The GovLab SCAN – Issue 9

Supporting the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation.

As part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project, this is our ninth edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at [email protected]This edition of the SCAN includes articles from the past three weeks due to the holiday break.

This edition’s highlights:

  • ICANN’s new gTLD program continues to produce a variety of disputes, the details of which remain under discussion. In particular, Whois registration services will need to evolve and decisions need to be made regarding how to handle funds received from the program’s “last resort auctions.”
  • A multitude of high-level meetings around Internet governance are taking place in the next two years. Specifically, the Brazil Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance will take place April 23 – 24, 2014. Countries and organizations that work on various aspects of Internet governance must collaborate and coordinate approaches to prepare for this and other upcoming Internet governance discussions. Participation in these events from the developing countries and those that lie in the “middle ground” between the “two camps” of multistakeholderism and multilateralism is vital. Clear agendas and goals are also needed to help ensure that the cyberthreat and security concerns monopolizing current conversations don’t continue to overshadow discussions focused on the best way forward.
  • Initiatives to globalize ICANN and relieve it from contractual oversight from the U.S. Government continue, as do calls for a coherent approach to reforming ICANN – one that shifts the discussion from what to do in principle to what to do in practice.


Allemann, Andrew. “2013 Top Stories: New gTLD Objection Problems.” Domain Name Wire. January 2, 2014.

  • ICANN has several measures in place in the new gTLD program to limit controversial strings and protect against trademark violations. However, the new top level domain objection process has been marked by inconsistent determinations over string-confusion, making for a “messy and controversial process” that the author argues will continue to need deliberation as ICANN moves into the second round of gTLD expansion.

Atohoun, Yaovi. “Country Code Top Level Domain Names in Africa.” ICANN Blog. January 3, 2014.

  • Country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) require technical resources, human resources, and also a “permanent communication between the ccTLD and the local community” to be managed well. Atohoun describes how Liberians have multiple reasons for being interested in the redelegation of the Liberian “.lr” TLD, including making money; national identity; national security; and simply having the human capacity to technically manage the .lr ccTLD. Atohoun suggests that consensus is critically important when it comes to ccTLD affairs.

Blumenthal, Don. “It’s Time for Privacy Progress in ICANN.” CircleID. December 31, 2013.

  • In the past year, privacy issues became an increasingly discussed topic by the general ICANN community. Blumenthal points to several efforts (such as the Thick Whois PDP Working Group, the Privacy and Proxy Accreditation Issues PDP Working Group, and the Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services) as examples of this trend.

Duchesneau, Stephanie. “Going Going Gone: ICANN Auction Rules Cause a Stir.” Business 2 Community. January 6, 2014.

  • ICANN has posted the new gTLD auction rules for public comment following concerns about preliminary rules voiced at ICANN 48 in Buenos Aires in November. One issue that remains unresolved is how the funds from auction proceeds will be used. Board Chairman Steve Crocker has emphasized that the use of any proceeds would be subject to community consultation.

Harris, Frederick. “Rewiring Internet Governance: Summing up ICANN Policy Walking Backward Into the Future (Part 4).” CircleID. January 2, 2014.

  • In Part 4 of his CircleID series on ICANN’s existential and geopolitical troubles, Harris argues that the U.S. Government’s relationship with ICANN (through the 2009 Affirmation of Commitments) leaves ICANN in a “policy vacuum,” where Internet policy remains “subordinate to trade policy in particular and thus foreign policy.” In turn, he argues that the multistakeholder model stands on shaky foundations because underlying questions on Internet governance continue to go unresolved.

Sato, Nick. “dotAfrica Receives Boost from African Governments.” Human IPO. January 6, 2014.

  • African national governments have issued an official statement through the African Union Commission (AUC) supporting the creation of the dotAfrica initiative. First the AUC will look at reserving second-level domains for use by African governments and recognized intergovernmental organizations to protect their interests, before opening “.africa” to general domain name registrations.

