In a major diplomatic initiative, India is all set to challenge the U.S.’ hegemony of the World Wide Web at a global meet on Internet governance in Sao Paulo (Brazil) next week. India has decided to propose renaming of Internet as ‘Equinet’ so that all nations can have equal say in its operations, besides calling for “internationalisation” of core Internet resources.

Starting April 23, the two-day, ‘Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Governance’, also referred to as ‘NETmundial’, will see representatives from nearly 180 nations debating the future of Internet governance and cyber security. India has decided to take this opportunity to highlight U.S. dominance of the Internet and press for equal rights and say for all nations on matters related to Internet governance and cyber security.

India is likely to side with Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and Iran to make its point. In fact, it was Brazil which took the lead in organising this conference parallel to the U.S.-dominated Internet Governance Forum (IGF) following reports of U.S. agencies spying on top Brazil government officials, including President Dilma Rousseff’s office, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower.

In a carefully drafted initial note submitted to ‘NETmundial’ and circulated to all participating members representing their governments, private sector and civil society, the Ministry of External Affairs has said, “Internet governance should be multilateral, transparent, democratic, and representative ... ”

Similarly, it has said the structures that manage and regulate the core Internet resources need to be internationalised, and made representative and democratic. “The Internet must be owned by the global community for mutual benefit and be rendered impervious to possible manipulation or misuse by any particular stakeholder, whether State or non-State.”

Similarly, India has been persistently seeking the U.S.’ cooperation in cases related to cyber security, particularly when it comes to taking action against Internet giants whose servers are installed in that country. In this context, India will be seeking “a mechanism for accountability to be put in place in respect of crimes committed in cyberspace, such that the Internet is a free and secure space for universal benefaction.”

“New cyber jurisprudence needs to be evolved to deal with cybercrime, without being limited by political boundaries and cyber justice can be delivered in near real time ... All stakeholders need to facilitate the transfer of information technology and capacity building to developing countries, in order to help them take measures to improve cybersecurity, develop technical skills and enact legislation, strategies and regulatory frameworks to fulfil their responsibilities,” the note adds.

Significantly, an internal note prepared by the National Security Council Secretariat on cyber security preparedness last year had stated that “the control of Internet was in the hands of the U.S. government … ”

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