The GovLab SCAN – Issue 10

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our tenth edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at [email protected].

This week’s highlights:

  • Internet governance and digital rights organizations are preparing agendas and statements to be made at a series of upcoming high-level Internet governance meetings, including the Brazil Meeting and the next meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
  • Today, President Obama has announced reforms to strengthen oversight of U.S. intelligence activities. An NSA review panel report, submitted in December 2013, recommended that third parties (such as telecommunications companies) keep user records instead of the NSA, and that they not be released absent request. It also focused on “maintaining the ability of the intelligence-community to do what it needs to do.” In his announcement, the President confirmed that maintaining intelligence capabilities has and will continue to be a top-priority for U.S. security strategy.
  • A U.S. federal appeals court struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order regarding “net neutrality,” which stated that Internet Service Providers must treat all traffic (content) equally this week. The court ruled the FCC could not enforce “net neutrality” without classifying broadband providers as a utility (“common carriers”).
  • The digital world continues to become more sophisticated and easier to access, with advances in machine learning and voice command technologies. As the Internet connects people, however, it also presents new policy problems, such as those related to online harassment and digital rights more generally.


Batambuze III, Ephraim. “ICANN Issues Advice to IT Professionals on Name Collision Identification and Mitigation.” PC Tech Magazine. January 15, 2014.

  • ICANN has issued a report titled “Name Collision Identification and Mitigation for IT Professionals,” which “explains the nature and causes of name collision and proposes a range of possible solutions.” The report recommends that all organizations’ private networks should migrate to using Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs), which are reliably resolved through the public DNS, and should formulate plans to mitigate causes of name query leakage.

ICANN Reappoints IID’s Merike Kaeo to its Security and Stability Advisory Committee.” EIN Newsdesk. January 15, 2014.

  • ICANN has reappointed Merike Kaeo to its Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), which advises ICANN on issues related to the security and integrity of the Internet’s unique identifier systems. Kaeo comes from IID, a company that works on Internet security through collaborating and sharing threat intelligence. At ICANN Kaeo will continue to push for large-scale threat intelligence sharing.

Internet Governance

Atkinson, Robert. “Tech Policy Is Not A Religion.” InformationWeek. January 14, 2014.

  • Current debates around Internet governance often split the “digital libertarians” (those who a favor bottom-up, free-market approach) from the “digital technocrats” (those who favor top-down government interventions). Atkinson argues that in the face of the complexity of Internet governance, Internet policy must be based on pragmatism, not religion. Government should have a role in Internet governance, but not the only role.

Bombay, Daniel. “Turkey Moves to Clamp Down on Internet.” Financial Times. January 13, 2014.

  • Turkey’s ruling AK party has put forth a proposal that would give its transport and communications minister the power to compel ISPs to retain Internet user information and also to restrict access to sites that circumvent government censorship. Critics allege this is part of Prime Minister Erdogan’s strategy to “curb the free flow of information” in Turkey in response to a recent corruption scandal.

Deutscher, Maria. Uncertain Road Ahead for Internet Governance. Silicon Angle. January 12, 2014.

  • The road to globally coordinated governance of the Internet will take many years and will encounter many obstacles. Speakers at MIT’s Explorations in Cyber International Relations Workshop argue that while the creation of a set of overarching rules for the Internet will entail unprecedented legal challenges, the “transition is necessary for the continued advancement of information technology.”

Holland, Bryon. “Keeping the Internet Free For All.” National Post. January 13, 2014.

  • The Internet has been the “greatest driver of positive social and economic change the world has seen in centuries.” In its short and predominantly U.S.-based history, the Internet owes much of its free and open nature to a very light U.S. regulatory approach. Holland argues that this all changed with revelations of massive surveillance by the NSA in 2013, which broke global trust in the U.S. as steward of the free and open Internet and led to diplomatic fallout worldwide.

Ingram, Mathew. “What you need to know about the court decision that just struck down net neutrality.” GigaOM. January 14, 2014.

  • The Federal Communications Commission’s “net neutrality” rules were struck down this week by a U.S. federal appeals court, which ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all Internet traffic equally. Net neutrality describes a principle by which the network does not read (i.e. “is neutral about”) the content that travels along its path. The decision means ISPs could charge some companies extra for delivering their content to subscribers, while giving preferential treatment to other companies. The decision especially impacts end-users, creates new opportunities for the FCC to increase its regulatory powers over the Internet, and alters the open nature of the Internet.

Landler, Mark, and Peter Baker. “Obama Calls for Overhaul of N.S.A.’s Phone Data Collection Program.” The New York Times. January 17, 2014.

  • In a much-anticipated speech regarding the surveillance and data-collection activities of U.S. intelligence agencies (such as the NSA), President Obama announced that “he would end the vast collection of phone data as it exists today.” The President will also “require intelligence agencies to obtain permission from a secret court before tapping into a vast storehouse of telephone data,” and will “sharply restrict eavesdropping on the leaders of dozens of foreign allies.”

Passenheim, Antje. “US Congress divided on NSA reform proposals.” Deutsche Welle. January 15, 2014.

  • A U.S. Senate intelligence review panel has reviewed the practices of the NSA and has made several recommendations. The recommendations focus on “maintaining the ability of the intelligence-community to do what it needs to do,” and the authors emphasize that there is no recommendation to end the program. Most substantially, the review panel recommends a change in approach to metadata collection, where a third-party, such as a telecoms company, would store the data (rather than the government itself) and make it available to the government on request.

Rosenzweig, Paul. “The Continuing Struggle for Control of Cyberspace –And the Deteriorization of Western Influence.” Lawfare Blog. January 13, 2014.