Internet Governance

Baud, Emmanuel G., et al. “Europe Proposes New Laws and Regulations on Cybersecurity.” Lexology. January 2, 2014.

  • As European governments begin to take countermeasures against cyber-attacks and hackers, certain “regulatory trends are emerging.” This article provides an overview of “current legislative developments in the area of cybersecurity on the European level and in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Benelux countries, France, Italy, and Spain.”

Cox, Ryan. “We have 18 months to find new governance for a single Internet, says ICANN.” Silicon Angle. January 10, 2014.

  • Fadi Chehadé, CEO and President of ICANN, believes that ICANN needs to become globally accountable where no one government or organization has oversight or rights higher than the others. Chehadé envisions a governance model that is inclusive and global. By his calculations, “world leaders have 18 months” to come to a decision about Internet governance, as the 10-year review of the UN World Summit on the Information Society is coming up in 2015. Meanwhile, much hope is directed at Brazil, which is a “middle country” between favoring a multistakeholder or a multilateral governance model and thus may have innovative approaches to the future of Internet governance.

Deutscher, Maria. “Deep dive into cyber governance and policy making with Charles Sennott.” Silicon Angle. January 10, 2014.

  • Cybersecurity and Internet governance were big topics of discussion at MIT’s “Explorations in Cyber International Relations” conference this week. In particular, discussions of cyberthreats were seen as overemphasized in establishing a standard set of rules for the Internet. Furthermore, US dominance over online resources (through its contractual relationship with ICANN) was addressed as an issue, the solution to which is likely to reform ICANN “to accommodate foreign cyberpowers such as Germany, China, and Russia.”

Draft Criteria and Process for Selection of Multistakeholder Ethos Award Pilot Program – ICANN.” AG-IP News. January 7, 2014.

  • ICANN is launching a “pilot award program to recognize ICANN community participants for both multistakeholder collaboration efforts as well as years of service” and is inviting public comment on a draft of the criteria and evaluation process.

Goldstein, Fred. “Why the Internet is, by Definition, Ungovernable.” Tech Zone 360. December 27, 2013.

  • The Internet is “not a thing,” argues Goldsmith. The reason for this is because the Internet really exists on a “stack of layered protocols” (such as the DNS and TCP/IP), which people use voluntarily. For example, people can choose to point their DNS resolutions to name servers other than the ICANN root. Goldsmith further argues that the Internet “was empowered, not created, by regulatory protection” and that attempts to regulate the Internet directly “can only break it.”

Harris, Mike. “EU lacks a coherent strategy on free expression in digital sphere.” Index on Censorship. January 10, 2014.

  • Although the EU “has made a number of positive contributions to digital freedom,” its member states take differing positions on Internet governance, with some aligning with initiatives for top-down state control of Internet governance. Harris argues that the EU should devise a “coherent overarching strategy and set of principles for promoting and defending freedom of expression in the digital sphere.”

Kleinwächter, Wolfgang. “Internet Governance Outlook 2014: Good News, Bad News, No News?” CircleID. December 31, 2013.

  • Kleinwächter describes how there is no “one size fits all” solution for Internet governance because “simple answers do not work anymore” and  “complex issues need complex solutions.” There is a competitive coexistence of many different regimes and mechanisms in Internet governance, and the challenge is to find ways for these different approaches to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate. Kleinwächter lists three channels in which the 2014 discussion on how to “manage the Internet Governance Eco-System” will take place: the governmental channel (e.g. the UN General Assembly), the I* organizations channel (e.g. ICANN and the IETF), and the multistakeholder channel (the upcoming Brazil Meeting and 2014 Internet Governance Forum).

Markoff, John. “Viewing Where the Internet Goes.” New York Times. December 31, 2013.

  • Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn – who developed the fundamental communications protocols on which the Internet is built – discuss their views of the evolution of Internet governance. Cerf supports the idea of “network neutrality” and believes the Internet should remain independent of state control; Kahn is attempting to build support for a system for “tracking and authenticating all content distributed through the Internet.”

