Advocacy statements

The Telecom Regulating Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation paper to test waters and the public sentiment over regulating the at-present loosely defined OTT (over-the-top) services. One of the most important issues in the paper was of net neutrality and its various pros and cons. The paper saw intense public engagement with media and politicians pitching in with pro net neutrality views, and telcos putting out defensive views on their side of the story.

"At the World Social Forum, 2015, in Tunis, the workshop on 'Organising an Internet Social Forum - A Call to Occupy the Internet' was held on 26th March, 2015. At the workshop, inter alia, a call to hold an Internet Social Forum (ISF) and develop a People's Internet Manifesto was presented in the form of the "Tunis Call for a People's Internet".

IT for Change provided its comments to the Committee on Net Neutrality of the Government of India's Department of Telecommunication. There are below and also enclosed. The submission highlights 'equality of opportunity' more than consumer's freedom of choice as the key principle underlying a net neutral Internet. It also goes into the problem of 'zero rating'. Further is explains how net neutrality is not a technical principle requiring an absolute technically equal treatment of all bytes.

The Post 2015 Women’s Coalition is an international network of feminist, women’s rights, women’s development, grassroots and social justice organizations working, through advocacy and movement building, to challenge and re-frame the global development agenda.

Getting a CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation through a UN General Assembly resolution was an hard won victory for developing countries. It was an opportunity to propose and push for a new institutional architecture for the global governance of the Internet. In April, 2013, IT for Change wrote this paper for the South Centre, Geneva, an inter-governmental think-tank of developing countries, outlining the significance of the Working Group and exhorting developing countries to take up an active role in it.

In June 2014, the High Power Committee examining amendments to the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act 1993 invited IT for Change to provide inputs on the strategic use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), for strengthening Panchayat Raj Institutions. IT for Change, in its submission to the Committee, outlined key recommendations for shaping policy and programmatic directions in this area, building upon insights from the work of the Prakriye field centre.

Anita Gurumurthy, Executive Director, IT for Change, has been closely in dialogue with the Women's Major Group for the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals , urging for the inclusion of information society concerns in the SDG discussions.

The role of the Internet and of digital technologies in structuring our lived reality is beyond doubt. As a core facet of contemporary society, the Internet is central today to the enjoyment of our rights and freedoms. ITU statistics point to how the Internet has developed unevenly throughout the world - 77 percent of people from developed countries are Internet users, the corresponding number for the developing world being 31percent. This gap obviously has implications for development parameters in relation to education and work, and of course, for democracy and wellbeing.

As an axis of global power today, the Internet is key to aggrandising wealth and consolidating hegemony. The WSIS Principles heralded "connectivity (as) a central enabling agent"... in their vision for "an equitable, development oriented information society". More than ten years since the commitment to creating this new society through"universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable access to ICT infrastructure and services", remains a distant dream. In fact, the Internet has rapidly lost its
public good character, instead evolving as an enclosed commons at the service of global capitalism and rather ironically, as the next frontier of intellectual property control.

IT for Change is a civil society member of the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC). In late 2012, the WGEC issued a questionnaire to the public, in a bid to elicit views on the World Summit on the Information Society's (WSIS) mandate regarding "enhanced cooperation" (appropriate mechanisms for governance of the global Internet). Find below, links to IT for Change's response to this questionnaire.

Read the response here.

IT for Change was asked to provide inputs in the area of e-governance and ICTD to UNDP as it was developing its plan for the programming period of 2013-18.