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 53, December 4, 2014 can be found here.
This week’s highlights:
- The ICANN Cross Community Working Group (CWG) on Naming Functions has published its draft proposal for the IANA Stewardship Transition. Public comment is open from December 1 – 22, 2014.
- The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has released the Measuring the Information Society Report, which “features key ICT data and benchmarking tools to measure the information society.”
Cross Community Working Group (CWG) on Naming Related Functions Draft Transition Proposal.ICANN.org. December 1, 2014.
- The draft proposal by the Cross Community Working Group (CWG) on Naming Functions has been published for public comment (comment period: December 1 – 22, 2014). The CWG invites public comment on “any elements of the current proposal in order to aid it in finalizing the key aspects of its transition proposal.” According to the CWG, “at a high level, the transition proposal seeks to create four structures to replace the oversight role played by the NTIA in the execution of the IANA Naming Functions. Certain key aspects of the NTIA’s current role, such as its role in approving changes to the Root Zone and its role as a backstop, are still under consideration by this CWG and may result in additions to this proposal.”
Rabkin, Ariel. ICANN and Iran’s top-level domain: Court decides case, but law remains muddled. Tech Policy Daily. November 25, 2014.
- This article discusses the lawsuit Ben Haim vs Islamic Republic of Iran, in which American victims of terrorism won a monetary judgement against Iran due to its support of terrorism. Plaintiffs have since tried to seize Iran’s top level domain name, “.ir”, and ICANN has provided several arguments as to why this domain cannot be reassigned. Judge Lamberth, the trial judge, has sided with ICANN, classifying domain name registration as a service, which is not garnishable property under District of Columbia law. Rabkin argues that classifying registration as service is problematic, and raises several questions including “if domain registration is a service, does US law limit who this service may be supplied to?” and “can regulatory action by the US government suspend such a service?”
Buckley, Sean. NSA Privacy Director says fears of government spying are unwarranted. Engadget.November 24, 2014.
- During the National Security Agency’s Open Q&A held on November 24, the question “Are our fears of being discreetly spied on merited?” was raised. Kathleen Richards, the NSA’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Director, stressed that the NSA is a foreign intelligence agency and to that end, its mission is “to collect critical intelligence on foreign powers or their agents necessary to defend the country.” Richards did admit that intelligence collection on US citizens is unavoidable in certain situations. However, she stressed a process of rebuilding trust through greater transparency and raising public awareness about the nature of the NSA’s work. According to Richards, “The fact that the NSA created my job highlights the value and importance NSA leadership places on privacy and civil liberties protections.”
Calando, Enrico. Findings of a survey on multistakeholder participation in Internet governance from an African perspective. Center for Global Communication Studies. November 26, 2014.
- This article discusses findings from a recent survey on the perception of African stakeholders in Internet governance, funded by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Among the survey’s many findings was that 65% of the 41 stakeholders surveyed said that access was the most pressing Internet governance issue in Africa. In terms of participation, 87% declared lack of finances as the reason for not participating in Internet governance fora. The survey also asked respondents to recommend ways to improve Internet governance and multistakeholder efforts: recommendations including capacity building and a commitment to human rights principles. See the presentation on the results of the survey here.
Chee, Foo Yun, and Blenkinsop, Philip. EU lawmakers urge regulators to break up Google. Reuters. November 27, 2014.
- Last week lawmakers in the European Parliament “overwhelmingly backed a motion” urging anti-trust regulators to “unbundle search engines from other commercial services”, which most see as directly targeting Google, “by far the dominant provider of such services in Europe with an estimated 90 percent market share.” France and Germany last week France also called “for a review of the EU’s competition rules to ensure global Internet companies could successfully be targeted” urging that “the tax optimisation strategies used by companies to lower their corporate tax rates ‘are no longer possible’.”
Council conclusions on Internet Governance. Council of the European Union. November 27, 2014.
- The Council of the European Union in this statement from the General Secretariat of the Council to the Council delegations presents “conclusions on Internet Governance as adopted by the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council on 27 November 2014”, including support for strengthening the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and for the NETmundial Principles; an observation that “new regional and national governance structures might lead to a fragmentation of the Internet and a following loss of confidence that could slow down innovation and the growth of the European economy”; a reaffirmation of a “commitment to promote multistakeholder governance structures” as well as ‘the necessity for timely and well prepared transferring of the stewardship of the IANA function to the multistakeholder community”; and a call for coordinating “EU and Member States’ positions by working closely together in relevant fora and organisations dealing with Internet governance issues and reflecting these positions in coherent and consistent messages while preserving their individual rights and prerogatives.”
