The Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance (the SCAN) is a weekly digest on Internet governance news, reports, and events produced by the Governance Lab @NYU (the GovLab) as part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project. The SCAN is cross-posted weekly from the GovLab on the Internet Policy Observatory. The original posting of the GovLab SCAN- Issue 23, April 25, 2014 can be found here.
This week’s highlights:
- The NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance took place this week in São Paulo, Brazil. Thousands of different individuals from all over the world contributed to the meeting’s organization and planning; the meeting’s draft outcome documents received 1370 comments online; and 1480 stakeholders from the private, governmental, technical, academic, and civil society communities of 97 nations came together during the meeting, joined by remote participants from 30 remote participation hubs. The meeting produced a non-binding outcome document that is meant to inform all upcoming Internet governance discussions. The next GovLab SCAN will recap the outcomes of NETmundial.
- The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has proposed new rules that would effectively end “net neutrality” provisions in the U.S. and allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge extra for some types of traffic. However, there are conditions that such extra charges should be “commercially reasonable” and that behavior harming consumers or competition will be prohibited.
- Brazil has passed the “Marco Civil” (sometimes called Brazil’s “Internet Constitution”) which protects online privacy and security and enshrines “net neutrality” principles into Brazilian law.
The Doman Name Industry: Responsibilities. ICANN.org. April 21, 2014.
- This graphic “explains how groups that comprise the Domain Name Industry (registry service providers, registry operators, registrars, resellers etc.) relate to one another, and details the role of each group.”
Nomination Period Opens for ICANN Multistakeholder Ethos Award. ICANN.org. April 21, 2014.
- ICANN has opened the nominations period for the “Multistakeholder Ethos Award”, which “seeks to recognize long-standing community members who have served in leadership roles in multiple ICANN working groups or committees and demonstrated collaboration with different supporting organizations and/or advisory committees”. The nominations period closes on May 17; nominations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Over 1,300 new Internet top-level domain (TLD) names will be added to the list of TDLs that currently includes ‘.com’, ‘.edu’, and ‘.gov’, to name a few. New industry-specific TLDs including, ‘.plumbing’, ‘.menu’ and ‘.bikes’, will create new real estate on the Internet, which some believe will accommodate the increased number of Internet users while others predict it will expose those who own domain names with existing TLDs to a barrage of new challenges
Aldawodi, Sawsan. The Challenge that Connects the World. ICANN Blog. April 18, 2014.
- Aldawodi, ICANN’s Arabic Language Expert and Head Interpreter, discusses the challenges of creating “a strong standardized linguistic foundation to build up [ICANN’s] language services structure in a way that is  effective in representing ICANN to the whole world”. In particular, Aldawodi describes the challenge of “terms, names, and acronyms” being newly created and constantly changing as the Internet industry and governance ecosystem continually evolve.
Bendiek, Annegret. A Liberal Coalition for Internet Governance. Council on Foreign Relations. April 18, 2014.
- In this article Bendiek recommends three “major reforms” to protect the openness of the Internet, including “network diplomacy” (including stakeholder congruence in rule-making and an emphasis on private freedom and few governmental regulations); “inclusive and accountable governance” (especially by allowing for meaningful participation at different “layers” of Internet governance –content, code, and the physical layer); and “a coalition for a liberal Internet order” (a coalition of liberal countries to “structure the political discourse among liberal states more effectively”).
Digital Stewardship and your community. Open Technology Institute. April 18, 2014.
- In partnership with organizations around the world, OTI is working to advance the concept of “digital stewardship” – “a principled approach to community technology that emphasizes self-governance and sustainability.” For example, OTI has taken part in many community technology collaborations around the world to offer training and produce networks “adapted to address local needs.” Example “digital stewardship” initiatives include The Red Hook Initiative (RHI) in Brooklyn, New York and CLibre in Sayada, Tunisia.
González, Juan Alfonso Fernández. Ten Questions about Internet Governance. Intellectual Property Watch. April 22, 2014.
- In this article, Gonzalez (of the Communications Ministry of Cuba) raises ten questions related to Internet governance and its future, especially as these are discussed at the NETmundial meeting. The questions look at the roles of states in Internet governance; respecting and defending human rights on and through the Internet; international institutional frameworks for Internet governance; as well as the commercialization of the Internet and the roles companies and businesses will play in Internet governance and in addressing issues of economic inequity and sustainability vis-à-vis governments through the multistakeholder model.
Malinowski, Jan. What’s Next for E-Democracy? EurActiv. April 24, 2014.
- Discussing cultures of participatory governance both “on” the Internet and “of” the Internet, Malinowski questions whether human rights and public scrutiny can really stand up through the “multistakeholder model” in which non-governmental as well as governmental actors participate in “global” decision-making processes. He argues that even if “the Internet can empower people in democratic and participative processes”, it is important to for participatory processes to also develop mechanisms for transparency and accountability.
