The GovLab SCAN – Issue 56

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our 56th edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. This issue covers news and materials from the last two weeks and contains several 2014 year-end retrospectives by various individuals and organizations in the Internet governance community, as well as some of the first posts of 2015. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at [email protected]

This week’s highlights:

  • The Diplo Foundation has produced an interactive timeline of 2014’s Internet governance events. See: 2014 Timeline of Internet Governance.
  • The GovLab has authored a new research paper, “Innovations in Global Governance: Toward a Distributed Governance Ecosystem“, focusing on enabling a global and distributed Internet governance ecosystem. The paper is part of a series under the Global Commission for Internet Governance (GCIG).
  • The NETmundial Initiative has announced the formation of its inaugural Coordination Council, with 20 members.
  • Following the widely-publicized hacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment and subsequent attempts to identify the hackers responsible, cybersecurity is set to be one of the most important issues in Internet governance for 2015.
  • January 15 is the target deadline for the IANA functions’ three operational communities (names, numbers, and protocol parameters) to respond to the ICG Request for Transition Proposals. See the three draft proposals: names, numbers, and protocol parameters.


Draft Response to the Internet Coordination Group Request for Proposals on IANA from the RIR community. Number Resource Organization (NRO). December 18, 2014.

  • According to the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) announcement, “the first draft of the Internet numbers community’s response to the Request For Proposals issued by the IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG) is now published. The draft [was] prepared by the Consolidated RIR IANA Stewardship Proposal (CRISP) team, [which is] now seeking feedback on this draft from the global community.” Key points include: “ICANN to continue as an operator of the IANA function”; “Exchange SLA [service-level agreement] with ICANN as the IANA function operator on number resources”; and “Review Committee with representatives from each RIR [regional Internet registry] region.”

ICANN Board Comments on Cross Community Working Group (CWG) Draft Transition Proposal for Naming Related Functions. December 22, 2014.

  • According to the ICANN Board, “we have been conscious of two guideposts during this process: to remain fairly silent so as not to attempt or seem to be attempting to inappropriately influence the process, and, at the same time to share our thinking with the community.” The comments address both ICANN’s accountability and the IANA functions stewardship transition, and, among other things, the Board “ask[s] the CWG to distinguish the broader accountability questions from the issues of the performance of the IANA Functions and concerns about addressing the possibility of improper activity within the performance of the IANA Functions.”

Johnson, David R. ICANN Accountability – A Coup Or A Contract? Internet Governance Project. December 19, 2014.

  • Discussing the IANA functions stewardship transition, Johnson points out that “bylaws are a way that a corporation (including a non-profit) governs itself. Contracts, in contrast, are what allows it to govern others, and others to govern it. It would be much simpler to talk about ICANN’s accountability in terms of contractual provisions — enforceable promises ICANN is willing to make to other parties, now, regarding what it will and will not do.” Johnson goes on to argue that “if this were viewed as a simple contract negotiation, between ICANN stakeholders (at least the registries, registrars and registrants who are regulated by ICANN contracts) and the ICANN corporation (Board), then the accountability issues would look very different depending on whether ICANN agrees to contract terms that limit its ability to impose rules on others.”

Mueller, Milton. Happy New Year, Happy New IANA. Internet Governance Project. January 1, 2015.

  • “As the new year dawns a new IANA is emerging, but the outlines are still blurry.” The Internet Governance Project “reviewed all the public comments submitted in response to the CWG’s draft proposal” and the results can be found here. According to Mueller, “two-thirds (67%) of the comments directly addressing the issue supported the core ideas behind the draft: that the IANA functions operator should be separable from ICANN, and that there should be an external oversight entity with the authority to award the IANA functions contract on a periodic basis, just as the NTIA did before. But there were many concerns raised about the details of the proposal, especially the composition of the so-called Multistakeholder Review Team (MRT) and the jurisdiction of the contracting entity.” Discussing the relationship between the ICANN Accountability process and the IANA Stewardship Transition, Mueller also points out that “making ICANN’s policy development process, and its staff’s contractual implementation and enforcement processes, more accountable to involved stakeholders is a very different kind of problem than ensuring that the IANA naming functions operator correctly, efficiently and reliably implements technical changes in the root zone file.”