Global Commission on Internet Governance concludes Ottawa summit with statement on IANA transition.Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). November 26, 2014.
- The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) (a two year initiative launched in January 2014 by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Chatham House) met in Ottawa last month. The GCIG is intended to “produce a comprehensive stand on the future of multi-stakeholder Internet governance.” The GCIG has issued a statement in support of the transition of the stewardship role for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions from the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to the global multistakeholder community.
Hern, Alex. EU divided on issue of net neutrality. The Guardian. November 27, 2014.
- This article highlights divergent positions on net neutrality within the European Union. A recently leaked document from Italy suggested that the Italian government is amenable to creating a system of Internet traffic management that would violate the traditional notions of “net neutrality”. European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip expressed his deep concern about this proposal, stating that “all the traffic has to be treated equally. The internet has to stay open for everybody.” The article goes on to discuss recent Internet censorship in Britain, where the government required six Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to torrent sites.
Layton, Roslyn. The broadband grass is not greener in France. Tech Policy Daily. November 24, 2014.
- Layton tackles the claims that European broadband is better that in the United States, stating “consumers in the U.S. may pay more in certain cases, but they also get more for their money.” While parts of Europe do offer lower prices than the U.S., consumers in Europe often may additional fees on top of the retail price, in the form of media licensing fees. Moreover, the low retail price is reflective of older and slower technology, DSL, being used in three-fourths of Europe. According to Layton, there is irony in Obama calling for broadband regulation as a utility given the fact that “many Europeans are being shortchanged because misguided utility style regulation has deterred the incentives for private actors to invest in networks.”
Micek, Peter and Pallero, Javier. New UN resolution shifts momentum on privacy to Human Rights Council.Access Blog. November 16, 2014.
- This blog post discusses the recent UN resolution to create a permanent office on the right to privacy. In order to establish this office, the Human Rights Council must create a new “special rapporteur” on the right to privacy in March of next year. The writers support this effort, but argue that the resolution does not go far enough in protecting users abroad, adding that the legal definitions to used to define privacy in this resolution are outdated. Overall, Access supports this resolution, stating that it “represents a step in the right direction for the protection of privacy in the digital world, despite the shortcomings we mentioned.”
Mueller, Milton. Laws, Sausages and the IANA Transition (Part 1). Internet Governance Project. November 24, 2014.
- Mueller discusses the significant steps taken forward by the Cross Community Working Group to Develop an IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal on Naming Related Functions in producing a draft transition plan. Mueller points out that, among the newly proposed structures, the Periodic Review Team is “the linchpin of this plan, because it would assess the IANA’s performance and recommend to the Contracting Entity any changes in the contract or changes in who the [IANA] contract was awarded to”.
Mueller, Milton. Laws, Sausages and the IANA Transition (Part 2): The Kelly Bill. Internet Governance Project. November 28, 2014.
- A bill introduced in the U.S. Congress by Mike Kelly titled the “Defending Internet Freedom Act of 2014”is “the latest entry in the IANA transition/ICANN reform process” that would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to “certify to the appropriate Congressional committees that certain reforms have been made in ICANN.” Mueller discusses the proposed reforms, pointing out that “the bill comes across as an attempt to pre-empt both the IANA transition process and the ICANN enhanced accountability process”, and that “in the global arena in which ICANN has to operate with legitimacy, many actors will find it unacceptable to have the U.S. congress dictating the terms of the transition.” Mueller concludes that “the bill should also serve as a notice to the community of the kind of questions or concerns that NTIA is likely to face when it brings a completed IANA transition proposal to hearings next autumn.”
Musiani, Francesca. Alternative internet(s): Governance by internet infrastructure. London School of Economics Media Policy Project Blog. November 28, 2014.
- Musiani looks at the “implications of governance by control of internet infrastructure”, pointing out that “in an era in which nation-bound laws regarding content no longer neatly comport with the globally dispersed and decentralized architecture of the global Internet, there is increasing recognition that points of infrastructural control can serve as proxies to regain (or gain) control or manipulate the flow of money, information, and the marketplace of ideas in the digital sphere.” Musiani argues that “much of the Internet governance ecosystem – both technical architecture and coordinating institutions and companies – is behind the scenes but increasingly carries significant public interest implications.”
Perlrothl, Nicole. Symantec Discovers ‘Regin’ Spy Code Lurking on Computer Networks. The New York Times Bits Blog. November 24, 2014.
