Understanding the Anatomy of Cyber Enabled Crimes and their Governance

Sukanya Thapliyal

  1. Introduction: 

Digital systems and Information Communication Technology (ICT) play an increasingly central role in our lives. Technological advancement has created new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in digital systems and networks. The resulting cybercrimes can affect everyone, from government and multinational corporations to individuals. As technology continues to make deeper inroads into our lives, cybercriminals are finding unique ways to attack. The continuous evolution in technology has resulted in newer forms of cybercrimes such as Man-in-the-Middle-attack, Bluetooth Man-in-the-Middle attacks, and false data injection attacks, to name a few. This has resulted in a lack of agreement in defining and classifying threats and crimes associated with them. 

Although we lack a uniform and a neat understanding and approach towards addressing cybercrime, a few useful classification tools have been developed in this regard. One such classification tool was developed by Dr Mike McGuire and Samantha Dowling in 2013, wherein cybercrimes were divided into broad categories of “cyber-dependent” and “cyber-enabled” crimes. The cyber-dependent crimes are described as offences that can only be committed with the help of a computer, computer network or an ICT device. These include hacking, DDoS attacks, malware etc. The other category is of cyber-enabled crimes that are traditional crimes whose scope, scale and severity is greatly impacted by the use of computers, computer networks and other devices. Examples include: cyber fraud, cyberterrorism, online child sexual abuse or exploitation material, among others. 

The broad classification of cybercrime into cyber-dependent and cyber-enabled crimes is the central theme in the discussions carried out under the proceedings of the United Nations Ad-hoc Committee, which has been tasked to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes (“the Ad Hoc Committee”). The discussion around cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent crimes are crucial in setting the scope of the convention. Over four different sessions, the Ad-Hoc committee witnessed wide ranging proposals on inclusion of cyber-dependent and cyber-enabled crimes under the proposed convention. Cyber-dependent offences, along with a narrow set of cyber-enabled crimes (online child sexual abuse, sexual extortion, and non-consensual dissemination of intimate images), have garnered broad support. Other cyber-enabled crimes (terrorism-related offences, arms trafficking, distribution of counterfeit medicines, extremism-related offences) have witnessed divergences, and their inclusion is currently being discussed at length. 

This blog piece attempts to investigate the inclusion of cyber-enabled crimes as a specific choke point and why its regulations attract diverse views from the Member States and key stakeholders. The piece ends with specific recommendations and suggestions that may act as possible solutions for countering and combating cyber-enabled crimes. 

  1. How Cyber-enabled Crimes have been included under other International Instruments:

Besides the UN Ad-Hoc Committee’s, several regional legal conventions, recommendations, and directives have already been developed in this regard. These have also been a reference point for the proposed convention. These include: African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection (Malabo Convention), The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention), League of Arab States Convention on Combating Information Technology Offences, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Directive on Fighting Cyber Crime. Besides, there is also the CARICOM Model Legislative Texts of Cybercrimes/ E-crimes and Electronic Evidences that targets the prevention and investigation of computer and network related crime. In addition, the UNODC Report on the meeting of the Expert Group to Conduct a Comprehensive Study on Cybercrime (2021) lays down Recommendations on best practices to address issues of cybercrime through the implementation of legislation and frameworks on effective criminalization, law enforcement and investigation, international cooperation, and prevention. 

International legal instruments (identified above) address an extensive range of cybercrime and criminalised both cyber-dependent and cyber-enabled crimes. The most common cyber-enabled crimes covered under these conventions include attack on computer systems, computerised data breaches, computer-related forgery, and computer-related fraud. The second set of cyber-enabled crimes covered include, offences related to child pornography, crimes that are racist or xenophobic in nature committed through computer systems. The third set of cyber-enabled crimes include offences against privacy, offences related to terrorism committed by means of information technology, and increasing punishment for traditional crimes when they are committed by means of information technology which are covered by a miniscule number of convention (such as League of Arab States Convention on Combating Information Technology Offences). 

