Net Mundial: World come together to appoint who will govern the internet

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Net Mundial, the global conference to draw the framework for how and by who the internet should be governed has concluded in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This was the outcome of the global hue and cry that statrted after the startling revelation that US snooped upon sensitive information of world leaders, friends and foes alike. The meeting meant to initiate the reforms in the governing structure of internet which if put into one's hand can jeopardise the security of others.

The objectives

  • To safeguard privacy and freedom of expression on the Internet.
  • To design the shape of a future global body that will ensure and, be the result of, the decentralized digital network.
  • The process had no legally binding effect and was conducted to prepare an evolutionary roadmap for future of internet management.

Outcomes

  • The countries were split between the two proposed models for the regulating body..
  • On one hand strong authoritarian countries like China and Russia wants UN, a body primarily dominated by world governments, to assume this role.
  • On the other hand liberal democratic world pitches for multi-stakeholders model where  civil society groups and NGOs will also have a say in the functioning.
  • They believe that non-governmental stakeholders will contribute to openness and transparency of the internet; which might be stifled under governments dominated system.

Points against Non-governmental stakeholders

  • They might be controlled by some superior authority probably some hostile entity.
  • They can work under a guise of benevolent agency while working as a front for some vested interest.
  • So in case they are included, they must be put through due scrutiny (like auditing) to make them accountable, transparent and inclusive.

Background

  • Brazil President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were spied upon by the US.
  • This acted as a catalyst for the need of internet to be freed from control of one agency or government.
  • Prior to this, Snowden revealation about NSA snooping on US citizens had also resulted in a huge public outcry.

Present Situation

  • The conference holds more weight in view of the recent announcement by US that by September 2015 it would give up oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
  • ICANN, is a California-based non-profit group that assigns domain names. 

Though, this democratizing announcement has a caveat..

  • US now wants it to be kept away from the control of one single government.
  • Its in this line, that there is a raging debate between the two presented models, one of multilateral (UN) and other of multi-stakeholders which certainly give individuals and NGOs more say.

Why Internet Governance is so vital

  • Internet is used for storage and transactions of all kinds of economic, civil and defence data at all level.
  • This inevitably has the capability of placing the countries' national interests and security in danger. 
Practice Questions
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