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Overview & Timeline of Activities

Internet governance is an important policy and governance issue that gets attention at the international level. It raises the crucial issue of how the Internet is governed sustainably as a global resource, on how Critical Internet resources such as domain names, IP address needs to be allocated, and on how global DNS infrastructure including Root Server needs to be managed. Cyberspace is regarded by many as global commons, and has been recognized as the fifth domain. Vital for national security, unilateral control of the domain, dominance of privileged groups in controlling key assets, non-transparency in the current governance regime, and exclusion of other countries from global governance of the Internet has the potential to harm commercial, economic and security interests of nations in the long run.

While attempts to improve Internet governance by involving nation-states should be welcome, the important role of the private sector, standards bodies, civil society and academia in the multi-stakeholder approach to governance should be preserved.

Since the first phase of World Summit on Internet Society in 2003, nations have called for a transparent, democratic and multilateral governance of the Internet. Currently, organizations such Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – an organization incorporated in the state of California, governed by US laws, and accountable to the US Department of Commerce under an agreement to perform Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) – responsible for developing protocols, play an important role. While ICANN is responsible for technical operations of root and domain names infrastructure, it also acts as a transnational governance institution that makes global Internet public policies, some of which may infringe upon sovereign interests of the nations.

Issues in Internet Governance

There have been debates globally on whether in its attempts to create new International Telecommunication Rules (ITRs), the ITU trying to control the Internet, and encourage censorship. India has joined countries like US, UK and Canada to oppose government regulation of the Internet at the ITU WCIT meetings at Dubai, concluded on 14th Dec 2012, where new ITRs are being negotiated - the existing ITRs agreed upon in 1988 covered only international telephony.

The issue of Internet governance (IG) was elevated at the global forum post the Snowden revelations. The multi-stakeholder model under unilateral control and oversight of the US government, over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), coupled with the bottom up approach in policy making and several other issues, echoed across major organizations that are part of IG community. Resultantly, key players involved in various dimensions of Internet operations, namely ICANN, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Society (ISOC), Internet Architecture Board (IAB), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), expressed intent to decouple themselves from the oversight of the US government and emphasized on multi-stakeholder model of IG. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of DoC of the US government in 2014 announced its intent of transition of oversight over Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, which is managed by ICANN through a contract.

DSCI has been working as part of the deliberations with key stakeholders. We advocate a multi-stakeholder model for IG, which must be proportional to the Internet population of nations. Consultation and representation of the industry on its views on IG on various forums has been part of our work. We strongly support the view that roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders must be clearly defined for various issues and our work focuses on reviving discussions on various platforms to establish global Internet principles, evolve global norms and treaties for complex subjects such as cyber crime, cyber security, privacy and intellectual property.

DSCI encourages participation of underdeveloped and developing countries on all platforms, by providing the required support, that can help build capacity and bridge the digital divide. We work with the Indian Industry for their active participation in various standard and protocol development organizations such as IEEE, IETF, W3C and ISO to establish thought leadership

DSCI framed and submitted its responses to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Consultation Paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) players. The responses, in particular were against questions (Question 6 & 7) pertaining to the work of DSCI.

Roundtable on Internet Governance, New Delhi, December 2015

The Roundtable deliberated to work towards an institutional framework for India to include its concerns in various transnational multi stakeholder Internet Governance processes as part of a coherent national strategy and work towards an institutional framework for proliferation and adoption of Internet in India.

DSCI at NETmundial conference

Organized by Brazil and ICANN in April 2014, DSCI submitted key recommendations to the outcome document, to make ICANN accountable to the global community while preserving its multi-stakeholderism (MSM) character.

Inputs for Internet Governance Forum

The theme, ‘Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development’, was retained for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2015. DSCI submitted inputs on the eight sub-themes for the forum, which have been included in the discussion list.

Industry Consultations

DSCI participated on Internet Governance (IG) matters, organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Internet & Jurisdiction Project and the National Law University (NLU), Delhi, where it advocated its position.

Consultation Paper on Internet Governance

DSCI prepared an approach paper for submission to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

Response to UN CSTD Questionnaire

DSCI submitted the responses to DeitY and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for their consideration to help evolve India’s stance on the subject and in preparing the government’s official response

Submission to NETmundial

DSCI proposed a roadmap through a few actionable steps that could help shape up the future of Internet Governance.

Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group at DeitY

Multi-Stakeholders Advisory Group (MAG) for the India Internet Governance Forum (IIGF) was constituted by DeitY. DSCI represented the industry and put a number of points forward, including the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the multi-stakeholder model should be clearly defined, parts of the governance of the Internet, which cannot be run by the government should be passed on to other stakeholders such as industry, academia, civil society, expert groups to be formed in different areas within the IIGF and processes be laid for effective discourse.

Working Group (WG) on Internet Governance by DietY

As a Member of the (WG), DSCI contributed to the formulation of Internet principles.

Report to Joint Working Group,National Security Council Secretariat

On the operations of ICANN, it discussed issues with current model of IG involving ICANN and suggestions to increase India’s participation in global forums Whitepaper on contemporary issues for MEA