The GovLab SCAN – Issue 22

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our twenty-second edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. As we did not publish a SCAN last week, this edition covers articles from the past two weeks. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at icannmsipanel@thegovlab.org.

This week’s highlights:

  • The NETMundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance will take place next week in São Paulo, Brazil (April 23 – 24). The meeting’s Executive Multistakeholder Committee (EMC) has released a draft outcomes document for the meeting, which is open for public comment. Because this event takes a large share of Internet governance-related news this week, we have devoted a section of the SCAN specifically to NETMundial-related articles.
  • ICANN has released a draft proposal for the process of creating a transition plan for the oversight of the IANA functions. U.S. Republicans in Congress have brought the issue to the fore with several proposed bills that seek to delay or deny the transition.
  • ICANN has released a draft of its Five-Year Strategic Plan (through 2020), which is open for public comment. The Strategic Plan takes note of the many Internet governance developments outside of ICANN that deeply affect how ICANN must function going forward.

ICANN

Baker, Jennifer. ICANN Delays Uncorking of Wine-Related Domains. PC World. April 7, 2014.

  • ICANN has decided to delay the delegation of the .wine and .vin top-level domains (TLDs) in response to European Commission and EU member state concerns around the protection of geographic indicators, such as bordeaux.wine or bordeaux.vin. This is one example of public interest commitments in ICANN’s new TLD program, where TLDs are not necessarily delegated on a first-come first-serve basis.

Chu, Elbert. Talk Back: A Different Take on .health Domains. MedPage Today. April 14, 2014.

  • Chu argues that the .health domain name (also “namespace”) is a valuable option for doctors and healthcare professionals, in particular because ICANN’s domain name policies demarcate “acceptable use” in a way that “distinguish[es] between what is safe and what is harmful”. Chu writes in response to other arguments that domains such as .health can be misleading or even harmful if they are not managed by communities with experience in medicine or public health.

ICANN Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan (FY16 – FY20). ICANN.org. April 9, 2014.

  • ICANN has released a draft version of its Strategic Plan through 2020, which is open for public comment (background information and public comment submissions here). The Strategic Plan describes five “focus areas”: “evolve and further internationalize and regionalize ICANN’s implementation of the multistakeholder approach”, “continue to support a healthy, stable and resilient unique identifier ecosystem”, “advance technical and operational excellence”, “clarify and establish ICANN’s role in the Internet governance ecosystem”, and “develop and implement a global public responsibility framework”.

Internet Governance

Aaron, Craig. Comcast Goes to Washington … and Flops. FreePress. April 11, 2014.

  • Comcast –the largest U.S. cable company—has filed its official paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its merger with Time Warner Cable –the second-largest U.S. cable company. Aaron describes the enormous amount of protest this has generated, and argues that Comcast has not given convincing evidence for why this merger would benefit the public. If the merger goes through, Comcast would become a cable service provider for “almost two-thirds of the United States”.

Alvarez, Carlos. Amplified DDoS Attacks: The Current Biggest Threat Against the Internet. ICANN Blog. April 11, 2014.

  • Alvarez describes Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and the techniques –IP spoofing, reflection, and amplification—used to carry them out. Alvarez describes Source Address Validation Everywhere (SAVE) –a possible solution that can prevent IP spoofing—and considers whether the SAVE standard should be voluntarily adopted by Internet infrastructure operators or whether governments should enact regulation to require operators to use SAVE.

Astruc, Maëli. Geneva Internet Platform Launches: Neutral Ground for Net Governance. IP Watch. April 9, 2014.

  • The Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) is a project of the DiploFoundation and is intended to provide a “venue for neutral engagement” between Internet stakeholders. It is meant to “help to bridge the gap between existing policy silos” by giving stakeholders a place to discuss issues, as well as by offering online training and a course curriculum to train and assist Internet governance stakeholders as they engage in discussions in different fields. Notably the GIP will be supported by an open data project for mining Internet governance texts and documents for keywords and sentiment.

Call for Public Input: Draft Proposal, Based on Initial Community Feedback, of the Principles and Mechanisms and the Process to Develop a Proposal to Transition NTIA’s Stewardship of the IANA Functions. ICANN.org. April 8, 2014.

  • ICANN has released a draft proposing the process by which the “global multistakeholder community” should go about creating the transition proposal for the oversight of the IANA functions performed through ICANN. This page contains relevant materials for the global community, including session transcripts of community discussions around the topic, documents outlining scope of the transition proposal, and announcements made by ICANN and the NTIA. The page provides an initial list of “community-suggested principles and mechanisms for the process”. This page also proposes a Steering Group and process for crafting the transition plan, provides questions related to this initial process-draft, and explains opportunities for participation in this process going forward.

Hearing: Should the Department of Commerce Relinquish Direct Oversight Over ICANN? U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. April 10, 2014.

  • This hearing before the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet saw several expert witnesses –including Lawrence Strickling of the NTIA and Fadi Chehadé of ICANN—give testimony related to the NTIA’s announcement that it intends to relinquish oversight of ICANN by September 2015. In particular, the hearing considered the U.S.’ unique position over the IANA functions and what consequences giving up oversight would have in the future; whether ICANN’s multistakeholder model is robust enough to really execute policies developed by the “global multistakeholder community”; how a transition plan would be created and how the plan would be evaluated by the U.S. government; as well as technical, political, and financial concerns around ICANN’s management and functions going forward.

Internet Hall of Fame Welcomes 2014 Inductees at Ceremony in Hong Kong. Internet Society. April 8, 2014.

  • The Internet Hall of Fame inducted 24 new members this month in Hong Kong. The Internet Hall of Fame is a project of the Internet Society and celebrates individuals who “have pushed the boundaries of technological and social innovation to connect the world” and who “believe in the design and potential of an open Internet”. Categories of awards include “Pioneers”, “Innovators”, and “Global Connectors”.

