The GovLab SCAN – Issue 74

This is our 74th 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.


  • Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Democratic Party, discusses “a new social compact” put forth by the Global Commission on Internet Governance
  • The European Commission presented the EU Digital Market Strategy, a roadmap for EU member states for issues such as e-commerce and geo-blocking
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a ruling that “the  bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata” by the National Security Agency (NSA) was not authorized by the Patriot Act

Latest Developments

European Commission Launch of the Digital Single Market Strategy. Geneva Internet Platform. May 6, 2015.

  • On May 6th, the European Commission presented the EU Digital Market Strategy. This strategy, “contains a roadmap for EU member states, setting milestones for the process of harmonization and removing barriers in particular areas of e-commerce, geo-blocking, copyright frameworks, and sales taxes”. The strategy contains 16 broader initiatives and a factsheet can be found here.

Facebook opens up amidst net neutrality row. BBC. May 04, 2015.

  • Facebook has announced that it will open up its “free mobile data” scheme,, to more websites and online services. While the scheme has been limited to a few services per country thus far, it will now be open to more developers, as long as they meet three criteria: they must not be data intensive, they must be able to run on cheap feature phones, and must “encourage the exploration of the broader internet if possible, to encourage users to ultimately pay for access.” According to the BBC, the success of this move “will probably depend on whether public mood changes” and “many of India’s start-ups and other fast growing businesses may decide they have more important priorities than adapting their services to meet Facebook’s criteria.”

Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo. One of the Biggest Privacy Wins in Recent Memory Has Been Reversed. Vice. May 05, 2015.

  • This week, a US federal appeals court reversed its previous decision by ruling that police do not need a warrant for cellphone records from US wireless carriers. Privacy and digital rights advocates have called the ruling “devastatingly bad for privacy” and an ACLU attorney stated that the ruling “[applied] outdated doctrine from the analog age to this very sensitive digital records.”

Greenberg, Andy. Court Rules NSA Bulk Data Collection Was Never Authorized By Congress. Wired. May 7, 2015.

  • This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that “the bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata by the NSA was not authorized by section 215 of the Patriot Act.” According to the author, the National Security Council has already been looking to replace this program, but the new court ruling will have a “real significance for Congress’s upcoming decision as to whether and how to reform the Patriot Act.” The ruling notes that individuals do not own the metadata, but rather it is owned by phone carriers under the “third party doctrine.”

Higgins, Kelly Jackson. Vixie Proposes ‘Cooling-Off Period’ For New Domains To Deter Cybercrime. InformationWeek. May 6, 2015.

  • According to Paul Vixie, “the new generation of inexpensive and quick-to-deploy new domain names are good news for bad guys and bad news for good guys.” Vixie proposes that DNS providers institute a “cooling off’ period to activate new domains in an effort to reduce domain abuse. He suggests that ICANN specifically should “impose this waiting period on accredited registrars and licensed registries.”

Martina, Michael. China’s draft national security law calls for cyberspace ‘sovereignty’. Reuters. May 8, 2015.

  • This week, the Chinese legislature reviewed a proposed national security law that included provisions to strengthen Internet management, punish cyber attacks and “achieve security and control in internet and information core technology, key infrastructure, and important data and information systems.” According to the author, “the sweeping national security law has broad implications for the ruling Communist Party’s governance of society, including powers for dealing with ‘harmful moral standards.’”

Micek, Peter and Deji Olukoton. Internet kill switches are a violation of human rights law, declare major UN and rights experts. Access. May 4, 2015.

  • This week, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of American States and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights issue a joint statement declaring Internet kill switches impermissible under international human rights law. The statement was made at a time when the Burundi government ordered the shutdown of Twitter, WhatsApp, and Viber during countrywide protests.

Ranger, Steve. The impossible task of counting up the world’s cyber armies. ZDNet. May 06, 2015.

