The GovLab SCAN – Issue 40

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our 40th 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:

  • This week the NETmundial Initiative launched at the World Economic Forum in Geneva. The Initiative is intended to “contribute to the broader international effort to advance multistakeholder Internet governance on the basis of the NETmundial principles”. The event was recorded and live-streamed; the recordings are available here.
  • The ninth annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) begins next week (September 2 – 5). The 2014 IGF will focus on many topics, including the IANA Stewardship Transition, the purpose and goals of the NETmundial Initiative, and issues such as privacy, security, access, and Internet technologies.


ICANN Chair Responds to TPI’s ICANN Accountability Concerns. Technology Policy Institute. August 26, 2014.

  • The Technology Policy Institute here publishes ICANN Board Chairman Steven Crocker’s line-by-line responses to a piece concerning ICANN’s accountability published in The Hill. Crocker argues that ICANN’s accountability structures are complex yet rigorous; that there is no reason to assume that domain name system management will not work as well after the U.S. gives up its role through the NTIA; that there is a reason why ICANN is not only composed of registries, registrars, and Regional Internet Registries (because ICANN is not a trade association); and that improvements to ICANN’s accountability “can only come with a solid understanding of how we are structured, why we’re structured as we are, and what incremental improvements in structure would make meaningful improvements in accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency”.

Internet Governance

Avila, Renata. World Wide Web Foundation Warns Google HTTPS Policy Could Create Unequal Web. World Wide Web Foundation. August 22, 2014.

  • The Snowden revelations highlighted the potential for user privacy to be violated through mass surveillance programs. In response, Google has announced that it will “prioritize secure sites” –those using HTTPS/TLS—in search results. While Avila and the World Wide Web Foundation commend these efforts, they also find that such search result rankings could discourage or penalize smaller Web users “especially in the developing world” because HTTPS certification costs money and can be a hassle. This article therefore recommends a set of measures to aid in the adoption of HTTPS as a universal standard, including the establishment of mechanisms to reduce the costs of certification for non-profits, “micro users”, and small and medium enterprises.

Badii, Farzaneh. Killing .Ir to Compensate Terrorist Victims: IGOs to the Rescue? Internet Governance Project. August 26, 2014.

  • Recently the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order to seize .Ir (the domain name for Iran) and Iranian IP addresses. Badii discusses “the ruling’s implications for global Internet governance”, questioning whether the issue would have developed differently if ICANN was an intergovernmental organization rather than a private corporation in U.S. jurisdiction. Badii argues that “intergovernmental arrangements are vulnerable to power imbalances between stakeholders, enabling strong ones to use these mechanisms punitively” and that “private ordering allows for a more consensus based, multistakeholder approach than intergovernmental organizations do”.

Bouverot, Anne. How do we protect the future of the Internet? World Economic Forum. August 28, 2014.

  • Bouverot argues that, in the context of the IANA Stewardship Transition and “intense discussions about an equitable commercial model for internet traffic”, “it is critical that effective mechanisms are put in place to enable all stakeholders to participate in the reform process and decide its outcomes collaboratively”. The NETmundial Initiative is focused on the development of such mechanisms and Bouverot points out that the Initiative “has the potential to bring together stakeholders from civil society, governments, industry, academia and others, to help to find solutions to internet governance challenges that have not been addressed adequately in other forums”. Bouverot argues that this is only possible if the Initiative is inclusive and open to all, with “clearly articulated goals and processes that are communicated in a transparent way”, and without duplicating the work of other Internet governance forums or organizations.

Epstein, Zach. This interactive map of global Internet censorship is the most important thing you’ll see today. BGR. August 26, 2014.

  • A new interactive map from –a VPN service provider—shows “which parts of the world are most affected by Internet censorship”. The map distinguishes levels of censorship in different countries by assigning scored using various criteria. Issues are split into four main categories: “human rights violations,” “freedom on the Net,” “obstacles to access” and “limits to content.”

Jellema, Anne. The Fall of Internet Governance? World Wide Web Foundation. August 14, 2014.

  • Although many positive developments in the Internet regulation space (for example, legislation on net neutrality and data collection in Europe, and the Marco Civil in Brazil) since the Snowden revelations, Jellema observes that “pieces of good news are few and far between and bad news is easy to find”. Jellema points out that the meetings of the NETmundial Initiative, the Internet Governance Forum, and the ITU Plenipotentiary (all taking place this year) are good opportunities to push forward proposals related to Internet regulation. The World Wide Web Foundation here provides a set of proposals to emphasize at these events, including: committing to policy coherence through increased cooperation; popularizing Internet issues so that more people are aware of and understand them globally; including more voices; opening Internet governance discussions up (by, for example, using remote participation technologies); and investing in national level change.

