The GovLab SCAN – Issue 11

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our eleventh edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at icannmsipanel@thegovlab.org.

This week’s highlights:

  • Global leaders are meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s theme is “The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business” and Internet governance is a high priority item on the agenda.
  • Boston Consulting Group has released a report (commissioned by ICANN) on the sources of “e-friction” that impede economic growth through the Internet: infrastructure friction; industry friction; individual friction; and information friction.
  • Disputes related to ICANN’s new gTLD program continue to test the credibility of ICANN and the multistakeholder model. Controversies around .islam and .halal have grown, and DotConnectAfrica, an applicant for.africa, has initiated an independent review process of its application.
  • An expert panel – the Global Commission on Internet Governance – has been inaugurated by Canada’s Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the UK’s Chatham House. It will be chaired by Carl Bildt, Sweden’s minister of foreign affairs, and will look at issues including regulatory approaches; Internet resources and infrastructure; digital rights, privacy, and cybersecurity; and norms of state conduct and cybercrime cooperation. GovLab’s Professor Beth Noveck will also serve as a commissioner.

ICANN

Atallah, Akram. “100 New gTLDs in the Internet, Thousands of New Ideas.” ICANN Blog. January 21, 2014.

  • January 18, 2014 marked the introduction of the 107th gTLD, significantly expanding consumer choice in domain name registration. Atallah points out that the new gTLD program will help communities worldwide find digital identities based on common interests or geography, and that the namespace expansion to include non-Latin scripts will allow “individuals across the world to experience the Internet entirely in their native languages.”

Bender, Adam. Updated: Monash gets first branded top-level domain.” Computer World. January 20, 2014.

  • .monash is the world’s first brand name top-level domain (TLD) to be delegated by ICANN to a “globally recognized organization” – Monash University in Australia.

Karnas, Stephen. “Google’s New Domain Extension – .みんな – Something for Everybody!Akihabara News. January 17, 2014.

  • Google has signed its first Registry Agreement with ICANN covering the .みんな (.minna) new gTLD, which means “everybody” in Japanese.

Ouma, Michel. “Africa: DCA Trust Takes ‘.africa’ Case With ICANN to Independent Review Process Panel.” AllAfrica. January 22, 2014.

  • DotConnectAfrica (DCA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) have both applied to ICANN for the .africa. However, DCA’s application failed to pass through the Initial Evaluation period and the AUC has support of many national African governments who have stated through ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee that the AUC should manage the .africa domain. DCA is now seeking an independent review of its application.

Taliyan, Siddarth. “6 Domain Name Industry Developments to Lookout for in 2014.” CircleID. January 21, 2014.

  • The new gTLD program is a catalyst for Internet innovation, argues Taliyan. Some developments that can be expected include the “de-commoditization of domain names driven by the differentiation and unique identity value that New gTLDs promise to offer” and new situations in which registries compete with registrars as registries begin to market themselves directly to end-customers as “one-stop-shops” for specific TLDs.

Van Gelder, Stèphane. Islamic TLDs and the Challenge of Good Governance.” CircleID. January 20, 2014.

  • According to Mehdi Abbasnia, managing director of the Asian Green IT System (AGIT), how ICANN handles objections over AGIT’s applications for the .islam and .halal TLDs will significantly affect the “credibility of ICANN as a multi-stakeholder organization.” ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) never issued formal advice against the two TLDs, and now that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has made a formal resolution to file an objection against these applications months after the close of the objection period, Van Gelder suggests that “one real-life situation may end up looking strangely like a vindication of the multi-stakeholder model by governmental organisations.”

Internet Governance

Blumenstein, Rebecca. “Schmidt Says Encryption Will Help Google Penetrate China.” The Wall Street Journal. January 23, 2014.

  • Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has said that Google is working to strengthen its encryption technologies. This is particularly significant where Google technologies are used in countries with strict censorship rules as improved encryption makes it more difficult for governments to penetrate communications.

Brazil to closely assess US vow to limit NSA spying.” Business Standard. January 20, 2014.

  • In response to President Obama’s recent speech regarding American intelligence gathering activities and in particular the National Security Agency, the Brazilian government has announced that it “ will monitor with extreme attention the practical ramifications” of Obama’s speech, and in particular will monitor whether the NSA has halted spying on friendly foreign leaders.

Budde, Paul. “The Seriously Flawed American Telecoms Market.” CircleID. January 23, 2014.

