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What Would We Lose From a Regionalized Internet? 433

Posted by Cliff
from the effects-of-a-balkanized-internet dept.
Vegan Pagan asks: "If the internet was separated into regions, how much would you lose? How often do you visit other countries' web sites? How often do you e-mail people in other countries? Do you ever search in a language other than English, and if you do, how often does it turn up foreign vs domestic sites? What would foreigners lose by not being able to visit US-hosted sites, and how quickly would they be able to recreate what they lost? What other process that we are not normally aware of depend on a borderless internet? I find that although I often read in-depth news about other countries, the sites I get that news from are usually hosted in USA, and I only bother to read in English. Would the Americans who report world news be hindered by a segregated internet, or do they already have the means to overcome such barriers? How much more expensive and complicated would it be to access sites outside of 'your' internet, and how much slower would it be?"
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What Would We Lose From a Regionalized Internet?

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  • Spam (Score:5, Funny)

    by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:42PM (#15005559) Homepage Journal
    I hope we'd lose the Korean and Chinese spam. That would almost make the fractured Internet worth the loss of the tentacle rape porn.
    • No, the Korean and Chinese spam would just be replaced with Mexican spam, since it's the same region. And that would replace the tentacles with chihuahuas.
    • Re:Spam (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'll bet ya that the amount of spam in their inboxes will decrease a lot more than the amount of spam in american inboxes.

      About 80% of the worlds spam comes from USA.
    • And yes, i also think its worth it... i get 5000 a day .. Sure 99.9% are auto filtered, but its still wasted resources.
      • I also think this is a neat idea. Most of the worlds spam comes from the USA, and I don't live in the USA so go ahead and cut the cable! Although on second thoughts, do I also have to be cut off from every other country or is it just a USA vs Rest of the World divide? :-)
        • While i disagree about the source of the spam, i dont have a problem with us being cut off from the rest of the world.

          It woud be a good start in the right direction for the US.
          • Actually, I'll concede I was wrong about most of the worlds spam coming from the US... but there are numerous [ciphertrust.com] studies [counterthink.org] indicating that the USA is responsible for more of it than any other single country.

            i dont have a problem with us being cut off from the rest of the world. It woud be a good start in the right direction for the US.

            You think the USA would benefit from being more isolationist?! I'm not even going to ask - you're probably a fundamental religionist or something. By the way I was *joking* before
            • studies indicating that the USA is responsible for more of it than any other single country.

              Yes- The US and US Companies (both large and small businesses) are, by many factual studies responsible for more of the Spam received by US users.

              Now- That doesn't mean that the Spam messages originate within the US, and this is where WHAT you measure becomes important.

              US firm wants to sell product
              hires foreign Spammer to do his/her dirty work
              profit?!

              -M

    • Re:Spam (Score:2, Funny)

      by Yakasha (42321)
      Actually, I can stop all Korean and Chinese spam for only $500!

      Its completely safe too! I don't get paid until you're satisfied it worked!

      Just send $500 by Western Union to me here in Ukraine. In one month, once you are satisfied that the spam has stopped, tell me your confirmation number to release the money so I can pick it up!
  • i for one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:42PM (#15005566) Homepage
    would miss 2chan.
  • by ImaNihilist (889325) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:43PM (#15005567)
    This is how it should be. Now the government can create a new branch of the army that will wage war both on and for the internet. We can take over other countires ISPs, under the guise of trying to bring broadband to their country, while we secretly just delete all their content. Then we'll leave and pretend like it never happened.
  • As a programmer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoxNoctis (936876) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:43PM (#15005571) Homepage
    with an open source project [gentoo.org] [gentoo.org] many of the people I correspond with are outside of the US. For that matter, a good portion of the people who view and use what I work on are outside of the US. The people who helped me get started doing this, yes, not in the US. It's apparent that the thing to be most largely hindered woud be international coopearation. Why the heck would we want to do that, or rather, advanced it? I see no tangable gains from this idea.
  • Obviously.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taskforce (866056) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:43PM (#15005574) Homepage
    ...Responses to this will be coloured by the geographical distribution of Slashdot user, e.g. most are USians. I think those who would lose out most would probably be other English speaking countries, like the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. I live in the UK, and I would say that 75% of the sites I visit are US based, 20% UK and 5% other.
    • Re:Obviously.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TopShelf (92521) on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:25PM (#15006030) Homepage Journal
      A major question is how something like this could even be implemented effectively. Here in the US, I used to have a job with a regional distribution center for a Swedish-owned multinational, and most internet sites identified us as browsing from Sweden (even though our traffic went through a proxy in Virginia). That meant getting lots of ad banners in Svenska, and not being able to access W's re-election website back in the 2004 campaign...
    • 50% US
      15% British/Australian
      35% all other countries

