The GovLab SCAN – Issue 58

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our 58th 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:

  • Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, multiple European Union member states are considering introducing new information-collection and reporting policies. Notably, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed denying terrorists a “safe space” to communicate by cracking down on encrypted communications.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama made a series of cyber-related announcements this week (leading up to the State of the Union speech on January 20), including revisions to the 2011 Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal, a new Consumer Bill of Rights, a Student Digital Privacy Act, and revisions to broadband competition policies in the form of “community-based broadband solutions”.
  • The Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC) and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University have released “Multistakeholder as Governance Groups: Observations from Case Studies”, which aims “to deepen our understanding of the formation, operation, and critical success factors of governance groups (and even challenge conventional thinking) by studying a geographically diverse set of local, national, and international governance models, components, and mechanisms from within and outside of the sphere of Internet governance, with a focus on lessons learned.”


Arkko, Jari, and Lear, Eliot. Taking a Step towards IANA Transition. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). January 8, 2015.

McCarthy, Kieren. How d’you solve a problem like IANA? Internet captains wrestle over US power handover. The Register. January 14, 2015.

  • McCarthy discusses a point of particular disagreement that has emerged in the domain names community process of drafting a proposal for the IANA stewardship transition: “one camp wants the domain naming contract to be given to its the current operator, ICANN, provided it makes changes to its bylaws to reflect the loss of the additional accountability that the US government has provided for over a decade” and “the other camp wants to maintain the status quo by keeping broadly the same contract but giving it to a shell company overseen by a multi-stakeholder group. That shell company would then award it to ICANN.” See the Cross Community Working Group on Naming Related Functions’ statement here.

Internet Governance

Access Spotlights the Hot Digital Rights Issues of 2015. Access. January 9, 2015.

  • This post by the Access team “spotlight[s] the big digital freedom issues for 2015”, including a “focus on responsible data stewardship in collection, retention, and operational security”; a “trend toward transparency in the telecom sector”, “important digital rights challenges in Latin America”; net neutrality, international trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and data retention laws in Europe; “major bills that will impact digital rights” in Africa; and surveillance reform, cybersecurity, and net neutrality in the United States.

Broadband Access Trends in 2015: A4AI’s Predictions. Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). January 14, 2015.

  • This post lists A4AI’s “predictions for the expansion of global broadband access in 2015”: “net neutrality debate spreads globally”, “related to this, expansion of zero-rated services could extend access, but debate on consequences will heat up”, “national broadband plans across emerging markets will become more comprehensive and focus on lowering costs”, “availability of low-cost smartphones will increase”, “new innovations and technology will be developed to connect the unconnected”, and “attention on consumer and digital rights will spread globally.”

Doctorow, Cory. What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry. BoingBoing. January 13, 2015.

  • Doctorow discusses UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s statements regarding the need for new data law in the UK, “there are enormous problems with [introducing vulnerabilities in encryption]: there’s no back door that only lets good guys go through it.” Doctorow discusses the consequences of encryption vulnerabilities, network filtering, and stopping people from running codes through technology mandates, including making communications easier to intercept, blocking the production of secure software and blocking public security research, and creating a situation in which “anyone visiting the [UK] from abroad must have their smartphones held at the border until they leave.” Doctorow concludes, “but anything less than the programme above will have no material effect on the ability of criminals to carry on perfectly secret conversations that ‘we cannot read’.”

Meyer, David. EU response to free speech killings? More internet censorship. GigaOm. January 11, 2015.

  • “In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which began with the killing of 12 people at the offices of satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, the interior ministers of 12 EU countries have called for a limited increase in internet censorship.” “The interior ministers of France, Germany, Latvia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the U.K. said in a statement that, while the internet must remain ‘in scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms, a forum for free expression, in full respect of the law,’ ISPs need to help ‘create the conditions of a swift reporting of material that aims to incite hatred and terror and the condition of its removing, where appropriate/possible’.”

Mondini, Chris. Why Business Must Take The Lead In Protecting The Global Internet. TechCrunch. January 11, 2015.

