DailyPost 2337

As the time passes by, we will have another truism, understand the internet before you even start to govern. This is necessarily the case even now too, but as governance and governance mechanisms are slow to respond, we can give them some more time. The non-governance or the disconnect between the government diktat and the ground reality will become so huge in future, that it would make a mockery of governance. Unfortunately, it is not limited to one area, it permeates and pervades every aspect of government functioning and a logical corollary, our existence. From the nitty gritty of developmental administration to criminal investigation, internet’s understanding and its enablement for the purpose is critical.

We can start with Wikileaks and what it has done to the governance of countries which have had brush with it. The first rule of internet is that you cannot control the sources or its spread and the narrative. If you play around with one source, website et al, it will again appear in a variety of ways. The second rule, that any fact or even a created fact, would find its way into the public domain, and you will not be able to do anything about it, however much you try, you can just cut sorry figures till you or your organization becomes a historical cut out itself. The final result of internet censorship in the Arab Spring is known to one and all, the fate of the governments that demonstrated their iron had.

The third rule of the internet age governance says, that tough medieval measure does not work. One leak, video footage, or taped call can do the magic. You will never be able to recover from it however much you try. The fourth rule, the quality of narrative you can create out of the public domain data, information and knowledge repository is mindboggling. If creatively and purposefully done, it can make or mar an organization or an individual and it is equally true of even nations. Being verbose, ever visible, unmindful of what you speak will come to bite you sooner than later.

This brings us to the fifth rule, you are as good or as bad as your digital footprint. Your physical footprint is difficult to find, nobody has time and energy to do that, and there is serious likelihood of it getting destroyed. How many governments are mindful of the digital trail they leave. This is the digital arsenal which has been denigrating governments on a regular basis. The sixth rule, is that the only truth of our age is data. Maintaining its integrity and honesty is not a luxury that they enjoy, today it is their compulsion. The sooner they understand, the better it is. The seventh rule, all actions would be looked from different angles and commented upon. How the governments manage this new reality is left to them. So far, they have failed miserably. The final reality is that the governments are not matching up to the demands of the ever improving modern internet.

Sanjay Sahay

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