Thursday, February 10, 2005

India: Our Thoughts on ICANN

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The government of India is the first government thus far to submit formal comments to the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) which is preparing a report for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). India had this to say about ICANN:

"Presently ICANN is a private organization, working under MoU with US government. We understand that the MoU is to expire in September 2006. ICANN’s incorporation in the USA implicitly means it will always be subject to USA law. It is believed that this shall introduce an asymmetric role of the USA Government vis a vis other governments. Today ICANN is the only visible body which exercises any kind of oversight in relation to the internet with a few supporting organisation being responsible for some of its critical components – such as voluntary root servers, regional Internet Address Registries , the Domain Name registries. Most of them have contractual relations with ICANN. At the international level, there is no single international( Inter-government or private ) organisation that coordinates all the issues related to the Internet and IP based Services.

In essence Internet Governance includes collective rules, policies, standards, procedures that are consistent with the sovereign rights of the states . At present there is little or no role of governments in these multifarious decision processes and Governments of developing countries are effectively marginalised. India among the Developing countries is not at ease with the limited influence of Governments of various countries in ICANN and in particular with the purely advisory role of GAC.

Governments have a clear interest in ensuring that internet evolves in a direction that protects and advances the public interest. In addition to the management resources( IP Addresses, DNS, Root Servers, Protocols, IDN etc ) there are number of questions in which technology and policy issues are interlinked. Based on the understanding of the issues as discussed above, we are of the opinion that internet should be governed by an inter-governmental, multilateral, multi-stakeholder international body."

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