Kuerbis, Brendan. U.S. Congress Weighs In On IANA Transition. Internet Governance Project. April 8, 2014.

  • Kuerbis describes three separate bills that have been proposed to the U.S. Congress, all of which prohibit the NTIA from relinquishing its oversight of the IANA functions contract with ICANN. Kuerbis argues that the bills are misguided because they show a lack of understanding as to what the role of government is in the transition of ICANN’s oversight. In particular, Kuerbis argues that the “real tragedy of the Congressional intervention is that it is massively diverting attention from the real issues in the transition: the issue of the accountability of ICANN itself”.

NETMundial

Brown, Deborah. Spotlight on Internet Governance Part 4: NetMundial. AccessNow. April 14, 2014.

  • The NETMundal meeting taking place in Brazil next week (April 23-24) is meant to produce two outcome documents –one of Internet governance principles, the other a roadmap for the “further evolution of the internet governance ecosystem”. Brown discusses some of the key issues that the documents must take into account, including: human rights; privacy; surveillance; development and access to the Internet; Internet infrastructure; evolving Internet governance; the NTIA transition and ICANN; “distributive and coordinated Internet governance”, and the Internet Governance Forum.

Kroes, Neelie. My Thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance. European Commission. April 11, 2014.

  • Kroes, Vice President of the Europen Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, here responds to the draft outcome document of the NETMundial Executive Multistakeholder Committee (EMC), and in particular argues that the document is “too abstract and vague when it comes to the proposed roadmap” for the future of Internet governance. Kroes argues, for example, for stronger human rights language, the use of ICT tools in facilitating distributed and coordinated Internet governance processes, and the establishment of concrete timelines and milestones for the globalization of certain Internet governance functions. Kroes also suggests that net neutrality and “the liability of Internet intermediaries” are not focus topics for the NETMundial meeting as they have been and are extensively discussed elsewhere.

Kroes, Neelie. NETmundial: Let’s Get to Work. European Commission. April 16, 2014.

  • In this follow-up article to her previous (above) responses to the NETMundial draft outcome document, Kroes suggests concrete outputs for six of NETMundial’s focus areas: improvements to the multistakeholder model; strengthening the Internet Governance Forum; tools and mechanisms for better information sharing and capacity building; globalization of IANA; globalization of ICANN; and jurisdictional issues on the Internet.

NETMundial Draft Outcome Document. NETMundial.br. April 15, 2014.

  • The draft outcome document of the NETMundial meeting taking place next week in Brazil (April 23 – 24) is available online for paragraph-by-paragraph public comment. The document contains “Internet Governance Principles” and a “Roadmap for the future evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem”. Commenting has begun and thus far most contention is around the meaning of “multistakeholder”, and especially the phrase saying that stakeholders participate “in their respective roles and responsibilities”. The comments of the NETMundial High-Level Multistakeholder Committee to this document were also leaked and can be found here.

Powles, Julia. NETmundial is the World Cup of Internet Governance. Wired. April 10, 2014.

  • Powles analogizes the NETMundial meeting to the football World Cup, describing Internet governance as in many ways being like a “game” in which various actors compete for high stakes –for example, openness and neutrality online, or censorship and surveillance. She describes the U.S. as occupying “the top spot” in Internet governance, with Brazil and Germany now “leading the charge” in creating new outcomes during the NETMundial meeting. In particular, she argues that, like the World Cup, Internet governance needs to have a defined field and some rules, and that the players within Internet governance should play on this field in a way that does not subvert the “game” and allows for a variety of innovative and creative outcomes.

Papers & Reports

Abraham, Sunil. Who Governs the Internet? Implications for Freedom and National Security. Center for Internet and Society, India. April, 2014.

  • Abraham gives an overview of debates around the concept of “multistakeholderism” especially after the Edward Snowden revelations. He argues that, historically, “Internet freedom rhetoric was deeply flawed”, in particular because Internet freedom debates have missed broader practices of security and privacy protection that are more nuanced and more important than “battles” between countries such as the U.S. “against” Russia and China. He points out that “there is no single, universally accepted definition of Internet governance”; that this lack of definitional clarity prevents meaningful debate around Internet-related topics; and that it makes sense to have different versions of governance for different areas of governance.

Lim, Hae-in et al. Netizen Report: Zambian Government Nixes Internet-Friendly Constitution. Global Voices Advocacy. April 16, 2014.

  • This Netizen Report (published weekly) by Global Voices Advocacy provides “an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.” In this week’s highlights: Zambian officials have rejected a draft constitution meant to protect online publications and journalists; Cambodia’s draft Cybercrime Law will criminalize online content that “slanders or undermines” the government; the European Court of Justice has declared the Data Retention Directive –requiring companies to retain user data for up to two years– to be invalid because it contradicts the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Events

ARIN 33. American Registry for Internet Numbers. April 13 – 16, 2014.

  • The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) –one of five Regional Internet Registries—this week held it’s 33rd biannual Public Policy and Members Meeting in Chicago. This meeting discussed draft Internet number resource policies, as well as presented several workshops and tutorials around Internet governance and in particular ARIN’s role. Find relevant presentations and documents here.

Intelligence Gathering and the Unowned Internet. Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. April 8, 2014.

  • This event hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School discussed “the long-term viability of an unowned, open Internet” and the “challenges to privacy in an unsecure world”. Participants from Berkman included Yochai Benkler, Johnathan Zittrain, and Bruce Scheier. John DeLong and Anne Neuberger of the National Security Agency also participated, providing perspectives from inside the U.S. intelligence community. The video of the event can be found here.
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