  • According to Mondini, “two very specific threats might well derail the global Internet. One is geopolitics. The other is network vulnerability. It’s time for business to get serious about addressing them both.” Mondini discusses the risks of fragmenting the global nature of the Internet for businesses, asking “why is it that only a tiny fraction of Internet companies works actively to preserve the global platform for innovation on which they all depend?” Mondini concludes by outlining ways businesses can get involved in global Internet governance, including by “sign[ing] up to show [] public support for the NETmundial principles”, getting informed (for example, by joining the Internet Society), becoming a part of the global cybersecurity dialogue, participating in ICANN, and sending representatives to the Internet Governance Forum.

Remarks by the President at the Federal Trade Commission. The White House. January 12, 2015.

  • In his remarks at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, President Obama announced “new steps to protect the identities and privacy of the American people.” According to the announcement, “first, we’re introducing new legislation to create a single, strong national standard so Americans know when their information has been stolen or misused”, second, “more banks, credit card issuers and lenders are stepping up and equipping Americans with another weapon against identity theft, and that’s access to their credit scores, free of charge”, third, “we’re going to be introducing new legislation -— a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” proposing “that consumers have the right to decide what personal data companies collect from them and how companies use that data, that information; the right to know that your personal information collected for one purpose can’t then be misused by a company for a different purpose; the right to have your information stored securely by companies that are accountable for its use”, and “finally, we’re taking a series of actions to protect the personal information and privacy of our children” through the Student Digital Privacy Act, which proposes “that data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes -— to teach our children, not to market to our children.”

Sceats, Sonya. China’s Cyber Diplomacy: a Taste of Law to Come? The Diplomat. January 14, 2015.

  • According to Sceats, “in 2014, China stepped up its campaign to shape international norms governing the Internet, moving vigorously in its public diplomacy and behind the scenes to subjugate the online world to state power” and that this “is indicating its readiness to make and not just take international rules on issues of strategic importance to its interests.” Sceats discusses China’s interests with regards to Internet governance (in particular “the concept of ‘Internet sovereignty’ championed by China as part of its arguments that the Internet should be regulated instead by states”); Internet control and counterterrorism; the establishment of “the primacy of state interests in Internet governance” as part of “a desire to blunt the operation of international human rights law”; and “norm entrepreneurship” (“China’s ambition to transform itself from a norm-taker to a norm-shaper internationally”).

SECURING CYBERSPACE – President Obama Announces New Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal and Other Cybersecurity Efforts. The White House. January 13, 2015.

  • According to the White House announcement, “today, at a time when public and private networks are facing an unprecedented threat from rogue hackers as well as organized crime and even state actors, the President is unveiling the next steps in his plan to defend the nation’s systems.  These include a new legislative proposal, building on important work in Congress, to solve the challenges of information sharing that can cripple response to a cyberattack.” Specifically, the announcement includes: revisions to the provisions of the 2011 Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal (“enabling cybersecurity information sharing”, “modernizing law enforcement authorities to combat cyber crime”, and “national data breach reporting”); a White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection to be held in February; and grants to historically black colleges for cybersecurity education.

Tene, Omar. Privacy Is the New Antitrust: Launching the FTC Casebook. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). January 15, 2015.

  • The the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) has released “a casebook of FTC [U.S. Federal Trade Commission] privacy and data security enforcement actions” – “a digital resource, collecting all 180 FTC enforcement actions and making them easily accessible, full-text searchable, tagged, indexed and annotated.” According to the announcement, the casebook “provides clear signposts to help businesses navigate the treacherous waters of a constantly shifting techno-social terrain”. See the FTC Casebook here.

U.S. Reps. DelBene and Issa announce Creation of the Congressional Internet of Things Caucus. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. January 13, 2015.

  • “Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Courts and the Internet, today announced the launch of the Congressional Caucus on the Internet of Things (IoT).“ According to the press release, “the IoT Caucus will focus on educating Members on the development of innovative technology and public policy in the ‘Internet of Things’ space. The Caucus will inform Members about new opportunities and challenges in health, transportation, home, workplace, and more as everyday devices take advantage of network connectivity to create new value.”