      And I get a lot of email from overseas.

      I'm wondering how, exactly, the "separated into regions" would work. Is it the old .us, .uk, etc? Or are we talking real choke points? As if the European backbone only connected to the US backbone at one point? Or what?
  • A lot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:44PM (#15005581) Journal
    I would lose a Free operating system.

    A lot of software for Free OS'es violates software patents and other inane IP law here in the states, so it needs to be hosted outside our borders.

    Regionalize the Internet, and I can't play DVDs in Linux anymore.

    • Re:A lot (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ergowa (854000)
      Hear, hear! At one point, as a user in the U.S., I was unable to properly authenticate to Netscape that I was indeed a U.S. citizen and entitled to the full-encryption version banned to other countries under ITAR. So I downloaded the patch written in and available from Australia for full 128-bit encryption.

      I think regionalization is a really poor idea and unworkable in most cases. By way of example, despite not being a citizen of the UK, I've seen all six episodes of The IT Crowd. At one point, I owned
  • I email other countries all the time- I have friends in London, and some in Germany. When my sister was in Australia for a semester, I emailed her every day.
    I visit foreign sites all the time- a lot of British music sites, and I love the BBC. When young, i watched BBC shows, and listened to the BBC World Service on shortwave.
    I visit Carnival sites of course.
    What the internet has allowed me to do, is see what people in other countries think, not just hear (occasionally, because even the few foreign counti
  • You wouldn't be able to play Google Seppuku [ghastlycomic.com]
  • Holy questions batman!
  • Arrr (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hyram Graff (962405) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:51PM (#15005663)

    I would lose access to a wonderful sweedish website. [thepiratebay.org]

    • Nah, you know you'd move to Sweden. I sure would. I mean... umm... if I were to pirate stuff that is.
  • What would foreigners lose by not being able to visit US-hosted sites?

    Oh nothing much, except /., google, del.icio.us, megatokyo, gmail... basically every website I check.

    Don't assume that "foreign to the US"="non english speaker". Even if it did, I can see no compelling reason to segregate the net

    TBH, I don't really understand why you're asking this; what would anyone have to gain by this?

    A lot of sites are hosted in a country other than where their target audience is, for reasons of cost mainly, but also

  • by RockClimbingFool (692426) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:55PM (#15005703)
    For citizens oppressed countries, their ability to reach content not authorized by their government is dramatically reduced. Think the Great Chinese Firewall, but several layers deep.

    Think about programs like Skype.

    The US is getting close to making sure all encrypted communication has back doors for the government. This rule only seems enforceable on US based companies. Most of us probably didn't think too much about that, since we could always just use Skype or some other foreign based VOIP. Kiss that back up plan goodbye. Access to the executable gets diminished, as well as communication with Skype's servers.

    The Government can then start to come down on all questionable content, since all hosting servers will on US soil.

    I think internet fragmentation would be one the greatest disasters seen by the modern world. Is that a little over the top? Maybe... But I definitely don't want to see it happen.

    • The US is getting close to making sure all encrypted communication has back doors for the government.On what information do you base this?
    • The algorithms for creating encrypted content are public and simple. I could teach most of them to an interested 7th grader in an afternoon. That's why encryption technology export restrictions were so silly.
    • by polioptera griseoapt (961130) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:05PM (#15006898)
      I very much agree. So, to add to the list:
      • ssh (was for the longest time only available from abroad)
      • decent encryption (hosted abroad)
      • BBC (try it, better than most US news sources, ALSO regarding the US)
      • Ocaml (developed and hosted in France)
      • Python (I bet originally this was not hosted in the US, even though van Rossum is now at Google)
      • SuSE Linux
      • LOTS of open source projects
      • Well, linux! Linux was started abroad.
      • Email/web would instantaneously cease to be the main means of scientific communication, as there is research all over the world.
      • Think at companies that do commerce or have subsidiaries offshore...
      Frankly, a regional internet is a ridiculous idea, even more so that a regional phone network.
    • The US is getting close to making sure all encrypted communication has back doors for the government.

