As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our 41st 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:
- The 9th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) took place in Istanbul, Turkey this week. Topics of significance this year included the transition of the stewardship of the IANA functions, ICANN’s “accountability update”, net neutrality, safeguarding the multistakeholder model, the Internet and human rights, and Internet access. The full schedule can be found here.
- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is focusing on reducing anti-competition policies this week in what is viewed as a significant position statement with regards to net neutrality debates.
- The U.S. Congress will deliberate on two privacy bills when Congress resumes on September 8: The USA FREEDOM Act –currently holding widespread support- and CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act) –a bill that is currently very controversial.
Corwin, Philip S. Stress Test: Accountability Reconsideration Request filed with ICANN Board. CircleID. September 1, 2014.
- Last week the entire community of ICANN stakeholders sent a joint letter to ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé and the ICANN Board with regards to the“Enhancing ICANN Accountability and Governance – Process and Next Steps” document published by ICANN on August 14th stating that “substantial questions and concerns remain unanswered, including around the process to date and the plan as constructed”. Now, three signatories to the letter (the Business Constituency, Registry Stakeholders Group, and Non-Commercial Stakeholders group) have submitted a formal Reconsideration Request (RR) asking that ICANN “confer with the community as soon as possible to address these concerns and amend its plan in such a way that the community input is taken into account as the plan goes forward.” Corwin argues that “the attempt of ICANN staff to impose an Accountability Process over the objections of and without sufficient input from the ICANN community has introduced tremendous unnecessary stress into the entire relationship between the corporation and its community”.
- The IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG) has released a Request for Proposals seeking “complete formal responses from the ‘operational communities’ of IANA (i.e. those with direct operational or service relationships with the IANA functions operator, in connection with names, numbers, or protocol parameters)”. The closing date for the submission of proposals is December 31, 2014.
Downes, Larry. Why Internet governance should be left to the engineers. The Washington Post. September 3, 2014.
- Downes argues that technological innovation runs at a vastly different speed from traditional law, and that this should give cause for concern when governments and regulators “figure out ways to control [the Internet], suppress it, or otherwise extract value from it”. Taking recent net neutrality debates at the Internet Governance Forum as context, Downes points out that the multistakeholder model, largely developed and used by the technical and engineering Internet stakeholder community, should not be hastily discarded in favor of a governmental approach to Internet governance because “disruptive innovation cannot thrive at the appropriately deliberate pace of traditional governments, however well-intentioned (or not)”.
European Commission position for Internet Governance Forum 2014, Istanbul 2- 5 Sept. European Commission. September 2, 2014.
- The European Commission (which contributes about one third of the Internet Governance Forum’s current funding) in this press release lays out its position with regards to the IGF this year. Important points include “strengthening and improving the IGF”, “safeguarding and improving the multistakeholder approach to Internet governance”, influencing discussions on the transition of stewardship of the IANA functions, highlighting “areas of improvement in today’s internet governance arrangements, especially ICANN’s accountability and transparency”, and pressing “the Turkish government and other stakeholders on the need to respect media freedom and pluralism in Turkey”.
Farrell, Maria. How to survive the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul and why bother? The Guardian. September 4, 2014.
- Farrell places the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) taking place in Istanbul this week in the context of significant developments in Internet governance this year including the NETmundial meeting in April in Brazil and the process of ICANN’s globalization. Farrell goes on to describes different demographics within the IGF’s participants and the different purposes stakeholder groups have in going to the IGF, and concludes that even while the IGF may not have significant direct impacts on the Internet or how the Internet is governed, it is still important for bringing diverse global stakeholders together.
Halpin, Harry. Crowdsourcing a Magna Carta for the Web at Internet Governance Forum. World Wide Web Consortium. September 3, 2014.
- Halpin asks how a “Magna Carta” for Web rights [can] be crowd-sourced directly from the users of the Web itself” and points to an Internet Governance Forum session which explored potential answers to this question. Halpin observes that the tools for “involving massive amounts of users in collaborative editing, discussing controversial topics, and reaching consensus are still in their early stages” and that we need to “build more effective socio-technological scaffolding” to “let people engage effectively in multi-stakeholder processes”.
