Foreign Policy Digital

How to Regulate the Internet Without Becoming a Dictator

The British model of filtering data rather than content can protect citizens while preserving an open internet.

On Nov. 16, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act into law, which transformed the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security into the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The change aims to bolster the United States’ defenses against physical and digital threats to critical infrastructure. The reasons for CISA’s creation are no mystery: Democracies are increasingly realizing that they cannot rely entirely on the unregulated market to protect citizens or even businesses from cyberharms. Now, the question for CISA is how to meet current threats while maintaining a free and open internet for Americans.

Democracies are grappling with the differences between the internet as idealized in their policy documents—with principles such as freedom and openness—and the internet—an insecure, increasingly centralized, and increasingly restricted network. Democratic internet strategies face that need to be resolved, including the need to find a balance between total network openness (which dangerously allows anything through) and total network control (an authoritarian model for the internet).

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Foreign Policy Digital

Foreign Policy Digital5 min readPolitics
How to Speak Out and Stay Hidden in Hong Kong
It was a surprise to discover I worked for the CIA. As a large white man in the Hong Kong protests, I certainly stood out from the crowd, where the overwhelming majority of the million-plus participants were locals of Chinese descent who took to the
Foreign Policy Digital6 min readPolitics
Europe’s Dream: Escaping The Dictatorship Of The Dollar
Trump’s hostile behavior is reinvigorating efforts to turn the euro into an alternative to the world’s dominant currency. If only the Europeans could find some way to do it.
Foreign Policy Digital4 min readPolitics
Maximum Pressure on Iran Means Maximum Risk of War
Reports of attacks Thursday in the Gulf of Oman against a Norwegian and a Japanese oil tanker signal a potentially significant increase of tensions in the Middle East among Iran, the United States, and the Gulf States. Washington should not let Iran