Global Order As Technology’s Much-Needed Pole Star

Global Order As Technology’s Much-Needed Pole Star

Context :

Since the Dot-com bubble burst in 2000, the speed and scale of technological advancement have fundamentally and irreversibly changed our civilizations and way of life. Without a doubt, this has made life easier, but it has also created difficult problems that necessitate revisiting some fundamental ideas in politics and administration.

Challenges to the notion of the nation-state

  • Physical Boundaries Could Be Eroding: The concept of territorial sovereignty could be challenged by technology, notably in the area of cyberattacks. As a result of the expansion of global networks and the internet, actors can now influence and have an impact across boundaries virtually. As a result, nation-states face difficulties addressing externalities that originate outside of their territorial bounds, which poses threats to their economic and political viability.
  • Enforceability of Law: The virtual character of technology and its capacity to cross geographic boundaries make it more difficult to enforce regulations. Without international collaboration or generally acknowledged rules, it can be difficult to acquire evidence and enforce jurisdiction when activities taking place in the virtual world violate the laws of a particular nation-state. The applicability of nation-specific regulation is further complicated by the universal nature of technology, making enforcement difficult.
  • Governance and Regulation: The ineffectiveness of nation-states in administering and regulating emerging technologies has been brought to light by their emergence. Non-state actors currently operate outside of traditional administrative and regulatory frameworks, including multinational businesses, non-governmental organisations, and supranational organisations. This change casts doubt on nation-states’ ability to maintain the pace of technological advancements and undermines their monopoly on delivering governance.
  • The dominance of the Private Sector: Thanks to technology, private non-state actors are now able to offer goods and services that were previously only available through government and military organisations. For instance, private businesses like Apple or Google Maps now have a disproportionate amount of authority over the creation of topographical maps, which was once the purview of governmental organisations. The traditional role of nation-states as the primary conduits of governance and regulation is being further challenged by this transfer of power and authority from the public to the private sector.

Governing complexities and technology

  • Economic Power of Tech Giants: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft are the five largest American tech giants, and their combined valuation exceeds Germany’s GDP, symbolically demonstrating their enormous economic might. This is primarily attributable to their management and use of data, which has emerged as a vital raw material in the era of the internet.
  • Influence of Meta-platforms: These tech behemoths, known as meta-platforms, possess a previously unheard-of capacity to gather, examine, and fine-tune enormous volumes of data. Due to its size and resources, it can create complex algorithms that can affect or even control people and their behaviour.
  • Borderless nature of technology: The globalisation and anonymity of the actors involved in technology pose problems for conventional notions of sovereignty, jurisdiction, and regulation. Since internet corporations’ influence and impact cross international boundaries, it is challenging for individual nations to enact laws and safeguard the privacy of their residents.
  • Need for a Principle-based Global Order: Establishing a principle-based global order for technology is necessary because it would help rising economies and address issues with enforceability. To ensure that all nations have a reliable system to regulate technology and safeguard their interests, this directive would set principles and norms relating to data privacy, the free movement of data, and regulatory frameworks.
  • Role of digital health: The use of digital health technologies has become more common, particularly in the control of a worldwide epidemic like COVID-19. However, a data-sharing ecosystem that preserves privacy permits open data flow, and functions under a generally recognised legal framework is necessary for a digital health framework to be effective. Without such a structure, developing nations could have trouble navigating the shifting notions of their sovereignty and utilising digital health technology to their full potential.
  • Data Laws and Privacy Laws: India understands the need for data transfer and privacy legislation to protect the information of its residents and foster trust in online services. However, without a more extensive global regulatory architecture that is regarded and embraced by all nations, implementing these rules on its own might not be adequate.
  • India’s Leadership Opportunity: As the G-20’s current chair, India has the chance to lead efforts to create a rules-based international order for technology. India can play a significant role in influencing international discussions and collaborations regarding the regulation of digital assets, cross-border data flow, and other technology-related issues, just as it has demonstrated leadership in green initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
  • Collaboration and Consensus-building: It would need considerable international collaboration and consensus-building to develop and put into effect a global regulatory framework for technology. It entails cooperating with nations that have various priorities and interests to create rules, regulations, and standards that handle the problems brought on by technology while taking into account the worries and aspirations of all parties.

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