McCarthy, Kieren. ICANN’s technical competence queried by Verisign report. The Register. December 24, 2014.

  • “A review of the globe’s DNS security, stability and resiliency by dot-com registry and root server operator Verisign has called into question the technical competence of domain name overseer ICANN.” The report looks at name collisions in the Domain Name System, issues surrounding the root servers, and “raises some significant concerns over ICANN and potentially over its running of the IANA functions is when it addresses the topic of DNSSEC.” McCarthy notes that the report “should serve as a warning sign both to ICANN and the broader technical community of likely underfunding and under-resourcing of vital internet functions” as it “does raise serious questions over how ICANN prioritizes its core technical functions.”

Swinehart, Theresa. IANA Stewardship Transition & Enhancing ICANN Accountability: Monthly Update. ICANN Blog. December 18, 2014.

  • This was the last update of 2014 regarding the IANA Stewardship Transition and the ICANN Accountability process. ICANN has “designed an infographic showing the interrelation of the two processes and the flow of proposals from each.” According to Swinehart, the “three operational communities are in the homestretch towards meeting the January 15 target deadline to respond to the ICG Request for Transition Proposals.” Further, “the CCWG-Accountability charter has been adopted by the GNSO, ALAC, ccNSO, GAC and ASO.” Finally, “the Public Experts Group (PEG) has announced its selection of Advisors to the CCWG. These Advisors will contribute research and advice to the working group, and will bring perspectives on global best practices on various topics ranging from Board Governance and Corporate Management to Global Ethics Frameworks and Human Rights.”

Internet Governance

Ashton-Hart, Nick. Are the TISA Trade Talks a Threat to Net Neutrality, Data Protection, or Privacy? CircleID. December 30, 2014.

  • “On December 17th a US proposal for online commerce in a major trade negotiation, the Trade in Services Agreement (“TISA”) leaked” causing a great deal of speculation that TISA would be a threat to the open Internet. Ashton-Hart believes “most commenters have got the main issues wrong and largely missed the significance of the worst feature of the proposal — the extremely broad national security exception.” According to Ashton-Hart, “countries are increasingly resorting to digital protectionism using national security as the rationale, in large part reacting to the Snowden revelations. Proposing a broad exception is a strategic mistake, not just for trade, but for free expression and human rights online more broadly.” Ashton-Hart also argues that secrecy around agreements like TISA is counterproductive because it produces suspicion, and that “trade policy can play a profoundly beneficial role in protecting a permissionless-innovation and human-rights centric Internet.”

Bruni, Frank. Hacking our Humanity: Sony, Security, and the End of Privacy. The New York Times. December 20, 2014.

  • According to Bruni, “you can no longer assume that what’s meant to be seen by only one other individual won’t find its way to hundreds, thousands, even millions. That sort of privacy is a quaint relic.” Bruni points out that the continued use of digital communications technologies – even while people are aware of confidentiality and security issues – is not “a contraction. It’s more accurately labeled a bind.” Bruni argues that the lesson here is “to beware, period”, because “the methods by which we communicate today — the advances meant to liberate us — are robbing us of control.”

Goel, Vindu, and Kramer, Andrew E. Web Freedom is Seen to Be Growing as a Global Issue in 2015. The New York Times. January 1, 2015.

  • The authors point out that “companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google are increasingly being put in the tricky position of figuring out which laws and orders to comply with around the world — and which to ignore or contest.” Further, “governments around the world are stepping up their efforts to control the Internet, escalating the confrontation.” The authors discuss these efforts in Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, China, and also in the European Union.