      No they're not, they won't, and they can't.

      The age of purposefully building backdoors into software is long gone. If you built something that the FBI could get into, then so could anybody with enough programming knowledge to examine the binaries and deduce the functionality. All such attempts (such as, for instance, DVD encryption) has taken less than a week to reverse. It may suprise you to learn this, b
    • In time, that same sceneario will play across most of the civilized world. For the same reasons that governments want total control by nature. Regardless of the internet or its status.
    • The US is getting close to making sure all encrypted communication has back doors for the government.

      Wow, you need to lay off on the 1990 paranoid theories. Back doors into software are so easily cracked (50~100 corporate programmers versus 500~1000 skilled/curious/hobbist "lets take it apart and see how it works just for fun" programmers online) no programmer uses them anymore.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:55PM (#15005704)
    One of the key benefits of the internet is that it enables us to hear different opinions. Sure, you can have different opinions in your country (if you can, it's still not so certain in some areas), but it can show you what other countries and the people in other countries think.

    You get to see a different point of view, you gain insight, you get to see things from a different angle. You get more information to base your judgement on. Thus your decisions will improve in quality, being based on more information. Not necessarily "better" information, but you can gain insight into the various views different people from all over the world have on a certain matter.

    This will enable you to make well founded decisions and it allows you to understand some of the things going on around our planet better. Why some people react "irrational" from your point of view can be explained when you're able to listen to them and see their point of view.
  • I think there are things that I'd miss--there are informational sites in the UK that I visit occasionally. I would probably miss the BBC. There are also things that you can order from the UK that require a prescription to order in the US, which I might also miss.

    Overall, I like the ability to see sites that aren't here in the US. The different perspectives you get when reading about issues on a UK or Australian news site are both interesting and useful in getting a clearer picture of what is newsworthy in (
  • Sheesh QWZX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:57PM (#15005727)
    What an idiotic question. I don't particularly feel like wasting my time with this; I just felt like I wanted to state the obvious on how idiotic it was.
  • Community. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:58PM (#15005729)
    I regularly take place in online communities from many different countries and continents, seperating the internet would fracture these communities to tiny groups which wouldn't have a point to existing.

    The internet is, as I see it, the biggest social step from being a couple hundred countries to becoming a world. The internet allows the social interaction to reach the level of economic interaction, and then proceed to push both further. Fracturing the internet would undo what I see as progress towards a world with less important boarders. Some day, country lines may be what state lines currently are.
  • What would I lose? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:58PM (#15005730) Homepage

    Only access to the web sites of about half the people I know. And access to half my hardware vendors (including such minor things as case-maker Lian-Li and thermal product vendor Zalman). And access to the support site for my motherboard (made by Soyo). And a huge number of anime-related sites.

    Is the picture clearer now?

  • Holy Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karma Farmer (595141) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:58PM (#15005732)
    Every other time I've read "Ask Slashdot", I've thought "that was a pretty fucking stupid question. I wonder if Slashdot can ever get any dumber."

    But not any more. Today, I'm convinced Slashdot is as stupid as it will ever possibly get.

    Fuck you guys. Seriously. If you're not even going to try to post interesting articles, I'm not going to bother reading anymore. Frankly, you shit on your readers when you post bullshit articles like this, and lately every time I've read slashdot I've felt like I was sharing a shower with tubgirl.
    • No offense meant, but this kind of whining is somewhat pathetic.
      If you are disliking /., leave it. Go away. Don't read; mainly, don't post!
  • I read foreign sites (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Valdrax (32670) on Monday March 27, 2006 @04:59PM (#15005752)
    I, for one, would miss being able to read the BBC's news site, which is where I get most of my international news. I also frequently turn up foreign news sites on Google News that sometimes cover things that American news doesn't (and often shouldn't in the case of the Pravda, but I digress).

