The Internet Society is now accepting applications for the Youth fellowships to the IGF:
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) takes place in a different country every year at the UN premises. Participants include leaders from Government, Business, Civil Society, Academic Community and the Internet Community from around the world. At the IGF, all participants are seated on the level in the multi-stakeholder model.
As a youth participant, you will have good opportunities to share your views on how important Internet is for you, on how you feel about the Internet, its freedom, about restrictions, if any, on the use of the Internet at your work or at school, and about the cost and quality of Internet bandwidth available to you. You could share your thoughts on how secure you feel on the Internet or about your concerns if any on what appears to be Internet surveillance on you. Or about your privacy needs.
This year, the IGF will take place in Paris, France. The Internet Society offers two different Youth fellowships to travel to Paris to attend the IGF, which covers travel, accommodation in a comfortable hotel and all expenses, including visa fees.
If you spend a lot of time on the Internet, and if you care about the Governance of the Internet, you are free to participate as a young person, without any specific policy expertise or technical expertise. Your participation would directly add value to the work of the Internet Governance Forum and would help preserve the Internet as a Free, Open and Global Internet, without any changes to the way it works.
There are 2 good news from ISOC Fellowship programme to 13th IGF
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has called for comments on its consultation paper on regulatory framework for Over the Top services, which is accessible at page http://trai.gov.in/WriteReaddata/ConsultationPaper/Document/OTT-CP-27032015.pdf
I have submitted the following comments:
Comments on the Consultation Paper on Regulatory frameworks for Over the Top Services
The Regulatory framework as proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is an alarm. The Members of Parliament and the common man alike needs to be concerned about the implications of TRAI’s sphere or authority expanded to include the Internet which would interfere to alter the fundamental nature of the Internet:
TRAI seeks to favor Telecom companies at the consumer’s expense by this proposal to alter the core architecture of the Internet, and the core values that make the Internet a free, open and universally accessible eco-system. Internet has transformed the way we do business, the way we all communicate and relate to each other – within and beyond borders. Internet has brought the world together by its end-to-end architecture without a centralized form of control. As an eco-system, it is far more advanced than Telegraphs and Telephones, mostly runs on a business model that is benevolent to all, treats all traffic from every person or organization, big or small, irrespective of nationality or ideology equally. With its architecture and its core values, Internet offers the common man’s greatest hope for freedom of expression and civil liberties and offers the greatest hope for participation in Democracy in its fullest form, minimize conflicts, bridge technological gaps as also bring in a certain degree of equity in the World economy. What TRAI proposes to do is to destroy the very foundations on which the Internet eco-system is built.
The Telecom Authority wishes to bring the Internet as part of the Telecom Regulation. This would gradually bring in Telecom-like commercial model to the Internet for the benefit of the Telecom companies which would make the Internet very similar to the Cable TV in terms of the high price the consumer pays for access.
These harmful commercial models would cause net neutrality to erode. Telecom companies would become gatekeepers of Internet Traffic, interfere in Network Traffic which has so far been free of centralized forms of control. Telecom companies would introduce fast-laning for paid traffic which would invariably lead to “throttling” of free traffic, and would lead to situations of extortionist pricing by Telecom companies. Internet would become far more expensive for the common man.
This would invariably lead to an Internet of walled gardens wherein large Internet companies would contain their users within their sphere of services, making it difficult for users to access the major part of the Internet not offered as part of the services they are subscribed to.
There are some security concerns about the way the Internet is abused by a certain section of users. Some of the security threats are real, but politicized by Governments to bring in an excessive framework of surveillance both for legitimate and excessively political reasons. The TRAI proposal would enhance the surveillance capabilities of Telecom Companies in the process of enabling Telecom companies to inspect Internet traffic in packets (Deep Packet Inspection) for commercial reasons. DPI could be the ulterior motive for Governments to favor telecom companies. TRAI’s proposal not only favors the Telecom companies, but unseen, makes it easy for the Law and Order Agencies to legally or otherwise monitor on the common man’s Internet usage.
