The GovLab SCAN – Issue 69

This is our 69th edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at [email protected]

Shruti Sannon also contributed to this post.


  • The Inaugural Coordination Council meeting of the NETmundial Initiative was held on March 31. The group released “a draft Terms of Reference (ToR) document” for a public comment period from April 1- May 1, 2015”, and reviewed project proposals submitted on the platform to date.
  • A report released by a Belgian data protection agency this week detailed how “Facebook tracks the web browsing of everyone who visits a page on its site even if the user does not have an account or has explicitly opted out of tracking in the EU”, seemingly in violation of EU privacy law.


Nevett, Jon. The .DOCTOR Quarantine. CircleID. March 12, 2015.

  • In this blog post, Nevett argues that “ICANN should reconsider its decision to quarantine .DOCTOR.” Nevett is referring to ICANN’s recent move to assure that all second level names in the .DOCTOR gTLD “are ascribed exclusively to legitimate medical practitioners.” According to Nevett, this is an arbitrary move that puts ICANN in the content control business. Nevett concludes by mentioning that his company, Donuts, Inc. has filed for a request for reconsideration and he calls on the ICANN Board to reverse this decision.

Internet Governance

Adams, David. Cuba aims to ramp up Internet access: U.S. State Department official. Reuters. March 30, 2015.

  • According to a senior U.S. State Department official, Cuba is “committed to getting the web into 50 percent of its households by 2020, as well as achieving 60 percent mobile phone access.” The ITU estimates that Cuba currently ranks 125th out of 166 countries in telecommunications development. According to the author, “the recent U.S. rapprochement toward the Communist-led island may have added pressure to modernize.”

Facebook hits back at data use privacy criticisms. BBC News. April 1, 2015.

Fairless, Tom and Alistair Barr. EU Lays Groundwork for Antitrust Charges Against Google. The Wall Street Journal. April 1, 2015.

  • According to several sources, Europe’s competition regulator will make a move against Google within the next few weeks. Recently, the European Commission “has been asking companies that filed complaints against Google for permission to publish some information they previously submitted confidentially.” If the EU decides to file charges against Google, it would “kick off the EU’s highest-profile antitrust suit since its lengthy campaign that started a decade ago against Microsoft Corp.”

Gibbs, Samuel. Facebook ‘tracks all visitors, breaching EU law’. The Guardian. March 31, 2015.

  • This week, a Belgian data protection agency issued a report detailing how “Facebook tracks the web browsing of everyone who visits a page on its site even if the user does not have an account or has explicitly opted out of tracking in the EU.” This policy conflicts with EU privacy law, which requires that “prior consent must be given before issuing a cookie or performing tracking.” In an opinion piece published by Article 29, the pan-European data regulator working party, the group stated that “unless delivering a service specifically requested by the user, social plug-ins must have consent before placing a cookie.”

Goodin, Dan. Massive denial-of-service attack on Github tied to Chinese government. Arstechnica. March 31, 2015.

  • According to two technical reports published on Tuesday, hackers with control over China’s Internet backbone are responsible for “the massive denial-of-service attacks that have intermittently shut down Github for more than five days.” Github officials have said this is the biggest attack they’ve seen, and their targets suggest “the attackers are sympathetic to the vast censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall of China.”

NETmundial Initiative Stanford Communiqué. NETmundial Initiative. March 31, 2015.

  • This press release covers the recent working meeting of the Inaugural Coordination Council of the NETmundial Initiative on March 31, 2015. During this first meeting, the group “released a draft Terms of Reference (ToR) document for a public comment period from April 1- May 1, 2015.” At the meeting, the group had the opportunity to review three project proposals submitted through the Initiative’s platform, including the NETmundial Solutions Map prototype, the Internet & Jurisdiction Project, and the Deliberative Poll on Internet Governance.

Reilly, Claire. Site blocking laws could drag VPNs into the anti-piracy net. CNet. April 1, 2015.

