The Selected Curation of Articles on Net-governance (the SCAN) is a weekly digest on internet governance news, reports, and events produced by the Governance Lab @NYU (the GovLab) as part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project. The SCAN is cross-posted weekly from the GovLab on the Internet Policy Observatory. The original posting of the GovLab SCAN- Issue 30, June, 13 2014 can be found here.
This week’s highlights:
- The World Summit on the Information Society +10 High-Level Event took place this week in Geneva, Switzerland. The event took stock of Internet communications technology (ICT) development in the past decade and will develop a vision for ICT development in the next decade, with a particular focus on bridging the digital divide.
- ICANN’s 50th public meeting takes place June 22nd to 26th in London, England. The meeting will cover a wide range of topics, including the NTIA-IANA stewardship transition and the ICANN “accountability update”, as well as the new gTLD program.
- Privacy issues continue to gain great attention worldwide, with the release of Vodafone’s transparency report this week, the European Court of Justice’s ruling that copies of webpages made during web-browsing do not infringe copyright law, and ICANN’s recent report on Whois and gTLD directory systems regarding domain name registrant data.
NTIA IANA Functions’ Stewardship Transition – Process to Develop the Proposal and Next Steps. ICANN.org. June 6, 2014.
- ICANN has published the Process to Develop the Proposal and Next Steps on the “process to develop a proposal to transition the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community”. The document also contains relevant resources and the record of community discussions and input into the Process document.
Announcing the Coalition for Local Internet Choice. Coalition for Local Internet Choice. June 9, 2014.
- A coalition of public and private entities was launched this week with a mission to “to protect the rights of local communities to determine their economic futures by having the right and opportunity to choose for themselves the best broadband internet infrastructure for their businesses, institutions and residents”. The coalition points out that local governments and communities have a great deal of experience in the development of local broadband infrastructures and “should decide their own economic (broadband) future”.
Brown, Deborah. “Digital rights and the UN”: Recent and Upcoming UN Resolutions. Access Blog. June 11, 2014.
- This post looks at a number of resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and especially those resolutions that focus on the “promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet”. Brown observes that over the last two years, there has been a steady growth in references to the Internet in UN resolutions, but that the challenge is to move from the norm of mentioning Internet issues in human rights contexts to actually creating enforcement mechanisms and implementing them in practical contexts.
Grundemann, Chris. The IETF’s *Other* Diversity Challenge. CircleID. June 12, 2014.
- Grundemann argues that while the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) –a major body that develops technical specifications and standards for Internet communications networks—needs to focus on more than just geographic diversity of its community. He suggests there should be more recognition of the differences between network operators, network vendors, and academics studying such networks, and greater attention should be paid to facilitating interaction between these groups at the IETF.
Internet Users Cannot Be Sued For Browsing the Web, ECJ Rules. The Guardian. June 5, 2014.
- The European Court of Justice ruled last week that “browsing and viewing articles online doesn’t require authorization from the copyright holder”. The case in question concerned whether an end-user browsing the Internet through a web-browser was breaking copyright law because web-browsers temporarily store copies of webpages in order to display them to the user. The court ruled that copies of webpages made during Internet-browsing do not infringe copyright law.
Jaramillo, Ana Mingo, and Jančařík, Jonáš. Turning MEPs into Digital Natives: the Prospects of a Digital Affairs and Technology Committee. European Public Affairs. June 11, 2014.
- As the European Union undergoes European elections, the authors point out that there are opportunities for the formation of new political groups, especially in the form of parliamentary committees. The authors point to MEP Marietje Shaake’s call last week for a dedicated Digital Affairs and Technology Committee, which would reflect the priority of digital affairs and innovation in the EU. The authors make note that the formation of such a committee will have to negotiate the balance between having high-profile public officials and specific tailored expertise (balancing publicity against efficiency).
Kehl, Danielle, and Bankston, Kevin. A Year After Snowden, the Real Costs of NSA Surveillance. CNN Opinion. June 4, 2014.
- This article focuses on the economic and foreign policy impact of the NSA surveillance revelations for the U.S. For example, American technology companies have seen declines in sales overseas and foreign companies are gaining a competitive advantage. Furthermore, the NSA surveillance revelations have strained relations with the U.S.’ strategic allies, and also created a platform for more authoritarian governments to try to gain greater control over the Internet. The authors suggest greater transparency in lawmaking and regulation as a first-step towards mitigating such concerns.
Kroes, Neelie. Inclusive Governance for a Global Internet. European Commission Press Release. June 10, 2014.
- In her speech at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, Kroes –European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda—discusses the importance of “digital opportunity” and the need to improve current governance arrangements and structures that are largely at a deadlock. Kroes specifically suggests that governance is made more inclusive (especially of developing countries); that the multistakeholder model of governance must be strengthened; and that the responsibilities of governments to enforce the rule of law within that multistakeholder model is recognized.
Mondini, Christopher. The Internet Isn’t Magic: Personal Democracy Forum 2014. ICANN Blog. June 9, 2014.
- Mondini reflects upon his experience last week at Personal Democracy Forum 2014 –-a technology and policy conference in New York— describing the conference a “great venue for multistakeholder dialogue”. The conference’s theme this year was “Save the Internet | The Internet Saves”, exploring both the protection of the free and open Internet as well as how the Internet itself promotes engagement and civic organizing. Mondini observes that talks and sessions at the conference rarely developed into conversations about global Internet governance but instead stayed largely at the national or corporate level.
Mueller, Milton. ICANN Suppresses a Privacy Advocate’s Dissent. Internet Governance Project. June 7, 2014.
