The GovLab SCAN – Issue 29

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

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

This week’s highlights:

  • This week marks one year since the “Edward Snowden revelations” of mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) were first disclosed, and many articles this week take stock of developments in privacy and surveillance debates in the last year.
  • The Reset the Net campaign launched on June 5th. It comes in two parts: a set of downloadable tools to secure Internet users against surveillance, and a pledge by developers and Internet companies to build security measures into their websites and applications.
  • Google has released a form in response to the EU ruling on the “right to forget” –the right for EU citizens to have search results removed if they are deemed in violation of their privacy. Google’s form is noteworthy for taking the public interest into account when considering a take-down request.

ICANN

Comment Period for ICANN Accountability Process Enhancement Extended. CircleID Reporter. May 29, 2014.

Internet Governance

Budde, Paul. Let American Telcos and Cablecos Merge – But Declare Infrastructure a Utility. CircleID. June 3, 2014.

  • Budde argues that net neutrality tends to be a largely U.S.-specific issue because of the nature of telecommunications monopolies in the U.S. (as evidenced through mergers between large U.S. telecoms companies), and that “with proper competition the issue will mostly sort itself out”. Budde argues that given the monopolistic market situation, and given that America will have to transition to fiber networks, it makes sense to declare the telecoms infrastructure a utility. Following that, “appropriate government policies and regulations will need to be put in place” to counteract the negative effects of the telecoms monopolies on competition, innovation, and customer services.

Corwin, Philip S. Second House Amendment Ups the Stakes on IANA Transition. CircleID. June 2, 2014.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives has passed another measure related to the transition of U.S. government stewardship of the IANA functions. The Duffy Amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill would “prohibit funds from being used by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to relinquish critical Internet responsibilities”. The Senate will also have to approve the bill before it is adopted.

Doctorow, Cory. Today is the day we Reset the Net. BoingBoing. June 5, 2014.

  • The “Reset the Net” campaign launched on June 5th –one year after the Snowden revelations were first disclosed—to provide Internet users “with a technical, political, and social toolkit” to avoid being spied upon. Reset the Net comes in two parts: a set of downloadable tools to make user devices secure, and a “pledge for developers and site operators” with the steps they are taking to secure Internet users against mass surveillance.

Floridi, Luciano. Google Ethics Adviser: The Law Needs Bold Ideas to Address the Digital Age. The Guardian. June 4, 2014.

  • Floridi argues that there is a temptation to portray the Internet privacy debate (in particular, the recent “right to be forgotten” in the EU) as a zero-sum game between privacy and free speech and that in this sensationalist portrayal, we lose sight of the different values, interests, rights, and philosophies at stake. Floridi urges stakeholders in this debate to find a collaborative solution in new and bold ideas, rather than merely adapting previous legislation through “small, incremental changes in old conceptual frameworks”.

Ford, Mat. Up and to the Right: Two Years of IPv6 Deployment Metrics. World IPv6 Launch. June 2, 2014.

  • Global IPv6 adoption has risen from less than 1% in 2012 to nearly 4% today, and the adoption growth rate is increasing. However, Ford argues, there is a need for greater coordination and effort in deploying IPv6, especially on the part of content providers and network operators. This article includes a link to an infographic describing IPv6 and its deployment.

Kende, Michael. Open Internet for All. Internet Society. June 2, 2014.

  • Kende shows that the Internet has given rise to a host of opportunities “available for education, entertainment, and innovation, to name just a few of the activities made possible by access to the open Internet”, pointing to impact of Wikipedia, Kickstarter, MIT’s OpenCourseWare, and online media streaming services. However, Internet access is not distributed equally or fully around the world. Kende points out that some countries have better access networks, and others filter or block applications, and so not all networks are created alike. Kende argues that, with coordination, “all stakeholders can help make the Internet yet more essential to end-users lives as citizens, consumers, and innovators”.

Kenyanito, Ephraim Percy. Africa Moves Towards a Common Cyber Security Legal Framework. Access. June 2, 2014.