  1. Languishing Fate of Cyber-enabled crimes in Ad-Hoc Committee Process and Key Challenges in their Governance.

Although the cyber-enabled crimes are widely recognised at the international level, these have acquired only partial success in terms of their incorporation into the work of the Ad-Hoc Committee Process. 

Tracking the Ad-Hoc committee for four consecutive sessions has enabled us to identify the key challenges in incorporating and addressing a wide range of cyber-enabled crimes under the proposed convention. The cyber-enabled crimes such as terrorism-related offences, violation of personal information, extremism-related offences, or content-related crimes lack a common and clear understanding of what it constitutes due to the diverging political, cultural, and legal systems in the Member Countries. Further, these sets of crimes are largely traditional crimes that are often covered under existing international and domestic legislation and incidentally involve the usage of computer systems and ICTs. In the event that these crimes are also incorporated separately in the cybercrime convention, these can conflict with the legal instruments that are already in place. Moreover, content-related offences are broadly- worded, lack a uniform approach, and need more adequate safeguards to protect human rights and other fundamental freedoms. Therefore, binding international criminal instruments such as the Ad-Hoc Committee’s work is not an appropriate forum to address the issues emerging out of cyber-enabled crimes. Instead, these should be addressed via civil and non-legal instruments while ensuring balance with fundamental rights and freedoms. Some cyber-enabled crimes discussed under the Ad-Hoc committee, including extremism-related crimes and terrorist use of ICT technologies, are more umbrella terms that are extremely vague and subjective and pose a threat to widely recognised international human rights. Finally, the provisions related to privacy-related offences are troublesome as they criminalise a broad range of conduct without establishing a legitimate aim and providing sufficient exceptions in favour of students, journalists, cybersecurity researchers, and other public-spirited individuals. 

  1. Way Forward and Suggested Solutions 

The vague and highly subjective nature of cyber-enabled crimes, their tense relationship with widely recognised international human rights and lack of sufficient exceptions can be attributed as primary obstructions that inhibit their inclusion in the Ad-Hoc Committee process. Nevertheless, these issues are of crucial importance for a large number of countries participating in the process. Member Countries, including India, Egypt, South Africa, Russia, and China, have repeatedly argued in favour of a broad cybercrime treaty and have also pushed for provisions enabling international cooperation, technical assistance, and capacity building. Lack of adequate procedural and technical competence amongst the state enforcement agencies is hampering them in their societal role, keeping citizens secure, and upholding the rule of law. In such a scenario where it is hard to build consensus in fractious issues as this, and urgency of action in respect of the threat faced by Member States, the pathway through binding international criminal instruments is less than ideal. The Member Countries, therefore, need to devise alternative pathways to address the cyber-enabled crimes though civil or non-legal instruments while keeping up the balance with international human rights and fundamental freedom. 

Another possible route to address cyber-enabled crimes is through Public-Private Leadership. The four sessions of the Ad-Hoc committee allowed us to uncover the growing mistrust and misalignment between the public and the private sector. These key stakeholders exhibit discord and opposing views of each other and are less than beneficial in addressing the critical challenges we face today due to rising cybercrime. Technology companies have latched on to their strong opinion that enforcement agencies cannot be trusted sufficiently with citizen data and digital communication. On the other hand, Member States also need to highlight the day-to-day challenges faced by legal enforcement agencies and promise adequate transparency in their actions. Some Member States have instead advocated in favour of strong obligations on the private sector to cooperate with national authorities. While public-private cooperation is imperative to address these crimes, both entities need to rethink their position, establish a cordial relationship and take up leadership roles that can then be translated into a better and more effective approach to addressing cyber-enabled crimes. 

The United Nations Ad-hoc Committee for Development of an International Cybercrime Convention: Overview and Key Observations from Fourth Substantive Session

Sukanya Thapliyal

  1. Background/ Overview 

Last month, the Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University Delhi had the opportunity to participate as a stakeholder in the Fourth Session of the United Nations Ad-hoc Committee, tasked to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for criminal purposes (“the Ad Hoc Committee”). 

