India Summer School of Internet Governance

The 2021 Virtual Edition of inSIG will be hosted by ISOC India Chennai Chapter during 19-21 Nov 2021

The India School on Internet Governance (inSIG) was founded in 2016, when inSIG2016 was convened in Oct-Nov 2016 at IIIT Hyderabad, immediately prior to the ICANN57 meeting held at the same city. The event had 44 participants from 9 countries and 22 speakers from 12 countries. The second edition of inSIG was held in October 2017 at Technopark, Trivandrum, which brought together 88 participants, including 63 Fellows from 5 countries, 15 Speakers from 6 countries. The third edition, held in New Delhi in Oct 2018, brought together about 90 participants. The fourth edition was conducted at Kolkata, West Bengal, during 15-17 Nov 2019, where over 70 participants from India and abroad took part.

Given the global pandemic, inSIG2020 was organized as a virtual event, hosted by ISOC Mumbai Chapter. The event was conducted over three days (7-10 Oct 2020), with a Day 0 event on 3 Oct 2020.

The 2021 edition of inSIG is being organized as a virtual event, with a Fellows meet-n-greet on 14 Nov 2021 and the main sessions during 19-21 Oct 2021. The host chapter is Chennai.

The objectives of inSIG are:

  • Impart formal training on Internet Governance to participants so as to prepare them for engagement in global Internet Governance processes. To this end, the programme content is a balanced mix of global IG topics, regional topics and India-specific topics (in the approximate ratio of 60:10:30);

  • Nucleate a community of Internet Governance professionals in India through alumni;

  • Introduce to participants some of the global experts in Internet Governance as speakers in the program;

  • Provide networking opportunities for participants; and

  • Provide an international setting for participants through a mix of domestic and international participants, making inSIG a national-regional SIG.


inSIG2020 builds on the vision and design of the first four editions and aims to build a community of IG professionals in India as well as in the broader South Asia region of Asia-Pacific, who can effectively participate in global Internet Governance processes. The event is also a forum to discuss topical issues of specific relevance to India. Given the global pandemic, this edition will be virtual. We hope to be able to learn from the first virtual edition to plan for virtual or hybrid versions for the future.

The first edition of inSIG was organized jointly by ISOC India Trivandrum and ISOC India Delhi Chapters in 2016. This group was joined by Kolkata (2018), Mumbai (2019) and Chennai (from 2021). ISOC India Hyderabad chapter joined the Organizing Team in 2021.

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The Internet Society India Chennai Chapter organized a virtual roundtable in March, a few days after the Indian government announced a three-week nationwide lockdown. The virtual roundtable was a conversation on the importance of keeping the Internet open, and on the ways in which the Internet community could contribute to COVID-19 response and recovery in India and around the globe.

The virtual roundtable brought together a wide range of Internet stakeholders, including Andrew Sullivan, Jane Coffin, Mike Godwin, Yrjö Länsipuro, Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Olivier Crepin-Leblond, Sébastien Bachollet, Samiran Gupta, and Glen McKnight, as well as members of the Chapter from civil society and the private sector.

Some key highlights and takeaways from the virtual roundtable include the following:

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of the Internet. Without access, people are unable to communicate with family members and health workers, and participate in online learning and remote work.

The pandemic has clearly exposed the inequalities in Internet access and affordability – the digital divide across the region. Connecting the billions of people who are not yet connected must be a priority. At the same time, their privacy and autonomy must be protected.

Internet technologies can help us fight against the pandemic. The flip side is the surveillance system, which, if not placed under control, and if not removed after the crisis, will have deep negative consequences for societies. For example, some countries have developed apps for contact tracing and movement control that have raised privacy and security concerns. The pandemic has also resulted in a rise in DNS abuse, cybersquatting, hacking, and malware attacks.

ICANN has been studying the impact of increased traffic on the networks, and it appears that this increased traffic is well within the capacity of the DNS and root server ecosystem, but there could be issues related to the resilience of locally-deployed infrastructure. Investment in building a resilient last- and middle-mile access infrastructure is critical.

There are excessive assumptions about the importance of telecom technologies for the Internet, and a certain regulatory thinking that 5G technologies denote progress. 5G, by extensive advertising campaigns and by privileged lobbying, is touted as the new magic technology. But 5G creates a barrier by way of disproportionate spectrum appropriation. There is a need to urge regulators, in particular, to open up for changes in licensing policies and funding, and in spectrum allocation. Internet growth is building the Internet infrastructure, and working with communities to help support the building of that infrastructure, to accelerate access to the Internet.

The way to evolve connectivity technologies is by good old fashioned network engineering, including proper deployment of Internet Exchange Points. In various parts of the world, especially in Asia-Pacific and the Americas, local people form communities to create localized solutions by building community networks that offer complementary solutions to connectivity issues. Through these initiatives, it is important to work with regulators in changing policies related to licensing, spectrum allocation (in the 6Ghz band for WiFi and in the 2.4 and 5Ghz bands), and infrastructure funding to connect the unconnected.

You can watch a recording of the livestream and read the highlights of the transcript or the full transcript. A summary report of the discussions is here

Internet Governance and the Stakes


We organized a round table event with a select list of 25 participants at Residency Towers on 22 October to discuss the broader policy aspects of (Cyber)Security. Prior to this event, on invitation from NIT Calicut Alumni (Chennai Chapter) we had a conversation on “Internet and Internet Governance and the Stakes”


The link below points to the recording of the one hour session with the Chennai Chapter Alummni of the NII. Please follow the link to watch the event. Our voices sound a little different due to a recording error.


https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BymSF9LysHAKR3pTSU13VjY0MGc


Pre-event to a preparatory event: Oliver Crepin-LeBlond and Sebastien Bachollett at an ISOC India Chennai event with the Chennai Chapter of NIT Calicut Alumni