The term Silent War has often been applied to submarine combat. One can easily imagine the endless cat and mouse games under the sea that took place during decades-long rivalry between the navies of the United States and the Soviet Union. It was a quiet, secret conflict away from the eyes of the public, utterly obfuscated by the deep ocean. Yet there is no doubt it happened. While the diplomats smiled insincerely at each other, submariners engaged in an underwater chess game.
When the Cold War finally thawed and the world’s political landscape took on a new shape, a different kind of Silent War began. This one is fought in a sea of ones and zeroes; its soundtrack is a legion of ball-bearing cooling fans. It is the war for the Internet.
Do not be fooled, though. There is as much at stake as there was in the conflict between the U.S. and Russia. Indeed, it is very much in the same vein that this new war takes place. The fight is between those of us that would have as much information free to the public as possible, and those who label vast tracts of knowledge as verboten to regular people.
Who are the main opponents in this war? The United States and China.
The Great Firewall, a jolly term for the vast machinery of information suppression the Chinese government imposes on its citizens, bans mountains of websites, including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. The state-controlled search engine Baidu supplies Chinese citizens with information from government-run sources almost exclusively and hides most news items that represent ideas and opinions contrary to the Chinese government’s viewpoints.