India questions US dominance over critical internet resources

Oct 17 2013, 19:02 IST
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India is committed to protecting, preserving and safeguarding freedom of expression and Internet freedom. Reuters India is committed to protecting, preserving and safeguarding freedom of expression and Internet freedom. Reuters
SummaryIndia expressed reservations over control of critical internet resources.

India today expressed reservations over control of critical internet resources like allocation of domain names by a US contracted entity, saying this cannot really be reflective of the international character or community of internet users.

Deputy National Security Advisor Nehchal Sandhu said internet has become a global phenomena and therefore its management must reflect this universality and diversity.

Sandhu said under the existing institutional architecture for internet governance, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) performs two functions – the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) whereby it controls entries to the authoritative Root Zone File of the Internet and secondly the management of the Domain Name System (DNS) including allocation of Top Level Domain (TLD) names.

He said the technical standards are set by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the central elements of the internet's logical infrastructure like the Critical Internet Resource," is managed by a private entity under contractual arrangements with the US Government".

"This cannot really be said to be truly representative or reflective of the international character or community of internet users," he said at a seminar on "Internet to Equinet Empowering a Billion Online" organised by FICCI.

Sandhu said as an open, pluralistic and democratic society, India recognises and values the bottom-up nature of the internet and seeks to involve all stakeholders in its global governance.

"India is committed to protecting, preserving and safeguarding freedom of expression and Internet freedom and to strengthening them. Towards this end, India considers that the current system needs to be revitalised to make the global internet governance regime truly 'multilateral, transparent and democratic'," he said.

The Deputy NSA said India would work with those who wish to build and strengthen the global internet governance regime into a multilateral, transparent and democratic mechanism.

He said the equal opportunity and assured access requires equitable distribution of resources and representative management of the internet not only in the national sphere but also at the global level.

Sandhu, a former chief of Intelligence Bureau, said there was an urgent need for formulating globally co-ordinated, inclusive and coherent Internet policies.

"In the absence of an integrated and holistic global policy, States are adopting diverse and often contradictory national policies on new and emerging issues such as net neutrality, social networking sites, search engines, role of internet intermediaries and cyber-terrorism," he said.

The Deputy NSA said if fragmentation of the internet through disparate national level policies is to

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