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    Seminar Shows Continued Divergence Among Nations On Regulating Internet

    Published on 14 February 2014 @ 3:20 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    It is generally considered that internet governance and cyber safety issues should be addressed in a multilateral way, but several points remain highly controversial, such as the adoption of rules and modifications of internet governance to be made. These issues were the subject of a panel at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research this week.

    Is it widely recognised that the fast-growing development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) also leads to the emergence of new threats to international stability as demonstrated recent massive attacks on bank accounts in South Korea or the Stuxnet virus in Iran in 2010.

    United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/68/243 [pdf] of January 2014 calls on member states to “promote further at multilateral levels the consideration of existing and potential threats in the field of information security, as well as possible strategies to address the threats emerging in this field, consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information.”

    This challenge was broached by panellists on a 10 February “cyber stability” seminar of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), entitled, “Preventing Cyber Conflicts.

    The event addressed issues such as enhancing stability and predictability of the cyber security environment, avoiding risk of escalation in cyber conflict, and the need to “develop mechanisms for discussion, education and constructive engagement on how to improve cyber security in the multilateral environment.”

    The main proposals to enhance cyber stability pointed out throughout the seminar are transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs).

    Caroline Baylon, research associate in the International Security Programme at Chatham House, outlined that there is criticism against an Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) monopoly over name assignment. This could lead to excessive US influence over the internet, she said. ICANN is the internet domain name system technical oversight body, located in California, operating under an agreement with the US Department of Commerce.

    During the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) of December 2012, there were leaks about a proposal of 18 countries (led by Russia and China) to shift this task from ICANN to the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Some delegations denied that the proposal existed.

    Baylon said that as the UN system is based on the principle of “one state one vote,” depending of the composition of member states, such a proposal could lead to a “race to the bottom” and thus to a more controlled internet.

    But if nations choose to stay with the ICANN system, then it would have to improve its accountability and the transparency of its decision-making process, she said.

    Representatives of Russia and China were on hand at the seminar to make a push for their proposal.

    Panellist Nadezhda Sokolova, an expert in the field of information security of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, argued during questions that the “one state one vote” procedure is standard for all issues.

    Shen Jian of the mission of China presented a draft Cyber Code of Conduct [pdf] jointly addressed to UN General Assembly with Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in 2011. He emphasised the need for traffic rules on the internet. The purpose of its draft code is to “identify the rights and responsibilities of States in information space, promote their constructive and responsible behaviours and enhance their cooperation in addressing the common threats and challenges in information space.”, the code states.

    The draft code contains issues like peace, security and openness of cyber space and emphasises the relevance of UN Charter principles in the field of the internet governance. Responding to Baylon’s intervention, Shen Jian outlined that sovereign countries have the right to regulate information on the internet given that some misuses of the information space can cause social instability. As there are differences of interpretation on this issue, he said he hoped that cultural, historical and political differences can be recognised. This draft code is a good starting point for international discussions, remains open and is not in competition with TCBMs, he asserted.

    Several panellists emphasised the importance of the June 2013 report [pdf] of the Governmental Group of Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (GGE). The UN General Assembly recently decided to create a new GGE to further explore this issue (resolution A/RES/68/243 [pdf]).

    Maëli ASTRUC is an intern at Intellectual Property Watch. She has a Master’s Degree in International Law from Aix-en-Provence University and a LL.M from Ottawa University. During her studies, she developed a high interest in intellectual property issues in particular related to agriculture and traditional knowledge.

     

    Maëli Astruc may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Richard Hill says:

      There were no proposals to WCIT that explicitly called for shifting ICANN tasks to the ITU. There were proposals that implied that some changes should be made. Those interested in what was really proposed and what really happened at WCIT can find full information in my book on the topic, see the interview published by IP Watch:

      http://www.ip-watch.org/2014/01/17/interview-richard-hill-on-the-new-international-telecommunications-and-the-internet/


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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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