Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the world wide web, could have been a very rich man today. Instead, he works as a professor at the University of Oxford and champions open data initiatives worldwide. Why would this man choose to give away a piece of work that he slaved over for years, for free? It is because he believed the internet, and the information it empowered us with, was for everyone.
The internet was created with democratic intent for a reason – because the information it gives us helps Davids take on Goliaths. No man or woman is too weak, poor, unresourced, or incapable with the right information in their hands. It is using this platform that justice can be brought even to the weakest sections of our society.
For the Congress & myself, net neutrality is a must, we believe all Internet Service Providers, Telecom Service Providers & the government should treat all data on the internet equally. People should be free to visit any website they want thereby enabling a level playing field. It is imperative that schemes like Digital India do not become a euphemism for an internet controlled by large remote corporations. It is important that we recognise the danger in privileging a private platform over a public internet – this would inevitably lead to a digital divide.
We do not believe in controlling the information people consume, nor do we believe in censoring their debate or dialogue. The internet is platform of equality, it was created as space where all individuals have equal access to all parts of it – hence net neutrality should be a prerequisite, not a luxury. An open internet enables equitable access for everyone, it prevents unfair & discriminatory pricing practices, it promotes innovations & most importantly it ensures the protection of freedom of speech. Net neutrality is imperative for India to grow in the 21st century. Information is power and this power belongs in the hands of all citizens.