WEF Davos 2020: Tech Cold War Can Turn Internet Into ‘Splinternet’, Says John Chipman
John Chipman, director general and chief executive officer at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies, speaks during the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan.23, 2020. (Photo: BloombergQuint)

WEF Davos 2020: Tech Cold War Can Turn Internet Into ‘Splinternet’, Says John Chipman

The world is on the cusp of a “technology war”, where global powers are engaged in a data race, the signs of which will first emerge in the 5G debate.

That’s according to John Chipman, director general and chief executive officer at International Institute for Strategic Studies, London.

If the world fails to accommodate all the 5G suppliers, it faces a situation where nations will try to have their own, Chipman told BloombergQuint on the sidelines of the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. If the internet is not free-flowing and “bumps up against walls of different kinds, then the advantage that 5G would deliver to economies is lost”, he said.

WEF Davos 2020: Tech Cold War Can Turn Internet Into ‘Splinternet’, Says John Chipman
If that happens, we move from an internet to a splinternet.
John Chipman, Director General and CEO, International Institute for Strategic Studies

The global economy, he said, depends on global internet and global sharing of data. That is what will ensure that financial transactions and a lot of other healthy things happen, he said.

The 5G Problem

The problem, according to Chipman, is that there were no patents filed for 5G from a security perspective. “While all these companies have filed all sorts of 5G patents, none have filed really important papers from the security element and that is a great concern.”

Chipman said the world must at least start working on a 6G framework. “When we board the 6G ship, we must have proper standards, security protocols and how data flows in a trusted way.”

On India’s Extroverted Personality

  • India will move away from its former non-aligned position. It will develop a strategic personality of its own.
  • India needs to express its personality more in the Indo-Pacific region. Countries in the Indo-Pacific will welcome an extrovert India.
  • There's a lot of opportunity for India to become a sharper, a stronger defender of the rules-based order.
  • In Europe and North America, people look to India to play a larger role. The nation will be received in the international marketplace and foreign policy “very warmly”.

WATCH | John Chipman on 5G and the future of global tech

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