Government Internet Grab Goes Global

    The editorial cartoon we recently ran at CPAC earlier this month became even more relevant this week, as the ropes restraining Internet freedom grew tighter.

    The U.S. is relinquishing oversight control of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to the global stage and a cabal of worldwide “multi-stakeholders.” Giving a seat at the Internet governance table to China, Russia and other authoritarian regimes that relish information control a is alarming.

    But oppressive governments aren’t the only ones that see benefit and opportunity in reining in Internet freedom. Just last week, India made a power play fresh on the heels of its Net Neutrality rules and rejection of Facebook’s Free Basics offering as a pretext to becoming more involved in the Internet’s workings. According to India Express:

    “At a time when the Internet governance architecture is under transition, India’s push for a multi-stakeholder model that envisages a pivotal role for the government in managing cyberspace has found traction among other countries, especially in the backdrop of threats from terror groups, said Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad.

    On the government’s role — a controversial subject — Prasad said the gradual transformation in the global outlook over an increased role for the government stems from the looming security threats from groups such as Islamic State…”

    India, like many other countries, is following the lead of the U.S. in Net Neutrality regulation. After all you can’t assert control over something that you don’t own or regulate. Amazingly, the ink isn’t even dry on India’s recent rules and it already is leveraging it.