The GovLab SCAN – Issue 13

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our thirteenth 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:

  • Several countries, including Turkey, and groups of countries, such as the African Union, are in the process of developing rules and laws around cybersecurity and privacy. These proposed rules are being met with heavy criticism, particularly for being underdeveloped or for not accounting for the perspectives of all the relevant stakeholders.
  • The Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance in Brazil is coming up in April and pre-registration is now open. The High Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms will review its draft report this month, and the report will be presented at the Brazil Meeting and at the World Economic Forum in Dubai this coming May.
  • ICANN’s four Strategy Panels have each released an update on the ICANN Blog.


Allemann, Andrew. “U.S. Government Weighs in on .Wine Debate.” Domain Name Wire. February 6, 2014.

  • Lawrence Strickling of the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has submitted a letter to ICANN, in which he states that the U.S. Government’s position on the “.wine” and “.vin” TLDs is that ICANN should not provide additional protections beyond the safeguards that have already been proposed in GAC advice and accepted by ICANN. In particular, he states, “there is no international consensus on the protection of geographical indications.”

ICANN Strategy Panel UpdatesICANN Blog. January 31, 2014.

  • Each of ICANN’s four Strategy Panels has released an update on the progress of their work.
    • Public Responsibility Framework. Having compiled a “comprehensive inventory detailing the approaches and programs being undertaken across the different departments” of ICANN’s “public responsibility” activities, the Panel will soon post a draft public responsibility framework for public comment.
    • Identifier Technology Innovation. Seeks to focus on best practices and reference systems and plans to publish its initial output imminently.
    • Multistakeholder Innovation. Proposal ideas have been captured in an initial draft blueprint meant to provide a framework for moving ICANN toward a truly effective, legitimate and evolving 21st century organization. You can find the Panel’s webinar archives here.
    • ICANN’s Role in the Internet Governance Ecosystem. Operating “under a maxim and axiom it crafted to illustrate its mission: Convene, confer, consult, advise, expire.” Find the Panel’s webinar archives here.

Kaliski, Burt. “Colloquium on Collisions: Expert Panelists to Select Papers, Award $50K First Prize.” CircleID. February 4, 2014.

  • In the upcoming workshop, an expert panel will select from among papers presented on the topic of domain name collisions, and award a $50,000 prize to the “most valuable research contribution” – the “one that most advances the state of knowledge and/or most deeply analyzes and mitigates risk.”

Kurbalija, Jovan. “Help Us To Build a New Internet Governance Building and Classify IG Issues.” Diplomacy. January 30, 2014.

  • Kurbalija discusses his attempts to develop a curriculum around internet governance around “five baskets: infrastructure and standardization, legal, economic, development, and sociocultural” and laments the difficulty of categorizing Internet governance into a set of discrete topics. He argues that “[Internet governance] issues easily escape strict classification” and points to some interesting efforts to classify Internet governance, such as a project using data-mining for textual transcripts from the IGF (the Internet Governance Forum).

Malthouse, Jacob. “NTAG Chair Blog: What is the Next GAC Advice?” CircleID. February 4, 2014.

  • Malthouse, who is NTAG (new gTLD applicant group) Chair, argues that GAC advice has caused many applicants to have to delay their applications, and that, “as a community, we must start thinking more carefully about the choice to delay while at the same time doing the planning that gets us ahead of these challenges.” In particular, Malthouse argues that issues that cause new gTLDs not to launch are not just “a problem for the gTLD program, it is a problem for the credibility of ICANN.”

Van Gelder, Stéphane. “EU to ICANN: Go Back to Drawing Board on Auctions.” CircleID. February 6, 2014.

  • European Commission’s Communications networks, Content and Technologies Directorate-General (DG CONNECT) has submitted a statement to ICANN voicing its concerns for ICANN’s revised new gTLD auction rules. In particular, the European Commission is concerned about the “risk of seeing powerful applicants use their financial clout to squash more innovative TLD operating models” by resolving gTLD contentions through the auction process.

Internet Governance

Abusitta, Nora. “High-Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms.” ICANN Blog. January 31, 2014.

  • This Panel, chaired by the President Toomas Ilves of Estonia and vice-chaired by Vint Cerf, is “focused on evolving and globalizing the current Internet governance framework and the necessary mechanisms for doing so.” The Panel has described a set of desirable properties that any future Internet ecosystem would require and will meet for a report-drafting session this month.

Corwin, Philip S. “Downsizing Sao Paulo.” CircleID. February 3, 2014.

