The GovLab SCAN – Issue 28

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

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

  • Increasingly, international Internet technology companies face conflicting jurisdictional issues that can act as obstacles to the growth of the Internet and its potential to connect people. For example EU data protection regulations may contradict certain ICANN registrar/registry policies, creating legal challenges for companies that operate in both regions.
  • The global supply of IPv4 addresses is steadily declining and ICANN is therefore pushing for Internet companies to quickly coordinate the global transition to using IPv6 addresses.
  • The Stockholm Internet Forum –whose theme was “Internet – privacy, transparency, surveillance, and control” has just concluded. Archival information can be found here. The World Summit on the Information Society +10 High-Level Event (WSIS +10) takes place from June 10 – 13 in the International Telecommunications Union headquarters in Geneva.


Neylon, Michele. Help ICANN Fix WHOIS Conflicts With Data Privacy Law. CircleID. May 23, 2014.

  • ICANN has opened a public comment process concerning WHOIS policy conflicts with local laws and data privacy laws. For example, ICANN policies for domain name registration details for the WHOIS database may sometimes conflict with privacy rights in local contexts. Neylon suggests there should be some reform in the process by which registrars and registries can receive a waiver for WHOIS data collection and/or display.

Spencer, Leon. ICANN Urges IPv6 Adoption as Global Address Shortage Looms. ZDNet. May 23, 2014.

  • ICANN is “urging network operators around the world to adopt IPv6” –Internet Protocol version 6—as the global supply of IPv4 addresses becomes depleted. ICANN has stated that “rapid adoption of IPv6 is a necessity” for maintaining the growth of the Internet and its economic potential. While IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses providing around 4.3 billion unique address numbers, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, providing around 340 undecillion (1036) unique address numbers.

Internet Governance

China To Start Cyber Security Vetting on IT Products, Suppliers. ChinaDaily USA. May 22, 2014.

  • The Chinese State Information Office has announced that “major IT products and services for systematic use” can impact national security and the public interest and therefore will be “subject to government cyber security vetting”. The U.S. government similarly asks U.S. federal agencies only to use IT services that have passed U.S. government vetting.

Corwin, Philip S. DOTCOM Act Passes House as Rubio Leads Senate Call for IANA Oversight Hearings. CircleID. May 24, 2014.

  • The Shimkus Amendment to the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (embodying the text of the DOTCOM Act seeking to prevent the transition of IANA functions oversight before a study of the transition plan by the Government Accountability Office) passed in the House of Representatives but has not yet passed in the Senate. Senator Mark Rubio has written a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee asking for the Committee to hold an oversight hearing on the IANA transition proposal. Corwin argues that this would be a significant next-step in the evolving relationship between the U.S. government and its oversight over certain Internet functions.

Hans, G.S. FTC Data Broker Report Highlights Need for Oversight. Center for Democracy and Technology. May 28, 2014.

  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has released a report on the data broker industry which looks at what data brokers are, what they do, and “how the data they trade in may shape commerce and society”. Data brokers essentially create databases of customer data that they then sell to clients (such as advertisers and marketers and other data brokers). The report calls for legislative reform, and in particular to provide better consumer protections and greater oversight over data brokers.

Jia-Rong, Low. Internet Governance Needs Everyone to be Involved. The Malaysia Insider. May 26, 2014.

  • Jia-Rong, ICANN’s Head of Strategy and Initiatives for the Asia Pacific region, gives a brief history of domain name system (DNS) management and the multistakeholder community that sets policies implemented by ICANN. Jia-Rong argues that in the context of the IANA functions oversight transition, a key question for the multistakeholder model is “how everyone can get involved”, especially those from developing and non-English speaking countries, especially almost half of the world’s Internet users are in Asia.

Kummer, Markus. 2014 – A Crucial Year for the Internet. Internet Society. May 23, 2014.

  • Kummer argues that 2014 is a “pivotal year for the evolution of the Internet” as many meetings are being convened to talk about Internet governance and its future. Kummer points out the NETmundial was an important milestone in this process, and that even if it could not answer all questions and concerns, its most important outcome was “its endorsement of the multistakeholder model of Internet governance”. Kummer concludes that the upcoming Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul will be a significant venue for moving the discussion forward and that everybody should participate.

Lillington, Karlin. Differing Definitions of Net Neutrality Spells Big Trouble. The Irish Times. May 22, 2014.

  • Lillington writes that, although net neutrality tends to be viewed consistently as a “good thing”, net neutrality has very little consensus around its definition. For example, there are inconsistencies around whether it is acceptable to be able to purchase better levels of service on the consumer or the service providers’ side, and whether net neutrality ought to be approached with less or more government regulation. Lillington also argues that when different places have different approaches to net neutrality, different business environments arise which can fragment the global connectivity of the Internet.

Scott, Mark. Irish Regulator Finds Himself at Heart of Privacy Debate. The New York Times. May 28, 2014.