Regulators dislike the end to end architecture of the Internet with no centralized form of control and wish to alter the architecture in the guise of making the Internet more secure. There have been similar harmful proposals to regulate the Internet in various countries, voted out by public opposition, but these very proposals come back around sometime later by a different name in a different place. The TRAI proposal wraps up elements of such regulatory moves already voted out in other countries. Moreover, in India, Airtel proposed to charge differential rates for different types of traffic, which were withdrawn by overwhelming public opposition. This was a move by a Telecom company that merited TRAI to intervene against the proposal, but it wasn’t TRAI that stopped it. Instead, TRAI brings it back, this time seeking to enable this by Government directive. TRAI’s consultation paper reads like a business case for the Telecom companies printed on Government paper. Rather than look into the regulatory issues concerning how Telcom companies operate, the Regulatory Authority pleads their business case with total disregard to the fact that the Internet has actually brought in newer opportunities for the Telecom companies to enhance their revenues, and these companies are already profitable on the existing Data pricing models. TRAI’s paper misleads the policy makers and common man with the spurious argument that extortive pricing models are necessary to keep telecommunications companies in business. “The worst thing policy makers could do to the Internet would be to allow telecom companies to mess with the Internet.” TRAI appears to argue that the Telecom companies have a right to impose a fanciful pricing model. The paper is partial on Internet companies and misguides the reader with the notion that large Internet companies such as Google and Facebook are profitable at the expense of the cable and phone companies. The Telecom companies do not incur loss on account of OTT traffic, the truth is that the OTT services have opened up the opportunity for Telecom Companies to sell Data plans that have enhanced their revenues. As Deepak Shenoy argues “Data is in fact driving their revenues up, far more than anything else” http://capitalmind.in/2015/04/telecom-companies-are-not-losing-money-to-data-services-the-net-neutrality-debate/ )
Rather than expand its sphere of reach to Internet which requires a completely different thinking, TRAI could focus on the gaps in Telecom regulation:
A. Telecom regulations, even within the Telecom sphere, have restrained consumer experience. For example, sometime ago, TRAI restrained Telecom companies from having peering arrangements among themselves for switching 3G traffic. This affected seamless connectivity for customers on the move.
B. If TRAI is concerned about the cost of communication services to customers, it could work to recommend to the Government to free the Wireless spectrum. After the recent spectrum controversy on spectrum mismanagement and loss of revenues, the Government wanted to be seen being correct, so made the wireless spectrum pricey by auction. The revenues so determined, would serve to increase the cost of communication services to customers. TRAI could recommend that this money is not collected or returned if already collected.
C. TRAI has not looked in the practices of Telecom companies concerning the bandwidth they offer to consumers in India which averages 1 Mbps of nominal connectivity, actually amounting to 256 Kbps of average connectivity which on the mobile phone streams at less than 56 kbps on 3G most of the time in most locations. This is way below the standards of a hundred other countries around the world, while the price charged per connection is almost on par with the rest of the world, TRAI could look into this.
D. One of the reasons why Telecom companies find it relatively less profitable to operate is that even the largest of the Telecom Companies have outsourced Network Management to overseas Telecom / Technology companies. TRAI could assist the Telecom companies in building up the required technical capabilities to manage Networks on their own.
E. International Mobile roaming pricing, both for Voice and Data, by Indian telecom companies is prohibitively expensive are extortionistic. TRAI could look into the reasons and assist the Telecom companies in rationalizing the pricing plans for International roaming.
F. TRAI could look for solutions for 100% connectivity across India with receptiveness.
Internet Society India Chennai
Asia Internet Symposium Chennai, was organized around the theme “India in the Free and Open Global Internet” in two sessions.
Full Playlist starts with the inaugural introduction to the Event, followed by the recordings of speeches by the Invitees including the Key Note Speaker, in turn followed by the recording of Round Table Session ( bit.ly/aischennai look for the video titled “AIS Chennai 2014 – Roundtable: What can India bring to Internet Governance?”) followed by Closing Remarks on the intended follow up.
The event brought together local Community Leaders from different stakeholder groups and created awareness on the participation opportunities and the receptiveness of the Internet Governance process for global participation. The event also aimed to bring in committed participants to the multi-stakeholder process in India for Internet Governance Policy and programs.
