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Davos: Threats to Internet free trade worry leaders

The potential break-up of Internet which forms the backbone of global economy today is something which Business leaders pushing for frictionless free trade must worry about.

This issue is a topic of much discussion at World Economic Forum in Davos this year. The forum is looking forward to provide a platform for debate over other ways which can be used for maintaining an open, cross-border internet in the face of pressures for the national regulations.

A lot of business depends on Internet. The web has empowered firms to find customers in international markets which were otherwise out of reach.

The internet has become embedded in modern life. However, its interconnected nature is now under attack from interests ranging from corporate brands to governments fearing cyber-attacks or decrying copyright abuses.

As an attempt to fill these breaches, the national governments, regulators and courts are pushing for local controls that could fragment the network.

The Government action is not limited to undemocratic regimes like China. Other countries such as Britain, Brazil, France and US are also willing to crack down on issues ranging from child abuse to terrorism.

Government officials, executives from different industries and internet technical groups participated in a closed door meeting held at Davos recently to discuss government topics.

The company bosses agree that the informal moves are not up to the task of keeping the web open but that neither is a top down approach. For now, the best hope is to lend support to decentralized network of existing technical and policy forums, such as ICANN a domain-name overseer, for addressing the hot topics including privacy and security.