    I also read The Register occasionally for snarky IT, and it's sometimes good to get a feel for what people in foreign countries think about the US without going through the "We're awesome; they're all biased against us" filter. (It's also good to find out who is genuinely biased against us.)

    I actually get a lot out of an international internet.

    Also, global trade hinges on our current, growing levels of connectivity, and that will never allow some aspects of the internet to ever become fully severed without a huge breakdown in global trade into segemented markets -- which is pretty much prelude to global war.
  • Bad idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Peter Simpson (112887)
    Part of what makes the Web so great is the ability to surf foreign news sites, download videos of foreign TV shows, foreign music, order from foreign businesses...all the opportunities our corporate overlords here in the US have decided we don't need access to.

    Segmenting the internet geographically would be a "Very Bad Idea".
  • by jedrek (79264) on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:01PM (#15005771) Homepage
    Outside of a little ecomm, a few new sites and sites about truly local (city/neighborhood level) event, everything I use is outside out my country. That includes my photo hosting, web site hosting, email, dedicated servers, the dozenish online communities I'm an active member in. Not to mention MY JOB, which I perform via an extranet platform.

    A regionalized internet would seriously hurt the net's diversity. I can't imagine waiting for someone from Poland to re-invent every application that I use right now. What would happen is companies that could afford it, would find markets that can support licensed copies of the app and invest in those markets. So all the little, quarky, cool applications/rss feeds/sites we use every day would disappear outside of their home markets. And that'd suck for everybody, except the corporation that could afford to franchise.
  • As an academic, I'm expected to read various works in my discipline in the original language. Even after adjusting for international shipping, it often is as much as $100 cheaper to buy a volume of an author's collected works through (for example) Amazon.de instead of Amazon.com.

    Also, a lot of works are not translated and are relatively minor outside of a very narrow discipline, and so American bookstores (online or in the real world) do not carry them. Having access to international bookstores via the in
  • I'd argue that the 'Net is not being utilized to its potential as long as language acts as a barrier. Currently I have no hope of understanding anything written in a language other than English.

    As for communicating with people in other countries -- every day on IRC.

    • True, but that's no different than phone calls except that you don't have long distance bills. Once we're all communicating in Basic/Common (presumably English, just because it seems that English is "the" second language to know) it's not a problem regardless of the medium, and likewise until that time comes it will continue to be a problem with all media.
  • I very often visit international sites. I'm programming in a very specific language and I'm talking to a a select group of talented people in that language a lot. Also for research projects for school I almost always look abroad for content as, being a Dutchman, there's far more content available internationally.

    There's a difference within this case of course for large countries like the US where there are lots of content is generated already but this will defenitely harm the many smaller countries. The
  • Sheesh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metamatic (202216) on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:09PM (#15005868) Homepage Journal
    ...I find that although I often read in-depth news about other countries, the sites I get that news from are usually hosted in USA...

    More fool you, then. It's dubious enough relying on the US media to report US news, let alone world news.

    • Re:Sheesh (Score:3, Funny)

      by daviddennis (10926)
      A lot of the International media has more interesting, or at least more colorful, reporting. Right-wing columnist Mark Steyn [marksteyn.com] writes his often hilarious and always insightful column for publications in Canada, the UK, Israel, the US and probably a few other countries I'm not remembering right now. He's a great writer and I'm happy to see him around.

      If you want someone on the radical left, there's always good ol' blood and guts Robert Fisk of the Independent [independent.co.uk], also out of the UK, although you have to pay to
      • his predictive ability's a bit off; he thought our army would be facing tens of thousands of casualties in the Afghan war, for example.

        War ain't over yet.