The event started with a short duration inaugural session on India’s concern with a Key Note Address by Bharat Epur, Director, Epur Investments and Talks on Internet Governance by David Appasamy, Founder, Raising iBrows, Samiran Gupta, Head of ICANN for India and Rajnesh Singh, Director, Asia Pacific Regional Bureau of the Internet Society. This session was followed a very broad Round Table with the these invitees and visionary Business Leaders from TiE Chennai, spiritual leaders from Art Of Living, Students from MOP Vaishnav College, Anna Universtiy and Loyolla College as also several member of Internet Society India Chennai. The discussions went beyond India’s concerns as a Nation, and endeavored to bring up higher thoughts on ways of strengthening Internet Governance in a manner that is fair for the whole world. This was to MAKE A START of a process of generating broad thinking on positive ways by which different cultures could broadly contribute to further the evolution of the Free and Open Internet.
Internet is Global and the process of Internet Governance has enormous responsibilities as it has the well being of all the people of the world at stake. This makes it necessary for the Internet Governance Institutions to look beyond the existing models that happen to be more based on corporate governance models and strengthen it further as a larger and higher governance framework for universal good, broadened with values that are far more profound.
At the moment this is largely an undefined exercise, would get defined as it takes shape further.
The RoundTable with participants from India brought up the idea of “Vasu Deva Kudumbakam” – the world as one family – any notion of separation is superficial, but on a deeper level the whole world is an undivided unity. Especially among people of India, this notion of the world as an undivided family is deep rooted. India has the inherent psychological strength to awaken this notion, discuss and nudge others to embrace this idealistic notion.
The Round Table brought up thoughts that included abstract ideas of such as the concept of five elements as also ideas drawn from the Constitution of India that could be relevant to global Internet Governance. Other ideas mentioned included the Indian concept of a “Guru” or “RajaGuru” and possible modernization of such a concept into that of an enhanced Advisory Body so as to keep Governance on the path of broader justice. Participants also sought to explore the Indian concept of “Dharma” and its relevance as a component of the existing foundation of Internet Governance.
Organized as a session of the Asia Internet Symposium, this Round Table discussion on this theme is the first of the two or more discussions planned at Chennai.The Chennai meeting was a START for this process and the thoughts brought up at this first meeting form a minuscule part of the ideas from the wealth of wisdom from this region, from past and present. There is a plan to organize a larger event with expert participation as a larger round table, possibly with the participation of some Internet Community leaders. Some of the ideas – many more to be identified – to be explored in follow up meetings in Chennai and possibly in certain other parts of the world are:
concepts from business including the ISO model of creating an overall propensity to standards across the organization, rather than by inspection of individual products or service components;
governance models from large, global Charitable or Non-Governmental or Regional Organizations such as the Tata Trust, Virgin Atlantic, various Foundations or the Council of Europe.
concept of Trusteeship as conceived in India.
concept of Non-confrontational conflict resolution
notions of Commitment and Justice from earlier cultures
North African cross cultural notions of do’s and don’ts, right and wrong.
notions on various advisory / governance bodies such as the Council of Elders or the seat of a RajaGuru, placed on par or above the Seat of Governance
notions of division of powers/ balance in governance from earlier governance models or from National constitutions.
ideas on common good by fair governance from Eastern and Western philosophers
Internet Society India Chapter intends to write to other Chapters with a suggestion to replicate this event in their regions as also intends to work on a few jointly organized meetings in one or two locations. (Even this meeting benefited from collaboration, as Joly MacFie of the Internet Society of New York spent ample time guiding Hostmacro Web Services who sponsored Technical Support in-kind for the Webcast, and post event, Joly MacFie received the 12 GB video file, reviewed and edited it upload this Playlist in YouTube.)
The recommendations from this Round Table and follow up events are to be shared with the Internet Community Staff and possibly with any Community working groups exploring topics related to this theme.
Youtube : http://bit.ly/aischennai (a playlist of seven videos)
blog : http://isocindiachennai.org/?p=1915
Recently the National Telecommunications and Information Association of United States announced its intention to step down from this role of oversight by asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS).
In this background, Government of India has made an initial Statement on the transition of oversight of IANA functions from NTIA to multi-stakeholder oversight. Extracts from the letter from the Government of India as initial statement on transition copied below, with our concerns expressed seeking to improve the position of the Government in a manner that it would be more fair and more benevolent: