The GovLab SCAN – Issue 35

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

  • The IANA Transition Stewardship Coordination Group held its first meeting in London on July 17 – 19. The group released its Draft Charter which describes its single deliverable as “a proposal to the U.S. Commerce Department National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regarding the transition of NTIA’s stewardship of the IANA functions to the Internet community” and its mission as “the development of a proposal among the communities affected by the IANA functions”.

ICANN

Chehadé, Fadi. Five Things to Know About ICANN’s 2015 Budget. ICANN Blog. July 17, 2014.

  • ICANN has released its draft FY 2015 Operating Plan and Budget which is expected to be considered by the Board for approval in late August. Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN, offers “five things you should know about ICANN’s FY 15 budget”, including improvements to how the budget is presented, that expenses are stable, that growth is leveling off in the coming years, to expect further details regarding the costs of the IANA stewardship transition, and that ICANN is working to improve how it receives feedback regarding items like its budget.

Internet Governance

Allemann, Andrew. Google and Vint Cerf Explain the NTIA Transition (Video). Domain Name Wire. July 24, 2014.

  • This video, narrated by Vint Cerf (the “father” of the Internet, former Chairman of the Board of ICANN, and currently Chief Internet Evangelist at Google) and produced by Google is about “the history of internet governance, ICANN and the role of the U.S. government”.

Corwin, Philip S. NTIA’s FOIA Disclosures Shed Limited Light on IANA Transition Decision. CircleID. July 23, 2014.

  • Shortly after the March 14th announcement by the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was filed with the NTIA for disclosure of “all records relating to legal and policy analysis developed by or provided to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that support its decision to ‘transition key internet domain name functions,’ including any analysis showing whether the NTIA has the legal authority to perform the transition”. The NTIA’s response can be found here. According to Corwin, “while NTIA’s FOIA disclosure sheds some interesting light on the timing of and actors involved in the IANA transition announcement and its immediate aftermath, it fails to answer critical questions regarding its independent legal authority and the process that led up to the transition announcement”.

Gray, Sarah. Putin Tightens Grip on Internet: Signs New Law Requiring Mass Storage of Russian’ Data. Salon. July 23, 2014.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has introduced a new law “requiring Internet companies to store Russian user information on data centers in Russia”. The law applies to both Russian and international Internet companies such as Google –and thus requires that such international companies build data centers in Russia. Companies have two years to comply with the law.

IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group Updates. ICANN.org. July 16, 2014.

  • The IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group met in London on July 17 – 19. The meeting agenda, transcripts, and other resources can be found here. The group’s online discussion forum is here, and the dedicated IANA Transition mailing list is here. This update also includes the Draft Charter for the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group, as well as the Statement from the First Meeting of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group.

Mueller, Milton. The First Meeting of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group. Internet Governance Project. July 20, 2014.

  • The IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) met on July 17 – 19 in London. The ICG is intended to be a “coordination point where independently-developed plans for names (the DNS root), numbers (IP addresses) and protocols will converge for assembly into a final proposal to send to the NTIA”. The final word on the transition rests with the NTIA and the general public –and not with ICANN or ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Mueller writes that the meeting was “one that should inspire a bit of optimism about the ability of the Internet to govern itself”. The ICG will likely meet again at the 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul.

Internet Technology

Wong, Joon Ian. Trend Micro Report Finds Criminals Unlikely to Abuse Namecoin. CoinDesk. July 18, 2014.

  • Based on the code for Bitcoin, Namecoin is a “decentralized domain name system” (DNS) for creating non-ICANN domain names (hence, outside of the ICANN-controlled DNS root). Namecoin transactions “include DNS data, allowing users to create a new domain name with each transaction. These domain names are denoted by the .bit suffix and transactions are recorded in a public block chain”. Because all Namecoin transations are recorded on the Namecoin blockchain, Namecoin “allows security researchers unprecedented access to a domain name’s history”. The article notes, “alternative DNS roots are important because they provide a check on ICANN, which would otherwise have a monopoly on DNS policy”.

Papers and Reports

Alves, Sergio Jr. Jr. Internet Governance 2.0.1.4: The Internet Balkanization Fragmentation. June 29, 2014.

  • This essay “addresses some of the definitions and origins of the term ‘Internet Balkanization.’ Drawing upon U.S. constitutional law and interstate commerce regulations, it argues that the term also carries strong connotations on the realms of jurisdiction and commerce. The text adds examples of how this effect affects the businesses of creative companies that are exploring innovative markets in the United States, and suggests that the term ‘Internet Balkanization’ should not be used in the context of international negotiations of Internet Governance.”

Lim, Hae-in. Netizen Report: Censorship and Social Media Sneakiness Abound in Southeast Asia. Global Voices Advocacy. July 23, 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: the Thai military junta has put restrictions on digital expression by prohibiting online content that “could create resistance against the junta”; bloggers have been arrested in Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran, and Oman; a group of civil society organizations in Africa are sourcing contributions to a proposed African Declaration of Internet Rights and Freedoms (see africaninternetrights.org); Australia’s attorney general has proposed a new bill that would “increase the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization”; a French food blogger was ordered by a court in France to change the title of her restaurant review to diminish “its prominence in search results”.

Events

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


[August 10 – 13, 2014]. Strengthening the Internet for Free Expression and Innovation the Focus of Aspen Institute Forum. Knight Foundation. Published July 23, 2014.

  • This roundtable discussion will convene public and private sector leaders and experts to “discuss innovative ways to strengthen the Internet to promote free expression, personal choice and a secure and vibrant economy”. The event will be live-streamed via www.aspeninstitute.tv starting at 8:45am Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) each day, and discussions can also be followed on Twitter via @AspenInstitute and @AspenCS as well as via the hashtag #FOCAS14.

The NSA Surveillance Programs: Assessing the Damage to U.S. Commerce, Confidence & Credibility. Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus. July 18, 2014.

  • This event focused on how the Snowden revelations of the National Security Agency (NSA)’s surveillance programs impacted U.S. commercial interests (for example, in the cloud computing industry), confidence in U.S. leaders, and U.S. credibility both globally and domestically. The C-SPAN video of the event is here.

Who Governs the Internet? A Conversation on Securing the Multistakeholder Process. American Enterprise Institute. July 22, 2014.

  • This event centered around the question, “as the US government prepares to end its oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority [IANA], how might we strengthen the multistakeholder process and ensure that rogue governments or actors do not threaten the traditional openness and innovation of the Internet?” Participants included Steve Crocker, Chairman of the Board of ICANN, and Larry Strickling, Director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The video of the event is here.

 

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