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Thursday, June 7, 2012

India Wants UN to Control Web

India suggested moving away to a government-run multilateral body which would relegate civil society, private sector, international companies and technical and academic groups to the fringes in an advisory role.

Meanwhile, the proposal is gaining traction in the United Kingdom without any public consultation, though the move impacted 800 million mobile and 100 million Internet users from the country.

India suggested that Committee for Internet Related Policies (aka CIRP) develop online policies, oversee all online standards bodies and policy outfits, and negotiate web-related treaties. In addition, it would also rule on online-related disputes.

The Committee would be funded by the United Nations, governed by staff from the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development arm and report directly to the UN General Assembly. In other words, the outfit will be entirely controlled by the UN’s member states.

The opponents of this suggestion can’t explain the advantages of the present situation, where the web is governed by a voluntary, multi-stakeholder group named ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Since this outfit is headquartered in California, the only government which has a say in its operations is the United States, which means that the web is in fact controlled by the US government.

However, the local newspapers claim that there’s something worse than the anti-Christ afoot for the nation’s interest in controlling work performed by ICANN, adding that this outfit will give a lot more government control over the web. Actually, India started worrying about the web when anti-government corruption campaigner Anna Hazare has managed to attract large crowds at the Ram Lila grounds by using the web and social media.

In the meantime, the trouble with the Indian plan is not that it has some secret plot, but more that it puts politicians in charge of the Internet. According to the local press, a 50-member inter-governmental process lodged within the bureaucracy of the United Nations, meeting once every year for 2 working weeks in Switzerland, can’t really be useful for the web development.

Thus far, China, Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have already confirmed that they also want government control over the web.

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