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Rishab Aiyer Ghosh
February 16: Today, in a "brainstorming" session to discuss the new datacom policy proposed by The Indian Techonomist, the Department of Telecommunications indicated its enthusiasm for a free datacom environment in India. As no official decision has yet been taken, I cannot make the details public for the moment. There is one exception: the Telecom Secretary (and Chairman, Telecom Commission) R K Takkar has made it quite clear that content providers in cyberspace will receive all the free-speech protections available to other media.
Mr Takkar said that existing laws for obscenity and national security were enough for the Internet, and in any case were not the concern of the DoT. Mr Takkar said that there was no need to licence on-line content providers, and indicated that Internet service providers would not be responsible for illegal content, apparently implying common carrier status for ISPs.
The other parts of the proposal, relating to low entry barriers for ISPs and free competition met with a largely positive response. The full text of the proposal is now available at http://dxm.org/techonomist/news/newdcom.html
Apart from Mr Takkar and myself, present at the meeting were Telecom Commission Members P Saran and P Khan, as well as some other senior DoT staff.
I would like to thank Vinton Cerf and Lawrence Landweber for the support given by the Internet Society to the proposal.