Information Access Seminar

Understanding the ‘Splinternet’

Friday, January 22, 2021
3:10 pm to 5:00 pm PST

Nick Merrill

The Internet is breaking apart. Or is it? Recent moral panic around Internet fragmentation, or the “splinternet,” hides an uncomfortable truth: the Internet has never floated freely, untethered from political realities. But how does the Internet differ across national borders? How are these variations shifting over time?

This talk discusses our efforts to measure Internet fragmentation (and interoperability). Our measurements reveal a multi-polar Internet, one that challenges the simple binaries of “free” and “closed.” We then correlate our Internet measurements to other domains of international relations, trade, military alliance and political culture, underscoring the degree to which the Internet both drives and reflects the political alignment of states.

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Nick Merrill, Ph.D. 2018, directs the Daylight Lab at the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. This lab produces tools for understanding and addressing critical issues in security. More at

Nick Merrill
Nick Merrill


If you have questions about this event, please contact Michael Buckland.

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Michael Buckland
Michael Buckland
Professor Emeritus

Last updated:

January 8, 2021