  • I would lose my software 'sales' associate friends from Russia. j/k

    -Rick
  • I'm in Poland (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:16PM (#15005943) Homepage Journal
    ...if I was limited to sites in my country, it would be a pathetic resource. Most of stuff I use is foreign. Not necessarily american, but usually outside Poland. And even in Poland I'm often using sites that depend on the net being international - tucows, sunsite, google - I use the net inside Poland usually for local info - maps, news. But then I jump to piratebay.org across the Baltic Sea or astalavista.box.sk some 300km south of me, I use one of the european Furnet IRC servers, travel somewhat further south for Ubuntu updates (and friendly business cooperation offers from Nigeria ;) then struggle through obscure taiwaneese sites for drivers for my motherboard, log in to a talker in Sweden to talk with friends, where they refer me to their own websites in their countries. Until not long ago I'd go to chineese mp3.baidu.com and download the mp3s I wanted using very comfortable search engine, (unfortunately shut down now), but now I have to bump around through several russian sites until I find one that -really- offers free mp3 downloads of what I want, and finally go read slashdot :)

    I know many people in Poland who are limited only to .pl domains, not knowing foreign languages etc. But I know how terribly shallow is their network experience. And that they usually depend on me because they can't RTFM :P

    BTW, what if Linus never left Finland and his ftp wouldn't be available across the ocean?
  • Ethnocentrism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnWilliams (781097) on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:16PM (#15005946) Homepage Journal

    Let me sum up all those words in the article in two questions:

    1. Does anything worthwhile or of interest happen outside the USA?
    2. Why should people in the USA care about the wellbeing of foreigners?

    In other words: "We are not part of a global culture, we are Fortress America and have everything we could ever want right here."

    The views expressed in the article are part of the reason why the rest of the world regards the average American as at best ignorant and naive, and at worst simply lame. I sincerely hope the writer was below the legal age to vote.

  • Why?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dephex Twin (416238) on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:26PM (#15006042) Homepage
    Why in the world is the question being asked? Before bothering to answer this question, I would like to know what anyone would stand to gain from this. Why is this even something to consider (even assuming it would be feasible at this stage)?

    Maybe the next question can be: "What would we lose from getting rid of passports?"
    • Re:Why?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rduke15 (721841)
      Maybe the next question can be: "What would we lose from getting rid of passports?"

      Now that is a good question!

      A regionalized Internet is completely absurd and could only appeal to people who would like to destroy it.

      But a world without passports is just like it has always been (except for the last ~ 100 years) and should be.

      • But a world without passports is just like it has always been (except for the last ~ 100 years) and should be.

        Don't ever want to travel overseas then? I think the OP was suggesting the US government stop issuing passports, thus preventing you from travelling outside the country.

    • Well, forgetting for the moment politically-motivated fragmentation such as the Great Firewall, I'm sure there are any number of corporations that would just love to serve as gateways between the various segments of a fractured Internet. Of course, there would be fees involved ...
    • Exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

      I mean dear god we finally finally have everyone talking, the whole world, discussing issues, getting together and trying to understand the other's point of view, cross cultural debate and ideas being swapped, and now someone wants to take that away? The only reason I could possibly see for a balkanisation would be to control content or limit access to other cultures or ideas, probably for a higher profit. Now isn't that nicely fascist. Not to mention that ultimately someone would come up with a protocol t

    • There's a lot of indications that governments want to split the internet into sections. China and the EU are balking at ICANN, and US politicians are getting more eager to control the flow of information at home. They can't get everything they want immediately, but they'll all keep chipping at it for as many years as it takes to get what they want. That's why we should now measure and appreciate the internet's ability to connect us with people beyond our borders, so we can know how much there is to lose,
  • Pirate Bay. Online gambling. More pr0n than you can shake a stick at. Perl Monks. Gentoo Forums. Slashdot. Newsvine. Lugradio. Digg. Google. Just about every site I go. If it isn't hosted outside the U.S., it has value-added content created by people who are outside the U.S. We're better off isolating the real world, and leaving the internet alone.
  • by Tim C (15259) on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:39PM (#15006171)
    If you really want to know, you could try asking us, there are one or two of us here. But no, you feel you have to talk about us rather than to us.

    I guess there's one thing I'd lose - the unconscious jingoism that makes people such as you forget that you address an international audience, even as you speculate on the effects that such a change would have on that very audience. I don't think I'd miss it much though.
    • I may be a little different than many here (American living in Asia), but I had the complete opposite reaction.

