The GovLab Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance: Issue 79

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 79, June 12, 2015 can be found here.


Latest Developments

Bernasek, Anna and D.T. Mongan. Our massive new monopolies: Amazon, Google and Facebook have the power to move entire economies. Salon. June 7, 2015.

  • This article discusses data giants, ¨are positioned to study companies as well as individuals, and the data wake left by companies is a rich trove.¨ According to the authors, ¨the building blocks of market dominance are already in place¨ and the popularity and immense scale of some technological companies makes it ¨almost impossible for most companies to avoid¨. As a result, data giants ¨are creating a new class system in the economy¨ in which the top tier consists of data giants such as Google or Facebook who have massive amounts of data, a second tier of niche companies, and a third tier of ¨businesses and consumers increasingly disadvantaged by their complete inabilities to contend with the data giants on equal terms.¨

Brodkin, Jon. The FCC will now take your net neutrality complaints. ArsTechnica. June 12, 2015.

  • On Friday June 12, the FCC’s net neutrality rule officially took effect. Now, U.S. consumers can file complaints against Internet service providers (or mobile carriers) using the F.C.C.’s website. Under the new Title II framework, consumers can complain if prices are “unjust or unreasonable”  and providers must now abide by new disclosure rules.

Frenkel, Sheera. Experts Say Russians May Have Posed As ISIS To Hack French TV Channel. BuzzFeed News.June 9, 2015.

  • According to cybersecurity experts, “Russian hackers posing as the ISIS ‘Cyber Caliphate’ were likely behind the hack of France’s TV5Monde television channel.” On April 8, hackers claiming to be ISIS shut down transmissions on the TV5Monde network  and posted pro-ISIS content on the station’s Facebook and Twitter pages. But U.S. cybersecurity firms identified infrastructure similarities with APT28, a  Russian hacker group tied to a government unit based in Moscow, and investigators have now fully turned their attention away from ISIS and toward APT28.

Fung, Brian. We aren’t the copyright cops, ICANN’s president says. The Washington Post. June 09, 2015.

  • At a conference in Washington this week, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade commented on the need for multistakeholder Internet governance. He emphasized the need to keep ICANN as a neutral player, and that the organization is not the venue to police content. According to the article, “ICANN will stiffen its rules so that they ‘are not changed five years from now so that they become deciders’” thus preventing any of its members from exerting too much influence.

Gallagher, Sean. Intercepted WhatsApp messages led to Belgian terror arrests. Arstechnica. June 9, 2015.

  • This week, Bloomberg reported that officials were able to access WhatsApp messages sent between members of an alleged Chechen jihadist group in Belgium. Belgian law enforcement reported that they were able to work with U.S. authorities to “monitor suspects’ communications on WhatsApp Inc.’s message service.” While Facebook (the recent owner of WhatsApp) declined to comment, this article speculates about whether authorities were able to access WhatsApp metadata, and questions the extent of encryption that existed during the exchange.

Lomas, Natasha. Google Must Expand Privacy Delistings, Says French Watchdog. TechCrunch. June 12, 2015.

  • This week, the French data protection watchdog “ordered Google to widen its implementation of the so-called European ‘right to be forgotten’ so that links are also delisted from all Google domains, including, not just (as is currently the case) from the .fr French subdomain.” The agency gave Google 15 days to comply with this request, and warns that if the company does not comply it will initiate sanction proceedings. So far, Google has not responded about whether it will expand delistings to .com in accordance with the French order.

Newman, Lily Hay. White House Says All Federal Websites Must Use HTTPS Encryption. Slate. June 09, 2015.

  • This week, the US  Office of Management and Budget issued the HTTPS-Only Standard directive which ¨mandates that all federal websites that are readily accessible to the public must use HTTPS encryption.¨ Federal websites have a deadline of Dec 31 2016 to comply with the directive. US Chief Information Officer Tony Scott explains the move stating that “Unencrypted HTTP connections create a vulnerability and expose potentially sensitive information about users of unencrypted Federal websites and services.¨ However, the article points out that while the move ¨will bring government websites up to speed with a best practice that can really make a difference for site visitors¨, implementing HTTPS will not prevent other types of data breaches the federal government has been facing.