Hinden, Bob. Year End Thoughts. Internet Society. December 23, 2014.

  • Hinden observes that “the Internet has reached the point where it is an important force in the world, and governments and corporations around the world have noticed.  It almost seems like everyone wants to control the Internet, but they don’t understand how or why the Internet is successful.  As a result, the challenges facing the Internet are growing.  This include governments who want to capture the operation and management of the Internet, corporations who ask users to trade their personal information for free service, governments who spy on Internet users traffic, countries blocking access to Internet sites, and increasing amount of attacks on companies, users, governments, and physical infrastructure by governmental and non-governmental actors.  All while the work to bring the Internet to everyone is hardly done.” Hinden concludes that “we all have much to do to keep the Internet open and bring its benefits to everyone in the world.”

Scott, Mark. Ireland Lends Support to Microsoft in Email Privacy Case. The New York Times Bits Blog. December 24, 2014.

  • In a case concerning a “legal dispute over a United States search warrant for emails related to a drug trafficking investigation [stored in Microsoft servers in Ireland]”, the Irish government “has given qualified support to Microsoft’s efforts to block the American authorities from seizing a customer’s emails that are stored in Ireland” and has said that “courts in the United States should respect the sovereignty of other countries when issuing search warrants, though it added that Ireland and the United States had existing treaties that could allow the data to be shared with the American authorities.”

Joint Statement from ISOC / ICANN Meeting. Internet Society. December 19, 2014.

  • “On 17 December 2014 representatives from ISOC and ICANN, along with the chairs of the IETF and IAB, met to discuss two separate timely topics, the IANA Stewardship Transition and the NETMundial Initiative.” The Joint Statement notes that “everyone agreed that we are all focused to work toward a better Internet. We are all completely committed to make the Internet successful, and to keep it free and open for everyone.” On the NETmundial Initiative, the Statement suggests that the NETmundial Initiative’s Transitional Committee “go back to the community to ask them on what they need in a platform for Internet Governance”; “build a step-wise approach to creating the initiative, that is, defining its Terms of Reference and Tasks it will undertake before the Initiative takes its final form and structure”; and “consult with the global community on these proposals.”

Meyer, David. How the Internet’s Engineers are Fighting Mass Surveillance. GigaOM. December 30, 2014.

  • Meyer discusses what the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) – a body that develops technical standards for the Internet – is doing to enhance online security following the revelations of NSA surveillance practices. There is, for example, a focus “on embedding security in a variety of different projects that the IETF is working on”; another example is that “the IETF is in the process of formalizing a concept called ‘opportunistic security’ whereby — even if full end-to-end security isn’t practical for whatever reason — some security is now officially recognized as being better than nothing.”

NETmundial Initiative Announces Formation of its Inaugural Coordination Council and a Broad Global Community Consultation Phase. NETmundial Initiative. December 23, 2014.

  • The NETmundial Initiative has “announced the members of its Inaugural Coordination Council and outlined next steps in the process.” According to the announcement, “a total of 46 high quality nomination submissions were made for the 20 seats available, reflecting a broad and diverse representation of stakeholders from all sectors and geographies.” The announcement goes on to note that “the responsibilities of the Inaugural Coordination Council will be limited to facilitating global support for the Initiative, including promoting the distributed Internet governance model, and attracting ideas, individuals, organizations, and funding in order to enable interested parties to take voluntary actions on the platform.  The Council will have no mandate to intervene on any initiatives advanced through the platform. Prior to the Council’s first meeting, the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the NETmundial Initiative will be developed through an inclusive, bottom-up, and consultative process, open to the global community.”

Peterson, Andrea, and Fung, Brian. 9 maps that explained the Internet in 2014. The Washington Post. December 31, 2014.

