The GovLab SCAN – Issue 44

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our 44th 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:

  • 16 European member states have issued a joint declaration calling on European officials to adopt a legislative package reforming personal data protection by 2015.
  • The bipartisan Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS Act) introduced last week proposes that if the U.S. government wanted to access non-U.S. citizens’ data stored overseas, it “would have to follow the legal process of the nation where the servers reside”.


Namazi, Cyrus. 500+ New gTLD Agreements Signed & Counting. ICANN Blog. September 22, 2014.

  • As of September 12, ICANN had “executed 515 New gTLD Registry Agreements”. Namazi discusses the New gTLD Registry Agreement process, pointing out that, “to date, not one of the 515 executed New gTLD Registry Agreements includes any negotiated changes to the standard contract language template”. New gTLD Registry Agreement resources (including a list of all 515 new gTLDs) can be found here.

Internet Governance

Arnold, Martin. Banks launch fresh drive against cyber crime. Financial Times. September 23, 2014.

  • The UK banking industry is “teaming up with more than a dozen government and law enforcement agencies to establish a new platform that will warn institutions of the latest threats from financial criminals”. Arnold points out that banks have “pushed cyber security up their list of priorities as they encourage customers to do more of their banking via smartphone applications”. The new alerts system will “pool intelligence from 12 government and law enforcement agencies, including the National Crime Agency, and share it with the teams working inside the banks to combat fraud, cyber crime, terrorism financing, money laundering and bribery”.

Barbière, Cécile. National Parliaments raise the pressure on data protection. September 22, 2014.

  • 16 EU Member states, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania, the United Kingdom, Slovakia and Sweden issued a joint declaration calling on European officials to adopt a legislative package reforming personal data protection by 2015. European reform efforts on personal data have been on the agenda since  2012, but in the wake of revelations of the American cyber espionage program PRISM, EU lawmakers moved to include extra protections for European citizens. The legislation would force Google, Facebook and other companies to receive approval from relevant national European authorities before sending users’ details abroad.

Doria, Avri. The Threat to the Bottom-Up. Avri Dora Blog. September 23, 2014.

  • Doria discusses the process of “bottom-up” decision-making and “rough consensus” in the multistakeholder model and finds that, across institutions engaged in Internet governance, three themes are common to reaching consensus: “consent of all participants is the goal”, “some dissent on issues can occur”, and “fact and experience base decision making”. Doria points out that “with the sensitive and pressing nature of the work being done on new gTLDS, IANA Stewardship, ICANN accountability, and the pressures of the global Internet environment, the ICANN cycle of community and corporation has started wobbling”. Doria concludes that both ICANN “the corporation” and ICANN “the community” should “stop, look at the wheel and take the time to true it”.

De Guzman, Noelle Francesca. Zero rating: enabling or restricting Internet access. Internet Society Blog Asia Pacific Bureau. September 24, 2014.

  • At the recent Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul, “zero rating” was a new topic of debate at the center of digital divide discussions. Zero rating refers to a practice where mobile carriers develop exclusive agreements with particular content providers to offer consumers access to their online content or services at no additional cost. The practice is gaining popularity in emerging Internet markets like the Philippines, India, and Indonesia. Proponents of zero rating argue that it is an effective tool to introduce Internet access and content to low-income communities. Net neutrality activists are alarmed by the practice, arguing that it creates preferential treatment of content, violating the core tenets of net neutrality. They argue that this could lead to the widespread practice of carriers of using discriminatory deals as a justification for giving more people Internet access.

Joint Press Statement for the U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy – The Sixth Director General-Level Meeting. U.S. Department of State. September 19, 2014.

  • The United States and Japan “held the sixth Director General-level meeting of the U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy in Washington, D.C. on September 16 and 17, 2014”. Topics included “U.S.-Japan cooperation for ensuring the multi-stakeholder system of Internet governance; the use of personal data and protection of privacy; improving awareness of cyber security risks; telecommunications services; open data; R&D cooperation; and ICT for development”. A particular focus was the upcoming Internet Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Meeting in October in Busan, South Korea.

