15 June 2015

Who rules cyberspace?

A new architecture of social power and control is getting built with its core in the U.S. India should work through the BRICS group to develop an alternative to this Internet hegemony

The Internet evokes a deep dilemma of whether ‘to govern or not’. Few things work as well as the Internet does: it’s always on, always obliging, and consists of endless possibilities, routinely conjuring wonders that we have not dreamt of. On the other hand, it is difficult not to be troubled by how the Internet is everywhere, but without any clear means of accountability and political reaction to how much it is changing around us. But without sufficient clarity regarding the nature of the problems and the required solutions, mere general political scepticism cannot hold a candle to the populist governmental-hands-off-the-Internet sentiment. The latter is expectedly strongest among the richer classes, who trust the devices of the market to get the Internet to do their bidding. Other than routine knee-jerk reactions over people freely expressing themselves on the Internet, which could threaten various kinds of power elites, while also sometimes causing genuine security and cultural concerns, there exists no serious political conceptions around the Internet in India today, much less its appropriate governance in public interest.

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