  • This article addresses the issue of digital weapons and the fact that “online armies are getting bigger as many nations race to build up both their defensive and offensive capabilities.” According to the author, “most nations are already involved in a behind-the-scenes cyber arms-race and making it more public may encourage more communication and understanding that could stop incidents spiralling out of control.”

Razumovskaya, Olga. Russia and China Pledge Not to Hack Each Other. The Wall Street Journal. May 08, 2015.

  • This week, Russia and China signed a cyber-security deal in which the two countries “to not conduct cyber-attacks against each other, as well as jointly counteract technology that may ‘destabilize the internal political and socio-economic atmosphere,’ ‘disturb public order’ or ‘interfere with the internal affairs of the state.’” According to the article, this move is indicative of the fact that “Beijing and Moscow favor changes to global Internet governance that would reduce the traditional role of the U.S.”

Rubin, Alissa and David E. Sanger. France’s Push to Expand Surveillance Is Predictable but Possibly Futile. The New York Times. May 6, 2015.

  • This article reviews pending legislation in France allowing for broader government surveillance, including the “use of new technology to conduct analysis of bulk metadata.” At the same time, experts argue these measures would not have prevented the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The author highlights that there little national debate surrounding the implications of these laws, and it is occurring at a time when United States government is moving away from these type of security practices.

Schaake, Marietje. Safeguarding the Open Internet. Project Syndicate. May 07, 2015.

  • In this article, Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Democratic Party, discusses “a new social compact” put forth by the Global Commission on Internet Governance that would recognize “privacy and personal data protection as a fundamental human right” and would call for “clear, precise, and transparently created regulations that set limits on government surveillance and companies’ use of consumer data.” She states that “such a social compact and multi-stakeholder process would not replace judicial oversight and international human-rights law” but that “it is also necessary to encourage all actors to behave in the best interest of the Internet ecosystem as a whole.”

Papers & Reports

Castro, Daniel and Laura Drees. Why We Need Federal Legislation To Protect Public Speech Online. Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. May 04, 2015.

  • This paper addresses strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) that are being used to censor public speech by intimidating critics to retract their negative statements about a merchant or service provider, even if the statements are true. In these situations, defendants or critics may choose to retract their statements due to the time and money involved in a potential lawsuit. This paper “provides an overview of the many ways in which SLAPPs are being used, and it explains how they undermine constitutional rights and harm the public interest.” The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation “recommends that Congress pass a federal anti-SLAPP law that creates a baseline level of protection for citizens’ basic rights of petition and free expression.”

Post, David and Danielle Kehl. Controlling Internet Infrastructure. New America Foundation. April 2015.

  • In this paper, Post and Kehl discuss the IANA transition, “a significant opportunity for the United States and for the global community of Internet users.” The paper outlines the technical and legal aspects of the transition, and the opportunities and challenges faced by the transition. Post and Kehl argue that “the better strategy is to focus efforts on ensuring that the transition is carefully planned with robust accountability mechanisms, rather than attempting to hold on to the last vestige of U.S. oversight of the Internet for as long as possible.”


Conference on Internet Governance and Cyber-securityColumbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. May 14-15, 2015.

  • This conference at Columbia University is held in collaboration with the Global Commission on Internet Governance, and will address “pressing policy issues in the worlds of internet governance and cyber-security including privacy, security, innovation, international trade and cross border data flows,  data protectionism, human rights, freedom of expression and more.” The first day will involve panels on Internet governance topics including “The Future of Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance”, and the second day will examine cybersecurity issues, including “Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things.

CSTD – Eighteenth Session. Geneva Internet Platform. May 04-08, 2015.

  • This meeting “is organized around 2 priority themes (Strategic foresight for the post-2015 development agenda and Digital development) and the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the WSIS outcomes at the regional and international levels, summarized in the Ten-Year Review Report.”

RIPE 70. Ripe Network Coordination Center. May 11-15, 2015.

  • At this event, “Internet Service Providers (ISPs), network operators and other interested parties gather to discuss issues of interest to the Internet community.” Remote participation options include watching a live webcasts of sessions, chat transcripts, and the ability to ask questions.

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