The GovLab SCAN – Issue 76

This is our 76th edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at SCAN@thegovlab.org.

Shruti Sannon also contributed to this post.

Highlights:

  • ICANN officials announced that CEO Fadi Chehade will be leaving the organization in March 2016 prior to the IANA transition
  • Pew Research Center released a new report on Americans’ privacy perceptions and behaviors; key findings include that 93% of Americans say it’s important to be in control of who can get information about them
  • European Union ambassadors indicated that they will implement stiffer fines against companies that violate Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten’ law, giving data protection authorities more effective enforcement measures.

Latest Developments

Elder, Jeff. CEO Who Pushed Icann Independence Is Leaving in 2016. The Wall Street Journal. May 21, 2015.

  • Fadi Chehade, the CEO of ICANN, will be leaving the non-profit organization in March 2016 to pursue a career in the private sector. According to the announcement, he “will be available to work closely with ICANN after March 2016” to support the IANA transition as well as ICANN’s transition to a new leader. According to attorney Philip Corwin, Chehade leaving ICANN will mean “that the next CEO will be the one charged with implementing a very substantial transformation of ICANN.”

Fioretti, Julia. Firms to face stiffer fines for breaking EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ rules. Reuters. May 20, 2015.

  • A draft text by European Union ambassadors on Wednesday indicated that “firms such as Google and Microsoft will face stiffer fines if they violate Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten’ online rules.” The draft proposal suggests three levels of fines for violations depending on gravity of the data breach, ranging from .5 percent to 2 percent of “a firm’s annual worldwide turnover.” According to the author, these fines would give data protection authorities a “much bigger stick in ensuring that EU data privacy rules are respected.”

Hoover, Jimmy. US Uncuffs Internet Tech-Sharing To Crimea. Law360. May 21, 2015.

  • On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce changed export rules to allow “unlicensed delivery of Internet technology to the politically fraught Crimea region of Ukraine, saying the change will allow Crimeans to reclaim the narrative of daily life from their Russian occupants.” The rule allows individuals and companies to deliver source code and techology or “instant messaging, chat and email, social network and other programs.” Civil society groups like Access Now have praised this decision, citing that marks an official recognition that “personal communications technology should be exempted from any and all sanctions.”

Howell, Bronwyn. The rural-urban divide on broadband adoption and pricing: Fact or fiction? TechPolicyDaily. May 19, 2015.

  • This article examines the broadband divide between rural and urban communities. According to the article, “economic theory and empirical evidence show that willingness to pay for broadband is higher in rural than in urban areas” though rural adoption rates  are lower. The author states that equalized pricing is “probably a bad idea” since more factors are at play, equal prices have not guaranteed equal adoption, and universal prices may favor rural consumers. The author concludes that price is one of many factors involved in broadband adoption, and that in terms of rural broadband adoption, “the best strategy is likely for lawmakers to focus on lowering the barriers to entry for private broadband providers, and let them explore the markets and related challenges.”

Kuerbis, Brenden. Why the post-transition IANA should be a nonprofit public benefit corporation. Internet Governance Project. May 18, 2015.

  • This article exaines the two corporate forms being considered for the Post-Transition IANA (PTI): “a nonprofit public benefit corporation (PBC) or a limited liability corporation (LLC), with a single member, ICANN, at its outset.” According to the author, a Public Benefit Corporation “will be easier to implement and more likely to ensure various measures of good corporate governance.” Moreover, the author states that regardless of whether the post-IANA entity takes the form of a PBC or LLC, “its board or management must have duty of loyalty, duty of care and duty of obedience including fiduciary responsibility to the PTI.”

McMillan, Robert. Microsoft Execs Expressed ‘Shock and Disbelief’ at Internet Address Shortage. The Wall Street Journal. May 14, 2015.

  • At the World IPv6 forum, Microsoft Network Architect Justine Vick discussed the growing shortage of IPv4 protocols, and the repercussions for Microsoft. In a company email, executives outlined that “during the first half of 2015, Microsoft exhausted the RFC1918 space due to the explosive customer growth of our cloud and enterprise products and solutions.”  In response to this shortfall, Microsoft’s networking team has accelerated the move from IPv4 to IPv6, which the company has called a “substantial undertaking.”

Metz, Cade. Backlash against Facebook’s free Internet service grows. Wired. May 18, 2015.

  • Facebook’s Internet.org project has continued to receive protests and backlash; on Monday, 65 advocacy organizations from 31 countries protested Internet.org through an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO. According to the letter, the project “violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation.” According to Josh Levy, a representative of the digital rights organization Access, “Internet.org exacerbates existing inequalities” and Facebook could explore other alternatives such as a low cost service that offers access to the full Internet through low data caps.