  • “[2014] was a big year for the Internet, from the U.S. debate over net neutrality to proposals to shift control of the worldwide Web to the global community.” This post contains 9 maps “that can help you understand how the Internet worked and how people used it in 2014”, including, for example: “Internet freedom around the world”; “undersea cables mapped like the London Tube”; “devices connected to the Internet”; and “broadband subscription rates in the United States.”

Radunovic, Vladimir. Welcome 2015 – a year of cyber(in)security. Diplo Foundation. December 31, 2014.

  • 2014 was a year filled with news of cybersecurity and hacking, and Radunovic asks, “Can the headlines get any worse in 2015?” and answers: “yes. But they could possibly get better as well.” Radunovic points out that “protection of the critical infrastructure from cyber-attack is [] coming to the top of the priority list”, that “cybercrime is getting more complex and sophisticated”, and that “a different threat ‒ or rather a risk ‒ may, however, come to forefront in 2015: cyber-armament.” Radunovic goes on to note that “it is not likely that these threats can be paused, but it is probable they can be slowed down to an ‘acceptable’ rate and better harnessed by addressing existing gaps in global governance and international cooperation.” Moreover, more and more confidence- and capacity-building initiatives are emerging in order to prevent such cyber-conflicts.

Segal, Adam. The Top Five Cyber Policy Developments of 2014: China’s Great Leap Forward. Council on Foreign Relations. December 29, 2014.

  • This post is part of a “countdown the top five developments in cyber policy of 2014”. According to Segal, “2014 was a year of major progress on the cyber policy front for China. Beijing reorganized and revitalized its policy making institutions at home, and it moved to shape the international agenda on the norms of behavior for cyberspace.” Segal notes that, “in particular, Beijing has stressed the norm of Internet sovereignty, the idea that every state has the right to make rules and regulations covering cyberspace, and that right should be recognized internationally. In other words, the global Internet should be subject to local controls.” Segal concludes, “at home, [China] will have to move quickly to improve domestic cybersecurity. On the international stage, it will have to convert its new found activism into concrete policy recommendations. Still, the objective is clear: China intends on become a strong cyber power.”

Tobias, Sharone. The Top Five Cyber Policy Developments of 2014: A Year of Corporate Cyberattacks. Council on Foreign Relations. December 30, 2014.

  • This post is part of a “countdown the top five developments in cyber policy of 2014”. Tobias takes stock of “three major cyberattacks against U.S. companies shook the corporate world earlier this year: Target opened the year by announcing in January that hackers had stolen personal information from an estimated 110 million accounts; hackers accessed approximately 83 million J.P. Morgan Chase accounts in August; and Home Depot confirmed that its payment system was breached in September, compromising an estimated 56 million accounts.” Tobias finds that “in these attacks, the division of responsibility for the costs and defense is not clear”; “the attacks show the necessity of protecting the weakest links and access points, such as through vendor networks”, and “customers just don’t seem to care that much about the security of their data.”

Papers and Reports

Deibert, Ron. The Geopolitics of Cyberspace After Snowden. Current History Magazine. January, 2015.

  • Deibert observes that “the aims of the Internet economy and those of state security converge around the same functional needs: collecting, monitoring, and analyzing as much data as possible.” According to Deibert, “three major trends have been increasingly shaping cyberspace: the big data explosion, the growing power and influence of the state, and the demographic shift to the global South. While these trends preceded the Snowden disclosures, his leaks have served to alter them somewhat, by intensifying and in some cases redirecting the focus of the conflicts over the Internet.” This essay “identif[ies] several focal points where the outcomes of these contests are likely to be most critical to the future of cyberspace.”

Internet of things: making the most of the second digital revolution. UK Government Office for Science. December 18, 2014.

  • This report “sets out the findings of a review by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser on the internet of things.” It looks at: “what government can do to help achieve the economic potential of the internet of things”, “how internet of things applications can improve the business of government – maintaining infrastructure and providing public services”, and “how we can manage future threats to national security and protect citizens.” It also “recommends 10 actions for government to maximise the opportunities and reduce the risks of these new technologies.”