The open-ended Ad-hoc Committee is an intergovernmental committee of experts representative of all regions.  It was established by the UN General Assembly-Resolution 74/247 under the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. The committee was originally proposed by the Russian Federation and 17 co-sponsors in 2019. The UN Ad-hoc Committee is mandated to provide a draft of the convention to the General Assembly at its seventy-eighth session in 2023 (UNGA Resolution 75/282). 

The three previous sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee witnessed the exchange of general views of the Member States on the scope, and objectives of the comprehensive convention, and agreement on the structure of the convention. This was followed by themed discussions and a first reading of the provisions on criminalisation, procedural measures and legal enforcement, international cooperation, technical assistance, preventive measures, among others. (We had previously covered the proceedings from the First Session of the Ad-Hoc Committee here.)

The fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee was marked by a significant development – the preparation of a Consolidated Negotiating Document (CND) to facilitate the remainder of the negotiation process. The CND was prepared by the Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee keeping in mind the various views, proposals, and submissions made by the Member States at previous sessions of the Committee. It is also based on existing international instruments and efforts at the national, regional, and international levels to combat the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for criminal purposes. 

As per the road map and mode of work for the Ad Hoc Committee approved at its first session (A/AC.291/7, annex II), the fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee conducted the second reading of the provisions of the convention on criminalisation, the general provisions and the provisions on procedural measures and law enforcement. Therefore, the proceedings during the Fourth Session involved comprehensive and elaborate discussions around these provisions amongst the Chair, Member States, Observer States, and other multi-stakeholder groups. 

Over the two-part blog series, we aim to provide our readers with a brief overview and our observations from the discussions during the fourth substantive session of the Ad-hoc Committee. Part I of the blog (i) discusses the methodology employed by the Ad-Hoc Committee discussions and (ii) captures the consultations and developments from the second reading of the provisions on criminalisation of offences under the proposed convention. Furthermore, we also attempt to familiarise  readers with the emerging points of convergence and divergence of opinions among different Member States and implications for the future negotiation process. 

In part II of the blog series, we will be laying out the discussions and exchanges on (i) the general provisions and (ii) provisions on procedural measures and legal enforcement. 

  1. Methodology used for Conducting the Fourth session of the Ad-Hoc Committee

The text-based negotiations at the Fourth Session proceeded in two rounds. 

Round 1: The first round of discussions allowed the participants to share concise, substantive comments and views. Provisions on which there was broad agreement proceeded to Round 2. Other provisions were subject to a co-facilitated informal negotiation process. Co-facilitators that spearheaded the informal negotiations reported orally to the Chair and the Secretariat. 

Round 2: Member Countries progressed through detailed deliberations on the wording of each of the provisions that enjoyed broad agreement. 

  1. Provisions on Criminalization (Agenda Item 4)

The Chapter on “provisions on criminalization” included a wide range of criminal offences that are under consideration for inclusion under the Cybercrime Convention. Chapter 2 under the CND features 33 Articles grouped into 11 clusters as:

  1. Cluster 1: offences against illegal access, illegal interference, interference with computer systems/ ICT systems, misuse of devices, that jeopardises the confidentiality, integrity and availability of system, data or information;
  2. Cluster 2: offences that include computer or ICT-related forgery, fraud, theft and illicit use of electronic payment systems;
  3. Cluster 3: offences related to violation of personal information
  4. Cluster 4: infringement of copyright.
  5. Cluster 5: offences related to online child sexual abuse or exploitation material
  6. Cluster 6: offences related to Involvement of minors in the commission of illegal acts, and encouragement of or coercion to suicide
  7. Cluster 7: offences related to sexual extortion and non-consensual dissemination of intimate images.
  8. Cluster 8: offences related to incitement to subversive or armed activities and extremism-related offences
  9. Cluster 9: terrorism related offences and offences related to the distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, arms trafficking, distribution of counterfeit medicines.
  10. Cluster 10: offences related to money laundering, obstruction of justice and other matters (based on the language of United Nation Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and United Nation Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC))
  11. Cluster 11: provisions relating to liability of legal persons, prosecution, adjudication and sanctions. 

