This is the second document in a series of papers that will explore the governance of Digital Communication Networks (DCNs). You can read the first document here.
We have defined DCNs as composite entities consisting of:
- Capability: Internet-based products/services that enable instantaneous low-cost or free communication across geographic, social, and cultural boundaries. This communication may be private (1:1), limited (1:n e.g. messaging groups), or broad (Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, YouTube videos, live streaming ), and so on.
- Operator(s): Firms/groups that design/operate these products and services.
- Networks: The entities/groups/individuals that adopt/use these products and services, and their interactions with each other.
This Discussion Document identifies benefits attributable to Digital Communication Networks. This document continues from the findings of Governance of DCNs I: Categorisation of Harms to inform policymaking from an Indian perspective.
- The document notes that aspects of DCNs such as low entry costs, change in scale and structure of human networks, and the speed of information flows enable harms and benefits. It then proceeds to identify the benefits accrued in two interdependent areas – Markets and Society.
- Two broad categories of benefits of DCNs are identified in the context of Markets and Society.
- For Markets, creation of economic opportunities (new ecosystems, benefits for Indian businesses) and economic efficiencies (access to information, social graphs).
- For Society, the document demonstrates benefits through five types of actions that DCN capabilities and networks enable – information production/consumption, interaction, identity formation/expression, organisation, and financial transactions.
- Finally, the document enumerates the following reasons for adequate reconsideration and appreciation of benefits enabled by DCNs in India, in the face of impending regulation:
- The greater amount of recent literature documenting harms, while benefits remain under-explored.
- Growing regulatory interest in online harms/safety-based approaches in multiple jurisdictions.
- The need for Indian industry to be competitive in any market-oriented solutions in the future.