The GovLab SCAN – Issue 71

This is our 71st edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at [email protected]

Samantha Grassle also contributed to this post.



Chauhan, Aditya. The 3 Biggest Challenges Facing New gTLDs. CircleID. April 14, 2015.

  • Through ICANN’s new nTLD program, “hundreds of nTLDs have hit the market, yet less than 10% of those that have gone live seem to have found success.” This article examines three reasons for why this may be. First, it may be an awareness issue, as a recent study showed that 75% internet users aren’t aware of nTLDs. Second, there are so many options now available that customers may be spoilt for choice. Third, “The balance of power has changed, with hundreds of Registries now vying for prime spots on Registrar websites. With the slew of new TLDs, Registrars simply can’t keep up.”

Internet Governance

Baker, Jennifer. EU Commish mulls new bloc-wide rule on web content takedowns. The Register. April 8, 2015.

  • This article highlights how the European Commission is “considering creating an EU-wide complaint procedure for people whose websites are wrongly blocked by internet service providers.” This comes in the wake of recurring privacy concerns that filters made for “hate speech, terrorist activity, pornography and other inappropriate content”  will result in overblocking. Council of human rights commissioner Nils Muižnieks urged lawmakers to make sure that blocking measures are “subject to effective democratic control and that the persons at whom they are directed have an effective remedy available to challenge them.”

Gallager, Ryan and Nicky Hager. New Zealand Spy Data Shared With Bangladeshi Human Rights Abusers. The Intercept. April 15, 2015.

  • Recent documents reveal that New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) “conducted spying operations in Bangladesh over the past decade” and “provided unique intelligence leads that have enabled successful counter-terrorism operations by Bangladesh State Intelligence Service, CIA and India over the past year.” According to the authors, New Zealand’s role in these surveillance activities is problematic because several intelligence agencies have been accused of severe human rights abuses, including torture.

Goel, Vindu, Hardy, Quentin and Mark Scott. Google Joins Its U.S. Peers Under Europe’s Scrutiny. The New York Times. April 15, 2015.

  • This article reviews the history of legal challenges for American technology companies in Europe, particularly in light of the European Commission’s formal antitrust charges filed against Google this week. Although there have been significant legal actions of the years, the remedy issues are still “great challenges for antitrust.” The authors mention that “despite years of legal wrangling and in some cases, multibillion-dollar fines, the companies have conducted their businesses virtually unchanged.”

Hughes, Trevor J. The $25 Million Fine Isn’t The Real AT&T-FCC Story. TechCrunch. April 16, 2015.

  • In this article, J. Trevor Hughes, President and CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, discusses the implications of the $25 million fine delivered by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for data privacy violations by AT&T. He states that this role has traditionally been held by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and that these developments suggest that the FCC will now care about customer data both in the telecoms space as well as the Internet service providers sector. Moreover, the fact that the FCC calls for “a certified privacy professional” indicates that the FCC “has recognized the importance of training and experience in privacy matters” as more than just a compliance issue.

Getik, Demid. Safe Internet Wanted, but Security Issues Require Data: GCCS Kicks Off. NL Times. April 16, 2015.

  • The Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015 conference taking place in the Hague this week asks some key questions “addressing the challenges and opportunities of increasing digitalization.” While the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte opened the conference by championing “a free, open and secure internet”, Council of Europe representative Thorbjørn Jagland focused on cyber security and stated that “National security services must have access to data to protect citizens.” The Internet Society is also an active participant at the conference and is promoting a “collaborative approach to security.”

Kravets, David. Dozens of US government online whistleblower sites not secured by HTTPS. Arstechnica. April 16, 2015.

  • According to a new survey by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), at least 29 official whistleblowing channels on US government agencies sites are not encrypted with HTTPS. The ACLU stated “When individuals use these official whistleblowing channels to report waste, fraud, or abuse, the information they submit is transmitted insecurely over the Internet, where it can be intercepted by others. This not only puts the identity of whistleblowers at risk, but also the confidentiality of the information they provide to inspectors general.” The organization “urged the government to move faster toward adopting HTTPS and suggested that federal agencies deploy an anonymous platform such as Secure Drop.” Many Internet organizations such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook  and Twitter now use HTTPS protection by default.

Kurbalija, Jovan. Cyberpolitics in 3 triangles: How to avoid a digital Bermuda Triangle. Huffington Post. April 14, 2015.

  • In this article, Jovan Kurbalija, Head of the Geneva Internet Platform, addresses the question “How can the Internet remain a great enabler of innovative growth (global public good) and not become a dangerous ‘digital Bermuda Triangle’ (global public bad)?” Using a three-pronged approach to answering this question, Kurbalija discusses the “main flow of digital data involving individuals, states, and business,” the core Internet business model involving users, industry and vendors, and the ”three main aspects of global digital policy: cybersecurity, human rights, and business/economy.”