Round 1 Discussions 

  1. Points of Agreement (taken to the second round) 

The first round of discussions on provisions related to criminalisation witnessed a broad agreement on inclusion of provisions falling under Cluster 1, 2, 5, 7, 10 and 11. Member States, Observer States and other parties including the EU, Austria, Jamaica (on the behalf of CARICOM), India, USA, Japan, Malaysia, and the UK strongly supported the inclusion of offences enlisted under Cluster 1 as these form part of core cybercrimes recognised and uniformly understood by a majority of countries. 

A large number of the participant member countries were also in favour of a narrow set of cyber-dependent offenses falling under Cluster 5 and 7. They contended that these offenses are of grave concern to the majority of countries and the involvement of computer systems significantly adds to the scale, scope and severity of such offenses. 

Several countries such as India, Jamaica (on behalf of CARICOM), Japan and Singapore broadly agreed on offences listed under clusters 10 and 11. These countries expressed some reservations concerning provisions on the liability of legal persons (Article 35). They contended that such provisions should be a part of the domestic laws of member countries. 

  1. Points of Disagreement (subject to Co-facilitated Informal Negotiations)

There was strong disagreement on the inclusion of provisions falling under Cluster 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9. The EU along with Japan, Australia, USA, Jamaica (on the behalf of CARICOM), and others objected to the inclusion of these cyber-dependent crimes under the Convention. They stated that such offenses (i) lack adequate clarity and uniformity across countries(ii) pose a serious threat of misuse by the authorities, and (iii) present an insurmountable barrier to building consensus as Member Countries have exhibited divergent views on the same. Countries also stated that some of these provisions (Cluster 9: terrorism-related offenses) are already covered under other international instruments. Inclusion of these provisions risks mis-alignment with other international laws that are already employed to oversee those areas.

  1. Co-Facilitated Informal Round

The Chair delegated the provisions falling under Cluster 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 into two groups for the co-facilitated informal negotiations. Clusters 3, 4 and 6 were placed into group 1, under the leadership of Ms. Briony Daley Whitworth (Australia) and Ms. Platima Atthakor (Thailand). Clusters 8 and 9 were placed into group 2, under the leadership of Ambassador Mohamed Hamdy Elmolla (Egypt) and Ambassador Engelbert Theuermann (Austria). 

Group 1: During the informal sessions for cluster 3, 4 and 6, the co-facilitator encouraged  Member States to provide suggestions/views/ comments on provisions under consideration. The positions of Member States remained considerably divergent. Consequently, the co-facilitators decided to continue their work after the fourth session during the intersessional period with interested Member States.

Group 2: Similarly for cluster 8 and 9, the co-facilitators, along with interested Member States engaged in constructive discussions. Member States expressed divergent views on the provisions falling under cluster 8 and 9. These ranged from proposals for deletion to proposals for the strengthening and expansion of the provisions. Besides, additional proposals were made in favour of the following areas – provision enabling future Protocols to the Convention, inclusion of the concept of serious crimes and broad scope of cooperation that extends beyond the provisions criminalised under the convention. The co-facilitators emphasised the need for future work to forge a consensus and make progress towards finalisation of the convention. 

Round 2 Discussions: 

Subsequently, the second round of discussions witnessed intensive discussions and deliberation amongst the participating Member Countries and Observer States. The discussions explored the possibility of adding provisions on issues relating to the infringement of website design, unlawful interference with critical information infrastructure, theft with the use of information and communications technologies and dissemination of false information, among others. 


Since the First Session of the Ad-Hoc Committee, the scope of the convention has remained an open-ended question. Member Countries have put forth a wide range of cyber-dependent and cyber-enabled offences for inclusion in the Convention.  Cyber-dependent offences, along with a narrow set of cyber-enabled crimes (such as online child sexual abuse or exploitation material, sexual extortion, and non-consensual dissemination of intimate images), have garnered broad support. Other cyber-enabled crimes (terrorism-related offences, arms trafficking, distribution of counterfeit medicines, extremism-related offences) have witnessed divergences, and their inclusion is currently being discussed at length. Countries must agree on the scope of the Convention if they want to make headway in the negotiation process. 