Perlroth, Nicole. Tech Giants Urge Obama to Reject Policies That Weaken Encryption. The New York Times. May 19, 2015.

  • On Tuesday, dozens of civil liberty organizations and more than 140 major tech companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft sent a joint letter to President Obama that warned of “the unintended consequences of any policy meant to weaken the encryption technologies that protect Internet communications.” The letter is a response to the White House’s recent moves to consider a mandate that would provide law enforcement unscrambled access to encrypted technology (commonly known as back door access.) Technology and civil rights communities argue that this proposal set a dangerous precedent and is bad for the overall security of products.

Tanz, Jason. Should the Internet Trust You? This Browser Extension Will Be the Judge. Slate. May 20, 2015.

  • This article discusses the issue of building trust on the Internet through online reputations. Jason Tanz states that a “reputational dashboard” based on online behavior is a “compelling vision” but has not been realized because “the companies that have amassed the most reputation data aren’t eager to share it.” The author discusses a new browser extension, Karma, that will scrape publicly available information to compile a trust score for users. However, the author states that the system could also be quite gameable, and that ultimately “problems of identity and trust are too complicated and fraught to be solved with a simple browser extension.”

UN rights expert urges Nauru to withdraw norms threatening freedom of expression. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. May 22, 2015.

  • This week, David Kaye, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression “called on the Government of Nauru to withdraw recent amendments to the Criminal Code which unduly restrict freedom of expression.” Kaye responded to Nauru’s recent imposition of ambiguous and harsh penalties for a range of legitimate expression, as well as recent restrictions to Internet access and social media. According to the Special Rapporteur, “Nauru should revise its course of action to take measures to fulfill its human rights obligations: it should revise the legislation according to international standards.”

Volz, Dustin and Kaveh Waddell. After Over 10 Hours, Rand Paul Ends His NSA ‘Filibuster’. National Journal. May 20, 2015.

  • This week, US Senator Rand Paul filibustered against the National Security’ surveillance programs and the Republican efforts to extend the Patriot Act’s expiring spying powers. In a press conference, Paul criticized President Obama for not ending the NSA surveillance programs unilaterally. According to the author, “unless the senate is willing to stay in town over the weekend and approve the House-passed Freedom Act, it appears increasingly likely that we are headed for a full expiration of the law’s three surveillance authorities, which sunset on June 1.”

Walt, Vivienne. Why a French Court Could Disrupt Facebook’s Global Ambitions. Time. May 21, 2015.

  • On Thursday, French lawyers returned to court to argue a case that started in 2011 concerning whether “Facebook could refuse a French teacher the right to post a famous French Romantic nude painting.” Facebook’s lawyers argue that the company’s Terms of Service clearly note that their jurisdiction is in California, but French courts rejected argument, “saying that the rule was abusive since it violated French consumer-protection laws, by making it effectively impossible for French users to sue the company.” According to the author, this case is significant because it has “the potential to challenge the business models of multibillion-dollar tech companies, which depend in good part on the ability to exercise wide control over users’ data and online activity.

Papers and Reports

Helsper, E.J., Van Deursen, A.J.A.M. and Eynon, R. Tangible Outcomes of Internet Use [PDF]. 2015.

  • In this report, the authors examine “the tangible outcomes that Internet use might result in” starting with the premise that “outcomes of Internet use can be mapped onto different types of offline resources.” The report “aims to address the lack of conceptualisation and the absence of good measurements for outcomes of Internet use” and in doing so, seeks to answer two main research questions: “What is the best (design for a) set of tangible outcomes of Internet use measures that can be used in large scale research, and practical, and policy impact evaluation settings?” and “Which individuals and groups get the most tangible outcomes from Internet use?”

Madden, Mary and Lee Rainie. Americans’ Attitudes About Privacy, Security and Surveillance. Pew Research Center. May 20, 2015.

  • This report examines the privacy perceptions and behaviors of Americans through several surveys in 2014. The report finds that “most Americans hold strong views about the importance of privacy in their everyday lives”; however, many have “little confidence” about the privacy and security of their data. Key findings include that “93% of adults say that being in control of who can get information about them is important” and 90% of Americans state “controlling what information is collected about them is important.”

Events

WSIS Forum 2015. ITU. May 25-29, 2015.

  • This forum for the ICT for development (ICT4D) community is a “is a UN summit that was initiated in order to create an evolving multi-stakeholder platform aimed at addressing the issues raised by ICTs through a structured and inclusive approach at the national, regional and international levels.” Remote participation options include webcasts and chat.

EuroDIG 2015. June 04-05, 2015

  • The EuroDIG is “is an open platform for informal and inclusive discussion and exchange on public policy issues related to Internet Governance (IG) between stakeholders from all over Europe.” Remote participation options include participation via social media or webex, and the main sessions will be broadcasted live.

 

 

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