The GovLab SCAN – Issue 8

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our seventh edition of The GovLab SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at [email protected]. And don’t forget – until December 31, you can share any ideas you have for modernizing how ICANN engages and operates across borders with the Panel via its online discussion here.

This week’s highlights:
  • The High Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation met this week in London and expressed support for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance; Panel conversation will soon move to 1Net.
  • The UN General Assembly Human Rights Committee issued a resolution protecting people’s right to privacy in cyberspace.
  • ICANN has cut the timeline for the  “auctions of last resort” meant to resolve disputes between competing new gTLD applicants. ICANN hopes to have all auctions concluded by January 2015.
  • Former VP for policy and corporate responsibility at Verizon has been appointed as the new ISOC CEO.
  • The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University released two dozen essays this week to reflect on 2013’s notable Internet events and trends.


Cooper, Elisa. Domain Name Year in ReviewCircleID. December 13, 2013.

  • Cooper lists the top ten biggest stories in the domain-name space for 2013. Among stories of registry security breaches and the slow adoption of DNSSEC, the biggest story of the year is ICANN’s moves toward addressing Internet governance challenges, for example, in the newly formed 1Net initiative, “which many believe was designed to be mechanism for ICANN to participate in Internet Governance.”

Harris, FrederickRewiring Internet Governance: U.S. Government Will Likely Be Forced to Jettison ICANN (Part 3).” CircleID. December 17, 2013.

  • Harris argues that ICANN effectively subordinates policy decisions to an internal ideology characterized by a lack of clarity around ICANN’s roles and responsibilities, and especially a lack of clarity around who oversees ICANN and to whom ICANN is accountable. For example, Harris posits that it is unclear where ICANN draws its authority from. As a result, ICANN produces complex rules that reduce its autonomy, which results in ICANN performing poorly and inefficiently, which reinforces distrust in its authority.  Thus, Harris concludes that, by wavering between giving governments special power and “kowtowing to big money interests,” the ICANN Board has in fact created the very pressures on multistakeholder governance that ICANN currently laments.

ICANN cuts timescale for gTLD auctions.” World Intellectual Property Review. December 18, 2013.

  • ICANN has shortened the timeline for its “auctions of last resort,” which would be the final dispute-resolution stop for applicants with conflicting applications in the new gTLD program (e.g., when the same TLD is applied for by two organizations). The original plan would have drawn the dispute-resolution process out to 2016; ICANN now says it hopes auctions will stop by January 2015.

Murphy, Kevin. “1&1′s new gTLD ads banned for ‘misleading’ viewers.” Domain Incite. December 19, 2013.

  • The UK Advertising Standards Authority has banned TV ads promoting 1&1’s new gTLD pre-registration services because they have been designated as “misleading consumers to believe that they would definitely get the name they pre-registered as soon as it became available.” In truth, domain name allocation depends on registry policies and rules set by ICANN outside of 1&1’s control.

O’Connor, Mike. “Name Collisions II – A Call for Research.” CircleID. December 17, 2013.

  • O’Connor discusses the causes and mitigations of name-collision risk resulting from ICANN’s new gTLD program and the number of second-level domains that “conflict” with unqualified non-public names. He suggests that the approach to this issue should be to mitigate collisions nowbefore new gTLDs are delegated, and encourages readers to participate in a research initiative via

Internet Governance

‘Governments should be partners in Internet development’: UK minister.” The Jakarta Post. December 16, 2013.

  • At the Internet Governance Forum held recently in Bali, Edward Vaizey, UK Minister for Culture, Communications, and Creative Industry, outlined four areas where governments play an “important role” in Internet policy: building telecoms infrastructure; building a fair and consistent legal framework (e.g., around intellectual property); promoting freedom of expression; and supporting the multistakeholder process.

Hesseldahl, Arik. “Meet Kathy Brown, the Internet Society’s New CEO.” All Things D. December 19, 2013.

  • Kathy Brown, former VP for policy and corporate responsibility at Verizon, has been announced to be the Internet Society’s (ISOC) new CEO. Brown expects her work to fall into three large “buckets”: Internet governance discussions; global development of ISOC’s geographic chapters; and strengthening the Internet Engineering Task Force, which is housed in ISOC.

High-Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms Convenes in London.” PR Newswire. December 13, 2013.

  • The Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms, whose members come from government, academia, the technical community, civil society and the private sector, held its first meeting in London this week. The Panel will look at global Internet cooperation and governance mechanisms, and its discussion will soon move online to Chaired by Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and vice-chaired by Vint Cerf, the Panel has expressed strong support for a multistakeholder approach to the future of Internet governance.

