Indian government has formally proposed to ‘takeover’ the Internet at the UN General Assembly – i.e bring Internet bodies under UN arms.
MP, Dushyant Singh, India’s spokesperson proposed the establishment of a new institutional mechanism within the United Nations for global Internet-related policies, to be called the United Nations Committee for Internet-Related Policies. The goal of such a mechanism would not be to control the Internet, but to ensure that the Internet was governed in an open, democratic, inclusive and participatory manner. The proposed committee would take on the task of developing international public policies to ensure coordination and coherence in cross-cutting Internet-related global issues, and addressing Internet-related developmental issues, among others.
He said that his multi-ethnic, multicultural country, as a democratic society with an open economy and an abiding culture of pluralism, emphasized the importance of strengthening the Internet as a vehicle for openness, democracy, freedom of expression, human rights, diversity, inclusiveness and socio-economic growth. The governance of such an unprecedented global medium that embodied those values should be similarly inclusive, democratic, participatory, multilateral and transparent in nature, he said, emphasizing that India attached great importance to the preservation of the Internet as an unrestricted, open, and free global medium that flourished through private innovation and individual creativity. In order create the proposed committee, India called for the establishment of a working group to draw up the detailed terms, under the auspices of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development.
A very similar proposal to that proposed this week was published by a joint group of the Indian, South African and Brazilian governments just prior to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Nairobi last month and caused some controversy when it clearly implied that the proposal came with the support of civil society and the technical community
Its recommendations, which also foresaw all Internet organizations being pulled under the control of a new government-run United Nations body, were disowned by civil society and they then received a definitive thumbs-down from the broader Internet community during the IGF open session on “critical Internet resources”, during which the Indian government representative stated that the paper had only been put out for discussion.
Despite the very negative response to that paper, however, the Indian government pressed ahead with discussions on the exact same lines at an IBSA Summit on 18 October in Durban, South Africa. And the result of that meeting was the proposal put to the UN General Assembly.
Indian government’s tryst with Internet freedom came into its ‘real’ (austin) powers with the amended IT act which gave government powers to block ‘any’ website. Creating a governing body (in the name of bringing coherence in cross-cutting Internet-related global issues) is essentially an attempt to bring Internet organizations under UN body and that defeats the very purpose of Internet being open and providing a level playing ground.
Why does government want to create borders around Internet?