- The antivirus company Symantec released a white paper highlighting a decade-long joint operation by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and its UK counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to spy on researchers, governments, businesses and critical telecommunications infrastructure in 10 countries (primarily Saudi Arabia and Russia as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Mexico, Ireland, Belgium and Austria). According to the white paper, this operation was conducted through a highly customizable malware called Regin. Symantec researchers found evidence that this malware was first used in 2008 until it was “abruptly withdrawn” in 2011. The malware was used again last year “in what researchers believe was an attempt to gain access to telephone calls routed through their call centers.” NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines declined to comment and the agency is calling the claims speculation.
Price, Monroe. The WIC and China’s Strategic Architecture for the Internet. Center for Global Communication Studies. November 24, 2014.
- In this article, Monroe Price, the Director of the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, shares his thoughts on the World Internet Conference (WIC) recently held in China. He states that the conference “will have great significance—not necessarily in changing internet policies (immediately)—but as a sign of things to come.” Countries often have different “strategic architectures,” and the WIC is part of China’s effort to create a new strategic architecture as it further defines its role in global decision-making.
Verhulst, Stefaan. A map for distributed Internet Governance: Findings from interviews with potential users and global experts. The GovLab. December 2, 2014.
- In order to understand the current state of information regarding Internet governance and to better understand the steps required to develop the proposed NETmundial Solutions Map, the GovLab has conducted a series of interviews with experts and potential key users of such a map, all working on Internet governance around the world. Key findings from the interviews are listed in this post and the findings will inform the development of the Solutions Map. More input for the development the NETmundial Solutions Map can be contributed by completing the map survey.
Papers and Reports
Dias, Kevin. Internet access considered human right; multi-stakeholder governance of online world favoured: CIGI-Ipsos global survey. Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). November 24, 2014.
- The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) has released the “CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust.” The survey “of Internet users in 24 countries has found that 83% believe affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right.” Areas of top concern for Internet users include “criminal hacking into personal bank accounts (78%) rank[ing] highest followed by stolen personal information, such as private messages and photos, through hacking (77%), and further followed by private companies monitoring the activities of Internet users and then selling that information for commercial purposes without explicit consent (74%).” Further, “when given a choice of various governance sources to effectively run the world-wide Internet, a majority (57%) chose the multi-stakeholder option.”
Finding Common Ground: Challenges and Opportunities in Internet Governance and Internet-related Policy. Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). November 21, 2014.
- CIGI has published a briefing book “on challenges and opportunities in Internet policy, developed to inform the work of the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG).” See the news release here. The briefing book “contextualize[s] the current debate on challenges within [Internet governance], including: managing systemic risk — norms of state conduct, cybercrime and surveillance, and infrastructure protection and risk management; preservation innovation — Internet access, interconnection and economic development, and critical Internet resources; ensuring rights online — technological neutrality for human rights; privacy, the right to be forgotten and the right to Internet access; and freedom of expression and of assembly online; and the current Internet governance ecosystem — the governance role of private and public sector actors; the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; and individuals as actors.”
Floridi, Luciano, ed. Towards an Online Bill of Rights. In The Onlife Manifesto. November 16, 2014.
- According to the abstract, “online citizens need a digital ‘Bill of Rights’ that will protect their interests from being overwhelmed by commercial and state forces. Moving on from an outdated notion of cyber-utopia, citizens need to assert six key rights: the right to privacy, the right to own your own data, the right to a personal life, the right to avoid being forced offline for safety, the ability to switch off when needed as well as public spaces for civic debate online. Although different manifestoes and declarations about digital rights have asserted many of these principles, the internet still lacks effective governance or even norms to protect individuals. As a result, the social potential and positive affordances of the internet may be lost without government intervention to assert fundamental rights for online citizens. The key to unlocking the potential of self-aware, online governance lays in greater effort by state Leviathans such as the European Commission. It is time to stop talking about cyber-utopias and start creating cyber-preserves before the potential benefit of the internet to a democratic society is lost.”
The mapping of international Internet public policy issues. Intersessional Panel of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). November 26 – 28, 2014.
- This report “presents the main findings of a review of international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet (referred to in this document as Internet policy issues)”. It “builds on earlier work initiated by the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC)” and “further continues the work towards creating a more comprehensive set of information on international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet, the mechanisms dealing with these issues, and potential gaps in those mechanisms.” An accompanying database contains this set of information. The report “draws from the findings of the database, reviewing each of the international public policy issues in the same order as they are presented in the database.”
Measuring the Information Society Report 2014. International Telecommunications Union (ITU). November 24, 2014.