Watt, Nicholas, Rowena Mason, and Ian Traynor. David Cameron pledges anti-terror law for internet after Paris attacks. The Guardian. January 12, 2015.

  • “Britain’s intelligence agencies should have the legal power to break into the encrypted communications of suspected terrorists to help prevent any Paris-style attacks, David Cameron proposed on Monday.” According to the authors, “[Cameron’s] proposed legislation, which would be introduced within the first year of Cameron’s second term in Downing Street if the Conservatives win the election, would provide a new legal framework for Britain’s GCHQ and other intelligence agencies to crack the communications of terror suspects if there was specific intelligence of an imminent attack. Political approval would also be necessary.” Further, “the prime minister said the new legislation would be needed in two areas: the collection of communications data – information about when a call is made, by whom and to whom; and the interception of calls and online communications, known as accessing content.” The article’s authors go on to discuss the challenges to introducing such new legislation especially in the context of the EU.

Papers and Reports

Community-Based Broadband Solutions: The Benefits of Competition and Choice for Community Development and Highspeed Internet Access. The White House. January, 2015.

  • This report “describes the benefits of higher-speed broadband access, the current challenges facing the market, and the benefits of competition – including competition from community broadband networks.” According to the report, “affordable, reliable access to high speed broadband is critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. Upgrading to higher-speed broadband lets consumers use the Internet in new ways, increases the productivity of American individuals and businesses, and drives innovation throughout the digital ecosystem. As this report describes, while the private sector has made investments to dramatically expand broadband access in the U.S., challenges still remain. Many markets remain unserved or underserved. Others do not benefit from the kind of competition that drives down costs and improves quality. To help fill the void, hundreds of towns and cities around the country have developed their own locally-owned networks.”

Duffy, Natalie. Internet freedom in Vladimir Putin’s Russia: The noose tightens. American Enterprise Institute. January 12, 2015.

  • This paper “detail[s] the steps taken by the Russian government over the past three years to limit free speech online, prohibit the free flow of data, and undermine freedom of expression and information—the foundational values of the Internet.” It’s key points are that “the Russian government is currently waging a campaign to gain complete control over the country’s access to, and activity on, the Internet”, “Putin’s measures particularly threaten grassroots antigovernment efforts and even propose a ‘kill switch”’that would allow the government to shut down the Internet in Russia during government-defined disasters, including large-scale civil protests”, and “Putin’s campaign of oppression, censorship, regulation, and intimidation over online speech threatens the freedom of the Internet around the world.”

Mass Surveillance – Part 1: Risks and opportunities raised by the current generation of network services and applications and Mass Surveillance – Part 2: Technology foresight, options for longer term security and privacy improvements. European Parliament. January 12 and January 13, 2015.

  • Part 1 “identifies the risks of data breaches for users of publicly available Internet services such as email, social networks and cloud computing, and the possible impacts for them and the European Information Society. It presents the latest technology advances allowing the analysis of user data and their meta-data on a mass scale for surveillance reasons. It identifies technological and organisational measures and the key stakeholders for reducing the risks identified. Finally the study proposes possible policy options, in support of the risk reduction measures identified by the study.” Part 2 “provide[s] the European Parliament with policy options, based on technology foresight, with regard to the protection of the European Information Society against mass surveillance from a perspective of technology and organisational foresight. Four scenarios with two to four technology options each were developed in this study, leading to twenty-three policy options.”

Multistakeholder as Governance Groups: New Study by Global Network of Internet and Society Centers. The Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC) and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. January 15, 2015.

  • This report on Multistakeholder Governance Groups is intended to “inform[] the debate about Internet governance models and mechanisms.” According to the release announcement, “the research examines multistakeholder governance groups with the goal of informing the future evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem. Building upon the NETmundial Principles and Roadmap, it contributes to current policy debates at the international level, including the Internet Governance Forum, the NETmundial Initiative, and the World Economic Forum.” The study concludes that: “…there is no single best-fit model for multistakeholder governance groups that can be applied in all instances. Rather, it reveals a range of approaches, mechanisms, and tools available for both the formation and operation of such groups. The analysis demonstrates that the success of governance groups depends to a large degree on the careful selection, deployment, and management of suitable instruments from this ‘toolbox’. As governance groups pass through different phases of operation, conveners and facilitators must remain alert to changes in circumstances that necessitate adjustments to the approaches, mechanisms, and tools that they deploy in order to address evolving challenges from inside and from outside. The case study series provides insights into how those instruments can be deployed and adjusted over time within such groups, and highlights how their interactions with important contextual factors may be successfully managed within given resource restraints.”