Nyamishana, Prudence. Ugandan Authorities Jail Facebook User for “Offensive” Comments About President Musveni. Global Voices. June 12, 2015.

  • On June 8, 2015, a Ugandan man named Robert Shaka was arrested for posts he made on a Facebook page which suggested that Ugandan President Yoweri Musveni “was sick.” The Facebook page of Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (aka TVO-Uganda) is a popular account that posts “exclusive messages and news updates casting a decidedly critical eye on the president and his administration.” Shaka was charged under Ugandan law with disturbing the privacy of President Museveni under the “offensive communication” section of Uganda’s Computer Misuse Act. According to Global Voices, this law reflects a “growing global trend in legislation that attempts to tackle online crime, but often implicates what human rights advocates argue should be protected speech.”

Maxwell, Andy. EU: Copyright Legislation is Pushing People to Piracy. TorrentFreak. June 09, 2015.

  • Andrus Ansip, the Vice President for the Digital Single Market on the European Commission, has stated that ¨legislation is pushing people to steal¨. Ansip stated that the EU currently has 28 separate markets and while users are ready to pay for content, they are prevented from doing so due to geo-blocking because of copyright restrictions. According to Ansip, ¨the European Commission wants to protect the rights of creators but first we have to provide legal access to digital content to all people.¨ He cited the success of streaming service Spotify and Norway’s success in reducing piracy rates as examples of the importance of offering legal access to content änd the fact that ¨reforms are really needed.”

Sasso, Brendan. US Will Delay Plan To Give Up Internet Powers. NextGov. June 10, 2015.

  • According ICANN leaders, the organization will not be ready to “run independently from the U.S. government” until next year. ICANN head Fadi Chehade said he plans to submit a proposal to the U.S. government about how the group would be run independently run in mid- October. The delay did not come as a surprise, as the Obama administration has signaled for months that a delay in the transition might happen.

Selyukh, Alina. Court declines to suspend U.S. net neutrality rules. Reuters. June 11, 2015.

  • This week, a federal appeals court “rejected the telecommunications industry’s request to partly suspend [net neutrality rules] implementation while they are being litigated. While the industry agrees with no-blocking or no-throttling, they continue to object to the reclassification of broadband as a more heavily regulated telecommunications service. Net neutrality will fully go into effect on Friday.

Zetter, Kim. Kaspersky finds new nation-state attack–in its own network. Wired. June 10, 2015.

  • Kaspersky, a Russian Internet security firm, has found a new nation-state attack attributed to Stuxnet and Duqu within its own networks. The firm found the attackers within its network during product testing and is determining the amount of stolen data. The author states that ¨it was perhaps inevitable that Kaspersky eventually would be targeted itself¨ and that the attack is ¨a case of the watchers watching the watchers who are watching them.¨

Papers and Reports

Anderson, David. A Question of Trust: Report of the Investigatory Powers Review. Available June 2015.

  • In this report the UK Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson, criticized UK surveillance laws as ‘fragmented’, ‘obscure’, ‘undemocratic’ and ‘intolerable.’ Anderson proposes a new law that should replace “the multitude of current powers” and provide “for clear limits and safeguards on any intrusive power that it may be necessary for public authorities to use.” He also asserts that “the definitions of content of communications data should be reviewed, clarified, and brought up to date.”

Dutton, William H. Multistakeholder Internet Governance? Available on SSRN. June 7, 2015.

  • This paper examines the debate between proponents of a multistakeholder model versus alternative multilateral models in Internet governance and “seeks to illuminate and engage with issues that are of rising importance to the vitality of a global infrastructure that is becoming more central to economic and social development around the world.” Dutton concludes that “a multistakeholder process appears best suited for helping a widening array of actors, including multilateral organizations, to connect a worldwide ecology of choices that are governing the Internet.”


(Also see The GovLab’s Curation of Eight Internet Governance Calendars for more past and upcoming events)

ICANN53. ICANN. June 21-25, 2015.

  • ICANN’s 53rd meeting will “provide the opportunity for an internationally diverse group of individuals and organizations to come together and discuss and develop policies for the Internet’s naming systems.” There are many options for remote participation, including video and audio streaming, scribing, chat, remote interventions, and transcripts.

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