Internet Governance and Net Neutrality

Internet Governance

The manner in which the Internet is being shaped today is an important determinant of the directions of social change. It is no longer a simple technical platform about which scientists and technical experts are best placed to take all the important decisions. The question then becomes important: who decides the direction in which the Internet is evolving? A common response is that the Internet is a dynamic platform which responds to user needs. User determination of the trajectory of the Internet’s evolution is today largely a myth, though some remarkable oases of alternative practices amongst committed techies or perhaps even involving some ordinary ‘power users’ do exist. To the extent the user has a role, it is in his capacity as a consumer, which capacity itself is  very differentially distributed between the affluent and the marginalsied groups. Largely, it is the corporatist and statist powers that play an overwhelming driving role in shaping the Internet. Other than in very authoritarian countries, it is the global corporate power, often with strong support from governments, especially those of the North, that is the major determinant of the directions that the Internet is taking. The Internet being a major force in our shifting social configurations, it should not be difficult to see what this means for our future, especially for people and communities that are already marginalised.

It is important to confront both, the global corporatist stranglehold on the Internet, which is increasingly curtailing most of its egalitarian potential, and the statist efforts at resisting the tendency of the Internet to challange existing power heirarchies and controls. Towards these ends, we have been advocating Internet Freedom both at the global and national levels. Our work seeks better participation and control of ordinary people and communities over shaping of the Internet as a key determinant of our future social structures.

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality requires that the Internet be maintained as an open platform, on which network providers treat all content, applications and services equally, without discrimination.

The open Internet has fostered unprecedented creativity, innovation and access to knowledge and to other kinds of social, economic, cultural, and political opportunities across the globe.

Today, this open Internet is endangered by powerful service providers seeking to become gatekeepers who decide how users can access parts of the Internet. We don’t want to prevent these companies from using reasonable and necessary methods to manage their networks, but these acts cannot be a pretext to eliminate openness nor to police content.

The fundamental openness of this crucial technology must be preserved, and to this end we offer the resources on this site for activists, academics, policy makers and technologists who share our vision.


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