Welcome to the Media Law Roundup, a survey of the week’s developing media news.
Ministry of Internet for Germany?
Internet activists and German politicians are pushing for the creation of a German Ministry of Digital Affairs. Currently, the State Minister for Cultural and Media Affairs, part of the Interior Ministry, handles German digital affairs. Critics question the department’s ability to prioritize Internet issues. A coalition “digital agenda” subgroup, that is debating the right digital strategy for the German government, has also recommended a standing committee for digital policy questions. The subgroup, however, has refrained from giving concrete suggestions about how this Internet committee should be formed. This digital working group has also discussed and agreed upon a nationwide broadband rollout and legal protections for free Wi-Fi network suppliers.
Amid Economic and Social Reforms, China Tightens Hold on Internet
On November 15th Chinese officials revealed a new plan for China’s future that introduced economic and social reforms, including loosening the country’s one child policy. This plan, however, did not indicate any changes to the government’s vast Internet censorship. The government pointed to problems with managing the flow of online information and the growing popularity of social networking tools which rapidly disseminate information and mobilize society. While the government offered no details, China intends to strengthen its regulatory systems and increase the scope of their legal authority in order to better “secure” the Internet.
ICANN 48 Conference This Week in Buenos Aires
The 48th Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) meeting began November 17th in Buenos Aires. At the meeting ICANN announced the formation of a new “Panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation.” The panel, composed of people in government, civil society, the private sector, the technical community, and international organizations, will release a report early in 2014 on Internet government, principles and proposed frameworks for global Internet cooperation, and a roadmap for future Internet governance challenges. The creation of this panel follows increased demands for ICANN to become more global and for Internet governance to reflect the Internet’s universality and diversity. Despite post-Snowden pushes for different Internet governance frameworks, ICANN will continue to promote the current Internet oversight model. ICANN intends to discuss the “immense success” of the current multi-stakeholder model at Brazil’s April “Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance.”
YouTube to Encrypt Users’ Personal Data
By the end of March 2014 Yahoo will encrypt user information moving between its data centers. This follows allegations that the NSA broke into the main communication links connecting Yahoo’s data centers. A November 18th statement on Yahoo’s Tumblr account, which announced Yahoo’s encryption plans, emphasized that the company never gave data center access to the NSA. Yahoo also recently announced plans to implement https SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption for email messages beginning in January 2014. The company’s announcement on Monday extends this effort to better secure and protect users’ privacy and data.