What Does Internet Fragmentation
Look Like?

Billions of people rely on the Internet. But what if it were to disappear?

Whether we’re using the Internet to blow off steam or find life-changing opportunities, we can all grow it, be a part of it, and benefit from it. Yet, we can’t take this open, global Internet for granted. Policies and decisions from all over the world could undermine and break the Internet for good.

This is what Internet fragmentation looks like—small, daily wounds that add up to irreparable harm:

woman holding a clock on her face

CERT-In Cybersecurity Directions

What happens if you can’t trust a clock?
Everything on the Internet connects to a time server. This is how a device keeps accurate time, and is essential to a functioning Internet. A policy in India threatens this technology’s resilience, and potentially its accuracy.
Metal sign with text 'No unauthorized access'

Application Bans

What’s lost when a government bans a service?
Internet services and applications are essential ways for people to connect with loved ones, do business, and stay informed. When a government prevents access to even one of those, people can lose more than just an app.

man in black t-shirt writing on white paper

Content Moderation

Who’s harmed when content moderation is a blunt instrument?
DNS resolvers are the phone books of the Internet. They’re why you can type a web address and it connects to the right information. A new EU-based DNS service comes with some risks that need serious discussion.

yellow piece of paper with handwritten words "Sorry NO INTERNET Today"

Internet Shutdowns

What’s affected when a government switches off the Internet?
Reliable access to the Internet means people are able to find the information and services they need without technical or geographical restrictions. But governments around the world sometimes restrict or shut off that access completely.

man in white dress shirt and green apron holding white plastic bag

Sender Pays

What happens if operators charge big companies extra?
One reason we experience the Internet as a single, global network is that information can flow freely between networks and providers. Some network owners want to charge extra based on the amount of data sent.

a woman in a field holding a phone, pictured from back

National Gateways

What happens when the Internet has borders?
A truly global network is only possible because the Internet doesn’t have national borders. A policy in Cambodia threatens the free flow of information. It could also inspire other governments to do the same.

We need your help.

If the Internet gets fragmented, access to resources, websites, platforms, and services will depend on who and where we are. Internet Society works to defend the Internet from this splintering. Make a donation to support our work, and together we can achieve our vision of an Internet that is more global, not less.

Image copyright:
Leading image: © Nyani Quarmyne, remaining images: © Unsplash