Perera, David. “Gulf Region Emerges as a Cyber Conflict Flashpoint.” Fierce GovernmentIT. January 6, 2014.

  • James Lewis, writing for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, argues that global cyber conflict and surveillance activities have prompted countries like Iran to invest resources in building advanced cyber capabilities, and that these kinds of tensions prompt countries such as Russia to “establish tighter political control over the uses of the Internet” in their Internet governance agendas.

Pika, Anastasia. “Fight for Internet: What is Left For User?” ForUm. December 27, 2013.

  • This article examines the impact of the Dubai International Telecommunications Conference of 2012 in Ukraine. In particular, the article looks at Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), a standard proposed for implementation by the ITU conference, which gives Internet providers the ability to filter specific information (to “inspect” the information contained in packets transmitted over communications networks). DPI can be a “double edged sword.” On the one hand it can be used to fight online crime; on the other it can be used to conduct traffic analysis of Internet users online behaviors.

Purkayastha, Prabir, and Rishab Bailey. “Evolving a New Internet Governance Paradigm.” Economic & Political Weekly. January 11, 2014.

  • The authors argue that the NSA revelations made it clear to the world the great extent to which the United States exerts control over the Internet and global telecommunications. In light of this, the authors argue that a pressing need exists to delineate rights and obligations in a binding international framework that ensure that “the Internet is used as a tool to promote peaceful exchange of information for the progress of humankind.”

Sepulveda, Daniel and Karen Kornbluh. “Internet Governance in Developing Countries: A Conversation with Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda.” Council on Foreign Relations. January 6, 2014.

  • This Council on Foreign Relations meeting of the Roundtable Series on Digital Policy talks with Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs) to discuss “U.S. efforts to work with countries in the developing world on increasing their connectivity, content, and capacity to participate in global efforts to safeguard the open Internet.”

Internet Security & Evolution

Allemann, Andrew. “Verisign files patent application for automatically creating Whois service for TLDs.” Domain Name Wire. January 6, 2014.

  • Verisign has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office related to automated creation of Whois entries for new top level domain names. Whois entries contain domain name data information. As the new gTLD program is expected to create hundreds of new gTLDs which need Whois services, Verisign is planning to monetize this automation service as its intellectual property.

Baldwin, Howard. “In Search of a Warmer Security Blanket.” Forbes. January 6, 2014.

  • Information security tends to be pulled in different and often opposing directions, especially where it comes to the trade-off between risk and innovation. Baldwin suggests that Chief Information Officers should take a less reactive and a more proactive approach to information security, and specifically recommends that CIOs “band together” and share threat intelligence so that they can more quickly identify and mitigate threats.

Padmanabhan, Geeta. “Inventions That Will Make a Difference.” The Hindu. January 1, 2014.

  • The author points to some significant technology inventions expected to make a difference in the world in 2014, including: the “Forever Internet and Erasable Internet living side by side” (e.g., Snapchat); biometrics replacing traditional passwords; big data growing bigger; data visualizations becoming more ubiquitous; new gTLDs changing the landscape of the Internet; and computers that can learn from their own mistakes.

Piscitello, David. “My 5 Wishes for Security in 2014.” Information Week. December 18, 2013.

  • David Piscitello makes five predictions for information security in 2014, including that governments will concede that IP addresses are not personally identifiable information; that legislators will re-emphasize liberal arts education (as opposed to a focus on STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics); and that technological encryption will not be the only approach to issues of digital privacy and surveillance.

Reports & Stats

Sydell, Laura. “Class Trumps Race When It Comes To Internet Access.” National Public Radio. January 7, 2014.

  • A study from the Pew Research Center finds that “age and income play a larger role than race when it comes to high-speed Internet access.” While those with low-incomes often buy smartphones rather than desktops or laptops, there are many drawbacks to using a smartphone as a primary means of accessing the Internet. These drawbacks can translate to limited access to important online services, from accessing education to getting government services.

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