India Wants To Take On 'US Hegemony' Over The Internet... By Renaming It The Equinet

from the smokescreens dept

The battle for countries wishing to take control over internet governance (either to increase control and censorship or to "reward" local state-owned telcos) didn't end with the whole WCIT debacle a year and a half ago. It's an ongoing process. This week is NETmundial, or the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Governance, and the usual countries are making the usual noise about changing how internet governance works. There will be lots of talk about how meaningful these discussions will be, or if they'll just be a "farce" to enable authoritarian governments more control. Either way, there are some important proposals and discussions happening at the event.

And some nutty ones.

Take, for example, India's proposal that we rename the internet as the Equinet as a way to "challenge US hegemony." Because that will do it.
In a major diplomatic initiative, India is all set to challenge the U.S.’ hegemony of the World Wide Web at a global meet on Internet governance in Sao Paulo (Brazil) next week. India has decided to propose renaming of Internet as ‘Equinet’ so that all nations can have equal say in its operations, besides calling for “internationalisation” of core Internet resources.
Of course, the naming bit is the smokescreen attention-grabber for the other point. Setting up so that "all nations" (note: not all people) can have a say in the operations of the internet is a specific attack on the so-called "multistakeholder" model that is currently in place, in which it's not government entities making these decisions, but a broad group of folks from different backgrounds and specialties (including, many technical experts). Hand the internet over to "governments" and you have a recipe for disaster. If you want more evidence of how troubling this is, look at who India is "aligning itself" with in this proposal:
India is likely to side with Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and Iran to make its point.
Brazil, which organized this event, has been pushing for stronger internet freedoms lately, but also has a history of going in the other direction. Russia, China and Iran, of course, are very much focused on greater control and censorship of the internet, not greater freedom.

There are lots of important things worth discussing concerning internet governance, but renaming the internet as a challenge to US control (which isn't actually US control) is pretty silly. What's much more concerning is the underlying attempt to give some authoritarian countries with long histories of censorship more direct control over the internet. Equinet sounds ridiculous, but Censornet may be more accurate.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Mark Harrill (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 7:04am


    Can we just call it the Cortex ( or would we have to pay Joss Whedon a royalty everytime someone uses the term?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 7:52am

    India has decided to propose renaming of Internet as ‘Equinet’ so that all nations can have equal say in its operations

    We cannot let the people keep on managing it, as it may give them the idea that governments are redundant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    DannyB (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 7:53am

    Re: Cortex

    Wouldn't it be better to rename it to the Intartubes in honor of US politicians' deep understanding of how the network actually works?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Cortex

    "I hear there's rumors on the...Internets that it's a series of tubes!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:12am

    Cannot parse argument

    I must be reading The Onion by mistake. My brain hurts!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:13am

    Re: Cannot parse argument

    Welcome to politics! The arena where the Onion is the most rational discourse available!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    ahow628 (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:38am

    Better idea

    Hey India, instead of complaining and making some empty gesture, why not contribute the technology and standards that will enable a more distributed, secure, and robust internet?

    Or perhaps that wouldn't work because then THEY couldn't control the internet. Don't worry, India. We're on to you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    VJ, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:49am


    Seriously whoever put this stupid request needs to be put on LoC kashmir where Pakistans bullets tear them apart!!! I mean I am an Indian and I have sense enough to not side with China!!! Freakking china who claimed Tibet as their own, and claims Arunachal Pradesh and Assam too!
    God, send a meteorite and wipe out us poor folks!!! Shame on these Politicians. They have sold the country to Dalals and gangsters. Now they want to sale the internet too!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:49am

    What they really mean is...

    We cannot assert OUR control enough, so to help get more control, we want to invite the rest of the world to help take it away from the US. Even though the US is showing great progress in moving towards the same despotic disguised as a democracy government like the rest of us, there is still too much freedom that MUST be removed from those pesky Americans! They have been free too long and must now be drawn to heel behind their masters!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Bengie, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 10:16am


    Lets rename automobiles to equamobiles because we decided to make up a useless word.