(The Ad-Hoc committee is likely to take up these discussions forward in the sixth session of the Ad-Hoc Committee 21 August – 1 September 2023.

Full Text of statement by South Africa on behalf of G77 and China at the 1st Preparatory Meeting for UNGA’s overall review of the implementation of the WSIS Outcomes


The Group of 77 and China would like to express its gratitude for the proficient manner in which you are handling this process. We would also like to express gratitude for the due consideration that has been given to the group’s inputs thus far.

With regards to the matter at hand, the Group would like to point out that the mandate for the overall review of the implementation of the WSIS is clearly spelt out in Operative Paragraph 4 of the Modalities Resolution, which says:

“Decides that the overall review by the General Assembly shall take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society and address potential information and communications technology gaps and areas for continued focus, as well as addressing challenges, including bridging the digital divide, and harnessing information and communications technologies for development;

We would propose that the following eight (8) areas are important for fulfilling the task set forth in OP4.

1. Implementation of the Vision of the Tunis Agenda

It is imperative that, as per the modalities resolution, the focus of this review is anchored in the vision of the Tunis Agenda. There is no need to renegotiate or re-invent the Tunis Agenda.

Central to this vision is the emphasis on the use of ICT’s for development and for the benefit of developing countries.

Moreover, the review process presents a significant opportunity to critically consider the progress made on the implementation of the Tunis Agenda under the 11 Action Lines, and to update these actions lines to make necessary course-corrections to ensure that the target populations of these action lines in developing countries attain maximum growth and benefit from the use of ICTs for development.

2. Bridging the Digital Divide

The express WSIS Vision to bridge the digital divide remains unfulfilled. A large majority of the over 3 billion people that still continue to be denied access to the Internet live in the developing world. These populations have been marginalized and sidelined in the spread of ICTs, and the review must focus on addressing this grave issue.

Within the larger context of the digital divide, the gender digital divide has become a growing concern. Women are being left further and further behind in developing countries and this is creating a new digital divide where men are twice as likely to have access to the Internet as women. This is particularly true in low-to-medium income countries, which, as we have said before, are already facing a large digital divide and a lack of access to ICTs. The WSIS+10 review process must factor in this growing problem, and heed the call by developing countries to double the number of women with online access within the next three years. Most importantly, women have to be prioritized in getting access to education that will enable them to acquire technical competencies to play a central role in developing ICT applications and ICT policies that can address the various socio-economic challenges rather than being relegated to consumers and users of ICT.

3. Funding Mechanism for ICTs

The review must focus on and rectify the lack of follow up on the funding mechanisms for ICTs, particularly under para 9 of the Tunis Agenda. There has been too little progress on capacity building for ICTs in developing countries, and on the transfer of technology to developing countries by those nations which have mastered ICT technologies, so as to assist developing countries in their pursuit of development. These funding mechanisms are central to the effective implementation of ICTs for development, and the review should emphasize the need for such mechanisms to be implemented in the outcome document.

4. Linkage with Post 2015

We recognize that this review process overlaps with another extremely important intergovernmental process, which is the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals. Just as the MDGs were linked to the Tunis Agenda in 2005, the outcome document of this review process must also recognize the obvious and explicit synergies between the Vision of utilizing ICTs for Development and the newly crafted SDGs.

There is already widespread recognition that ICTs are enabling tools in the implementation of these goals, and this recognition must be further pronounced through this review process. The WSIS+10 Overall Review outcome document must recognize these interlinkages and synergies between ICTs and the ongoing discussions at the United Nations, and ensure that document is drafted with the larger context of the post-2015 Development Agenda. A useful matrix in this regard has already been provided by the ITU and could be referred to.

5. Right to Privacy

This review needs to establish a common understanding on the applicability of international rights, ethics, freedom of expression and norms to activities in cyberspace.

It also presents a unique opportunity for all member states to create conditions that can prevent violations of international rights online and to curb activities that may pose a threat to the democratic stability of other member states.

We need to ensure better protection of all citizens online.

6. Internet Governance

The review must take stock of the progress made on the issue of internet governance and make it more representative than it has been thus far.

