Nick Clegg in Dublin in April. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Sir Nick Clegg — former U.K. deputy prime minister, now Facebook V.P. of global affairs and communications — argued in New Delhi on Thursday that government overreach against Big Tech would further balkanize the internet.

What he's saying: "If we in open, democratic societies don’t work together," Clegg said, "we risk sleepwalking into a new era where the internet is no longer a universal space, but a series of silos where different countries set their own rules and authoritarian regimes soak up their citizens’ data."

  • "[T]here is no longer a single, unitary internet, but rather two 'internets' — China, and the rest of the world. The Great Firewall of China means great swaths of what we think of as the internet — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp included — are unreachable by its citizens."

The decisions India makes, Clegg continued, "will likely do more to shape the global internet — or end it — than those made by any other country."

  • "Between these two great nations, China and India, a third of the world’s population would be detached from the rest of the global internet."
  • "And in a few short years there may not be such a thing as a global internet at all."

Go deeper: A world and web divided

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