Hoofnagle, Chris Jay. The Potemkinism of Privacy Pragmatism. Slate. September 2, 2014.
- Privacy has often been regulated by limiting the collection of data. Some business leaders and scholars are arguing for a shift to “use regulation” where “companies may collect any data they wish but would be banned from certain uses of the data.”This article argues that there are “deep problems with protecting privacy through regulating use. When one takes into account the broader litigation and policy landscape of privacy, it becomes apparent that use-regulation advocates are actually arguing for broad deregulation of information privacy.”
Jaycox, Mark. Two Privacy Bills Move as Congress Returns From Vacation. Electronic Frontier Foundation. September 4, 2014.
- The U.S. Congress will deliberate on two privacy bills when Congress resumes on September 8: The USA FREEDOM Act and CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act). Privacy advocates are pushing for the USA FREEDOM Act to be passed, which will be a step towards reining in “the NSA’s ‘Business Records’ program, which collects Americans’ calling records using Section 215 of the Patriot Act.” The second bill, CISA, is a “privacy-invasive cybersecurity bill written by the Senate Intelligence Committee to facilitate the sharing of computer threats between companies and the government. The bill grants companies broad legal immunity to spy on users and share their information with government agencies like the NSA,” and must be stopped by Congress, argues Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Kivuva, Mwendwa. Policies to Promote Broadband Access in Developing Countries. CircleID. September 3, 2014.
- One of the realizations of the IGF workshop on policies to promote broadband access in developing countries was that “while technological solutions are advancing rapidly, policy and regulations remain a significant barrier to affordable internet especially in the developing world.” In this article, Mwendwa Kivuva, Networking and Security Expert, discusses some of the policies that have been suggested in recent years to increase access while reducing the cost of broadband, including the sharing of resources by service providers, efficient spectrum management, and proper use and monitoring of Universal Service Funds.
Kroes, Neelie. Freedom of Expression is No Laughing Matter. European Commission. September 2, 2014.
- Speaking from the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul, Kroes argues for the importance of a free and open Internet for social and economic development, and takes Turkey’s blocking of access to Twitter and YouTube some months ago as a negative example. Kroes further argues for the European Union’s digital standards as a platform for the promotion of policies for Internet openness everywhere, including Turkey.
Lemos, Robert. In case of cyber attack: NATO members ready to pledge mutual defense. ArsTechnica. September 4, 2014.
- Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plan to ratify an agreement to “aid the defense of any other NATO country in the event of a major cyber attack.” This policy will “task NATO countries with sharing information on cyber threats, lending expertise to harden member nations’ communications and information systems (CIS), and working with industry partners to improve NATO’s ability to respond to cyber attacks.” The NATO members are also proposing a “Readiness Action Plan, or RAP, that will boost the focus on cyber defense, improve the NATO Response Force, and create a new force that can quickly respond to threats” as part of the summit.
Linshi, Jack. Your Favorite Websites Are Protesting Against Internet ‘Slow Lanes’. Time. September 4, 2014.
- Major Internet companies will be participating in a day of action to protest proposed federal Internet regulation that they argue will harm the principle of net neutrality. Companies including Etsy, Kickstarter, and WordPress will display a “spinning wheel of death” on their websites on Sept 10 to “symbolize what surfing the web could be like if the rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission in April go into effect, argues Battleforthenet.com, a site maintained by several Internet advocacy groups.”
Magid, Larry. Internet Governance Forum Topics Include Human Rights, Network Neutrality and Child Protection. Forbes. September 1, 2014.
- Co-Directors of ConnectSafely.org are attending this year’s Internet Governance Forum in Turkey to discuss “child protection, child rights and digital citizenship, including children’s access to social media and other Internet resources.” The IGF this year will host several workshops and panels on child protection, including Empowering Global Youth Through Digital Citizenship, aimed at developing a “better understanding of youth perspectives,” and Protecting Child Safety AND Child Rights, which “focuses on how adults can help young people remain safe online without jeopardizing their rights of access, free expression and participation.”