      I think of tiny niche interests (many software packages would be similar), and I am amazed at the effort many non-native English speakers provide content in English (as painful as it may be) to attract a wider audience than they might in say, Danish.

      The benefit is clear: control. Everything else is clearly a looser.
  • by mellon (7048) * on Monday March 27, 2006 @05:41PM (#15006186) Homepage
    I have no real idea which web sites I use are in the U.S. and which are not. It would be a complete, utter, ruinous disaster for the internet to be partitioned in the way you describe. It would be the ultimate victory for Big Brother. I'm frankly shocked that anyone would even ask this question.
  • How do you think world news content wanders onto US-based sites?

    I bet the computers on which the articles are created and the computers that serve the articles are all connected to different LANs, which are internetworked.

    Hm. "Internetworked"...There's something familiar sounding about that.
  • I'd rather split the internet on the basis of ISPs that allow, or do not allow, spammers to be hosted. There would then be 2 internets, of which one (the clean one) would have rules against spam and any other forms of abuse (but not any rules against any particular content, per se, though local jurisdiction rules would still apply). Any ISPs that allows spammers and other abuses would then be forced to move their connection to the other one (the dirty one), which would, of course, affect all their custome

  • What do yuou mean by "regionalized internet"? That's a term with no real meaning.

    But to answer some of your other questions, 99% of the sites
    I care about use English, but many of those are in outher
    countries, and loss of access or difficult access, or pay
    per access would be a huge loss. SInce I also provide
    information to people in other countries, as well as interact
    with them on a couple of forums hoste din the USA, they would
    lose as well.

    The 1% that aren't in English are either in Spanish or they are
    site
  • by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 27, 2006 @06:14PM (#15006480)
    how much would you lose?

    Well, the Internet is what I would lose....

    How often do you visit other countries' web sites?
    How often do you e-mail people in other countries?


    All the time.

    Do you ever search in a language other than English,

    My Google preferences are set to "Any language".

    and if you do, how often does it turn up foreign vs domestic sites?

    I usually search first in English, then in German, then in French. That is the order of quantity of existing pages in a language which I can read easily. But I may change the order depending on the subject. My main language is really French, but on most subjects for which I search the net, the results in French tend to be much poorer than in English or German.

    I occasionally found relevant results in Spanish, Italian or Polish. While I don't speak these languages, for computer related stuff, I could sometimes decipher enough of what I found to make it useful.

    What would foreigners lose by not being able to visit US-hosted sites, and how quickly would they be able to recreate what they lost?

    It depends. If I had only acces to sites in my own country, the Internet would become pretty much useless. But if the world lost the US and vice-versa, I guess it would be the US which would lose the most. The rest of the world is much bigger after all.

    News is where the biggest difference would be, and where the US would lose the most. Since US TV tends to be completely clueless about the rest of the world, all the news sources you have are papers and the Internet. How much of the news in the papers is actually gathered or researched in more depth through the Internet, I don't know.

    But what a stupid idea to begin with anyway!...
    • "Since US TV tends to be completely clueless about the rest of the world,"

      I don't think you need to add that rest of the world part. :-)
    • by Matthias Wiesmann (221411) on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:34PM (#15007541) Homepage Journal
      I'm in a similar situation. I'm a swiss post-doc researcher in Japan. For day to day information (weather, maps, etc) I access of course, japanese web sites. I read blogs and news in three langages (english, french, german), with each langage spanning multiple countries. In general, the web is life line for expatriates. For my study of japanese, I use web sites in Japan but also abroad.

      Still the most important thing is for work: I'm accessing web-site all over the world to get papers, either from University web-site or the web-sites of organizations like IEEE or ACM. Was the whole thing not put into place to help academic research? If the web would be really be split along political lines, research would be the first causality. Some of the largest online databases on genes or proteins are not in the US. Same goes for physics: the largest particle accelerator will not be in the US. Many academic projects are international, same goes for open-source projects.

    • I download Linux CDs from Australia, Iran, China, every large euro country and several countries in South America, etc. I'm also building my own and identified my main competition as a Linux distro from Argentina, using Debian as their base platform.

