Bengaluru: For a country that will have more than 1.3 billion Indians connected to Internet by 2025, making the Web safe from user harm, online criminality, disinformation and misinformation has to be a joint goal and like-minded nations must address these challenges together, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has stressed.
Currently, around 830 million Indians are connected to the Internet, making it one of the largest, single connected countries in the world.
“The access to the Internet is expanding relentlessly and more and more Indians use it for a range of products and services, including government public services which help them in their livelihoods, investments, jobs, entrepreneurship, and innovation,” Chandrasekhar said.
“So it becomes important for us that the Internet remains a safe and trusted experience for them which can only happen if nations come together to address broader challenges,” the minister said while addressing the Sydney Dialogue, an annual summit.
He said that the government and agencies have determined that the velocity of misinformation and disinformation can be 8-10, sometimes 20 times faster in reach and significance than normal information.
For democracies like India, as they try and harness technologies to create a robust digital economy, “we need to make sure that the Internet, and indeed the tech space, remains a force for good and if there is user harm or online criminality that tries to creep in there, these must be stopped”.
“Already state actors use misinformation and disinformation to undermine open societies like us. There has to be an approach that, given the borderless nature of the Internet, aims for creating a global cooperative framework,” Chandrasekhar noted.
The proposed Digital India Act (DIA) will give a much-needed thrust to the current regulatory landscape in India to tame Big Tech and empower millions of citizens on the Internet in the “largest digitally connected democracy”.
“The new digital law should be evolvable and consistent with changing market trends, disruption in technologies, development in international jurisprudence and global standards for qualitative service/products delivery framework,” Chandrasekhar mentioned last month.
Emphasising the need for an open Internet, the minister said that it should offer Choice, Competition, Online Diversity, Fair Market Access, and Ease of Doing Business and Ease of Compliance for Startups.