Mueller, Milton. The Not-Mundial Initiative: Governance and Ungovernance in Istanbul. Internet Governance Project. August 29, 2014.
- Mueller observes that the NETmundial Initiative (NMI) has in some ways “upstaged” the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) taking place this week because the NMI purports to deliver similar functions to the IGF. According to Mueller there are four reasons why the NMI is controversial: it has no formal relationship with the NETmundial Meeting which took place in April; it was “formed through a top-down process”; its link to the World Economic Forum (WEF) makes it elitist and potentially business-interest dominated; and it distracts from the IGF.
New Association Launched to Support the Internet Governance Forum and its Essential Role in Addressing Internet Governance Issues. Internet Society. September 1, 2014.
- The Internet Society (ISOC) has established the IGF Support Association at this year’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF Support Association will: “provide funds to maintain and strengthen the IGF Secretariat and national and regional IGF initiatives”, “seek and promote exchange and collaboration with national and regional IGF initiatives”, “ identify new sources of funding and facilitate funding of the IGF”, “ make contributions to the IGF Trust Fund administered by the United Nations”, and “award fellowships for participation at IGF meetings, including preparatory meetings”.
Open, inclusive Internet depends on enriched debate about policy creation, says global business. International Chamber of Commerce. September 2, 2014.
- The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) stressed the importance of cooperation in Internet-related decision-making at this year’s IGF. ICC BASIS pointed out in particular that, “businesses depend on a safe, secure, open, interoperable and sustainable Internet to function” and that “the creation of local barriers  threaten[s] to disrupt the phenomenal global Internet growth that has occurred to date”.
Paul, Kari. Turkey Prosecutes Twitter Users, Hosts Internet Freedom Forum. Mashable. September 3, 2014.
- Several human rights organizations are criticizing the Turkish Government for prosecuting Twitter users while they host the Internet Governance Forum, a conference on Internet freedom and human rights. 29 Twitter users are being prosecuted for “posting tweets critical of the government during protests last year.” Other criticisms include the fact that Turkey passed “a law in 2007 that has blocked or censored more than 50,000 websites, including LGBTQ community forums, pro-Kurdish websites and independent news outlets.”
Robb, Drew. Why global efforts to combat cybercrime are so difficult. Tech Page One. August 19, 2014.
- Drew Robb outlines some of the reasons why global efforts to combat cybercrime are so difficult: first, as an international problem, it requires multinational cooperation. However, “because they are transnational, cybercrimes are not a high priority for local law enforcement,” and bureaucracies are also often slow. Second, “fragmentation persists” where several groups are “engaged in IT standards, security, trade, finance, civil rights and law enforcement connected with managing the Internet” but no single group has taken charge. Finally, maintaining the privacy of citizens “any efforts do not interfere with the freedoms that users have come to expect from the Internet.”
Sweeting, Paul. FCC: Neutralizing Competition.GigaOm. September 3, 2014.
- The FCC recently appointed Scott Jordan as its new Chief Technological Officer, who “advocates a middle-ground approach to net neutrality that leverages the layered architecture of the internet to ensure a sort of operational neutrality rather than focusing on particular types of services or applications.” His approach focuses on “restraining anti-competitive behavior in network management and oligopoly rent-seeking by ISPs” instead of “the open-access, innovation or free-speech aspects of the current debate.” Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman, also seems increasingly interested in policing anti-competitive network behavior, marked by “the hiring of former Justice Department anti-trust attorney Paula Blizzard as deputy chief of the FCC’s enforcement bureau”. Sweeting suggests that this shows Wheeler anticipates competition-related issues will be near the top of the enforcement bureau’s agenda over the next few years.”
Venkat, Vidya. ‘U.S. monopoly over Internet must go’.The Hindu. September 2, 2014.