  • Largely because of Ireland’s low corporate tax rates, many large Internet companies are located in Ireland. This gives Ireland’s data protection commissioner (currently Mr. Billy Hawkes) a large amount of power over data protection regulation –and as Europe changes its privacy laws, it is likely that the Irish data regulatory authority will become the “main port of call for privacy complaints against American tech companies” that are internationally headquartered in Ireland. Scott observes that this is an interesting feature of Internet geopolitics, where international corporations must in some cases “localize” the ways in which they operate.

Sepulveda, Daniel A. Internet Governance Futures – Impact of Brazil Conference and Looking Forward. U.S. Department of State. May 21, 2014.

  • In these prepared remarks for the U.S. Department of State Economic and Business Affairs 2014, Sepulveda –the Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy—discusses the importance of NETmundial and maintaining its momentum in Internet governance debates going forward. In particular, Sepulveda warns that there are authoritarian governments that are trying to gain greater control of the Internet through the UN and through the International Telecommunications Union, that the U.S. does not purport to control the Internet, and that Internet users everywhere must “take vocal ownership of our stake in the multi-stakeholder model” in order to keep the Internet open, free, competitive, and a tool for social and economic development.

Sternstein, Allya. Should You Need a License to Practice Cybersecurity? Nextgov. May 29, 2014.

  • Sean C.G. Kern, an information security professor at the Pentagon’s National Defense University, has argued for the U.S. government to “sponsor a national body to license cyber professionals and authorize cyber certifications”, much like how the American Medical Association licenses medical professionals. However, the proposal is controversial, especially in terms of how it could impact technology businesses and hiring practices.

WSIS+10 and Why it Matters to You. Internet Society. May, 2014.

  • Ten years after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) –a key United Nations event focusing on Internet and communications technologies governance—in June there will be a high-level WSIS+10 event to both “take stock of progress made in the past 10 years” and to “provide a vision of what this information society should look like for the next 10”. The Internet Society has created a WSIS participants corner for people to participate and contribute their voices to this process.

Papers and Reports

Cerf, Vinton G., and Quaynor, Nii. The Internet of Everyone. Internet Computing, IEEE, Volume 18, Issue 3. May – June, 2014.

  • Cerf and Quaynor give a brief history of the relationship between ICANN and the U.S. government, and especially the role of the National Telecommunications and Information ADminitration (NTIA) in this relationship. The authors argue that “the U.S. government’s decision to transfer its stewardship of [ICANN] is the right one at the right time”, and that as the Internet and its users grow, everybody must be able to contribute to its development.

IEEE News Briefs. Published by IEEE in Computer, Volume 47, Issue 5. May, 2014.

  • This publication contains a set of news briefs by the IEEE for May 2014, including: the US giving up administrative control of the Internet; journalists facing attacks from hackers; the development of virtual-reality headsets; Qualcomm’s efforts to “triple Wi-Fi speeds”; how drones can be used for data-collection; open source projects to build mobile networks; deep-learning systems for smartphones; smart homes and their vulnerability to hackers; and content providers challenging service providers over slow network speeds.

Internet Policy and Governance in Plain Language. European Commission. May 23, 2014.

  • These fact-sheets provide “factual information and background explanation on 11 key aspects covered by the Communication on ‘Internet Policy and Governance’”, describing the issues, their current situation, and the European Commission’s perspective on the issues. Issues include the globalization of IANA and ICANN; principles of Internet governance; the future of the multistakeholder model; jurisdictional issues on the Internet; and capacity building.

Lim, Hae-in et al. Netizen Report: Thai Military Blocks Over 100 Websites Under Martial Law. Voices Advocacy. May 7, 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: in Thailand, the military –which has imposed martial law—has ordered Internet Service Providers to block or shut down more than 100 websites; in Germany, a court has ruled that “intimate photos should be deleted at the end of a relationship if one of the partners calls for it”; in response to a Russian court order, Twitter has blocked tweets from the account of a Ukrainian nationalist political party, drawing criticism from digital rights activists.

Meeker, Mary. Internet Trends 2014 – Code Conference. Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB). May 28, 2014.

  • Mary Meeker delivers an annual “State of the Internet” report in which she discusses emerging trends, challenges, and developments in the digital world. This is a 164 slide presentation key Internet trends, technology stocks, the Internet’s impact in education and healthcare, the growth of the digital economy in China, trends in public Internet companies, and more.

O’Toole, Thomas. Congressional Research Service Updates Net Policy Reports. Bloomberg BNA. May 28, 2014.

  • The U.S. Congressional Research Service has updated two reports on Internet policy issues, intended as “balanced, jargon-free” materials with references to relevant resources for the U.S. Congress (although also freely accessible to read by anyone). The reports are “Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress” and “Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues”. The updated reports now contain information about the proposed transition of IANA oversight by the U.S. Department of Commerce; the NETmundial meeting; and the DOTCOM Act that was recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.


(See The GovLab’s Master Events Calendar for more Internet Governance events)


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