On paper, the idea put forward by Huawei, supported by the Chinese government and the country's telecom operators, to change the protocol for accessing large networks, or in other words, to reinvent the internet, as highlighted by The Financial Times. The advanced proposal International Telecommunication Union (ITC), the entity that regulates information technologies and worldwide communications, introduces a new internet protocol, a new IP, which in theory is more flexible to manage and correct network problems, than the current standard TCP / IP.
However, experts say that the new system facilitates countries, such as China, whose authoritarian regimes and strong censorship of freedom of expression, have exerted even more pressure and control on their citizens. At issue is a feature similar to an emergency button, capable of cutting off part of the network and the circulation of data to and from an address.
It is a good effort to curb malicious websites, fight terrorism and other online society crimes, but at the same time, it can be a tool for a government to simply silence an activist without much effort.
The system is also raising questions of privacy in navigation, since the authentication of the new IP requires authorization not only from the respective new internet addresses, but from the people involved and the data packets sent. For years, China has forced its users of online services to register under their real name, for example.
Huawei expects to have the new IP system available for testing in early 2021. A company spokesman says the technology is being designed to address technical issues related to the new digital paradigm ahead, such as autonomous driving , IoT and other networked technologies. It also mentions that the technology is open to all scientists and engineers worldwide.
Once tested, and before the ITU gives the green light for an eventual protocol change, there will have to be enough countries to adopt the technology for it to become viable.