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Internet governance


The nature of the Internet's current evolution is an important determinant of contemporary and future directions of social change. It is no longer simply a technical platform about which technical experts are best placed to take important decisions. Who should then shape the evolution of the Internet, and how? A common response is that the Internet is a dynamic platform that responds to user needs. Users determining the Internet's trajectory is largely a myth, though some remarkable oases of alternative practices amongst committed techies, and some non-techie 'power users', do exist. To the extent the user has a role, it is in her capacity as a consumer, which capacity is very unequally distributed between affluent and marginalised groups. Largely, it is corporatist and statist powers that are shaping the Internet. In authoritarian countries, state power is the central driver; but in a majority of countries, it is global corporate power, supported by globally-powerful governments, that determines the directions that the Internet is taking.

It is important to confront both, (1) global corporatist stranglehold over the Internet, which is sabotaging most of its egalitarian potential, and (2) statist efforts to discipline and control the citizenry. We believe that ordinary people and communities must have greater control in shaping the Internet as a key determinant of our future social structures. Towards this end, we advocate national and global norms and policies that recognise, and underpin, the Internet as primarily a force for equality and social justice, and undertaking research in support of our advocacies for a people-centric Internet.

The Just Net Coalition (JNC) has sent an open letter to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, voicing its objection to World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) official recommendation of Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). The use of EME, developed by W3C, poses a risk to billions of people's security and privacy, and restricts their access to information. EME's allow publishers to use Digital...

This article was developed as a background paper for a presentation to delegates from developing countries at the South Centre, Geneva, in February 2017. It presents the key geo-economic elements of the digital phenomenon; how data is the new raw material that is...

IT for Change submitted comments to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the Consultation Paper on Net Neutrality. We urge the development of "Core Principles of Net Neutrality" based on human rights, equity and social justice.

Anita Gurumurthy, Executive Director, IT for Change was a Panelist at the IGF 2016 Main Session, Connecting Human Rights - Emphasising Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the Internet. In her intervention, she stressed the critical imperative to move beyond the binary of the online and offline, in our imaginary of rights. Human rights violations occur in the very...