It is important for governments, alongside relevant WSIS stakeholders, to play a role in international public policy issues pertaining to the internet.

7. Enhanced Cooperation

It is unfortunate that the mandate of the Tunis Agenda has been implemented selectively to suit the narrow interests of a few influential players in the multi stakeholder community.
It is critical that this review process commit steps to fulfill the yet unfulfilled mandate of Para 69 of the Tunis Agenda on Enhanced Cooperation.

The Tunis Agenda called for Governments to, on an equal footing with each other, carry out their roles and responsibilities on international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet.

However, ten years later, tangible progress on this specific mandate of Enhanced Cooperation, which would allow developing nations with important ideas to contribute to Internet policy, has been blocked. It is imperative that this important issue be resolved, so that all nations have an equal say in the public policies affecting the Internet.

8. Net Neutrality

The Group of 77 and China would like express its strong support for the principles of net neutrality. To ensure equal access for all and preserve the notion of the Internet as a public good, all internet traffic must be treated on equal parity, and the key tenets of net neutrality must be recognized as tools to ensure to ensure equal access for all.

9. Maintenance of Cyber Security

It is necessary to prevent the use of the internet for criminal and terrorist purposes. The international community should promote cooperation on combating cyber-crime, address the threat of cyber terrorism, and foster a global culture of cyber security.

In maintaining cyber security, States should abide by the following principles: sovereign equality; the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means without jeopardizing international peace and security, and justice; consistency with the principles of the United Nations; and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other States.

Thank you.

India’s New ‘Multistakeholder’ Line Could Be a Gamechanger in Global Cyberpolitics

The post originally appeared on the Wire on 22nd June 2015.

At the opening conference of the Internet Corporation on Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in the Argentine capital today, Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad unveiled an “Indian vision for the internet”. “Government will continue to shoulder the central responsibility to secure [digital] networks,” Prasad said in a video message telecast to the audience, “[but] India recognizes that all stakeholders are key and multistakeholderism is perhaps the only way to keep the system integrated, growing and expanding.”


The minister’s remarks constitute the first, and arguably most comprehensive high-level statement from India on internet governance. They bring to an end India’s floundering over a foreign policy concern that has long been marked by a turf struggle between the Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Information Technology. The MEA has advocated traditional, inter-governmental diplomacy on internet concerns, with UN forums being a preferred forum for dialogue. In contrast, multi-stakeholderism relegates governments to being an equal participant in policy-making, on par with businesses, civil society, technical experts and the academia. The position that Prasad announced to the internet community in Argentina has been endorsed at the highest levels of government, which in this case refers to the Prime Minister’s Office. The PMO, which had begun inter-ministerial consultations on the subject late last year — chaired by Principal Secretary Nripendra Mishra – took the MEA into confidence while taking this decision. For the global politics around cyberspace, India’s declaration at ICANN 53 is a game-changer.

India’s shift

Is this the first time an Indian politician has endorsed multi-stakeholderism? Not quite. At the 2012 Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, then IT Minister Kapil Sibal doffed his hat to a “multi-stakeholder approach to issues of public policy relating to the Internet”. However, neither did Sibal’s remarks reflect a considered view of the stakes involved nor were they backed by the PMO. Several confusing signals have emanated from the Indian establishment since, with New Delhi’s official delegations to the NetMundial conference in Brazil (in April 2014) and the International Telecommunications Union Plenipotentiary Conference in South Korea (in November 2014) mooting greater governmental say in cyberspace. Ravi Shankar Prasad’s declaration sets the record straight, but leaves open the challenging question: where does India go from here?

An endorsement of multistakeholderism at the highest political level allows India’s negotiators to engage substantively with internet governance concerns at multiple forums: the UN General Assembly, the International Telecommunications Union, ICANN, and any other regional or plurilateral cyber-initiative that may emerge in the near future. ICANN conferences, for instance, have historically witnessed poor attendance from the Indian government: the Department of IT usually sends one thinly stretched Joint Secretary for the conference, while the Brazilian government dispatches several diplomats and technical experts to participate in its many meetings. Indeed, Brazilian officials and civil society routinely meet and share notes during negotiations, resulting in a consolidated “multistakeholder view”. The lack of clarity from their political masters is now no longer an excuse for India’s bureaucrats to abstain from these meetings.