- Mueller questions whether ICANN is truly inclusive in its decision making by taking the Expert Working Group (EWG) on Whois and privacy as an example where a dissenting opinion of a working group member was not included in the final report. In turn Mueller points out that, at ICANN, there is a “long tradition of failing to find consensus between privacy advocates and business interests”. One member of the EWG has raised serious concerns about how new Whois policies could violate data protection norms.
Sterling, Greg. EU Regulators Meet Amid “Right to be Forgotten” Confusion. Search Engine Land. June 4, 2014.
- Sterling points out the difficulty of developing a Europe-wide system for implementation of the European Court of Justice’s “Right to be Forgotten” ruling which allows Internet users to ask for certain search-results to be removed from searches on the basis of privacy concerns. In particular, the EU’s 28 member states will need to balance privacy rights with the public interest; create uniform privacy standards; create an appeals process where a take-down request is denied; and determine who will pay for the administrative costs of implementation.
UN Forum Spotlights Harnessing Power of Technology to Advance Development. UN News Centre. June 10, 2014.
- At the opening session of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) High-Level Event this week, International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré called for “greater efforts to ensure that everyone a United Nations information and communication technology (ICT) forum opening in Geneva today called for the setting of a roadmap for sustainable ICT development in the “post-2015 era”. For example, there is a growing divide in broadband access between developed and developing countries, as well as a need to use ICTs more effectively in classrooms and schools around the world. The session also saw the release of the Final WSIS Targets Review, which discusses the digital divide and its impacts on the information society.
Weckler, Adrian. Students to Get Classes in Tackling Cyberbullying. Independent.ie. June 6, 2014.
- A report (unpublicized) by the Internet Content Governance Advisory Group (ICGAG) recommends that the Irish government begin to institute awareness programs in Irish schools to help students understand and prevent cyber-bullying. The report also proposes a “beefed up Internet Safety Advisory Committee to be run by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs”.
WSIS +10 High-Level Event – Summary of the Day (10/6). Geneva Internet Platform. June 6, 2014.
- This article recaps the first day of the World Summit on the Information Society High-Level Event taking place this week. The event takes stock of ICT developments in the past decade, and aims to develop a vision for the next decade of ICT governance. An emphasis has emerged on “the role and impact of digital policies as cross-cutting various fields” such as agriculture, healthcare, and education. Remote participation for the WSIS +10 event can be accessed here, and the main WSIS +10 website is here.
Lafrance, Adrienne. The Promise of a New Internet. The Atlantic. June 10, 2014.
- Lafrance points out that the Internet is discussed in similar ways to how democracy is discussed – that is, how it should be rather than how it is. Lafrance then points out that there are technological (rather than regulatory) means to “save the open, innovation-friendly Internet” and takes mesh-networking as an example. Mesh-networking essentially distributes Internet routing and switching functions to user devices so that users do not have to rely on centralized service providers for Internet access, thereby bypassing the Internet checkpoints that exist in the centralized Internet service-provision design. Lafrance suggests that mesh-networking is a development in Internet technology that will become more ubiquitous especially as Internet users become more wary of privacy and surveillance issues.
Papers and Reports
Godemont, François. China’s Expanding Cyberspace. European Council on Foreign Relations. June 11, 2014.
- This ECFR report explores China’s digital development trends, technology-enabled economic growth, and the growth of Chinese online businesses. In particular, the report looks at China’s Internet industry and its major players; the development of cybersecurity frameworks; online finance; content control and “information management” online; and how the Internet is used to expose corruption in China.
Internet Society Global Internet Report 2014: Open and Sustainable Access for All. Internet Society. June, 2014.
- The Internet Society (ISOC)’s Global Internet Report integrates analysis, measurement, and reporting of Internet governance discussions at all levels. The report looks at trends and growth in the Internet in the last 10 years; describes the “open and sustainable Internet” and its benefits and challenges; and makes recommendations for how to develop and promote Internet access for the open and sustainable Internet.
Micek, Peter. Vodafone Reports on Law Enforcement Access to User Data, Worldwide. Access Blog. June 6, 2014.
- Vodafone has released a detailed transparency report “identifying the surveillance laws and policies that apply in the 29 countries in which it operates as well as statistics on the number of requests is receives”. The report reveals that in some of the countries in which Vodafone operates, governments have the ability to “tap directly into networks to intercept communications”. The report also shows that sometimes Vodafone employees are faced with national policies that conflict with Vodafone’s Code of Conduct. The report can be found here.
O’Toole, Thomas. Looking Back at ICANN: Fielding Tough Questions from Day One (June 10, 2014) and Looking Back at ICANN: First Taste of Incumbent Intransigence, Congressional Oversight (June 11, 2014). Bloomberg BNA.
- In these first two of a series of articles in honor of ICANN’s 50th public meeting to be held in London on June 22 – 26, O’Toole looks at ICANN’s history and the history of Bloomberg BNA’s coverage of ICANN over the past 16 years. The first article looks primarily at early challenges to ICANN’s legitimacy, while the second looks primarily at ICANN’s early relationship with the U.S. government and the early institutional arrangements of the Internet.
Civil Society at ICANN: Everything You Need to Know About the ICANN Meeting in London. ICANN.org. June 17, 2014.
- ICANN will host a webinar prior to the ICANN 50 meeting in London. Topics to be covered include: the multistakeholder model of Internet governance; noncommercial and non-profit entities at ICANN and their roles and responsibilities; ICANN’s Public Responsibility and engagement activities; and opportunities to follow, participate, and join civil society stakeholders at ICANN. Registration is available here.
ICANN 50 – London, England. ICANN.org. June 22 – 26, 2014.
- ICANN’s 50th Public Meeting takes place from June 22nd to June 26th in London. ICANN meetings are free and open to the public. The daily schedule for the five days can be found here; remote participation opportunities can be found by clicking into the session titles.