Rule by many
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At the India Internet Governance Conference that ended in the capital on Friday, Telecom and IT Minister Kapil Sibal made an entirely unexceptionable argument for "a consensual structure". The problem is that there is little agreement on what such a multi-stakeholder, consensus-based governance structure should look like. In October last year, India proposed that a Committee for Internet-Related Policies (CIRP) be set up under the aegis of the UN — that would allow governments greater say in how the internet is governed. CIRP would not only oversee the bodies responsible for the technical and operational functioning of the Net, but would also develop policy and undertake arbitration and dispute resolution.
India insists that CIRP would not amount to a government takeover of the internet. The immediate challenge doesn't come from the CIRP, however. It will be posed at the World Conference on International Telecommunication in Dubai in December, which will consider another proposal by countries like Russia and China to expand the mandate of the International Telecommunication Union, another UN body so far limited to managing global telephony, to include the internet. Currently, the internet is managed by a range of bodies, most notably ICANN, a US-based non-profit that governs its domain name system. Developing countries have long complained that Western Europe and the US exert outsize influence on internet structures and policymaking through ICANN, which could all-too-easily be used to serve US commercial or government interests.
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- Former Ranji player among 3 more held