- The Measuring the Information Society Report “features key ICT data and benchmarking tools to measure the information society, including the ICT Development Index (IDI). The IDI captures the level of ICT developments in 166 economies worldwide and compares progress made during the last year. The Measuring the Information Society Report 2014 highlights the relationship between ICT development (as measured by the IDI) and the MDGs, a contribution to the ongoing discussions on the potential of ICTs as development enablers. The report includes the results of the ICT Price Basket (IPB) and new mobile-broadband price data for over 140 economies. Price data are analysed to provide insights into the relationship between affordability and income inequality, competition and regulation. The report also looks at new ICT data sources for measurement and examines the possible role of ICT big data for monitoring and development.” See the accompanying press release here.
PoKempner, Dinah. Why Should We Worry About the Militarization of Cyberspace?. Ethics and Armed Forces – Issue 2014/2. December 2014.
- PoKempner discusses the complicated relationship between national security and human rights and how this has played out in the cyberworld. Although there are clear legal definitions related to other areas of national security, PoKempner argues that “there is a lot to be done in elaborating [international laws] and making them applicable to to cyber events.” As an example, PoKempner highlights some events carried out by the digital activist community Anonymous, a group that is frequently charged with carrying out “cyberattacks” or “terrorism”, even though many of their actions equate to protests, defacement of property, or civil disobedience. To move away from the militarization of cybserspace, PoKempner argues that there must be an international effort to segregate critical civilian infrastructure from military involvement. PoKempner concludes that in order to move towards this goal, there must be multistakeholder engagement in international cybersecurity debates, bringing together the military and human rights advocates to discuss how to keep cyberspace within the realm of democratic society.
Savage, John E., and McConnell, Bruce W. Exploring Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance. EastWest Institute Cyber Summit 2014. November 20, 2014.
- The authors in this report “introduce multi-stakeholder Internet governance, examine its strengths and weaknesses, and propose steps to improve it”, as well as “provide background on multi-stakeholder governance as it has been practiced in other fields for decades.” The authors make three recommendations: first, “simplifying Internet governance (IG) by partitioning it into issues that can be addressed by existing international agencies and those that cannot”, second, “for bodies handling technical or technically related issues, such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), [the authors] recommend adding a multi-stakeholder oversight layer that can accept or reject opinions from these bodies but not alter them”, and third, “existing international agencies handling the other issues should be altered to receive Internet community input through multi-stakeholder consultative processes.”
Shull, Aaron, Paul Twomey, and Christopher S. Yoo. Legal Mechanisms for Governing the Transition of Key Domain Name Functions to the Global Multi-stakeholder Community. Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). November 26, 2014.
- This paper is the third in a series for the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG). It “examines the existing contractual obligations that make up many of the core tenets of contemporary multi-stakeholder Internet governance. The authors maintain that these core principles should be preserved during the changeover by, first, transitioning the existing contractual accountabilities held by the US government through the law of contract to the existing customers of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority services, creating direct accountability for the performance of those functions between the organization performing those services and the organizations using them. And second, in order to increase support within the broader community, modest revisions could be made to ICANN’s independent review process to expand the grounds of review, allowing the review tribunal to hear additional cases on a broader range of complaints, with expanded powers of administrative review of decision-making processes.”
Smith, Aaron. What Internet Users Know about Technology and the Web. Pew Research Internet Project. November 25, 2014.
- The Pew Research Center has released a quiz including “17 questions on a range of issues related to technology, including: the meaning and usage of common online terms; recognition of famous tech figures; the history of some major technological advances; and the underlying structure of the internet and other technologies.” Among other things, the survey report finds that “23% [of respondents] are aware that “the Internet” and “the World Wide Web” do not, in fact, refer to the same thing.”
(The below includes both past and upcoming events. See The GovLab’s Master Events Calendar for more Internet Governance events)
Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) 2014-2015 Inter-sessional Panel. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). November 26 – 28, 2014.
- This panel addressed two priority themes: “Strategic foresight for the post-2015 development agenda” and “Digital development.” The panel also discussed the CSTD’s ten-year review of the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes. The meeting also saw the presentation of two resources, “The mapping of international Internet public policy issues: Database” (a database listing public policy issues related to the Internet as well as perceived gaps in addressing these issues) and “The mapping of international Internet public policy issues” (the accompanying report).
Global Cyberspace Cooperation Summit V. EastWest Institute and the German Foreign Office. December 3 – 5, 2014.
- The EastWest Institute and the German Foreign Office are co-hosting the 2014 Global Cyberspace Cooperation Summit in Berlin, Germany. From the event page: “economic growth and international security are increasingly endangered by national policies governing the secure flow of information and data handling. To identify ways to mitigate the negative consequences of growing Internet fragmentation, the EastWest Institute’s Global Cooperation in Cyberspace Initiative is convening policymakers, business leaders, technical experts and civil society.”