      If you took this away from me I'd have to find something else to do with my computer skills, such as writing worms, taking down networks, and breaking auth systems every way I can. I didn't go through 10 years of study to become this expert for nothing. And I
  • Well in a business sense, you'd loose the worlds most powerful communications tool. You'd loose the ability to trade shares on anything but your own stock exchange (short of using a third party at any rate). eBay day traders would loose bigtime. Corporate multinationals (Sony, Microsoft etc etc.) would experience a blowout in costs in terms of VPN tunneling equipment (assuming this is even possible under the model you describe).

    This is not even taking into account things such as online MMO's, entertainme
  • Even small companies like the one I work for during the day could suffer because of a regionalized internet. I'm uncertain of the exact figures, but I would wager that on the order of half of our customers are international. Our research instrumentation is shipped around the world and I speak with just as many international customers via phone and email as Americans. I also have friends who live outside of the country, and most of my wife-to-be's relatives live outside the US. If regionalization would event
  • by Big_Al_B (743369) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:01PM (#15006882)
    I forgot to mention in a previous reply that this question betrays a very simplistic understanding of the internet.

    The internet is nothing more than an interconnected series of independently operated networks--some privately run, some government run, but all separated physically, administratively, and financially.

    They are interconnected via circuits that generally fall into one of two catagories, transit and peering. Transit circuits are your basic ISP/customer type, where one customer--who could be a smaller ISP--pays for connectivity to a service provider--who may, in turn, pay an even larger provider for their service. Peering circuits are commonly arranged between networks that exchange roughly equivalent amounts of traffic, where neither party bills the other for service. If billing is done on a peering arrangement, one network bills the other based specifically on the amount of imbalance in traffic between them, eg. the network sending more data gets paid.

    The only technical aspects of the internet that are centralized administratively are domain naming and ip address allocation authority. This is a pain point for some non-US networks and governments, who want more influence over policy decisions. That's understandable. And if the world manages to wrest total control away from the US-based entities that have complete authority now, things will probably be okay, as long as there remains a single centralized and authoritative system for DNS and address allocations.

    If alternate authorities start flourishing, the namespace will get unstable and corrupt, and Bad Things (c) will happen. For example, if your naming authority and my naming authority separately assign "slashdot.org" to different sites, you may get a useful tech news site...and I may get this one. ;^)

  • You'll lose my comments, insensitive clod!
  • by ignavus (213578) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:10PM (#15006946)
    With a substantial number of Slashdot users (a third?) coming from non-American countries, you would notice quite a difference.

    I search in German as well as English ... and occasionally read other languages too (I once managed to understand the gist of an article in Norwegian). I learned German at school - I am not a native speaker.

    I buy books, CDs and videos over the web from Australia, the US, Britain and Germany.

    I download software from all over the world (ALSA is Czech, isn't it - and aalib?).

    I read English-language pages in lots of countries: e.g. Russia, China, Japan, India, Spain, Indonesia, Middle-east ...

    I used the internet to book accommodation in New Zealand - and buy my airline tickets there. Picked them up in Australia. I would do the same if travelling to Europe or America.

    When I go onto the web, I don't think of myself as being "in Australia", but as being in an international forum. Wish more people would think that way.
  • I'm a translator, so I'd lose access to online dictionaries and specialized technical sites that I use every day to make a living. I have friends on two other continents and I and my immediate family members travel all over the world a minimum of once a year. I send at least one e-mail to somewhere outside of the United States at least once a day, usually more. Furthermore, chopping up the Internet by country and/or region would hamper my ability to get new clients from outside my region.

    If we lose the w
  • As someone who does not reside in the USA and works for a global company I communicate online with people from other countries on a daily basis.

    I also have numerous friends who travel and communicate via email or blogs or other web based technologies.

  • Foreigner... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ekhymosis (949557)
    I was born in Colombia, reared in the US and now live in Japan. I speak four languages. I cannot fathom regionalised internet unless they can seamlessly talk to each other (which will no doubt be impossible). This would be detrimental because I teach English to junior high school students here and depend on foreign websites to help me with my lesson planning. I also love reading up on the latest football scores from Colombia and the Premiership as well as foreign politics. And of course Slashdot.

    This

  • A regionalised internet, is in fact, an intranet.

