The de-Americanization of the Internet

America’s dominance of the Internet has peaked.

America’s creation of the Internet, and the phenomenal innovation and benefits it has spawned, has changed the world. However, now that the Internet is maturing, the world is changing the Internet.

Many fear this natural evolution as the “balkanization” of the free and open Internet. Some warn it’s a “splinter net” caused by the NSA-Snowden effect. Others in Congress call it classic “protectionism” against American Internet companies.

Something big is going on. At core, it’s the de-Americanization of the Internet.

The rest of the world is vigorously asserting itself in most every aspect of the Internet: governance, oversight, operation, and benefits, in order to make the Internet more global and rest-of-world balanced, rather than American-dominated.

Consider some percentages to appreciate this very real dynamic. Americans make up ~4% of world population and ~10% of the world’s Internet users.  America produces ~21% of the world’s GDP and spends ~39% of the world’s military expenditures.

American Internet companies dominate most all Internet market segments: search, online advertising, social media, apps, ecommerce, mobile, cloud computing, cloud storage, email, video streaming, video conferencing, maps, books, translation, etc.

An estimated ~50-70% of global Internet revenues and profits are American depending on the segment. 8 of the top 10 sites worldwide by traffic are American. Essentially the “cloud” means the rest-of-world largely stores and processes its private data on American soil.

Finally, the accumulative Snowden revelations have exposed America’s most dominant aspect of the Internet, that the NSA can inspect most all Internet traffic.

Simply, these Internet numbers are powerfully in America’s interests, but not necessarily in the interests of the rest-of-world.

In other words, the Internet largely has been an American one-way street for governing control, access to private information, and profitability. Now the ongoing waves of Snowden revelations have catalyzed the rest-of-world to seek a more two-way global Internet street.