McCarthy, Kieren. Brazilian President Signs Internet Civil Rights Law. The Register. April 23, 2014.
- Right before giving her opening speech at the NETmundial meeting in São Paulo, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed the “Marco Civil” into Brazilian law. The bill “protects privacy and freedom of expression online and enshrines net neutrality as law”. The Marco Civil was developed through an open public consultative process in Brazil and has been described by Sir Tim Berners-Lee as an example of how governments can “play a positive role in advancing web rights and keeping the web open”.
Medin, Milo. New FCC Rules Will Boost Wireless Broadband. Google Public Policy Blog. April 23, 2014.
- Google reports and endorses proposed new rules from the FCC, which, if officially adopted later this year, put forth a “forward-thinking spectrum policy” to allow for “commercial use of spectrum that historically has been dedicated to federal purposes, when and where the government doesn’t have immediate need for it.”
Mueller, Milton. ICANN: Anything That Doesn’t Give IANA To Me Is Out Of Scope. Internet Governance Project. April 16, 2014.
- Discussing the IANA functions transition “to the global multistakeholder community”, Mueller argues that ICANN’s proposed “scoping document” is markedly non-neutral because it suggests –without regard to community consultations—that ICANN should be the sole operator of the IANA functions after the transition. Mueller argues that the scope of the transition process needs to permit “a wider range of discussions” and has published a shared Google Document to propose revisions to the scoping document.
Wyatt, Edward. F.C.C, in a Shift, Backs Fast Lanes for Web Traffic. The New York Times. April 24, 2014.
- This week the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed “new rules” that would effectively renege upon the “net neutrality” provisions in the FCC’s previous Open Internet Order that was struck down by a U.S. federal appeals court in January because the Internet is “not considered a utility under [U.S.] federal law”. Concerns have been raised that the new proposals would harm consumers and market competition for Internet companies because they would allow companies like Netflix or Google to pay Internet Service Providers “special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers”.
Brodkin, Jon. Tech giants, chastened by Heartbleed, finally agree to fund OpenSSL. ArsTechnica. April 24, 2014.
- Through an initiative started by the Linux Foundation, several large technology companies are set to provide funding for a three-year initiative “to help under-funded open source projects” –beginning with OpenSSL, a open source project which develops cryptography libraries for implementing security protocols for the Internet and which experienced the “Heartbleed” security flaw this month.
Lafrance, Adrienne. What the Shift to Mobile Means for Blind News Consumers. The Atlantic. April 23, 2014.
- Accessibility to online content for the blind, especially to news content, is improving thanks to advances in mobile design for accessibility. However, using the Internet to produce content can still be challenging for those using screen readers and other accessibility tools because publishing systems are often “designed without blind or visually impaired people in mind.” Lafrance notes that even when devices, e.g., Apple’s iPhone, offer “robust accessibility settings” – the accessibility guidelines for app developers may often get ignored.
Milan, Stefania. NETmundial: Is There a New Guard of Civil Society Coming to the Internet Governance Fore? CGCS Media Wire. April 24, 2014.
- Milan describes how the “surveillance debate spurred by the Snowden revelations have brought new civil society actors, namely the tech activism community, to the internet governance arena”. Milan observes that new actors within the civil society community in the Internet governance ecosystem –e.g. hackers and “radical digital right groups”—have become more involved in Internet governance debates and have “advocated for the adoption of disruptive tactics which are at odds with current multistakeholder processes”. Milan argues that the engagement of tech activists must not be a one-time intervention and needs to be sustained in order to “contribute to increase the grassrootedness, legitimacy, and even accountability of civil society representatives in the eyes of the public they speak on behalf of”.
NETMundial Meeting Video-Recordings and Transcripts. NETmundial. April 23 – 24, 2014.
- The NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance concluded this week in São Paulo, Brazil. See (all in English) the video-recordings of the meeting here (go to the YouTube links under “YouTube Live Event”). The transcripts of the meeting (all in English) are here.
NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement of São Paulo is Presented. NETmundial. April 25, 2014.
- The outcome statement of the NETmundial meeting has been released. It is described as “the non-binding outcome of a bottom-up, open, and participatory process involving thousands of people from governments, private sector, civil society, technical community, and academia from around the world” and includes both “Internet Governance Principles” and a “Roadmap for the future evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem”. It is intended that NETmundial’s “findings and outcomes will feed into other processes and forums, such as the post 2015 development agenda process, WSIS+10, IGF, and all Internet governance discussions held in different organizations and bodies at all levels”. The outcome document is here.
Radunovic, Vladimir. Predicting NETmundial: What Does Data-Mining the Contributions Tell Us? Diplo. April 18, 2014.