    Why don't we just take another step backwards and just communicate with smoke signals?
  • Mailing lists - I can't count the number of people on the Yahoo rhododendron list who are from Germany, Belgium, etc. Nihonto (japanese sword) lists - while it's all in english (if you ignore the huge number of romanized japanese words in the postings), contributers are from the US, Japan, England, europe, australia, etc.

    Web sites: online Japanese sword shops - more than a few have english versions of their pages, and often they can be useful even without it. Tourist info, local info about places you migh
  • You guys are so isolationist it hurts. You so need to travel outside the US on occasion and find out about the rest of the world. Seriously.
  • The first thing I can think of that would be a loss would be the ability to read news stories from other countries to get a better feeling of what is actually happening.

    Google news has completely changed the way I get world news. I can see the same story covered from the perspective of lots of different countries/regions, and try to decide what the issue actually means. Rather than having your news filtered through your nation's lens, it's refreshing to be able to see how France, China, the Aussies, and e
  • FTA: How often do you visit other countries' web sites? How often do you e-mail people in other countries? Do you ever search in a language other than English, and if you do, how often does it turn up foreign vs domestic sites? What would foreigners lose by not being able to visit US-hosted sites, and how quickly would they be able to recreate what they lost? What other process that we are not normally aware of depend on a borderless internet? I find that although I often read in-depth news about other coun
  • This would be bad for me:

    1. I do a little consulting work for people in other countries (Europe and one company in India)
    2. I like the variety of news from international news sources

    Sometimes I wonder if the "owners" want to screw stuff up in the U.S. A world-wide internet is necessary for business. Add to this what seems like a "dumbing down" of our school systems in the last few decades, and I have to ask, what gives?

    On a tangent: the thing with software patents is similar: almost all money spent on softw
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm sorry, but if you think you're reading 'world' news from a USA site, you're sadly mistaken. I've never seen a media that finds it so difficult to grasp the concept of countries - many countries - outside their own country.

    Read http://news.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk] and see what you're missing.
  • The initial query seemed to assume that an internet that was divied up would be completely disconnected. I think that at worst the firewalls at the routers between some nations would be more rigorous. Ie. If Motorola, Inc (USA) wanted to link with () [that is, Motorola China. Damn, no Unicode support at /.?], there would be a prearrangement for an approved VPN. If Dell had a tech support center in China handling all of its Spanish customers, the call center's network would have a passthrough.

    In general, the

  • Fact is most sites are in English, whether or not they're in English-speaking countries. American English is fast becoming the lingua franca of both the internet and the business world; if you (ignorantly) think otherwise just take a look at how Asia is scrambling to import ESL teachers for the sole purpose of making their populations (especially the younger generation) fluent in the language.

    These countries are smart; they know that there isn't a chance in hell that the rest of the world is going to learn
  • How many questions can you write in a single /. submission? Are they a lot? A few? More or less? Didn't you feel tired after reading the übertopic? No? Why? am I leading you into thinking about something? Yes? Is it blue? Do you usually find it in a Church?
  • As an American living in Japan, I think that would have a very serious impact on my internet browsing. Even for people in less extreme situations than mine, just how much do you rely on foreign sites every day? (Hint: just because it's in English doesn't mean it's in the US.) How many businesses and educational institutions work internationally?

    Perhaps the question isn't, "should the internet be regionalized?" but "should the US segregate its internet from the rest of the world?" It's an insanely stupid
  • I work for a government sponsored technology incubator in Japan and I will never tire of telling this story: I once had the pleasure of listening in on a conference-call/reaming by one professor at $NAME_BRAND_INSTITUTION to his IT department because they had tossed all email from *.jp into /dev/null to control "that Asian spam stuff". Because, you know, nobody from his institution would need to get, oh, an email offering them a five-figure speaking fee for appearing at a conference in one of these "Here B
  • It is much easier to promote war if you can prevent people from talking to each other. Were it not for the ability of people to communicate I would expect the Veitnam war might still be going on.

    I am sure there are many people who may not see this connection. However, we must consider the FUD that propaganda departments spew. In fact the very existance of propaganda departments illustrates the idea.

    One of the biggest benefits the internet confers upon people is the ability for everyone to freely and inex

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