  • Budde argues that the United States has a “totally flawed telecoms policy” and that this is especially evident following the recent court rulings on the FCC’s “Open Internet Order,” which sought to mandate that Internet Service Providers respect “net neutrality.” Specifically, Budde points out that the United States is one of the only developed countries not to distinguish between Internet access and Internet content, and that telecoms companies are “not required to provide broadband wholesale services (because broadband is seen as an internet content service).”

Casaretto, John. “Ten security predictions for 2014 from NeoHapsis.” Silicon Angle. January 20, 2014.

  • NeoHapsis – a security and risk management consulting company that specializes in mobile and cloud security services – has made ten cybersecurity predictions for 2014. Most notably, cyber warfare will become increasingly visible; privacy legislation will continue to struggle through U.S. courts; Internet governance debates will continue; encryption technologies will be increasingly scrutinized; and legacy systems will become more vulnerable as connectivity increases.

Chehadé, Fadi. “Talking About Internet Governance at Davos.” ICANN Blog. January 22, 2014.

  • The President and CEO of ICANN emphasizes the importance of keeping the Internet stable and secure as an engine of economic growth. The recent BCG report (also included in this SCAN) suggests that “the impact of the Internet on global economic growth is on the rise” and that digital investment and growth are impeded by Internet access issues. Therefore, Chehadé argues, “the stakes have never been higher for coordinated action to ensure the Internet remains a strong, stable foundation for job creation and growth.”

Davos’ World Economic Forum gathering to focus on global governance.” Albawaba. January 22, 2014.

  • At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos this week, global governance is a major theme of discussion, calling for global leaders and institutions to work together to “chart how to manage the next few decades of global development.” Internet governance is part and parcel of global governance, and itself involves issues of privacy and openness. In particular, as the Internet is a trusted “medium of communication of commerce,” many wish to stress how important it is that the Internet remain a stable foundation for economic growth as more in the developing world migrate to online.

Gross, David A. “Achieving Consensus: 2014 May Be A Pivotal Year In International Telecommunications.” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. January 18, 2014.

  • In an interview regarding his views toward current developments in Internet governance, David A. Gross, former U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, suggests that “we need to work on both understanding the challenges and the opportunities more fully and finding some flexibility.” Coordination has to involve “the relevant groups globally, regionally, nationally and bilaterally” in a time when Internet governance is gaining increasing awareness.

Jones, Sam, and Gapper, John. “Expert panel to investigate internet governance.” Financial Times. January 22, 2014.

  • The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) officially launched this week. Chaired by Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, the commission will include about 25 members drawn from various fields and from around the world. Supported by the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Chatham House, the GCIC is a two-year initiative that will present a comprehensive stand on the future of multistakeholder Internet governance. The Commission’s official website is www.ourinternet.org.

Sepulveda, Daniel A. “Internet Governance 2020 – Geopolitics and the Future of the Internet.” United States Department of State. January 23, 2014.

  • In this U.S. Department of State press release, Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, discusses current developments in the Internet governance ecosystem and the fundamental characteristics of the current system that make innovation and economic growth possible. In particular, he stresses that “an open Internet” and “free-market competition in telecommunications networks” are foundational to people’s capacity to innovate.

Papers & Reports

Patrick, Stewart. “The Unruled World: The Case for Good Enough Global Governance.” Foreign Affairs. January/February 2014.

  • “Global disorder is here to stay, so the challenge is to make it work as well as possible,” argues Stewart in this piece discussing characteristics of “global governance.” In particular, what “marks the contemporary era is not the absence of multilateralism but it’s astonishing diversity,” and today, “effective multilateral responses are increasingly occurring outside formal institutions.” The Internet is unique in this regard because cyberspace comprises physical infrastructures “located primarily in sovereign states and in private hands.” If, as Stewart posits, “the history if global governance is the story of adaption to new technologies,” then the Internet is a modern catalyst for new paradigms of global governance.

Srivastava, Moulishree, and Roche, Elizabeth. “EU parliament report slams US surveillance.” Livemint. January 17, 2014.

  • A European Union parliament report focuses on rebuilding trust between the United States and the EU following revelations of massive global surveillance. In particular, the report recommends prohibiting “blanket surveillance activities and bulk processing of personal data,” and emphasizes the need for laws to protect citizens’ privacy, as well as a more democratic system of Internet governance.

Zwillenberg, P., Field, D., and Dean, D. “Greasing the Wheels of the Internet Economy: The Connected World.” BCG Perspectives. January 20, 2014.

  • ICANN commissioned The Boston Consulting Group to prepare this independent report that seeks to understand “numerous factors that inhibit online interactions and exchange” and how these sources of “e-friction” constrain economic activity.

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