Apply now for the 2018 Youth@IGF program fellowship

The Internet Society is now accepting applications for the  Youth fellowships to the IGF:

Internet governance topics
Internet Governance issues : Everything concerns you.

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
  1. Youth@IGF for 18 to 25 years old young people to apply. Link: https://www.internetsociety.org/youth/youth-igf-programme/
  2. IGF Ambassador Programme for 20s to 40 years old people to apply. Link :https://www.internetsociety.org/leadership/igf-ambassadors/

The Internet Society is now accepting submissions. If you have any questions, please contact isocindiachennai (at) Gmail (dot) com.

Roundtable on (Cyber)Security for stakeholder inputs to GCCS2017

Roundtable on security
Internet Society India Chennai Roundtable for stakeholder inputs to cybersecurity policy

The Internet Society India Chennai  Round Table for Stakeholder inputs was held on the on October 22 at The Raj, Residency Towers, Chennai during 6-9 pm. This event on 22nd gains added importance as an event that was  organised as a Preparatory event to the Global Conference on Cyberspace to be held at New Delhi, as a High Level global diplomaticand policy event later this year.

The Round Table topic goes well beyond Internet Security, and broadly and loosely examined how Internet Security measures spill over to everyday life and how various security concerns, valid and real, sometimes translate into restrictions that alter the way we live our lives. The intention has been to see if diverse view points could contribute to Security design and help evolve good Security policies. The session was open for remote participation and recorded. The recording of the session is accessed from the link below:

Roundtable for stakeholder inputs to Cyber(Security)

This Roundtable event was in follow up an earlier Roundtable event during an ISOC Chennai DNSSEC/KSK rollover policy session at GRT Grand Hotel aur earlier event during June at Chennai. The Report on July 9, 2017.  A writeup based on the June event was sent to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Best Practices on Cybersecurity as inputs and attached below for context.

Reference Documents from the earlier (July9) event: (links below)

Internet Society India Chennai Response to the Questionairre from the IGF Best Practices Forum on Cyber Security

Report on Internet Society India Chennai Roundtable on the policy aspects of Cybersecurity:

Internet Technologies evolve to enable Interplanetary Networking

The initial Inter Planetary Networking technologies have been developed by Vint Cerf and others.  In Interplanetary networking the time delay (latency) and the lack of continuous network connectivity (as for example, waiting for the next satellite to come into the communication range) are problems that needed to be solved.  Hence the Interplanetary Network has to be Delay Tolerant and Disruption tolerant, whereas on the Internet, by the present protocols, the packets would be dropped when there is a line disruption or any abnormal delay.

Interplanetary Networks concept diagram by IPNSIG
Interplanetary Networking or Delay and Disruption Tolerant Networks

The experimental protocols have been developed by members of the Delay & Disruption Tolerant Networking Research Group (which operates under the aegis of the Internet Research Task Force).

The Internet Society has shared an update from NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate’s (HEOMD) on its Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program.

While much of the focus is on a human mission to Mars, there are also signs of NASA’s increased commitment to Delay & Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN).

Current Activities:

  • Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN): Infusion of store and forward communications protocols into NASA and international missions.

Recent Accomplishments:

  • Demonstrated supervisory control of ESA Eurobot from the International Space Station (ISS using) DTN.
  • Agreement with KARI (the South Korean Space Agency) to conduct DTN experiments.

With an increased dependency upon robotic missions to pave the way for a human mission to Mars, and increasing realization that the data is the mission, these are encouraging signs that DTN is gathering momentum as a critical component of guaranteeing mission success.

The full update is available for download at:  https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/3-Status_of_AES.pdf  See slide 17

For a better understanding of the basics of DTN watch this video:

 

Comments on the TRAI consultation Paper on Regulatory framework for Over the Top services

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Sivasubramanian M
President
Internet Society India Chennai
http://isocindiachennai.org
http://twitter.com/shivaindia
6.Internet@gmail.com