Net neutrality guiding principle of internet: Expert

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 1 (IANS) A neutral treatment of all content on the internet is an essential pre-requisite for fostering permission-less innovation which is one of the guiding principles of the internet, an IT expert said on Friday.

Satish Babu, chair, Internet Society – Trivandrum Chapter, and vice chairman of the Asia-Pacific Regional At-Large Organization of ICANN, made the observation here while speaking on the topic “Recent Developments in Internet Governance”.

Permission-less innovation is the principle that allows anyone to deliver a service to the global community of internet users, without the need for permission from any central authority.

Babu pointed out that well-known examples include Google, Amazon and Facebook where entrepreneurs started out with little more than a dream.

“No other medium in the history of humankind has had such potential and global reach as the internet, and it was unfortunate to see practices such as zero-rating that restricted the neutrality and unified global nature of the internet,” said Babu.

He added that governing internet was a complex and challenging task given its globally distributed nature, lack of centralized authority, jurisdiction issues, diversity of stakeholders, diversity of services, and plurality of content.

“Although the multilateral model — loosely structured on the basis of UN system — had been proposed, it is the Multi-Stakeholder Model that is accepted today as the most appropriate,” said Babu.

In the Multi-Stakeholder Governance Model, all the stakeholders in a given system, who, in the case of the internet, include businesses, governments, research institutions, NGOs and civil society, are given formal roles in the governance process.

He also pointed out that in the internet ecosystem, organisations such as ICANN, ISOC and IGF (Internet Governance Forum) follow the Multi-Stakeholder Model of Governance, which enables all stakeholders to make them heard in the policy development process.

ISOC is an international not-for-profit society set up in 1992 as a result of efforts by several internet pioneers such as Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, mandated with a mission to promote the open development, evolution and use of the internet.

It has over 55,000 individual and 130 intitutional members organised through about 100 chapters around the world.

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