The concept of digital sovereignty has been gaining traction in recent years, as countries around the world seek to assert control over their digital infrastructure and data. In particular, Russia and China have been at the forefront of this trend, implementing several policies aimed at increasing their digital sovereignty.
What is Digital Sovereignty?
Digital sovereignty is the right of a country to control its digital infrastructure and data. This includes the right to determine how its citizens use the internet, what data is collected about them, and how that data is used.
Why is Digital Sovereignty Important?
There are several reasons why digital sovereignty is important. First, it can help to protect national security. By controlling its digital infrastructure, a country can reduce its reliance on foreign technology and make it more difficult for adversaries to hack into its systems.
Second, digital sovereignty can help protect citizens’ privacy. By controlling the flow of data within its borders, a country can prevent its citizens’ data from being collected and used by foreign governments or companies.
Third, digital sovereignty can help promote economic development. By creating a secure and reliable digital environment, a country can attract foreign investment and create jobs.
Digital Sovereignty in Russia
Russia has been a leading proponent of digital sovereignty. In recent years, the country has implemented several policies aimed at increasing its control over the internet and data.
One of the most notable examples of this is the 2019 law that requires all telecommunications companies to store data on Russian citizens within Russia. This law has been criticized by human rights groups, who argue that it violates the privacy of Russian citizens.
Another example of Russia’s efforts to increase digital sovereignty is the development of its national internet, known as the RuNet. The RuNet is designed to be isolated from the global internet, which would allow Russia to continue to operate its internet even if it was cut off from the rest of the world.
Digital Sovereignty in China
China is another country that has been actively pursuing digital sovereignty. In recent years, the Chinese government has implemented several policies aimed at increasing its control over the internet and data.
One of the most notable examples of this is the 2017 Cybersecurity Law, which requires all companies operating in China to store data on Chinese citizens within China. This law has been criticized by businesses, who argue that it makes it difficult to do business in China.
Another example of China’s efforts to increase digital sovereignty is the development of its national artificial intelligence (AI) strategy. The Chinese government has said that it wants to make China a global leader in AI, and it has been investing heavily in AI research and development.
The Future of Digital Sovereignty
The concept of digital sovereignty is likely to become increasingly important in the years to come. As the world becomes more interconnected, countries will be increasingly concerned about protecting their national security, citizens’ privacy, and economic interests.
Russia and China are likely to continue to be at the forefront of this trend as they seek to increase their control over their digital infrastructure and data. However, other countries are also likely to pursue digital sovereignty as they seek to protect their interests.
The concept of digital sovereignty is complex, and there is no easy answer to the question of how to achieve it. However, it is clear that digital sovereignty is an important issue, and countries around the world will be grappling with it for years to come.