- The Hindu interviewed Louis Pouzin, a pioneer of the Internet and internationally regarded as an expert in communications and networks, on the key concerns he will discuss at the Internet Governance Forum this year. Pouzin stated that the issue of US dominance of the Internet must be addressed. According to Pouzin, “the demand for an Internet bill of rights is growing loud,” and that it must “lay out what Internet can and cannot do. Key government actors must sign the agreement making it binding on them. The main issue pertaining to technological dominance and thereby control of the network itself has to be challenged and a bill of rights must aim to address these concerns.”
Papers and Reports
Drake, William J, and Price, Monroe, eds. Beyond NETmundial: The Roadmap for Institutional Improvements to the Global Internet Governance Ecosystem. Internet Policy Observatory, Center for Global Communication Studies, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. August, 2014.
- This collection of essays “explores options for the implementation of a key section of the “NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement” that was adopted at the Global Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETmundial) held on April 23rd and 24th 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil. The Roadmap section of the statement concisely sets out a series of proposed enhancements to existing mechanisms for global internet governance, as well as suggestions of possible new initiatives that the global community may wish to consider. The sixteen chapters by leading practitioners and scholars are grouped into six sections: The NETmundial Meeting; Strengthening the Internet Governance Forum; Filling the Gaps; Improving ICANN; Broader Analytical Perspectives; and Moving Forward.”
I&J Project White Paper 2014 Published: Towards A Multistakeholder Framework for Transnational Due Process. Internet & Jurisdiction Project. August 18, 20124.
- This white paper “summarizes the state of the ongoing global multi-stakeholder dialogue process”. It describes an the need for a “due process framework” to submit and handle requests (for domain seizures, content takedowns, and access to user data) when legal jurisdictional issues present themselves in online settings and highlights the unintended consequences of uncoordinated national legal approaches to Internet-related issues.
Singh, Parminder Jeet. Global Internet Governance: A Developing Country Perspective. Third World Resurgence No.287/288, July/August 2014, pp 15 – 21. August, 2014.
- Singh reviews global Internet governance from the perspective of developing countries and “contends that the US and its corporate allies are wary of any challenge to the default Internet governance regime”. However, Singh also contends that developing countries can “develop a proactive strategy to shape the emerging global regime on Internet governance”. Singh argues that such strategies should be constructed “based on a new paradigm of the Internet as a global commons and a public utility”.
(See The GovLab’s Master Events Calendar for more Internet Governance events)
Doctorow, Cory. Free Cybersecurity MOOC. Boing Boing. September 3, 2014.
- A free cybersecurity MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) supported by the UK Government will teach “the fundamentals of crypto, information security, and privacy.” The course starts in October and runs for 8 weeks, and participants can pay to receive an optional certificate of completion. Cory Doctorow, the course’s host and visiting professor at the Open University, writes that “the course is designed to teach you to use privacy technologies and good practices to make it harder for police and governments to put you under surveillance, harder for identity thieves and voyeurs to spy on you, and easier for you and your correspondents to communicate in private.”
The Global War for Internet Governance. Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). September 9, 2014.
- This event, taking place from 7pm – 9pm EST on September 9 at the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), features speaker Laura DeNardis discussing her new book, The Global War for Internet Governance, which “explains how the Internet is currently governed, particularly through the sinews of power that exist in technical architecture and new global institutions, and presents several brewing Internet governance controversies that will affect the future of economic and expressive liberty”.
Will Cyberspace Fragment Along National Jurisdictions? Internet & Jurisdiction Project. September 4, 2014.
- This workshop held at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) helped to “frame the broader debate on cyberspace fragmentation and present its different dimensions”. Given that “the growing tension between the cross-border nature of the Internet and the territorial conception of national sovereignty produces a legal competition and increasing conflicts of laws”, this workshop “explore[d] the possible ways to foster cooperation among actors”, including a white paper recently released by the Internet & Jurisdiction Project. Click through for a video recording of the event.