Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Who will govern internet or WWW?India's proposal.

Who will govern internet or WWW? India's proposal.

We use 'Internet' daily,it is an undeniable fact that it has become an indispensable part of the world at individual level or organizational level or governmental level,it is spreading culture,philosophies,arts,literature,political discourses,and  promoting business or relationship at personal level through social networking websites,Ironically,most of us not aware,What is the code of conduct for internet?who and how internet is governed or controlled globally?what is legal mechanism of internet technology like assigning domain names and internet protocol[IP]?what is dispute resolution or how the dispute resolution works?.

Now the debate is, who should govern the internet ,whether new body under UN or multi level stake holders like INGO,according to the McKinsey Global Institute, a think-tank."because nobody controls the internet, it has proved hard to censor. And despite (or perhaps because of) this lack of governance, the network has proved surprisingly resilient." More than two billion people are now connected to the internet.The many predictions of collapse have not yet proved correct.
Interestingly,the concept of "Internet Global Governance Mechanism" became debatable in India,after India submitted a proposal to United Nations for the establishment of a committee for Internet-Related Policies.
The proposal was presented by Member of Parliament Mr Dushyant Singh in 66th General Assembly of United Nations ,it was initiative of under aegsis of IBSA[ three developing like  countries India,Brazil,South Africa],to establish a body to deal with Internet issues,but before understanding the concept of IRP,it is prudent to know the history of Internet Governance.

History of Internet Governance : 

The creation of the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers known widely as "ICANN".  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ,non-profit and private sector organisation ,formed in 1998 , headquartered in Marina del Rey, California. ,ICANN oversees the assignment of globally unique identifiers on the Internet, including domain names, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, application port numbers in the transport protocols, and many other parameters,it means the main purpose of formation is to address the  issue of "Domain Names" and "Internet Protocol",the issue of assigning domain names was taken up by DARPA and in affiliation with the Stanford Research Institute (SRI),it was a graduate student ,Jon Postel at the University of California at Los Angeles, who was entrusted the tasks of assigning blocks of numerical IP addresses to regional registries , maintaining a list of the host names  and their addresses.This function eventually became known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and as it expanded to include management of the global Domain Name System (DNS) root server.

The Allocation of IP addresses was delegated to four Regional Internet Registries (RIRs):
  1. American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) for North America
  2. Réseaux IP Européens - Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) for Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia
  3. Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) for Asia and the Pacific region
  4. Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) for Latin America and the Caribbean region.

In 1998 after death of postel, the IANA became part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a newly created Californian non-profit corporation, initiated during September 1998 by the US Government and awarded a contract by the US Department of Commerce. ,in 1992 the Internet Society (ISOC) was founded.

The World first Summit on Internet Society:On 16 November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis, established the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to open an ongoing, non-binding conversation among multiple stakeholders about the future of Internet governance.

The United Nations Committee for Internet-Related Policies :

The new body proposed by India,may consist of 50 member-states,“chosen/elected on the basis of equitable geographical representation” and four advisory groups, one each for civil society, the private sector, the inter-governmental and international organisations and the technical and academic community. 

The advisory groups will provide “inputs and recommendations to the CIRP.” “The CIRP will report directly to the General Assembly and present recommendations for consideration, adoption and dissemination among all relevant inter-governmental bodies and international organisations,” the Indian proposal says.
“The intent of proposing a multilateral and multi-stakeholder mechanism is not to control the Internet or allow governments to have the last word on regulating the Internet, but to make sure that the Internet is governed not unilaterally but in an open, democratic, inclusive and participatory manner, with the participation of all stakeholders, so as to evolve universally acceptable and globally harmonised policies in important areas and pave the way for a credible, constantly evolving, stable and well-functioning Internet that plays its due role in improving the quality of peoples' lives everywhere.”

Internet Society [ISOC] an INGO,cautioned against new body ,it is against spirit of Tunis Agenda ,which calls for multi-stake holder cooperation  in Internet policy development. 

India called establishment of a working group under Commission on Science and Technology for Development for drawing up the terms of reference for CRIP to make a common body a reality with in 18 months.

Most countries are uncomfortable with current set up, China and Russia want the United Nations General Assembly to adopt an “International Code of Conduct for Information Security”. India, Brazil and South Africa have called for a “new global body” to control the internet. Other countries want to give a UN agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a supervisory role.Some western countries battle for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),There is a need for body under the frame of UN  to work for common policy to regulate internet and there is a need for greater international cooperation under international body to curb the cyber crimes[frauds,child pornography,trafficking,terror networks]and cyber terrorism like hacking the websites of institutes of national and international importance.

But some people are not happy with concept of state control over internet,it will curtail the freedom of speech and expression,which will eventually suffocate the internet.

References :
  1. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/internet/article2604526.ece 

  2. http://www.icann.org/

  3. http://www.economist.com/node/21530955

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