NEW DELHI: Fadi Chehade, chief executive of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), sees India’s role in shaping the future of the Internet as critical because it is among the fastest growing Internet economies. Now is the time for the country to take a stand on the world platform to ensure it has a greater say in regulating the flow of online information, Chehade told ET an interview.
“… India since Nehru’s time has been a country that very aptly helped people find the middle ground. Now is the time for India to play that role in this digital economy, to show the world that not everything is 0 or 1, black or white,” he said.
ICANN manages the Domain Name System (DNS), which helps organise the Internet with the allotment of domain names such as .com, .org and .net. It is in the middle of an exercise that will transfer control of Internet governance from the US government to a multistakeholder model.
The deadline for the new model is September this year, and if India doesn’t become part of the dialogue now, it could lose out on the opportunity to have a greater say in the way the Internet is governed worldwid . So far, talks have been hindered due to a lack of consensus among different ministries involved in the process, and little involvement from civil society.
The Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Telecommunications and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology have had divergent views on issues of Internet governance, but industry experts and activists believe its high time India makes its stand clear at global platforms.
“If that foundation (of the Internet) starts cracking under political weight, under any other kind of intrusive … or badly managed care, the impact will be huge. There are issues of security, scalability and fairness that are significant,” said Chehade.