The increasing role of Internet in economic growth and social aspects has brought the significance of Internet Governance to the forefront. New paradigms of Internet Governance recognize the contribution and role of governments, private organizations, civil society and other communities. The borderless and distributed architecture of the Internet substantially differentiates Internet Governance from traditional governance, challenging the established dominant role of nation-states in policy-making. Access, human rights, privacy and standards have become important Internet Governance issues, increasing the governance role of nation states.
Many developed countries recommend multi-stakeholder approach where nation-states are only one of the many stakeholders that include private sector and other communities. India’s position on Internet Governance recommends a multi-lateral approach which is at variance with emerging scenario globally. This has isolated India and created a negative signal for investment in the ICT sector.
The approach to deal with emergent issues in Internet Governance requires flexibility, ability to incorporate new technologies and international developments. Studies of Internet Governance have not systematically addressed the issue of design of responsive organizations or national systems for effective governance. This paper contributes by addressing this lacuna by:
Developing a conceptual model for Internet Governance based on both the underlying architecture of the Internet and a proposed framework for evaluating the perceived legitimacy of the adopted processes and
Combining these two frameworks, we propose the Multi-Tier Open Participation approach for its application to India. This approach not only strengthens domestic Internet Governance, but also increases India’s role in regional and international processes.
The study recognizes that Internet Governance principles for India should be in consonance with its democratic ethos and openness and dovetail with the inherent characteristics of the Internet, namely, openness, dynamism, and innovation.