Governing The Internet

Governing The Internet
  •  NETmundial was a non-binding, negotiable global conference held recently to discuss about the governing of internet and draft a framework based on the principles of inclusiveness and unity.
  • While internet was earlier lauded as bringing an end to national borders, it is now observed that it has now anchored us even more to geography. The emergence of World Wide Web as the lifeblood of our digital economy has led to a clash of interests between the government, corporate and civil society over its governance, neutrality and surveillance. However, no compromise should be allowed in the fight for a consumer-friendly, open and secure Internet.
  • In March, the U.S Government announced its decision to give up oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (which looks after key Internet domain name functions) flaring up the clashes.
  • 3 critical issues:
    • Should Internet governance be carried out through a multilateral model which primarily involves the government as seen in Russia, China and India, or multi-stakeholder model which is backed by western countries and allows civil society groups, Internet users and corporates to have a say. While the latter may seem a more reasonable choice, questions are bound to arise over what defines ‘civil society groups’ and the likelihood of it being taken over by corporate with vested interests.
    • Internet Fragmentation or Balkanisation: With countries like India and Russia’s decreased dependence of US, the global unity of internet may be shattered if these countries hinder connections between users in different countries. On the bright side, this may reduce surveillance and also promote local and secure digital infrastructure, as already demonstrated by the Election Commission of India which called off its partnership with Google over grounds of national security; and the boycott of gmail and hotmail by various government officials.
    • Net neutrality: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler turned his back on this issue which calls for equal treatment of all Internet content by telecom companies as it flows through their cables and pipes. In the absence of this, internet service providers will have the option to prioritize certain types of traffic leading to disastrous consequences.
  • The conference’s outcome document takes a not-so-strong stand on validating the multi-stakeholder model and condemning surveillance, but net neutrality has been pushed off to further negotiations.
  • Read at:

Exams Perspective:

  1. Net neutrality
  2. Internet Fragmentation
  3. NETmundial global conference
  4. World Wide Web (WWW)