What’s at stake in the U.S.-China rivalry? The very future of the internet

Published in The Globe and Mail

By Robert Muggah

Robert Muggah is a principal of SecDev Group and founder of the Igarape Institute. Rafal Rohozinski is a principal of the SecDev Group.

The U.S.-China dispute just took a dangerous turn. Late last week, the U.S. government issued three separate measures – two executive orders imposing sanctions on social-media networks WeChat and TikTok, and another to set up a “clean network” program – that, come mid-September, would prohibit any U.S. citizen or company from conducting business with those apps’ Chinese parent companies, Tencent and ByteDance respectively.

While these efforts take aim at legitimate security concerns, the hawkish measures were surely intended, at least in part, to strengthen President Donald Trump’s chances of winning re-election in November. Given the bipartisan support for national-security pressure on China, the orders may well prove helpful in that regard.

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