Interactions and Policy-Making: Civil Society Perspectives on the Multistakeholder Internet Governance Process in India
This paper examines India’s experience in developing national Internet policy by focusing on interactions among stakeholders in the Internet governance process. The paper begins by tracing the history of telecom policies in India along with the development of its IT sector as well as its civil society. It identifies the tensions, opportunities and threats that India has experienced in its Internet policy-making. It then reviews India’s legislative and policy history from the IT Act of 2000 onward, noting the intentions and limitations of India’s framework of Internet governance. A notable aspect of the paper involves a series of interviews with civil society stakeholders involved in India’s Internet governance debates. These interviews are used to identify patterns of interaction among different stakeholders, and to understand the underlying power dynamics in India’s policy-making process.
The role of the Internet as a fundamental tool for communication and empowerment is one that should not be inhibited as the limitless nature of the medium allows for a broader, unfiltered, and more democratic exchange of information. These features become increasingly important in conditions where the mainstream media are unwilling or unable to provide the public with the information necessary to function as democratic citizens and maintain political accountability. Though an open Internet tends to be valued by more democratic governments, the percentage of countries adhering to the standards of open and free media is dismally low. In a majority of countries, governments maintain a stringent level of control over many of the mainstream information outlets, making the Internet a vital source of alternative information for the people living within these environments.
Beyond NETmundial: The Roadmap for Institutional Improvements to the Global Internet Governance Ecosystem
Beyond NETmundial: The Roadmap for Institutional Improvements to the Global Internet Governance Ecosystem explores options for the implementation of a key section of the “NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement” that was adopted at the Global Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETmundial) held on April 23rd and 24th 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil. The Roadmap section of the statement concisely sets out a series of proposed enhancements to existing mechanisms for global internet governance, as well as suggestions of possible new initiatives that the global community may wish to consider. The sixteen chapters by leading practitioners and scholars are grouped into six sections: The NETmundial Meeting; Strengthening the Internet Governance Forum; Filling the Gaps; Improving ICANN; Broader Analytical Perspectives; and Moving Forward.
In the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden’s extraordinary leaks about U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance destabilized the foundations of international Internet governance. Speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denounced NSA spying in the strongest terms, and, together with ICANN, started planning conference in Sao Paulo in April 2014 to reinvent Internet governance.