Joint Statement on United States-Republic of Korea Bilateral Cyber Policy Consultations. U.S. Department of State. August 26, 2014.

  • The governments of the Republic of Korea and the United States this week held the third bilateral Cyber Policy Consultations in Seoul. The Consultations “reinforced the cooperation between the United States and ROK on a wide range of cyber issues, including the assessment of cyber threats, development of international norms of state behavior in cyberspace and cyber confidence-building measures, cooperation in building the cybersecurity capacity of developing countries, Internet governance and the importance of a multistakeholder approach, cooperation in enhancing cybersecurity, including that of critical infrastructure, and cooperation in international fora, such as the 2015 Netherlands Conference on Cyberspace”.

Karklins, Janis. IGF 2014 – The Gateway for the Future. Internet Governance Forum. August 23, 2014.

  • Karklins –Chair of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)—argues that the success of the IGF depends the proactive contributions of Internet stakeholders. Topics to be considered this year include “many complex policy issues, such as IANA stewardship transition and net neutrality” and “policies enhancing access, growth and development on the Internet, bridging the digital divide, freedom of expression, privacy, and cultural and linguistic diversity”. More than 3000 participants are registered for the event and several hundred more are expected to participate remotely. The goals of the IGF “include identifying more focused and concrete outcomes and the promotion of best practices on a range of important issues such as the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, child online protection, local content creation, ensuring security and combatting spam”.

Kurbalija, Jovan. 10 points for the EU’s future digital policy. Diplo. August 27, 2014.

  • Kurbalija discusses the 10 main “digital” points contained in the Policy Guidelines for the European Commission delivered at the European Parliament by Jean-Claude Junker, the new president of the EC, in July. Kurbalija points out that “the more Europe depends on the Internet, the more strategic Europe’s digital policy issues become”. Among the 10 main points are: using the digital sphere to drive the EU’s economic and social growth; using the digital economy for job creation; promoting small and medium sized digital enterprises; developing an EU data protection strategy; the development of digital standards; and “introducing more robust procedures in multistakeholder processes in order to ensure transparency in the activities of different stakeholders”.

Malcolm, Jeremy. Internet Governance and the NETnundial Initiative: A Flawed Attempt at Turning Words into Action. Electronic Frontier Foundation. August 28, 2014.

  • Malcom discusses the launch of the NETmundial Initiative by the World Economic Forum this week and argues that “it wasn’t a promising start”. In particular, Malcolm points out that the planning and organization that went into the NETmundial Meeting (held in April in Brazil) reflected a degree of transparency that was absent in the NETmundial Initiative. Malcolm argues that the Initiative proposes “a laudably action-focused agenda to take forward the NETmundial Principles, but by means of a rather closed, top-down and opaque process” and that “initial indications suggest it is far from an ideal model of global Internet governance in action”.

Ring, Tim. European Commission backs Microsoft in Privacy Fight with US. SC Magazine. SC Magazine. August 12, 2014.

  • Following a case in which a U.S. judge “ruled that a US search warrant demanding access to [a] European customer’s email in relation to a drugs investigation was legal”, the European Commission has said that “the court decision to disclose the data goes against Irish and European law”. This has resulted in a jurisdictional competition and a debate over transnational coordination of privacy laws. The European Commission and the U.S. are exploring legal frameworks so that either can “request any access to personal data through existing governmental ‘mutual assistance’ agreements, and leave the tech companies out of it”.

WEF Unveils ‘Crowdsourcing’ Push on How to Run the Web. Global Post. August 28, 2014.

  • The World Economic Forum this week announced the launch of the NETMundial Initiative, a project “aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet”. The Initiative may “enable ‘crowdsourcing with the best experts in the world’ to help determine the path forward on a wide range of issues”. More than “20,000 others followed [the] discussions online”. The Initiative does not intend to become an oversight body for the Internet, but rather wants to “make sure that the Internet does not become fragmented”.

Papers and Reports

Call for proposals: Research on Internet governance principles. UNESCO Communication and Information Sector. August 26, 2014.