Second, Prasad’s announcement today welcomes multi-stakeholderism in general, but does not endorse a particular multi-stakeholder model. The Indian government’s “vision” is crucially timed, coming as it does with the IANA transition process having gained considerable momentum. IANA, or the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, is the ICANN department responsible for backstopping the Internet through its management of domain names, number resources and protocol assignments. Conscious of the need to address criticism over its monopoly over critical internet resources, the United States government has nudged the ICANN community to conceive a “global, multistakeholder model” to replace it. ICANN manages the Domain Name System and creates policies regarding the allocation of scarce Internet Protocol addresses. It is currently located in California, and as such, answerable only to US laws, courts, industries and policymakers. The IT minister’s remarks leave sufficient room for the Indian government to offer constructive inputs that enhance ICANN’s accountability to users outside the US, while ensuring that Indian internet users and businesses have an equitable say in the ownership of new and lucrative top-level domain names (like .kids, .books, .pharmacy).

The UN General Assembly too is currently taking stock of internet policies through a multi-stakeholder process, and the Indian government’s announcement today lends impetus to its diplomats’ efforts at leading cyberspace diplomacy in New York.

Third, the Buenos Aires declaration splits the unity among BRIC nations with Brazil and India now firmly in the multistakeholder camp, while Russia and China (to a lesser extent) continue to push for intergovernmental models of internet governance. BRICS telecom and IT ministers will meet in Russia on the sidelines of the grouping’s annual summit in July to discuss internet policies. The outcome statement from the BRICS meet, if any, will be keenly watched for its reflections on, and response to the US government’s role in managing critical internet infrastructure. With India swinging towards a model that is favoured by the West, it seems unlikely that a BRICS declaration will offer a radically alternative model of shared cyberspace governance.

Fourth, and finally, the Indian government’s ringing endorsement of multistakeholderism stands in contrast to its own top-down diktats on key internet concerns, whether it is net neutrality, freedom of speech and expression on the web, or the liability of online intermediaries. If New Delhi is indeed convinced of the merit of bringing all stakeholders – including civil society and technical experts — on board, it must break the cozy relationship between Indian industry and regulators in the ICT sector. To lend credibility to India’s interventions abroad, the government must walk its talk on multi-stakeholderism at home. It must create an effective and democratic space for debating internet policies to “sustain a future of equity, innovation, collaboration and inclusion”, as Ravi Shankar Prasad eloquently put it to an applauding audience here at ICANN53.

(Arun Mohan Sukumar is a Senior Fellow at the Centre.)

The Internet Governance Landscape: Overview of Key Events (2013-15)

By Madhulika Srikumar

The Internet Governance landscape is populated with several events. Broadly these Internet Governance processes can be divided into those related to the UN (GA/ECOSOC/CSTD, WSIS Review process, IGF and ITU), technical bodies (such as ICANN, IETF), governmental processes (GCCS, The Hague) and other processes such as Word Economic Forum (WEF).photo_overlay

CCG has prepared a report highlighting the key global Internet governance events between May 2013- June 2015.

The function of this document is to act as a primer on some of these events. It is outside the scope of this report to cover all IG related meetings or to cover all the discussions that occurred at a particular meeting. Instead, this report seeks to introduce one to the (relatively) complicated network of organizations that work simultaneously to further several debates in IG and further to highlight some of the discussions in these events. For instance, each year there are national and regional IGF events happening around the world besides the annual global IGF, there is also the Freedom Online Coalition which is a partnership of 25 governments that work to advance Internet freedom. While these events have not been provided for in the above timeline, they are still a part of the IG evolution and have a role to play.

The entire overview document can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwY1OLu_H1ICN3JTaWt2dzdWVVU/view?usp=sharing

(Madhulika Srikumar is a final year student at Gujarat National Law University and an intern at CCG)