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IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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Quantitative Analysis Of Contributions To NETMundial Meeting

A quantitative analysis of the 187 submissions to the April NETmundial conference on the future of internet governance shows broad support for improving security, ensuring respect for privacy, ensuring freedom of expression, and globalizing the IANA function, analyst Richard Hill writes.


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    US: New Battle Brewing At ITU Will ‘Determine The Future Of The Internet’

    Published on 1 June 2012 @ 3:40 am

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    The United States stands united in its opposition to any international proposal to regulate the internet or to expand the jurisdiction of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) over the Web, US officials said on 31 May.

    At a hearing in Washington, DC, of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communication and Technology, Democrats and Republicans alike took turns saying the Congress and administration is on the same page in supporting, instead, the decentralized, multistakeholder approach currently in place.

    “We must resist efforts by some countries to impose a top-down, command-and-control management regime on the internet,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat.

    “Giving authority to an international governing body would put our nation’s sovereignty at risk,” added Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican. “I think the Obama administration should be commended for trying to thwart this power grab.”

    Related: Diplomatic Arm-Wrestling Over Scope of International Telecommunications Regulations Treaty

    “Is there anyone in this room who thinks the United Nations can competently manage the internet?” asked Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Republican. “I don’t think we want to punt this to the UN.”

    In December, 193 nations who are part of the ITU – established in 1865 to oversee international telegraph regulations – will meet in Dubai at the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). They will consider changes to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR), which, adopted by treaty, govern the international operation of traditional telephone service.

    Some countries – those who have a tighter grip over the internet’s use in their respective countries than the West and elsewhere, often in the name of political or cyber security – are proposing to expand those regulations and the jurisdiction of the ITU to apply to the internet.

    Currently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California non-profit corporation loosely tied to the US Department of Commerce, has technical oversight of the domain name system. A number of ad hoc groups under the umbrella of the Internet Society work together to create voluntary standards for internet users to make interconnection of all networks easier. But there is no international body to handle political and societal questions on the internet.

    ‘Disastrous’ Implications

    One proposal causing great distress heading into Dubai is by Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Entitled “The International Code of Conduct for Information Security,” it would establish a global “information security” regime.

    Related: ICANN IP Advisory Group – Whois, Dot-Brands, Contracts Key Sticking Points in New Domains

    The proposal “raises a series of basic principles of maintaining information and network security which cover the political, military, economic, social, cultural, technical and other aspects,” China’s government said. “The principles stipulate that countries shall not use such information and telecom technologies as the network to conduct hostile behaviors and acts of aggression or to threaten international peace and security and stress that countries have the rights and obligations to protect their information and cyberspace as well as key information and network infrastructure from threats, interference and sabotage attacks.”

    But US officials and allies fear that such a framework could serve as a justification for countries to engage in internet censorship in the name of national security.

    “The implications are potentially disastrous,” said Vincent Cerf, known as the “father” of the internet and current vice president and chief internet evangelist at Google. More international control over the internet, he added, could “trigger a race to the bottom” in terms of minimal freedoms afforded where the internet is concerned, more filtering and censorship, as well as “choking innovation and hurting American business abroad.” Google is one American company that has had troubled relations in China; just this week, Google announced that it will warn users when they are using terms likely to raise the ire of Chinese authorities and will suggest ways around the censorship. Google has even threatened to leave China.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin last year commended ITU chief Hamadoun Toure for “establishing international control over the internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of” the ITU. “If we are going to talk about the democratisation of international relations, I think a critical sphere is information exchange and global control over such exchange,” Putin added.

    Statements like these have US officials worried about whether the majority of WCIT participants will be on their side come December. FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell called it “concerning,” while at least one lawmaker questioned Toure’s relationship with Putin. Several subcommittee members tried to get a clear answer as to what countries – and how many – exactly, share America’s concerns and will unite in Dubai.

    “By and large, we are gratified” with responses from other countries, said Ambassador Philip Verveer, deputy assistant secretary of state and US coordinator for international communications and information policy. A “significant number of our allies are prepared to step up to … fundamentally bad ideas.” But Verveer acknowledged that the treaty likely won’t be approved by vote, since the ITU traditionally tries to avoid votes; rather, the group will move forward without consensus.

    The United States and countries in agreement on many of the larger issues – such as Mexico, Canada, Japan, and many in Europe – also believe that the proposed settlement regime for telecommunications traffic will not be effective if applied to the dynamic and diverse, global nature of the internet.