  • UNESCO is seeking “to contract an individual or organization to review international and regional declarations, normative frameworks and accountability measures related to Internet governance principles as part of UNESCO’s comprehensive study on Internet-related issues”. The study should “provide a comprehensive review of key initiatives on Internet governance principles which have been developed by various stakeholders, and analyze the extent to which various declarations have been used as normative instruments”. Research questions include: “What international and regional normative documents related to access to information, freedom of expression, privacy and ethical dimensions of the information society have been developed? What networks and observatories exist to identify developments regarding Internet governance? How does UNESCO’s draft concept of Internet universality fit into existing documents? Is there a gap that needs to be filled to cover the areas under UNESCO’s mandate?” Proposals should be submitted by September 20, 2014.

Hofmann, Jeanette and Katzenbach, Christian and Gollatz, Kirsten, Between Coordination and Regulation: Conceptualizing Governance in Internet Governance. HIIG Discussion Paper Series No. 2014-4. August 21, 2014.

  • This paper, “led by the question of how to define (Internet) governance in a way that is theoretically grounded as well as empirically instructive”, “contributes to the recent move towards a more systematic reflection on the conceptual foundations of Internet governance”. In constructing its arguments, the paper “mobilizes literature from the broader field of governance and regulation studies as well as sociological theory and applies these concepts to issues of Internet governance”. According to the paper’s abstract, “a brief literature review reveals that studies on Internet governance rely on partly contradictory notions of governance. The common understanding as some form of deliberate steering or regulation clashes with equally common definitions of Internet governance that emphasize its distributed and heterogeneous character taking ordering effects of interconnection agreements or discursive arenas like the IGF into account.”

McCarthy, Niall. Giant Chart: Global Internet Usage By The Numbers. Forbes. August 27, 2014.

  • This infographic chart provides statistics on: the global number of worldwide Internet users from 2000 to 2014; the regional distribution of Internet users worldwide in 2014; a forecast of global Internet consumer traffic in 2018; the traffic composition of Internet usage in North America in 2014; countries with the fastest average Internet connection speed in 2014; and the share of mobile Internet traffic in global regions between 2013 and 2014.

Prince, Matthew. The Relative Cost of Bandwidth Around the World. CloudFlare. August 26, 2014.

  • This report looks into global network operations “to explain how networks operate, and the relative costs of Internet connectivity in different parts of the world”. The article describes how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) connect various networks; how to buy bandwidth from providers; what “peering” is; and then looks at these issues in different regions.


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

The IGF 2014 Fragmentation Track. Internet & Jurisdiction Project. September 2- 5, 2014.

  • Internet “fragmentation” is a general concern in Internet governance that applies to areas of access and connectivity, digital standards and technology, as well as trade and policy. The Internet Society (ISOC), the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and the Internet & Jurisdiction Project are organizing three workshops on the issue of fragmentation at the Internet Governance Forum 2014. The sessions, listed on this page, will “help frame the broader debate and shed light on complementary perspectives on the risk of fragmentation: What are the processes that could lead to fragmentation, what are the broader costs associated with fragmentation and how can cooperation regimes be developed to prevent fragmentation?”

Internet Ungovernance Forum. Istanbul Bilgi University, Santral Campus. September 4 – 5, 2014.

  • This forum will be held in parallel to the 2014 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul. The organizers of the event believe “the main perpetrators of many of the Internet’s problems, governments and corporations, are getting representation in IGF they don’t deserve” and are the organizers are therefore taking “initiative to defend the Internet as we know it and to create a space to raise the voices of civil society initiatives, activists and common people”. Registration is available through the main page.

NETmundial Initiative – Initial Scoping Meeting. World Economic Forum. August 28, 2014.

  • The NETmundial Initiative launched this week at the World Economic Forum with an initial Scoping Meeting that focused on questions such as, “what key Internet governance issues would benefit from additional high-level interdisciplinary (e.g., cross-ministry and cross-industry) multistakeholder dialogue?” and “which particular perspectives, expertise and stakeholders need to be engaged?” The meeting brought together a range of leaders across the range of Internet stakeholders participating in Internet governance today. The event included a press conference and ended with a debrief with the Initiative’s founding partners, looking to answer questions such as the Initiative’s medium term objectives, goals for the next six months, the development of consultative processes, assigning roles and resources, and composing the Transitional Steering Committee of the Initiative before it is more formally defined. These events were recorded and the recordings, along with the meeting FAQ, Agenda, Participants, Initiative Brief, and Presentation can be found by clicking through the link. 

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