Hogge, Becky. “Governance By Algorithm: Big Data, The NSA & A Sinister Future.” The Quietus. December 16, 2013.

  • Hogge argues that society’s obsession with data – and especially “big data” – could lead to a near future in which proprietary algorithms make the kinds of policy or security decisions once made by human beings, and warns of a world where “correlation will replace causation.” However, the future is not inevitable yet; Hogge suggests that the Snowden revelations could mark a turning point where we rethink how we use data, and possibly change course.

Mueller, Milton. “Revisiting ‘Roles’: On The Agenda for Brazil.” Internet Governance Project. December 18, 2013.

  • Mueller proposes that the April 2014 Brazil Conference on the Future of Internet Governance should be used as an opportunity to redefine the so-called different “roles” assigned to state and non-state actors by the 2005 Tunis Angenda, which came out of the 2002 World Summit on the Information Society. Mueller argues that the current “debate” between the multistakeholder model and the intergovernmental model of Internet governance is “really an inflection point in the nature of governance institutions,” and that the Brazil Conference “can come up with its own statement that reflects a new conception of multistakeholder governance.”

Roberts, John Jeff. “Bad Week for the Internet: UK and North Korea Take Big Steps to Purge the Past.” GigaOM. December 18, 2013.

  • The UK and North Korea have both taken steps this week to make sure that large numbers of webpages are not available to the public. In the UK, the British Library has decided that “its internet archive . . .shall not be available on the Internet” and in North Korea, the state news agency this week “purged more than 95 percent of its digital archives.”

Schick, Shane. “Contemplating the Border of Cyberspace.” Canadian Lawyer Magazine. December 16, 2013.

  • As counsel and corporate secretary at the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Aaron Shull studies international online surveillance and how international legal frameworks define the boundaries of what is legal and what is illegal for states to do online. He argues that many issues related to the Internet are not clear enough to fit under existing international legal principles. In support, he points to the Lotus Principle, which states that “states can do anything not explicitly prohibited by international laws,” and also to the “Friendly Relations Declaration,” which states that “states are prohibited from interfering with the political, economic, and cultural elements of another state.”

Strohm, Chris, and Talev, Margaret. “Yahoo’s Mayer Said to Warn of Web Balkanization in Spying.” Bloomberg Technology. December 17, 2013.

  • Executives from 15 technology companies met with President Barack Obama this week to urge the president to curb the NSA’s surveillance programs. While Obama has defended the NSA’s work as necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, he has also received advice recommending stricter standards before allowing government to search collected data.

Warzel, Charlie. “What Happens When The Internet Hires A Lobbyist?” BuzzFeed. December 17, 2013.

  • Large technology companies like Google have “begun to play the traditional Washington game of lobbying” – which many tech insiders feel betrays Internet companies’ positions as “disruptors” and situates them instead as “players” in traditional politics. Warzel argues that this will produce big tensions, as “the best interests of businesses don’t always represent the best interest of people.”

Widiadana, Rita A. “After the UN Internet resolution: A long way to rebuilding trust.” The Jakarta Post. December 16, 2013.

  • The UN General Assembly Human Rights Committee has issued a resolution protecting people’s right to privacy in cyberspace and establishing that human rights need protection online. Government officials involved in the drafting of the resolution emphasize a need for coordination of Internet governance, because many issues need the perspectives of both technologists and policymakers.

Internet Evolution

Hogewoning, Marco. “Are We Ready to Switch Off IPv4?” CircleID. December 12, 2013.

  • Global supplies of IPv4 addresses are being exhausted and we need to collectively transition to IPv6, writes Hogewoning. “Sticking with IPv4 isn’t a viable long term option,” he argues, urging software developers to build IPv6 support into all new and future products.

Last, Cadell. “The Future of the Internet!Huffington Post. December 16, 2013.

  • Cadell lists some near-future developments in Internet technologies  – such as wearable computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and the Inter-Planetary Internet – and discusses how these innovations might affect individuals and societies. For example, he suggests that where one is located on Earth “shouldn’t matter too much in the 2030s or 2040s,” and the line between a person’s online and offline presence will likely become increasingly blurry.

 Reports & Stats

Gasser, Urs, et al. Internet Monitor 2013: Reflections on a Digital World. Berkman Center for Internet & Society. December 12, 2013.

  • This is the first annual report of the Internet Monitor project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Nearly two dozen essays reflect and discuss this past year’s “notable events and trends in the digitally networked environment.” The essays are grouped by how different actors –government, industry and civil society – are “wrestling with the changing power dynamics of the digital realm.”

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