  • In this article, Rosenzweig explores the question, “who will run cyberspace?” He provides a brief history of current Internet governance arrangements and describes current tensions between multistakeholder and multilateral governance regimes. In particular, he reviews the recent history of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) actions. Rosenzweig concludes that the way forward for the U.S. is to establish global cooperative mechanisms of Internet governance based in multistakeholder structures coupled with multi- and bilateral agreements.

Singer, Peter W., and Emanuel Pastreich. “The State, the Internet and Cybersecurity.” Brookings. January 13, 2014.

  • Peter Singer, author of Cyber Security and Cyber War: What Everyone Needs to Know discusses cyber security (in the civilian sphere) and cyber war (in the military sphere) and how these threats are best conceptualized by governments. He argues that states “simply cannot afford not to care” about cyberspace and that “there is no truly stateless aspect to cyberspace.” He poses that “cybersecurity’s greatest challenges are threat identification and attribution.”

Wittes, Benjamin. “Assessing the Review Group Recommendations: Final Thoughts.” Lawfare Blog. January 13, 2014.

  • This is the final post in a series evaluating the report of President Obama’s “Review Group” on the NSA. Wittes argues that while the report is bold and “offers the President cover for dramatic change to the extent he wants to pursue it,” it is also too grandiose and errs “on the side of underdeveloped inclusion” of ideas. These new recommendations will be layered on already existing bureaucracy and oversight structures, and Witte believes the recommendations will not simplify but will “greatly complicate” President Obama’s current dilemma.

Internet Innovations

Now, Internet for Robots!Deccan Chronicle. January 15, 2014.

  • Research scientists have developed a “world wide web for robots” called RoboEarth. The aim is that both humans and robots will be able to upload data in machine-readable formats to a cloud-based database, so that robots can learn from the experience of other robots. This work should advance machine cognition and allow for “more subtle and sophisticated human-machine interaction.”

Walker, Daniela. Voice Service Provides Internet Access to the Digitally-Illiterate. PSFK. January 14, 2014.

  • Verbal is a new service by Flock  – a digital agency based in Mexico City — that connects people to the Internet via regular phone service. In particular, this service aims to “bridge the digital divide” by addressing the fact that mobile penetration is much higher worldwide than broadband penetration. By using cloud computing and voice recognition, Verbal allows users to use voice commands to find content and services online.

Papers & Books

An Internet for the Common Good: Engagement, Empowerment and Justice for All.” The Journal of Community Informatics. December 21, 2013.

  • This document is a declaration on Internet governance prepared by a group of Community Informatics activists to be used at the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance in Brazil in April 2014. Broadly, the document declares that the Internet should be a common good, whose benefits should be distributed equally, whose architecture is completely neutral, where ownership and control should be dictated by the using communities.

DeNardis, Laura. The Global War for Internet Governance. Yale University Press. January 14, 2014.

  • DeNardis’s new book “reveals the inner power structure already in place within the architectures and institutions of Internet governance. It provides a theoretical framework for Internet governance that takes into account the privatization of global power as well as the role of sovereign nations and international treaties. In addition, DeNardis explores what is at stake in open global controversies and stresses the responsibility of the public to actively engage in these debates, because Internet governance will ultimately determine Internet freedom.”

Mueller, Milton. “The Brazil Meeting X-Rayed. Internet Governance Project.” January 14, 2014.

  • A new paper (“Finding a Formula for Brazil: representation and Legitimacy in Internet Governance“) by Milton Mueller and Ben Wagner published through the Internet Policy Observatory examines the upcoming Brazil Meeting, especially in terms of how different actors will be represented at the summit and their potential “impact on the legitimacy of the outcome.” The paper notes that the Brazil Meeting will take up issues unresolved during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2003-2005, and argues that the WSIS and the Internet Governance Forum failed to establish a lasting international regime for Internet governance.

Schermer, B.W. and A.R. Lodder. “Internet Governance.” Handbook on ICT Law. January 12, 2014. 

  • Internet governance is an example of global governance – it is an issue that cannot be solved within the context of one nation. The authors argue that as much as the Internet introduces new global issues like cybercrime, it also stimulates the processes of globalization. This paper discusses the technical workings of the Internet and the evolution and importance of the Internet governance debate; various models of internet governance; complicating factors that make any model of regulation more difficult, such as lack of physical borders, the concept of anonymity online, and the technical and organizational complexity of the Internet governance ecosystem; and discusses ICANN’s role in this space and the “multistakeholder model” of Internet governance, which they define as one functioning “on the basis of agreements between public, private and social parties.”

Upcoming Events

Internet Governance 2020 – Geopolitics and the Future of the Internet. Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington, DC. January 23, 2014 (9am – 11am).

  • The Washington DC Chapter of the Internet Society and the Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a panel discussion on “geopolitics and the future of the Internet.” The keynote speaker will be Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy. Follow @CSIS for live updates. This event will stream live on as well as

State of the Net 2014. The Newseum, Washington, DC. January 28, 2014.

  • This is the United States’ largest Internet policy conference. Topics include the multistakeholder model, digital currencies, technology-enhanced education and cybersecurity.

TheDayWeFightBack.Org. Online. February 11, 2014.

  • This event commemorates the one-year anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s death, as well as the two-year anniversary of the defeat of SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation in the United States. The initiative encourages websites to embed campaign banners urging Americans to call/email Congress, and to ask legislators to oppose the FISA Improvements Act and support the USA Freedom Act.

Beyond the Dot 2014. The Knight Conference Center, Washington, DC. February 19, 2014.

  • This conference, hosted by FairWinds Partners, will examine how “new top-level Internet domains will change the way users navigate, search, brand themselves, target others, protect trademarks, and remain safe online.”


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