Speaking at a high-level ministerial meeting at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Baku, Azerbaijan, the nation’s communications minster, Kapil Sibal noted that the term Internet cannot coexist with governance. Sibal added that the term Internet governance is an oxymoron. “‘Internet Governance’ is an oxymoron. Internet, by its very nature, can not coexist with the concept of ‘governance’, which relates to a system designed for dealing with the issues of the physical world. The term ‘Governance’, immediately invokes concepts of those who govern and those who are governed, which have no relevance in cyber-space,” he added.  

Sibal added that new cyber jurisprudence, minus political boundaries, ought to be evolved to deal with cyber crime. Sibal shared that such a system would encourage delivery of cyber-justice in near real-time. 

Kapil wants to pre-screen the internet

Internet cannot exist with governance: Sibal

Sibal noted that the system designed for cyberspace must be collaborative, consultative, inclusive, and consensual, to be adept at dealing with all public policies involving the Internet. He shared that a cyber-paradigm as such should have democracy, inclusive growth, transparency, and accountability as its foundation. 

Speaking at length at the meeting, Sibal added further, “Internet with its immense transformational potential, can provide the means for sustainable and inclusive development in a country of 1.25 billion people, in areas such as education, healthcare, financial inclusion and service delivery. Secondly, with an internet user-base of over 125 million, which is likely to grow to about half-a-billion over the next few years, and an established mobile base of 950 million, coupled with a large and talented pool of human resources, India will be a key player in the cyber-world of tomorrow.”

On the topic of accountability, Sibal noted, “Thirdly, it should put in place a mechanism for accountability, in respect of crimes committed in cyberspace, such that the Internet is a free and secure space for universal benefaction”.

Earlier last month, Sibal stressed that the Internet requires not only governance, but transparency and accountability on the part of the user. Sibal opines that the user should be free to express her opinion, while being accountable for what is being said. “Above all managing the Internet needs consensus amongst stakeholders – Government, business, civil society, etc,” added Sibal, while inaugurating a conference. 

Sibal was speaking at the India Internet Governance Conference (IIGC 2012) organised by FICCI in Delhi, in association with the Ministry of Communications and IT, and the Internet Society.

The two-day conference was India’s first comprehensive, multi-stakeholder meet on ‘Internet for Social and Economic Development: Building the Future Together’. The conference aims to provide a platform for an open and inclusive policy dialogue that involves government, business, civil society, the technical community and academia.

The conference will delve into a host of topics from network neutrality, to global Internet governance models; from effective management of the transition to IPv6, to making broadband access available to all; from the challenges the Iinternet poses to traditional media, to the challenges hate speech online poses for all. 

The IIGC aims to help expand India’s existing Internet governance capacity.

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