The GovLab SCAN – Issue 31

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

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

  • ICANN’s 50th public meeting is underway in London. Focus topics include the transition of the NTIA’s stewardship over the IANA functions; the ICANN “accountability update”; and the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) program. Remote participation is available for most sessions.
  • In privacy regulation developments, Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that the voluntary sharing of Internet service provider subscriber information is unconstitutional; and a U.S. appeals court has ruled that law enforcement agencies must obtain warrants to collect cellphone location data, bringing issues of intermediary liability and third-party storage to the fore of the online privacy debate.
  • In the U.S., the House Judiciary Committee has passed a bill permanently banning the taxation of Internet access; meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission will study the impact on consumers of how Internet service providers exchange traffic with other networks.


Chehadé, Fadi. Awe and Gratitude. ICANN Blog. June 16, 2014.

  • Chehadé, CEO and President of ICANN, describes the “awe and gratitude” for the handful of academics and researchers who began to develop today’s Internet in the 1960s, pointing out that the Internet is becoming “the world’s social, economic and political central nervous system”. Chehadé observes that consensus-building has been extremely important and also extremely challenging for the Internet’s development and refers to ICANN’s new “Multistakeholder Ethos Award” as a way to recognize people who have demonstrated excellence in working in the Internet’s multistakeholder governance environment.

Mondini, Christopher. Business Engagement at ICANN – How Three Big Companies Engage. ICANN Blog. June 12, 2014.

  • Mondini discusses how three of ICANN’s business stakeholders –Facebook, Telefonica, and Philips—engage with ICANN. According to Facebook’s Domain Name Manager, “you have to show up” to ICANN meetings because they are where domain name management policy is made; according to Telefonica’s head of global public policy, “the [multistakeholder] model might seem a disaster, but it’s better than any alternative”; and according to Philips’ Intellectual Property representative, it’s about “balancing risk and opportunity”.

Olive, David. Sharing a Plan for Public Comment Improvements. ICANN Blog. June 12, 2014.

  • Olive –ICANN’s Vice President of Policy Development—discusses upcoming changes to ICANN’s public comment infrastructure, for which the ICANN Policy Development Support Staff has recently assumed oversight. Several immediate improvements are to be implemented following ICANN’s 50th public meeting in London. Longer-term improvements will “look for ways to leverage new technologies and the website capabilities” to improve the public comment infrastructure.

Internet Governance

Baker, Stewart. Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, Episode #24: An Interview with Paul Rosenzweig. Lawfare Blog. June 18, 2014.

  • This podcast has as its guest Paul Rosenzweig, a cybersecurity and intelligence law expert. Rosenzweig comments on Internet governance-related news in the past week, including ICANN’s governance structure transition; accusations of cyber attacks originating from the Chinese government; the global economic cost of cybercrime; and cybersecurity regulation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Cohn, Michael. House Committee Passes Bill Permanently Banning State Taxes on Internet Access. Accounting Today. June 19, 2014.

  • The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has approved the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, which will permanently ban the taxation of Internet access, making permanent “the provisions of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which temporarily bans states from taxing Internet access or placing multiple or discriminatory taxes on e-commerce”.

Howe, Neil. Google Knows Me, Therefore I Am. Forbes. June 18, 2014.

  • Discussing the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the “right to be forgotten” (to allow individuals to submit requests to have search results about them taken down for privacy reasons), Howe points out that the right to “self-define” is becoming increasingly illusive in an era in which so much data about individuals is outside of the individual’s control. Google has argued that a private citizen’s right to control his or her digital identity does not outweigh the public’s “right to know”.  In particular, some have argued that such a ruling creates a precedent for Internet “whitewashing”. Howe suggests that increasing public attention in this area will likely see the FCC or Congress creating new regulations to apply to search engines in the U.S.

Jackson, Ron. New Registrar Stakeholder Group Secretary Paul Goldstone Reflects on the Pre-ICANN Days of Domain Registration. The Lowdown. June 16, 2014.

  • Goldstone, Secretary of ICANN’s Registrar Stakeholder Group (RSG) discusses the formation of the RSG and how domains were registered before the existence of ICANN (that is, before 1998). Goldstone points out that there has been enormous development in both the processes of domain name registration and the actual number of registrars since the formation of ICANN. Find a brochure describing the RSG here.

Knapp, Julie, and Johnston, Walter. Internet Traffic Exchange: Time to Look Under the Hood. Federal Communications Commission Blog. June 18, 2014.

  • Discussing the way Internet service providers (ISPs) exchange traffic with other networks on the Internet in order to provide Internet users with the content they are looking for, the authors argue that the FCC needs to “look under the hood” to learn whether Internet traffic exchange issues harm consumers. The authors refer to the 2014 Measuring Broadband America (released on the same day as this post was written) that measures broadband performance in the U.S. and conclude that there is a need to “learn whether Internet traffic exchange issues are putting up a barrier to continued innovation and investment on the Internet”.

Madory, Doug. Amid Raging Violence, Iraq Orders Internet Shutdowns. Renesys. June 13, 2014.

  • Amidst violence between militants and army troops in Iraq (fighting for control of the country’s largest oil refinery), the Iraqi Ministry of Communications has given orders to Iraqi Internet service providers to disconnect Iraqis from some social media sites and online services and, in some cases, to shut down access to the Internet altogether.

Napolitano, Antonella. [Interview] MEP Marietje Schaake Says We Need Global Collaboration to Keep the Internet Open. TechPresident. June 13, 2014.