    Cerf said not only do Russia and China have him worried with their proposals, but “Brazil and India have surprised me with their interest in intervening and vying for control.” Other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other perceived oppressive regimes, he added, “those who are threatened by openness and freedom of expression are those who are most interested in gaining control through this treaty.” Some pointed to the Arab transition as case in point as to how the internet served as a vital tool for organising uprisings against oppressive governments.

    Another topic expected to be of hot debate in Dubai is whether the ITU recommendations will become mandatory; ITU recommendations are traditionally non-binding. McDowell said other foreign proposals he has heard of would use international mandates to charge certain Web destinations on a “per-click” basis to fund the rollout of broadband infrastructure in various countries. The Russian Federation has proposed that the ITU be given jurisdiction over IP addresses to remedy the phone number shortage.

    “The open internet has never been at higher risk than it is now,” said Cerf. “A new international battle is brewing – a battle that will determine the future of the internet.”

    Fear the ‘Butterfly Effect’

    Cerf, along with Obama administration officials and lawmakers, said what is most dangerous is the possibility of a series of incremental changes made to oversight of the internet – versus a full-out, frontal assault – since small changes and tinkering may be more accepted in some parts of the world. Arab states’ proposal, for example, to change the rules’ definition of “telecommunications” to include “processing” or computer functions, McDowell said, would “swallow the internet’s functions with only a tiny edit of existing rules.” Or, China’s desire to create a system whereby internet users are registered using their IP addresses could curtail freedoms.

    “There’s a notion in chaos theory called the ‘butterfly affect,’” Cerf said. “The butterfly waves its wings in Indonesia and we have a tsunami somewhere else. I do worry that small changes” could severely damage the internet.

    Civil society groups in the US, India, Brazil, Egypt, China, Kenya, Poland, and elsewhere have co-signed a letter urging all stakeholders to be a part of this process and for the ITU to be transparent in their negotiations.

    A number of US lawmakers sponsored a resolution introduced in the Congress Wednesday, expressing the sense of Congress “to preserve and advance the multistakeholder governance model under which the Internet has thrived” … “to promote a global Internet free from government control.”

    Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, said he expects the resolution to move swiftly to the House floor.

    The hearing occurred on the same day on which the ITU called for greater international co-operation between governments and the information and communications technology industry to tackle global cybersecurity threats after the discovery of the Flame malware by Kaspersky Lab in Russia. Kaspersky experts said Flame can copy and steal data and audio files, record all sounds within a computer microphone’s vicinity, read documents and emails, and grab passwords and logins. The virus can even communicate with other surrounding computers via Bluetooth, without an internet connection. Many computers in the Middle East have been affected. It’s expected a nation state is likely behind Flame.

    Liza Porteus Viana may be reached at lizapviana@gmail.com.

     

    Comments

    1. Internet Governance and the International Telecommunications Union. | contraviews.com says:

      [...] Property Watch: “US: New Battle Brewing At ITU Will ‘Determine The Future Of The Internet’“ Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeOne blogger likes this [...]

    2. Umstrittene Vorschläge im ITU-Entwurf für Regulierungsrahmen | Edv-Sicherheitskonzepte.de – News Blog aus vielen Bereichen says:

      [...] so recht nachvollziehbar sind anhand des Dokuments die in der vergangenen Woche geäußerten Befürchtungen, die UN wolle die Kontrolle über das Internet an sich reißen. Dennoch dürften die Ideen zu [...]

    3. Internationale Fernmeldeunion: War das offene Internet noch nie so bedroht wie heute? › netzpolitik.org says:

      [...] dient vor allem ein Zitat von Wladimir Putin, der “internationale Kontrolle über das Internet schaffen will”, und zwar mit den [...]

    4. Spekulation: übernehmen die Vereinten Nationen das Web? : Posted Planet (in Arbeit) says:

      [...] dient vor allem ein Zitat von Wladimir Putin, der “internationale Kontrolle über das Internet schaffen will”, und zwar mit den [...]

    5. Internationale Fernmeldeunion: War das offene Internet noch nie so bedroht wie heute? - Echtes Netz. says:

      [...] dient vor allem ein Zitat von Wladimir Putin, der “internationale Kontrolle über das Internet schaffen will”, und zwar mit den [...]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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