Pawlak, Patryk, ed. Riding the digital wave – The impact of cyber capacity building on human development. European Union Institute for Security Studies. December 19, 2014.

  • This report “features three main thematic strands highlighting different – albeit interlinked – axes of capacity building. The chapters by Patryk Pawlak and Neil Robinson focus on national capabilities and provide an overview of existing models and components of cyber capacity building: while the former pays particular attention to vertical distribution of responsibilities and tasks (i.e. between the national and international levels, between private sector and government), the latter focuses on horizontal blocks of capacity building (i.e. legal framework, institutional arrangements, etc.). The chapter by Maria Grazia Porcedda completes the picture with its insights on legal capacity building – as opposed to a narrowly defined cybercrime capacity building. Porcedda’s analysis builds on the ongoing legal debates to demonstrate the importance of focusing on the rule of law and human rights as key factors in cyber capacity building and de facto connecting the fight against cybercrime to human development. Elena Kvochko in her chapter offers an overview of the perception and role of private sector actors. Based on research conducted by the World Economic Forum, she stresses the importance of cyber resilience for economic development and analyses the dynamics in the relations between public and private actors. The chapter by Enrico Calandro and Patryk Pawlak highlights the linkages between development and cyber capacity building. The authors argue that ignoring the dimension of cybersecurity in the debate about development might result in a new type of cyber-related poverty and exclusion. Finally, the last chapter by Patryk Pawlak provides an overview of four distinct models of capacity building. It stresses the importance of an integrated approach to cyber capacity building as a solution to a growing demand and scarce resources.”

Promoting Local Content Hosting to Develop the Internet Ecosystem. Internet Society. January 12, 2015.

  • See the accompanying blog post, “The Content Side of the Access Equation,” in which the authors point out that, “as the infrastructure necessary for Internet access is becoming more available in developing countries, efforts to close the digital divide have increasingly focused on promoting local content to increase interest in using the Internet and drive uptake.” This paper “is an effort to begin to understand the impact of content hosting decisions, as well as develop practical guidance on creating an attractive enabling environment for local content hosting. We would stress that global hosting options have clearly been valuable for content producers, and will continue to be so as local hosting markets are further developed. In particular, we do not subscribe to arguments that content producers should be required to host locally for any reason, including economics, security or privacy. Rather, local hosting should be a viable option, whose choice by content producers alongside global options can help promote usage and development of the local Internet ecosystem more broadly.”

Sannon, Shruti H. The GovLab Index on Internet Governance — Access (Infrastructure). The Governance Lab. January 14, 2015.

  • This is “the latest installment of the GovLab Index on Internet Governance, inspired by the Harper’s Index. “Internet Governance — Access (Infrastructure)” is part of a series of Indexes that focus on the five main areas within Internet Governance: access, content, code, trust, and trade. This edition focuses on infrastructural aspects of Internet access and connectivity.”


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

Kathy Brown on Internet Governance: Governing Ourselves on the Internet. Center for International Science and Technology Police, George Washington University. January 15, 2015.

  • In this talk, Internet Society (ISOC) President and CEO Kathy Brown discusses Internet governance, its characteristics, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) and World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), and the IANA functions stewardship transition. See the slides from the talk here, and click through the event link for the video recording of the event.

Pre-ICANN 52 Policy Update Webinar. January 29, 2015.

  • “The ICANN Policy Development Support Team will provide a Policy Update Webinar on Thursday 29 January 2015 at 10:00 UTC and 19:00 UTC, summarizing policy activities across the ICANN policy development community and the ongoing Transition of Stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Functions and the ICANN Accountability efforts.” “Updates will also be provided on topics from ICANN’s Support Organizations and Advisory Committees.” RSVP via this form by 23 January 2015.

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