24 November 2017, India:
Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the citizens’ right to access the Internet is “non-negotiable” and no single entity can have a monopoly over this.
Speaking at Global Cyberspace Meet in New Delhi on thursday, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Internet is supposed to be democratic. It is a big global platform, but must be linked the local ideas and concepts. That is the very clear focus of India, and therefore the right of access is non-negotiable”.
The statement has come at a time when there is a raging debate over Net Neutrality globally.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the two-day international conference. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Secretary General of International Telecommunications Union Houlin Zhao was also present at the conference.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also supported Net Neutrality. He said, “Net neutrality lowers the barriers of entry by preserving the internet as a fair and level playing field and helps businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive online. Similarly, open internet facilitates the marginalised and oppressed segments that are not adequately represented in the mainstream media, to tell their stories and to mobilise justice, as we have seen in recent times”.
Wickremesinghe further said, “When we were political activists in the Opposition in Sri Lanka before January 8, 2015, we had to go through political adversities such as blockage of ISPs. When we came to power…every citizen was encouraged to speak freely online, as we believed it was one of the ways of building inclusivity not only inside the state but also in the society at large. As a result, today, I have become one of the most disputable and maligned person in Sri Lanka”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also highlighted the importance of cyber security. He said, “The global community needs to approach the issue of cyber-security with confidence, as much as with resolve. Cyberspace technologies must remain an enabler for our people. The quest for an open and accessible internet often leads to vulnerability”. He added that stories about hacking and defacement of websites were just the “tip of an iceberg”.
“They suggest that cyber attacks are a significant threat, especially in the democratic world. We need to ensure that vulnerable sections of our society do not fall prey to the evil designs of cyber criminals. Alertness towards cyber-security concerns, should become a way of life,” Modi said, adding that alongside addressing important questions about transparency, privacy,and security, the benefits of emerging digital technologies on the society must continue.
(Image – egyptinnovate)