Open Internet Policies for Businesses

ISOC India Chennai hosted an interesting discussion on the significance of Open Internet Policies for businesses at the Sindhi Chamber of Commerce on Saturday evening. Leading the discussion was Mr Rajnesh D. Singh, Head, Regional Bureau for Asia, Internet Society on how ISOC and its members can help in the policy making process.

ISOC Individual members , industry partners comprise the technical community. They along with the government and the public sector / civil society complete the various stakeholder of ISOC . Together they are a great influence to the government on Policy issues. And meetings like this are opportunities to raise awareness on emerging issues within the member community.

Studies in UK reveal that Internet access has direct economic impact on the GDP on the country. Today companies like Google, Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, Cisco and 15 such Fortune 100 companies thrive on the power of internet. Our annual online transactions based on internet businesses alone amount to more than a $ 1 Trillion annually. Internet as a medium to engage in free exchange of ideas, communication has been touted a a key economic driver. The value thus created is in terms of employment it generates, financial value as well as the time value one is able to save. Such a vibrant medium has to be unfettered and safeguarded from interception.

The need for an open internet policy is paramount today ! This is the equivalent of democracy in our society. We call it the freedom of expression. Such a policy facilitates open access to communication infrastructure for all as well as right to individual privacy . An open internet policy is all about empowering internet users to create any content, access any content as well as find way to innovate. It is all about setting a level playing field online that is neutral to all.

The issue we are talking is very much related to how google.cn was banned or how Pakistan has recently banned popular social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. In India there is an emergent need for Open internet or Neutral Web at an organization level. There needs to be more emphasis that Such a vibrant medium should continue to evolve as a open medium, free of barriers and political restraints.