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May 12, 2012, 03.06 PM IST
This episode of CNBC-TV18’s special show Storyboard discusses the latest trends in the digital space with senior vice president and chief business officer of Google Nikesh Arora.
Q: Let’s shift from what is happening in Google to what is happening outside Google and that is the intense efforts to regulate the online world whether it’s in the USA, whether its conversations here in India. There is CISPA which a company like yours is supporting. What are the conversations around regulation of the internet?
A: I like the way you characterize it and what you have articulated is the challenge. The challenge is that we are moving into a connected world where I wouldn’t say the rules are being broken but it is creating new platforms and new conversations mush faster. So things happen much faster. Its just the dissemination of information has become so much faster that it changes the entire social contract. So that is the more fundamental shift we are dealing with generally a society and regulation over a time has been designed to create a level playing field, create equality, create a whole bunch of good things for society.
Now what we are trying to do is we are trying to see how the old model of regulation applies to this new world and therein fundamentally lies a bit of a challenge. Maybe some of the old models are not going to apply in the future to the new world because its hard to implement the old model in the new world; maybe the new world has a new model and that kind of thinking is happening in different parts of the world. Some people are coming up with more innovative ways of dealing with these issues, some people are relying on trying to apply old models towards new issues.
Q: But I don’t think there has been attempt to regulate the internet as strongly and as consistently before than it is right now, isn’t it?
A: For the primary reason that it’s becoming more mainstream. Five years ago there was 10% of the population using the internet online, today there is 80% in some countries and all businesses. I think it’s a bit of a myth that any new rules that get defined for the new way society behaves and I am actually staying away from the notion of the internet because this doesn’t impact the internet only, it impacts you and me as individuals and it impacts businesses because now all businesses are present on the internet so any rule that applies for the internet businesses applies to traditional businesses.
So a bit of a deep think has to be conducted on what is important for the new world to survive and what are the new rules. I think these are hard problems, these are not easy problems. You ask me about investment and the people we are trying to hire, I think we are trying to put the people in place around the world to be able to have these conversations and participate in this rethink in constructive ways.
We understand the roles government play, we understand the role the regulators play and it’s a very hard job and a respectful job because they are trying to do right thing for the society. But it’s just an interpretation of what is the right thing and how do you arrive at that conclusion because it’s easier to get something wrong. If you don’t understand the complexity of the new world, the unintended consequences of what you might unleash if you focus on one part versus the other and I think that’s the challenge.
Q: But do you think that you all being invited to the conversation effectively enough or is it that you all are the villains that needs to be countered and checked?
A: The imitation comes in various shapes and forms, some come in conceptualization phases, some come as a court order, but we do get invited one way or the other to the conversation.
Q: Where India at in its attempts to understand and create a regulatory framework that suites the internet?
A: It’s a tough problem and I cannot comment specifically in the court case and that’s for my local counterparts talk about because they are involved in it.
Q: But the thing is that now not your local counterparts, they are out of the picture, isn’t it so it’s you guys who got to answer?
A: Right and as I said we do get invited through the conversation and we are having conversations. My intent is not to offend anyone but it is a hard problem to solve. It is important to get into right, but it is important to get it right in the context of how the new world behaves.
Q: How do you think India is dealing with it compared to other countries that you have seen?
A: I think India is in a different point in the evolution of the internet. I think as you have talked about earlier, we are still seeing people get on to their phones and start interacting with the web more so not as much of the population is online. So I think we are going through the parts of the early phases where some other countries have been through the early phase and these are tough problems to solve.
My only hope is that enough time and effort will be spent in thinking through the consequences, both intended and unintended, as these conversations happen and things need to be weighed carefully before we make decisions because its easy to get something wrong and equally so something gotten to be right quickly as well.
India has a long history of conversation, it has a long history of being on the side of the citizen, the end user and there is a long history of great tremendous amount of growth so we have to make sure we get it right.
Jun 18 2013, 22:39
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Jun 18 2013, 22:39
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