- Radunovic explains the global backdrop leading up to this week’s NETMundial global convening on the future of the Net and walks readers through how the convening was designed and organized around submissions from 188 contributors from the global multi-stakeholder community. He highlights research underway at Diplo to use data-mining and qualitative analysis techniques to study and understand the contributions submitted. While a full report is on the way, some key initial findings focus on which issues received the greatest attention (inclusiveness and participation in the IG process); which groups/sectors/regions prioritized which issues most; and how specific types of contributors favored the use of certain terms over others in their submissions to convey particularly nuanced meanings (e.g., globalisation vs. internationalisation).
Solon, Olivia. Bigwigs Call for End to US-Centric Internet Governance. Wired. April 24, 2014.
- In this article Solon briefly recaps the opening speeches made at the NETmundial meeting by Dilma Rousseff (President of Brazil), Tim-Berners Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web), Vint Cerf (Vice-President of Google), and Nnenna Nwakanma (co-founder of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa). Each of these opening speeches is characterized by a message to design “a more pluralistic approach to maintaining the net’s infrastructure and enshrining its democratic values”, especially with regards to ending U.S. control of ICANN.
Verhulst, Stefaan. Netmundial and Key Narratives of Internet Governance. The GovLab. April 23, 2014.
- The GovLab’s Chief of Research Stefaan Verhulst attended the NETmundial meeting in São Paulo this week and observes that, for those interested in “the use of the convening power by governments, and other actors, to steer progress on certain policy issues”, NETmundial “provides a living laboratory of how a conference can or cannot impact a global issue, i.e. the future of the Internet and its governance”. This article summarizes “the current narratives, concerns and opportunities” associated with Internet governance through value propositions around the Internet around which consensus exists (e.g. the Internet as an essential public utility), principles and properties for the kind of Internet that is aspired to (e.g. one that is secure and trustworthy and protects human rights), and the governance processes that develop the Internet (e.g. the concept of the “multistakeholder model”).
What you should know about NetMundial. Access. April 22, 2014.
- Access has created a comprehensive visualization to inform readers about the NETmundial meeting. The visual shows the issues at stake, including privacy and surveillance, net neutrality and notions of the Internet as a global commons; the breakdown of where and which sectors the 613 attendees to the conference come from; the anticipated documents that will be produced from the event; and some statistics on how consultation for the event occurred.
Papers & Reports
Biddle, Ellery R., Ronaldo Lemos, and Monroe Price, eds. Stakes are High: Essays on Brazil and the Future of the Global Internet. Internet Policy Observatory (Center for Global Communications Studies), Annenberg School for Communication, UPenn. April, 2014.
- This collection of essays is designed to inform discussions taking place this week at the NETmundial meeting in São Paulo, Brazil. The essays describe what is “at stake” in the future of Internet governance, including issues of human rights, collaborative lawmaking, privacy and surveillance post-Snowden, principles and practices of Internet governance, and the inputs and outputs of the NETmundial meeting.
Lim, Hae-in et al. Netizen Report: Pakistan’s Anti-Terror Ordinance May Endanger Online Speech. Global Voices Advocacy. April 24, 2014.
- This Netizen Report (published weekly) by Global Voices Advocacy provides “an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.” In this week’s highlights: Pakistan’s Senate is deliberating legislation that would give Pakistani security forces that could adversely affect online expression; social media is being used to persecute political opposition groups in Algeria; China launched a porn-free Internet campaign; Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo has warned that government-imposed censorship could; a delegation of Twitter executives are in Turkey to meet with Turkish officials regarding a nationwide block on Twitter in Turkey since March.
Masters, Jonathan. What Is Internet Governance? Council on Foreign Relations. April 23, 2014.
- This Internet governance “backgrounder” introduces some of the main debates and questions within Internet governance, including definitions of “Internet governance”, how the Internet is governed, the roles played by national governments, the role of ICANN, the role of the Internet Governance Forum, and the significance of the U.S. NTIA announcement to relinquish authority over IANA.
Freedom Online Coalition Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. Freedom Online Coalition (FOC). April 28 – 29, 2014.
- This high-level conference will discuss and debate “acute issues of freedom online” as well as a “Recommendations for Freedom Online” document, which focuses on “the continued promotion of fundamental freedoms online”; “the role of business in advancing an open and free Internet”; and “keeping the Internet a unified and de-centralised forum and a tool for global free expression”.
INET Istanbul. Internet Society. May 21, 2014.
- This daylong event hosted by the Internet Society (ISOC) will “explore privacy and digital content in a global context”. The “agenda will focus on key issues such as managing privacy and data protection in the face of massive Government surveillance programs; and the complex inter-play of intellectual property rights and innovation”. The Twitter hashtag for the event is #inetistanbul.
Master Class in Internet Governance and Policy by InterConnect. CircleID. April 23, 2014.
- From June 30 and going through July 3, 2014, InterConnect will provide an interactive course titled the “Master Class in Internet Governance and Policy”. The course is intended to equip officials and regulatory authorities, private sector individuals, and academics and journalists with “the history, technical, legal and geographic underpinnings of the Internet, its key international policy issues and venues, and the most up to date information needed to be an effective advocate for their strategic interests”.