Come December, the Internet will no longer be the Internet we grew up with [International Telecommunication Union]

A major overhaul in the way Government’s see Internet and mobile communication is underway. As we blog, over 190 countries are preparing to revise the international telecommunications regulations, a binding global treaty that was last negotiated in 1988.

The International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency is holding its “landmark” conference which will review the current international telecommunication regulation with over 190 participating nations including India, China, United States, UK and Russia in December this year.

Since 1988, the Internet has grown to 2.3 billion users in 2011 and mobile phone subscriptions have reached 6 billion by end 2011. India has 944.81 telecom subscriptions, according to recent data from the government.

The conference to be held in Dubai (the second major conference after 1988), will try to evolve a consensus on telecommunications regulations that will serve as the binding global treaty. It will “outline the principles which govern the way international voice, data and video traffic is handled, and which lay the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth,” says the ITU.

Worldwide Internet Usage Source: ITU

India perspective

In October 2011, India proposed to create an 50 member inter governmental body to govern Internet related policies world wide. This drew sharp criticism from various corners. Former telecom czar Rajeev Chandrashkar who is now an independent member of parliament lashed out against the government calling it a “worst,” “lazy and unimaginative,” proposal which has the potential of “killing the innovation, growth, and even the Internet as we know it today.” Proponents of Internet freedom also feared that freedom of speech on the Internet will be curbed by the formation of such an international committee. Criticism from various corners put the government on the back foot, forcing it to re-think the proposal.

Soon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave in and said that a wider consultation process will be taken up before India goes to party. India is still consulting with different stakeholders in the country to create a set of recommendations.

The Hindu reports that several proposals including cyber security, data privacy misuse, fraud and spam, technology for monitoring Internet traffic, will be discussed during the conference in Dubai.

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