Verhulst, Stefaan G., Beth S. Noveck, Jillian Raines, and Antony Declercq. Innovations in Global Governance: Toward a Distributed Governance Ecosystem. Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper No. 5 (published through the Centre for International Governance Innovation). December 23, 2014.

  • “The growth and globalization of the Internet over the past 40 years has been nothing short of remarkable. Virtually all sectors, from development to healthcare to education to politics, have been transformed. Yet developments in how the Internet is governed have not kept pace with this rapid technological innovation. Figuring out how to evolve the Internet’s governance in ways that are effective and legitimate is essential to ensure its continued potential. Flexible and innovative decision-making mechanisms are needed in order to enable disparate governance actors to address and respond effectively as changes in the network occur. This paper seeks to address the need to develop an effective and legitimate Internet governance ecosystem by proposing a distributed yet coordinatedframework that can accommodate a plurality of existing and emerging decision-making approaches. It draws on the lessons of open governance, adopting innovative techniques to facilitate coordination, information sharing, and evidence generation by and across increasingly diverse and global groups of Internet actors, and calls for creating practical tools to support such an effective, legitimate and evolving Internet governance ecosystem. Although no right answer or single model for how to manage all issues of relevance to the Internet is suggested within this paper, the proposed framework intends to allow for diverse experiments in distributed governance approaches to learn what works and what does not.”

Weber, Rolf H. Legal Interoperability as a Tool for Combatting Fragmentation. Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper No. 4 (published through the Centre for International Governance Innovation). December 18, 2014.

  •  This paper “portrays legal interoperability as a spectrum with full harmonization of normative rules between jurisdictions on one end and a complete fragmentation of legal systems on the other, the ideal existing between the two poles. In cyberspace, legal interoperability should be designed to function on four broad layers of complex systems: technology, data, human elements and institutional aspects. The regulatory models of harmonization, standardization, mutual recognition and other approaches (such as reciprocity or cooperation) should be mapped with the existing sources of law, identifying the most appropriate instrument for a given substantive topic. Legal interoperability is a complex issue and the monetary costs of non-interoperable laws in a highly networked world will increase. If an adequate level of legal interoperability is not achieved and a far-reaching fragmentation of legal jurisdictions prevails, the likelihood of dominant states enlarging the geographical scope of their laws through extraterritorial application increases. Due to this complexity, nuances in the design of rule-making processes must gain importance so that unintended consequences of regimes that are not legally interoperable can be avoided.”


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

Cybersecurity: A Strategic View. Geneva Internet Platform. January 15, 2014

  • “The Geneva Internet Platform, in co-operation with the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, DCAF, the GCSP, DiploFoundation, and other partners, is organising a series of events throughout 2015, entitled Geneva Cybersecurity Days. The series will bring together representatives of states; international organisations; experts; the corporate, academic, and technical sectors; and civil society, to discuss various challenges at national, regional, and global level related to cybersecurity. The Geneva Cybersecurity Days should increase awareness and further develop a global response to cybersecurity challenges along the lines of the Geneva Message on Strengthening Internet Governance.” This event will be the first Geneva Cybersecurity Day. Registration is available here.

[Webinar] Internet governance in 2015: a decisive year. Geneva Internet Platform. January 27, 2015.

  • “The NETmundial meeting and the IANA transition process dominated most of the 2014 developments, bringing Internet governance (IG) to a crossroads. 2015 will be a decisive year in which stakeholders will agree on post-2015 agendas. What can we expect in the coming months, and which issues are likely to be a priority?” Further, “in 2015, stakeholders are expected to agree on the implementation of WSIS Beyond 2015 and a post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The decision on the renewal of the IGF – whose mandate expires in 2015 – is also expected soon.” Diplo’s “first IG webinar of the year will sum up the main developments for 2014, and look at the main predictions for 2015.”


The Tags . . .

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply