UPDATE 08.12.2018 : TRAI extends the submission guideline by a month. New Date for submissions is now 07.01.2019. Counter comments is 21.
We won right?
Many of us know about Net Neutrality, a bit. Most of us would feel that fight for it is over and we won! Yes, we did. More than a million people sent emails to India’s telecom Regulator (TRAI) to stand up and protect their right to access internet content on their terms. Several regulations, recommendations and license amendments have followed. Substantial progress has been made over two years, but some core areas of work do remain. This includes a recurring policy proposal for the licensing of internet services and platforms (such as Whatsapp but also other chat, internet messaging and VOIP providers) which are called OTT services.
TRAI's OTT Consultation Paper
While we do feel that this poses dangers to users, may prevent and bring a chokehold on innovation and overall just bad policy, we first want people to actually read the TRAI paper. The OTT Consultation Paper released by TRAI on November 12, 2018 runs into close to 42 pages (38 pages effectively) and to make the best use of your time and get you to read it, we made a 5 page summary (3 pages effectively). Click here to access the summary
Why a summary? Where is your analysis?
This summary is without any opinion, commentary or analysis. It brings the core points of a larger document, condenses it, and puts it to you. We think this is an important first step in letting people form their opinions and search for answers by providing an authentic summary that you can trust. We intend to follow this up in a week with our analysis (like we always do), and then make a formal submission in the interest of users. In the paragraph below we further explain our model of civic engagement around government and regulatory processes to build capacity for public campaigns.
What is IFF's engagement model?
Think about a summary as the first step in a three step process. We first hope over the coming months we are able to create summaries that come out within 24-48 hours of any regulatory consultation, policy or government measure. Then, the second step is that within a week post a comprehensive and reader friendly analysis on which we invite public comment, and then it is finally followed up with a participatory process for formal submissions. This may not be perfect to start out, there will be slips, but we hope to improve as we go along. For building out all of this, making sure we do not miss even one consultation — on net neutrality, free speech, privacy and innovation - we need to grow our capacity and hire people and organise the motivation and drive of volunteers. This starts with an email from you.
Keep reaching out to us!
If you have any thoughts or questions, notice a regulatory consultation on digital rights and want a summary, or want to help us draw up one, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. We have limited resources, but we reply to each email, and try to take our supporters along in this journey of realising the dream of an advocacy organisation that protects our basic human freedoms in the digital age. Join forces, make a donation, volunteer and help spread the word on #SavingTheInternet and #NetNeutrality