    Internet is a Latin prefix with a short name for "network". It is a proper word that accurately describes the idea of Inter Network communucations.

    "Equinet" is just a marketing word with no useful Latin base or technical meaning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Nina Paley (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 10:39am


    The great thing about hegemonic powers is they decline all by themselves. The US has been on the way down since the early 1970's, and our descent velocity is only increasing. So buck up, India, and enjoy the ride!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    alternatives(), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:45pm

    Yes, by just renaming things

    that makes all the difference.

    Put people in a cyclone fence - free speech zone!

    Pass a law that allows for private communications to not be private - PATRIOT Act!

    This renaming idea can go on - feel free to add your own fellow 'dirters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    dont see the need to rename the 'net to anything else at all. all India and others need to do is tell America to 'SHUT THE FUCK UP' because it isn't in charge of the net or the world even though it thinks it is!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 2:14pm

    Is it just me that finds some of this ironic?
    The release of ICANN from the last vestiges of the US government is generally a good thing that has been in the making for a long time.

    How we eventually transition is up for some debate as I'm sure many are still upset about governance now, let alone in the future. Take for example the criticism from Prof. A Michael Froomkin in 2000 which outlines some of the problems with the board at ICANN, cronyism and a lack of public discourse. Of course ICANN greatly refutes these claims ;)

    As far as I know just about every country has a TLD, and it's own assigned IP Space leased to them, so wouldn't that make them stakeholders as well as say Amazon, Google, FaceBook, etc? So I don't know where you are going with the "Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa" tag-line, other than to say any country that disagrees with your ideals shouldn't participate. (IMHO that's just as bad)

    At the end of the day, I don't think much is going to change. This will probably take a follow the money approach like most political discussions. Sadly that's really all this is right now, smaller participants puffing up their chests to have a say even if it's a moot point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 3:04pm

    As far as I know, Internet is just an acronym for "International Network" and, as such, there is nothing US specific about it. Also this name suits perfectly for what it (internet) is and how it functions. BTW what kind of political message India wants to deliver by going ahead with this lame proposal? And how could anyone think about making it a major diplomatic issue at an international gathering Except if that Indian official with average intelligence considered International being synonymous with US! He is certainly going to have a hard time at the meeting finding buyers for this proposal...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 4:06pm


    "Internet" is not an acronym for "international network". It's a neologism relating to interconnecting networks (the internet is a "network of networks".)

    The internet was absolutely a US creation. A DARPA creation, specifically, intended for military use. It's availability to the general public of any country was never part of its original design intent.

    All that said, the right thing to do is what has been taking place, slowly but surely, since it opened to the public: keep it out of the control of any single nation. The internet has grown into something completely other than what it started as.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    bshock, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:32pm

    Renaming something to solve a problem?

    Sure, why not?

    Hey, I have an idea, India: Let's rename "Untouchables" as "Those Who Must Not Be Named." Has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? Almost sounds cool, like Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter novels. That'll fix those poor folks!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Robert, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 10:51pm

    IP Adress and Security Only

    What say. All the global internet working groups needs to do is ensure IP address accuracy and take responsibility for network traffic coming out of that country, absolutely nothing more and nothing less.
    Domain name addressing is up to individual countries and any associations or treaties they form, they are after all, nothing more than localised databases with rules set by the hosting country.
    Internal traffic is down to individual countries. Country to country traffic is the responsibility of the country exporting the traffic (criminal internet activity, including criminal espionage) and associating costs with the country exporting bad data, your people hack, your country pays.
    Break core rules and your countries connections get cut and fiscal trade penalties apply.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 3:58pm

    Re: What?

    Maybe it refers to all those horse bestiality videos that are rumored to be out there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    JackOfShadows (profile), Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 7:19pm

    Same people, different list

    Funny how that list in many ways resembles the list of countries on the UN Human Rights Commission. You know, all the people who don't respect human rights so they want to be on the commission to block enforcement of same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Pragmatic, Apr 23rd, 2014 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Cortex

    Filled with cats. It says so here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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