Kaliski, Burt. Exploring Future Internet Architectures. CircleID. September 25, 2014.

  • This week, UCLA and Washington University in St. Louis launched the Named Data Networking Consortium (NDN), a space for collaboration among industry and university researchers with a goal to create a one candidate “next-generation, information-centric architecture for the Internet.” The forum will work to bring Internet protocols up to date to match the way we navigate the Internet, exploring the possibility of name to content mapping.

Kravets, David. Bill would limit reach of US search warrants for data stored abroad. ArsTechnica. September 19, 2014.

  • The bipartisan Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS Act) introduced last week proposes that – with regards to law enforcement obtaining data stored overseas – “the US could still reach into global servers with a US search warrant, but it would be limited to obtaining Americans’ data”. If the U.S. government wanted to access non-U.S. citizens’ data, it “would have to follow the legal process of the nation where the servers reside”.

Map Illustrates Global Internet Population and Penetration. CircleID. September 22, 2014.

  • Information Geographies at Oxford University released a map visualizing the percentage and total number of Internet users in every country. The map demonstrates that China has the largest number of Internet users overall with over a half billion, followed by the United States, India, and Japan. It also shows that, excluding Canada, New Zealand, Qatar, and South Korea, all countries with over 80% Internet penetration are in Europe.

Milan, Stefania, and Hintz, Arne. In Multistakeholderism We Trust: On the Limits of the Multistakeholder Debate. CGCS Media Wire. September 19, 2014.

  • Milan and – discuss whether the concept of “multistakeholderism” –pervasive in all Internet governance fora– has “become a mantra, void of its progressive potential and outcomes”. Milan and Hintz go on to describe how multistakeholderism is approached by different “stakeholders”, arguing that “civil society may benefit from, and strengthen its position by, re-focusing its efforts towards developing clearer and, if necessary, distinct civil society positions”, pointing out that multistakeholderism overemphasizes reaching consensus without making sense of conflict.

Miller, Joe. Google and Apple to introduce default encryption. BBC News. September 19, 2014.

  • Both Google and Apple are making efforts to make data encryption more ubiquitous by providing default encryption options on the Android and iOS operating systems, respectively. Miller points out that this practice protects user privacy and also “protects US firms from having to hand over data to law enforcement agencies”.

Papers and Reports

Al Hussaini, Amira. Netizen Report: Activist Repression and Electronic Witch Hunts in Bahrain. Global Voices Advocacy. September 24, 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 EU Court of Justice has released a “myth-busting document” to “refute criticism from free expression advocates and civil society groups over the controversial ‘Right to be Forgotten’”; a Crimean blogger’s home has been raided because of the blogger’s writings about opposing Russian military actions in Crimea; Russia has announced plans to tighten control over the Internet in Russia.

Jardine, Eric. Should the Average Internet User in a Liberal Democracy Care About Internet Fragmentation? Center for International Governance Innovation. September 19, 2014.

  • Jardine defines Internet fragmentation as “anything that works against the fundamental technical nature of the Internet as a network of networks based upon the idea of universal interoperability between devices and completely free flowing communication”. Jardine points to the existence of many different types and sources of fragmentation – including technical, legal, and economic. Jardine argues that “the average Internet user in a liberal democracy” should care about Internet fragmentation because “fragmentation will mean losing out on future global GDP growth” and “because it’s a matter of distributional justice (who gets what in a fair way)”. Jardine concludes that “users need to recognize that the system works best and contributes most to the content and material well-being of all Internet users when it approaches its ideal technical design of universal interoperability”.

Link, Perry, and Xiang, Qiao. Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang. China Digital Times. September 10, 2014.