  • Schaake, a Member of European Parliament, discusses the cross-border nature of Internet policy, observing that, for example, European representatives “don’t have jurisdiction to challenge decisions that are made in the U.S. even if the laws actually affect many other countries outside of the U.S”. Because Internet policies can have global consequences, Schaake emphasizes the need for greater global collaboration in Internet policy- and decision-making.

Napolitano, Antonella. PDF France 2014: Is the Internet Inclusive Enough? TechPresident. June 16, 2014.

  • The 2014 edition of Personal Democracy Forum in France focused on “looking at interesting initiatives in France and abroad that are trying to empower those “excluded” from digital society”. This article lists a few of these initiatives and includes a Storify of the event.

Sullum, Jacob. Federal Appeals Court: Cellphone Tracking Requires a Warrant. June 12, 2014.

  • Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that “that law enforcement agencies need a warrant to collect cellphone location data” by concluding that “cell site location information is within the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy” and “the obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation”. The decision highlights issues such as intermediary liability, the impacts of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and the controversial Third-Party Doctrine, which holds that “knowingly revealing information to a third party relinquishes Fourth Amendment protection in that information”.

Internet Technology

Jarasuriya, Mehan. Maybe It’s Time to Build a New Internet. Gizmodo. June 19, 2014.

  • Jarasuriya (an alumnus of the GovLab) points to net neutrality battles at the Federal Communications Commission, the monopolization of Internet service provision in the U.S., and mass surveillance by states as evidencing the “thoroughly commercialized, consolidated, and surveilled” state of the Internet in 2014. Jarasuriya refers to other communications networks and network protocols developed separately from the public Internet and asks whether we can “build a new Internet”, potentially by using decentralized “mesh networks”.

Papers and Reports

2014 McAfee Report on the Global Cost of Cybercrime. Center for Strategic & International Studies. June 9, 2014.

  • This page links to both the full report, “Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime” as well as contains an embedded YouTube video of panelists discussing the report and its findings. The report describes various forms of cybercrime; regional variations in cybercrime; incentives to explain the growth of cybercrime; recovery costs; and the future of cybercrime.

A Primer for ccTLDs on Internet Governance and the ITU. Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries. June 16, 2014.

  • The Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR) has published “a paper on the ITU’s role and ambitions in the Internet Governance space”. The paper is meant in particular for country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) managers. The paper contextualized the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) discussions on Internet issues; why ITU’s activities are relevant to ccTLD managers; provides a review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS); and explains why ccTLD operators should contribute to ITU discussions.

Biddle, Ellery Roberts. Netizen Report: Sweeping Censorship in Iraq, Tajikistan. Global Voices Advocacy. June 18, 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: Internet users in both Iraq and Tajikistan are experiencing large-scale censorship and Internet blocking programs; China’s Ministry of Information and Information Technology has shut down millions of WeChat accounts (a messaging platform) as part of an online “clean-up” program; Canada’s Supreme Court has found the “voluntary sharing of [Internet service provider] subscriber information to be unconstitutional”; Microsoft has challenged a U.S. search warrant requesting digital information of its customers overseas; Google will put notifications on web pages containing links which have been erased in connection with the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the “right to be forgotten”.

Davies, Simon. A Crisis of Accountability: A Global Analysis of the Impact of the Snowden Revelations. The Privacy Surgeon. June, 2014.

  • This report discusses the impact of the “Snowden revelations” of mass surveillance by states and argues “the Snowden disclosures have triggered a noticeable shift in thinking across the world toward increased awareness of the importance of accountability, transparency and the rule of law with regard to both the activities of security agencies and the value of privacy”. The authors find that while there has been much global debate about the impact of these revelations, there have been very few “tangible reforms adopted to address the concerns raised by the Snowden disclosures”. The report contains a set of country and sector-specific reports.

Frosio, Giancarlo. Internet & Jurisdiction Case Collections 2012 and 2013 in Retrospect. Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School. June 10, 2014.

  • The Internet & Jurisdiction Project has launched two case collections –one for 2012 and one for 2013—compiling 460 selected cases that “show the tension between the cross-border nature of the Internet with its transnational online spaces and the patchwork of geographically defined national jurisdictions” as well as “provide a review of crucial dynamics to stimulate discussions and trigger research with special emphasis on intermediary liability cases”. The case collections can be found here.

Patry, Melody. Internet Governance: Brazil Taking the Lead in International Debates. Index on Censorship. June 16, 2014.

  • This article is the third in the series, “Brazil: A New Global Internet Referee?” by the Index on Censorship. Patry describes Brazil’s position in global and domestic Internet governance issues and points out that domestic and international Internet policies can be contradictory because Internet freedom and Internet security arguments can be used to justify conflicting claims. Patry argues that, as “one of the countries with emerging influence in the multipolar world”, Brazil needs to be a champion of the inclusive multistakeholder model of Internet governance, especially as this model is called into question by other countries.

Rosenzweig, Paul, et al. Protecting Internet Freedom and American Interests: Required Reforms and Standards for ICANN Transition. The Heritage Foundation. June 16, 2014.

  • In this report, Rosenzweig argues that “the U.S. should not end its role in the assignment of Internet names and numbers before adequate checks and balances are put in place to ensure that an independent Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) acting without U.S. oversight is transparent and accountable, and cannot be hijacked by governments or intergovernmental organizations”. The report gives a brief overview of the Domain Name System and its management structures through ICANN, and argues that “minimum protections, including protections to preserve freedom of expression and reforms designed to enhance ICANN accountability and insulate it from government capture” need to be in place before the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) transitions its stewardship over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the “global multistakeholder community”.


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

ICANN 50, London. June 22 – 26, 2014.

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