Will Renaming The Internet Guarantee Privacy?

Internet could do a lot worse than the US and the NSA.

India Wants Internet Renamed

In an attempt to champion itself as a supporter of online democracy and equal rights, India has announced it will float the idea of renaming Internet to "Equinet" in a meeting of international top dogs in Brazil next week.

Officials from 180 countries are scheduled to gather on April 23 in Sao Paulo to debate on the future of internet governance and demand from the United States to turn it into a more democratic system. Ahead of this NETmundial, India has made headlines by suggesting a new name for the internet, which it believes would be a better fit for the global network's new operational dynamics.

By doing so, the South Asian powerhouse will side with countries like Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and Iran, all of whom have openly expressed their opposition to the autocratic style of internet governance of the United States.

It raises the question that if these nations are so unhappy with the current situation, would they do any better when the power is in their own hands? While Eduard Snowden's revelations about the National Security Agency's (NSA) spying have been much publicized and derided by the media, the same level of attention hasn't been given to the kind of snooping others do on a regular basis.

India in particular has its own version of the NSA in the form of Centre for Development Telematics (C-DOT), which according to media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres, uses some of the worst cyber spying tactics. Moreover, just last summer, the Indian government unveiled its new internet surveillance system which is just like the NSA's controversial PRISM.

If Russia, China and Iran's suppressive political setups are any indicators, they can't be expected to do any better than the US when it comes to honoring netizens' right to internet privacy. So while the internationalization of online resources and renaming of the internet to Equinet sounds good, assurances need to be made by India, and others alike, that those who want a share of the power will not run the internet like they do their governments.

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