We are the ones who make a brighter day
So lets start giving
There's a choice we're making"
Most of us grew up hearing this Michael Jackson's standout song. What popularized it so much? Was it merely the choir-like lyrics or was it the host of popular artists he roped in to cut the album?
Yes, all of this and more. "The Internet" in a word sums up the E-bubble that was born in the decade that just went past.
In the words of Clay Shirky, a US technology writer, it is the "connective tissue of society". Not all of us are techno experts per say, but Internet is an indelible part of our lives.
The UN-affiliated policy Summit in Dubai is scheduled to commence on December 3, 2012. Known as WCIT or World Conference on International Telecommunication, it is in the midst of a storm, simmering to hit the cyber industry fast.
What is the hue and cry all about? It seems like those one-odd conferences that the UN keeps hosting! So what's got Google scampering around as the champion of minnows here?
Its certainly not an alien attack nor is it the Hurricane Sandy!
To quote Larry Irving, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce, “Fear is a great driver, and people like to regulate what they fear.”
The moot reality of Internet, that popularized it in the first place, is its laissez faire nature. Data accession, sans its usage, is but a child's play for the one who can wiggle around some clicks on fancy gadgets!
Irving cites another interesting tit-bit. According to a 2005 review by the UN, most people were unaware of what a YouTube, Facebook or a smartphone were. Nothing to be proud of there!!
The pitch battle here is between Internet's freedom at large and the regulatory mechanism of governments, trying to tighten the noose against the loss of control. Spam, privacy and intellectual property rights are hot topics doing the rounds currently.
At a time when the Obama's and Romney's are banking on the support of Silicon Valley techies and Wall street masters for their campaigns, this antagonizing move is not a jolly good idea. The governments stand to loose out on accruing the benefits of the evolving technology by this move.
History serves as a great teacher; what's forbidden is all the more enticing.
The freedom of Internet is a but a subtle extension of the freedom of speech; a fundamental human right. Gone are the days when a Luther would go down the streets for a showdown. The new age "push button" culture allows you to disseminate your thoughts to an audience beyond the scope of your lateral vision.
Hold on there now! We aren't here to talk politics or diplomacy. Jokes apart, Google is set to lead the charge on a serious issue that could very well dishevel the semblance of governments doing the 'carrot -and-stick' act. As a move to popularize, TAKE ACTION, is Google's forum to draw-in active public support.
A lot is at stake here; the "openness of Internet and freedom of individuals" to say the least.
While the blue-collared statesmen will surely try to spin their magic wands in Dubai, in essence the real time agenda of this Summit, will be to reshape the 24 year old telecom regulatory treaty.
The original treaty, ratified in 1988, was like a marriage of convenience for commercial relationships to blossom. It was flexible, advanced by the set standards, provided accessibility to scores of data in a free space, without much ado. It laid the groundwork for the new age mobile access technology.
For the layman on the streets all this may not be of any direct consequence. But it actually affects us all. To be more specific, those of us who thrive on business, especially e-commerce, know what all the buzz is about. Even a momentary loss of contact between the sellers and buyers is a recipe for disaster.
In a nutshell, Google's campaign is a move against the "Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future... the billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice."
With regards to small businesses, this is a blessing in disguise.
In September, Google became the charter member of new Internet Association. It is a unique collaboration representing companies that thrive on e-commerce. Other industry big guns like Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Salesforce and Yahoo have also taken the plunge against the political whims of a few closed door policy makers.A three pronged approach has been devised that includes: internet freedom, championing innovation and economic growth and empowering users.
Google for most of us is the Big Daddy of the cyber world. When it catches a cold the whole world is left in the blue, well literally. And indeed it has caught a bug this time; a purposeful bug nonetheless!
Take a look at the videos below to find out more about WCIT-12
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