After an international hacking incident, interest in the public internet dwindles. The Asian subcontinent is faced with both a large-scale cyberwar and a disturbing announcement by North Korea.
In January, Google ends access to its advertising service for European websites, citing unworkable privacy laws that prevent it from delivering effective advertisers. Many SME operators go bankrupt, as they cannot afford the fees for offering information through The Net.
TheMALL/HERE is sued for collective damages in Denmark because its “Me”-jewelry leaks certain personal data. A settlement is reached under which all customers receive discount coupons.
Later that year, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un announces his country has deployed an AI-driven Dead Man’s Switch: if the AI determines there is an actual threat to the leadership of the country, all its ICBMs will fire to destroy its enemies. The world is unsure whether to take this seriously.
The Net has taken over 60% of e-commerce shopping from traditional Internet retailers, largely due to its integration with TheMALL/HERE and the fact that explicit consent is given here. A new trend is clothing with embedded sensors, avoiding the need to separately pick jewelry or equipment.
Sales of AI-driven electric cars outrank sales of manual cars. Many larger cities ban manual cars from their centers, enforced by their sensor networks. Boeing releases its first autonomous passenger plane with much fanfare to the American and Asian markets. Due to its ties with the USA, the plane cannot be sold in Europe.
An Austrian subsidiary of Microsoft discovers what it thinks is a hacker in its Office365 database, but which turns out to be a US government agency with forced Microsoft USA cooperation to acquire data under the US CLOUD successor act. Outraged, the subsidiary sues its parents in Austrian court and manages to get its stock (as well as the intellectual property in the Office365 software) turned over to a local group of investors. Large banks and investors drop support for US subsidiaries on EU soil. The Austrian Microsoft rebrands itself as a European cloud-based service provider and quickly wins over large accounts. The shock however lessens interest in internet services by corporations, prompting a slow shift into proprietary services and classic offline software usage.
President Zuckerberg drops tariffs in order to re-establish normal relationships with Europe, but is met with demands to first fix privacy laws. Lobbying from the large US technology companies that profit almost entirely from detailed personal profiling, and from the security apparatus grown tremendously under Trump prevents any effective change in laws.
In growing tensions between the island and Chinese mainland, Chinese navy forces set up a blockade of Taiwan, including cutting its undersea internet cables and interfering with satellite based internet access. Taiwanese cybersoldiers engage in massive denial-of-service attacks to Chinese websites and distribute easy-to-use tools to circumvent the Great Firewall, which are falsely designated as having a US origin. This causes outrage with Chinese officials and things escalate to the point where US warships are deployed to the area. Together with Kim’s announcement, the result is an almost complete focus of US foreign policy on avoiding war in Asia. Read the story.
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