  • This past month, the Australian Attorney-General introduced the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement Bill) which would require ISPS to take “reasonable steps” to prevent access for all Australians if an online site was found to have the primary purpose of infringement, or facilitating the infringement of, copyright. Nicolas Suzor, senior lecturer at the QUT School of Law, stated  that VPN providers might be blocked because the legislation “lacks clarity.”

Shu, Catherine. Google Bans China’s Website Certificate Authority After Security Breach.TechCrunch. April 2, 2015.

  • This week Google announced that their web browser Chrome and other products “will no longer recognize security certificates issued by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).” Now, Chrome users will see a pop-up warning about the site’s security. This ban “comes two weeks after Google noticed unauthorized  digital certificates for several Google domains”, that were issued through an intermediate certificate authority contracted by the CNNIC.

Tews, Shane. Information sharing: A necessary tool for securing America’s networks. TechPolicyDaily. April 02, 2015.

  • This article discusses the contentious issue of surveillance and the fact that many opponents of cybersecurity information sharing legislation fear that such legislation could be detrimental to privacy and involve the sharing of personal data. Tews states that cybersecurity information sharing “is an important step towards securing America’s networks – not a golden ticket for the government to collect companies’ sensitive data or citizens’ personal information.” He argues that, contrary to the fears of privacy advocates, information sharing is controlled in nature, and requires transparency, accountability and trust to function effectively. Thus, according to Tews, “Clear rules must be established which address the concerns of the private sector and make it clear that contributing to an agreed-upon information sharing repository will only result in enhanced protection for all stakeholders.”

Yahoo Japan unveils new rules on ‘right to be forgotten’. Mainichi. March 31, 2015.

  • On March 30, Yahoo Japan Corp. announced new rules concerning requests to be removed from online search results. From now on, Yahoo Japan Corp. will consider  removing information from search results “after weighing privacy protection versus freedom of expression and the right to know.” For example “If search results include information such as individuals’ personal addresses and telephone numbers, or about petty offenses from many years ago, those results will be removed.” These are the first set of clearly stated standards from the company, and they will be applied starting on March 31.

Papers and Reports

Jain, Rekha. A Model for Internet Governance and Implications for India. Available on SSRN. March 31, 2015

  • This paper develops “a conceptual model for Internet Governance based on both the underlying architecture of the Internet and a proposed framework for evaluating the perceived legitimacy of the suggested model.” It also combines these models in order to put forth “the Multi-Tier Open Participation (M-TOP) approach” for application in India, which “not only strengthens domestic Internet Governance, but also increases India’s role in regional and international processes.”

Mills, Ivory. CANN They? International Internet Governance and the ICANN Case. Available at SSRN. March 23, 2015.

  • In this paper, Mills “conducts a critical examination of international internet governance, focusing specifically on the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in efforts to understand its role and implications for the internet, geopolitics, and international telecommunications regulation.”

Taylor, Emily. ICANN: Bridging the Trust Gap. Global Commission on Internet Governance. April 2, 2015.

  • This paper by the Global Commission on Internet Governance examines the proposed transfer of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) oversight away from the US government. Recommendations include that “any solution for IANA oversight should apply to all current IANA functions to avoid risk of fragmentation; a culture of trust can be built by developing numerous horizontal and vertical accountability checks and balances; ICANN the corporation’s interest should be aligned with the public interest by introducing a membership that reflects the diversity of ICANN’s community; ICANN’s membership should have the power to recall individual directors and approve changes to bylaws; and the effectiveness of financial transparency and oversight should be strengthened.”

Their Eyes On Me: Stories of surveillance in Morocco. Privacy International. April 1, 2015.

  • This report on surveillance in Morocco by Privacy International features “four interviews with individuals who have been subjected to state surveillance” in order to “help shift the public debate in Morocco and abroad so that governments understand that a fair and democratic society cannot exist without the right to privacy.” The report states that the interviews “provide even more evidence that the right to privacy is essential to a democratic society, and is key to activists seeking to ensure that their countries become true democracies.”

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