Lyngaas, Sean. NIST official: Internet of Things is indefensible. The Business of Federal Technology. April 16, 2015.

  • This week, Ron Ross, a fellow in the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Computer Security Division, stated that despite security controls implemented by federal officials, hackers will still “have a slice of that pie that will always be accessible because there are things that are off our radar due to their complexity.” Ross stated that governing security issues put forth by the Internet of Things would require collaboration between government, the private sector, and academia. In a separate interview, Robert Bigman, a former chief information security officer at the CIA, also pointed out that currently, there are no governance policies or regulations at the federal level for the Internet of Things.

Public trust in the Internet ‘eroded’ says global cyber commission. The Economic Times. April 15, 2015.

  • This week, the fourth annual Global Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS) was held in The Hague, where approximately 1,500 delegates from around 100 countries discussed “how to keep the Internet safe and free and how to use it to boost economic growth.” A main focus of the event included the collection of private data online and the potential for abuse. In an 18-page report released a day before the event, the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) highlighted that public trust in the Internet has eroded and that information is targeted by governments for surveillance “in ways that have a chilling effect on fundamental human rights, in particular freedom of expression and legitimate dissent and protest.”

Sanger, David E. and Nicole Perlroth. Iran Is Raising Sophistication and Frequency of Cyberattacks, Study Says. The New York Times. April 15, 2015.

  • According to cybersecurity firm Norse and the American Enterprise Institute, “Iran has greatly increased the frequency and skill of its cyberattacks, even while negotiating with world powers over limits on its nuclear capabilities.” Just this week, Iran was named as the perpetrator of the cyberattack against the Las Vegas Sands last year. The Sands is owned by Sheldon Adelson, a longtime supporter of Israel and ardent opponent of negotiating with Iran. According to Norse, from January 2014 and last month, their sensors picked up “a 115 percent increase in attacks launched from Iranian Internet protocol, or I.P. addresses.” Coalition. Dear Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is not, and should not be the internet. Hindustan Times. April 17, 2015.

  • According to, an organization that works to protect net neutrality in India, Facebook’s initiative is an “ambitious project to confuse hundreds of millions of emerging market users into thinking that Facebook and the Internet are one and the same.” They highlight the fact that many of Facebook’s partners have withdrawn their participation from the initiative. The article also addresses Airtel Zero, a zero rating initiative by India’s leading mobile operator, Bharti Airtel. Airtel Zero’s first customer and India’s leading mobile retailer Flipcart, has also withdrawn its support and participation of the initiative, stating that zero rating “doesn’t meet our standards of net neutrality and violates the principles that we stand for.”

Papers and Reports

Collaborative Security: An approach to tackling Internet Security issues. Internet Society. April 12, 2015.

  • This Internet Society paper introduces the term “Collaborative security” as an approach to tackling Internet security issues that has five key characteristics: “Fostering confidence and protecting opportunities,” “Collective Responsibility,” “Fundamental Properties and Values,” “Evolution and Consensus,” and “Think Globally, act Locally.” The authors state that “the security of the Internet cannot be maintained by any single entity or organization” and conclude that security issues must be “addressed by all stakeholders in a spirit of collaboration and shared responsibility in ways that do not undermine the global architecture of the Internet or curtail human rights.”

Toward a Social Compact for Digital Privacy and Security. The Global Commission on Internet Governance. April 2015.

  • According to this report by the Global Commission on Internet Governance, the advent of the Internet of Things raises questions “concerning the vulnerability of such connected systems and the privacy implications of allowing state and private sector actors to have access to and to share the big data that they will generate.” This report includes an examination of the new challenges faced by individuals, businesses and governments, as well as the elements required for the development of a “social compact for a digital society” as a new normative framework. It states that a social compact will ensure “that a framework exists where each actor has the responsibility to act not only in their own interest, but also in the interest of the Internet ecosystem as a whole.”


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

2015 North American IPv6 Summit. April 22, 23, 2015.

  • The 2015 North American IPv6 Summit “is designed to educate you about IPv6 and the current state of IPv6 adoption. More than 200 IPv6 networking professionals ranging from technology leaders, system architects, technical engineers, and researchers attend this annual event from all over the country.” Participants can also register to watch the event live, and video playback of the event will also be available for a year after the event.

The Internet as a global public resource. DiploFoundation. April 29-30, 2015.

  • This international conference is being held in Malta at the end of the month by the DiploFoundation with the support of the Government of Malta, and “will initiate a research and policy project aimed at discussing the future developments of the Internet as a global public resource.”

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