  • The “Executive Multistakeholder Committee” (EMC) in charge of planning the April Brazil Meeting held a planning session last week. The review of that session’s results indicate the Brazil meeting will have smaller attendance than was anticipated. The main topics for the meeting will be: Internet governance principles, and a Roadmap for the further evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem. Corwin argues, however, that “it is difficult to envision what especially useful or unique output can emerge from a two day meeting constituted by participants who have in many instances never interacted before, and with little in the way of formal organizational structure or preparatory time to frame potential outcomes.”

Expression of Interest.” Netmundial (Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance). Deadline: February 28, 2014.

  • This Expression of Interest form is for those who want to attend the upcoming Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, to be held in Sao Paulo in April. There is a limited availability of seats in the meeting venue and this form is meant to “serve as a pre-registration to evaluate numbers and type of participants in advance.” The deadline to submit the form is February 28.

Ignatius, David. “After Snowden, A Lesser Internet? The Washington Post. February 5, 2014.

  • Ignatius argues that the NSA revelations have produced intense antagonism against the United States in Europe, and that this antagonism is eroding trust and has potentially significant implications for how American businesses exist in the European Union. In particular, he argues that establishing cooperation required among agencies for cyber-protection has grown more difficult because European ISPs do not want to have contact with U.S. agencies like the NSA.

Macharia, Joel. “Africa Needs a Cybersecurity Law but AU’s Proposal is Flawed, Advocates Say.” TechPresident. January 31, 2014.

  • A 2011 convention drafted by the African Union (AU) on cybersecurity has been tabled for July 2014 or January 2015. The convention, which would provide legislation and guidance on the “organization of electronic transactions, protection of personal data, promotion of cyber security, e-governance and combatting cybercrime,” was met with opposition from the technology and civil society sectors because they claim they have not given their input, and the bill “does not do enough to protect privacy and freedom of speech.”

Ozbilgin, Ozge. “Turkey Tightens Internet Controls as Government Battles Graft Scandal.” Reuters. February 6, 2014.

  • A bill passed in Turkey this week will allow Turkish telecommunications authorities to “block access to [online] material within four hours without a prior court order.” The bill has drawing criticism domestically and from the European Union, though the Turkish government asserts the reforms are aimed at “protecting individual privacy not gagging its critics.”

Rossotto, Carlo. “A Digital Leap for the Arab World.” Al Jazeera. February 6, 2014.

  • Carlo, World Bank Lead ICT Policy Specialist and Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Region, argues that the Internet is a “catalyst for development,” but that the Arab world lacks the high speed Internet connections which can bring the benefits of Internet-based development within people’s reach, especially to a “young, technology-savvy population.”

The End of Privacy.” NPR & TED. January 31, 2014.

  • TED and NPR teamed up in this “radio hour” to focus on shifting ideas of privacy. The discussions highlight citizens’ and governments’ different roles in the collection and dissemination of information and questions around who can and should have the means and rights to collect and share data?

Top 10 Internet-Censored Countries.” USA Today. February 5, 2014.

  • This article lists the countries “where the Internet is most controlled and speaking your mind on it can get you in serious trouble with the government,” according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. North Korea is the country on the list with the most censored Internet.

Wu, Tim. “As Technology Gets Better, Will Society Get Worse?The New Yorker. February 6, 2014.

  • Wu describes how technological and biological evolution are different – while we usually assume that biological evolution takes us in “desirable directions,” there are questions to probe around what technological evolution means for society. Whereas biological evolution is adaptive, technological evolution is “driven by what we want,” and Wu warns, therefore, that we should be wary of “a future defined not by an evolution toward superintelligence but by the absence of discomforts.”

Papers & Reports

Lim, Hae-in, et al. “Netizen Report: In Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Terror Laws Threaten Free Speech.” Slate. February 5, 2014.

  • In both Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the government is cracking down on dissident journalists by making claims that their work is inciting terrorism. In a further effort to monitor dissent, Egypt’s Ministry of Justice has recently criminalized the use of online platforms to “directly or indirectly promote terror.” In Russia, the government is keeping a close eye on all international visitors in the country during the Sochi Winter Games, collecting metadata and storing it in a telecommunications database for years to come, causing particular concern to journalists. In Internet and security news, 22,000 elite Chinese with close ties to the Communist Party were found to have hidden their wealth in offshore tax havens after a terabyte of information about wealthy Party members was leaked.

Weitzenboeck, Emily M. “Hybrid Net: the regulatory framework of ICANN and the DNS.” International Journal of Law and Information Technology. January, 2014.

  • This article “examines the role, legal nature and basis of ICANN and the domain name system (DNS). It first maps and analyses the various regulatory instruments underlying ICANN and the DNS. What emerges is that, very often several and different modes of regulation both formal and informal, are required to address a particular issue satisfactorily. The article examines whether and to what extent these different types of instruments co-exist and interrelate as one coherent regulatory framework.”

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