  • This book “will guide readers through the colorful, raucous world of China’s online resistance discourse… no knowledge of Chinese is needed to appreciate the creative leaps netizens make in order to keep talking”. The book focuses on how Chinese Internet users circumvent censorship through the use of new or reappropriated terminology and discusses the significance of such online behaviors in the relationship between state and society.

The State of Broadband 2014: Broadband for All. Broadband Commission for Digital Development. September 21, 2014.

  • The UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development in New York has released a new State of Broadband Report for 2014. The report provides a global view of broadband availability and affordability using country-by-country data measured against advocacy targets set by the Broadband Commission. Some highlights include this years growth of Internet users to 40% of the world population, and the fact that mobile broadband penetration has become the fastest growing technology in history, expected to climb to 7.6 billion users within the next five years. The Republic of Korea continues to have the world’s highest household broadband penetration at over 98%.

Wallace, Ian. India, the U.S. and Internet Governance. Brookings Institute. September, 2014.

  • In this policy memo, Wallace “explains the different approaches that India and the U.S. take on internet governance, what’s at stake in this debate, the choices that face the Modi government, and the internet governance-related meetings on the horizon”. Wallace points out that in some ways the U.S. and India have complementary approaches to Internet governance, in that the U.S. is a champion of the multistakeholder model while facing international pressures regarding its surveillance practices, while India by contrast champions a multilateral model while facing demands for being the world’s largest democracy. Wallace argues that the multistakeholder model can be safeguarded in high-level policy debates if countries like India, the U.S., and Brazil work together and coordinate their Internet governance approaches.


(The below includes both past and upcoming events. See The GovLab’s Master Events Calendar for more Internet Governance events)

Digital Borders and Technological Sovereignty: Breaking or Saving the Internet as We Know It? New America Foundation. September 19, 2014.

  • This event “[took] stock of the current state of [data localization proposals] and [their] implications” as well as “the political dynamics around the proposals in Europe and in Brazil”. The event focused on the questions, “do the [data localization] measures discussed help achieve their purported goals of protecting government and industry secrets as well as citizens from foreign spying and surveillance? What are their side-effects for a free and open Internet?”

OneWebDay 2014 – Recognizing Core Internet Values. September 22, 2014.

  • This global annual event is “aimed at giving all participants in this unprecedented turn in human evolution that is the Internet a chance not only to celebrate it, but also to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining the open-networking principles that have made it the success it is”. The event page recommends three videos related to core Internet values, including Dave Moskovitz’s TED talk, “The four superpowers of the Internet” (being direct, open, accessible and free), the U.S. Department of State’s ““The Internet Belongs to Everyone” video, and the video recording of the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values session at the 2014 Internet Governance Forum.

The UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and Internet Freedom – Developments & Perspectives. Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. October 1, 2014.

  • This event will “look at past developments and try to show future perspectives for the IGF”, focusing on questions such as, “what did the IGF process achieve for freedom of expression on the Internet over the last decade? Has the IGF come to a standstill? What are possible perspectives for a meaningful multi-stakeholder process in Internet governance?”

Web We Want Festival. Southbank Centre. September 27, 2014 – May 31, 2015.

  • Working with the World Wide Web Consortium’s “Web We Want” campaign for “a free, open and universal Web”, this festival will be a celebration of the Web and will “also explore some of the things that threaten the web as we know it and what solutions there might be”. Festival organizers are seeking to crowdsource content for the festival through the following questions (use the hashtags to submit answers via Twitter): “What Web projects have you encountered that leap borders or conventional approaches to change people’s lives? #WebInspire”; “What do you think are the best examples of creativity and artistic imagination on the Web? #WebCreate”; “What examples of personal, corporate or government online action threatens the future of a free, open and universal Web? #OpenWeb; “What aspects of the Web give you the greatest joy and the greatest worry? #WebJoy  #WebWorry”; “What ideas, projects or schemes would you suggest we present at the festival to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Web? #MyWebIdea”.

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