internet hegemony, which can be said to be pervasive. Are other countries like fish on a chopping board and can only be slaughtered by the United States? It can be said that the United States has led the construction of the Internet international institutional system. Although the United States’ Internet hegemony has shown signs of relative decline with the continuous growth of various countries’ technical strength, it is still quite strong. This phenomenon is difficult to change in the short term .

But all countries have realized the importance of protecting network security. In recent years, under the pressure of public opinion, the United States and the European Union have strengthened antitrust supervision and restricted the information rights of American Internet giants. China continues to promote the building of a cyber power, claiming that without cyber security, there can be no national security. In addition, the rise of Huawei and ZTE, and the development of 5G and”China Chip” mean that more core network equipment can be replaced by domestic products in the future.

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What can we do as individuals? It’s impossible to disconnect yourself, and it’s impossible to imagine that the Internet becomes safe overnight. In addition to keeping a close eye when using software to protect your private information, you must also be aware that you may be in an information island. This awareness can sometimes help us look at things more objectively. Finally, it is to keep hope, believing that the problems we are facing now will become needs, and then new solutions will be born. Because of human progress, it has always been so.

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