  • From June 20th to 27th, the African Union (AU) Heads of State will meet and are expected to adopt a new Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection –a set of common cyber security norms and regulations for AU member states. According to Kenyanito, the drafting process of the Convention is opaque and activists are concerned about issues including limitations on judicial power and the right to privacy.

Oreskovic, Alexei. Google Takes Steps to Comply with EU’s ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Ruling. Reuters. May 30, 2014.

  • Google has made a form available online in response to the EU’s ruling on the “right to be forgotten” –the right for EU citizens to ask Google to remove certain search results for privacy reasons. Google says that in evaluating results, “it will consider whether the results include outdated information about a person, as well as whether there is a public interest in the information”, for example “in cases of professional malpractice, criminal convictions, and the public conduct of officials”.

Schaake, Marietje. Media: Europe Needs an Ambitious Digital Agenda. MarietjeSchaake.eu.’ June 3, 2014.

  • Schaake argues that the European Parliament needs to develop a strong understanding of digital affairs and technology and “work on a much more ambitious digital agenda in the next five years [in order to] meet citizen’s demands”. Schaake recommends that the Parliament create “one committee for Digital Affairs and Technology” that would develop “a clear system of taxation for online services and products”, “modernise and harmonise European copyright laws”, “actively create a more favourable climate for start-ups to develop”, and “invest in fast (mobile) broadband coverage throughout Europe”.

Wagner, Ben. Between Theater and Practice: The Politics of NETmundial. CGCS Media Wire. June 2, 2014.

  • In this article Wagner discusses the “decision making procedures and structures” of the NETmundial meeting. Wagner describes the meeting as a “participant statement collection mechanism” and argues that even though all stakeholder groups were able to give input, “fragmentation of opinions and positions within civil society makes it very difficult for civil society to be effective at these kinds of meeting”.

Papers and Reports

Ferguson, Lisa, et al. Netizen Report: China’s Censors Take on Google and Messaging Apps Ahead of Tiananmen’s 25th Anniversary. Global Voices Advocacy. June 4, 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 China, ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, the government has  “blocked access to all of Google’s encrypted and unencrypted services in the country”; a new law in Russia bans anonymous online money transfers between individuals; the NSA has been found to be collecting images of people’s faces for use in facial recognition programs; Google has released a form allowing EU citizens to ask Google to remove their data from search results.

Laprise, John. Internet Governance: The New “Great Game”. CGCS Media Wire. June 3, 2014.

  • In this essay Laprise argues that, “for nations, Internet governance is a game for states, perhaps the ‘Great Game’ of the 21st century”. The geopolitics of Internet governance require a very sophisticated understanding of “the rules of the game and the goals of other players”. According to Laprise, “it is not apparent that the players, especially non-state actors, in the Internet policy ‘great game’ understand this”. Laprise points to the Internet Governance Forum, where non-state actors are accorded a status equal to non-state actors, throwing many nation-states “off balance”. Laprise also points to the NETmundial meeting, observing that, “for states, Internet governance is a policy issue domestically and a diplomatic issue internationally” and that “non-state actors mistake diplomacy for policy at their own peril”.

Events

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


Commonwealth Domain Name System Forum 2014. Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization. June 19 – 20, 2014.

  • The Commonwealth Domain Name System Forum is organized by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO), hosted by ICANN, and supported by Nominet and the Public Interest Registry. It “bring[s] together international DNS stakeholders to gain insights in, and determine the future of the DNS in the Commonwealth and beyond”. Key topics include hidden wealth in the domain name industry, governance of cyberspace, local content and local relevance, promoting investment and innovation, the social impact of generic top-level domains, and “multistakeholder partnerships to develop public policy and deliver economic and social goals”.

Connected Life 2014. Oxford Internet Institute. June 12, 2014.

  • Connected Life 2014 is “a day-long student-run conference dedicated to sparking exchange between disciplines and showcasing emerging internet research”. The event brings together researchers and practitioners from various social sciences “in pursuit of better understanding of the Internet and its many effects”.

 

 

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