GovLab Blog Internet Governance

Help Us Map the Frontiers of Internet Governance

We are pleased to announce that the NETmundial Solutions Map is now open for anyone to add content!
Like Open Street Map and Wikipedia, the Map is a crowdsourced initiative — in this case, one that provides a comprehensive platform of ever-refreshed, curated information about global actors, solutions, and resources that is built by the Internet Governance community for the Internet Governance community. It has been designed to offer policymakers, business, researchers, and activists a better, more integrated, and more up-to-date understanding of who is following which path of response to which Internet governance issue.
A first prototype of the Map was launched in April. Today, we are opening it up to contributions from the whole Internet Governance Community, following the NETmundial Initiative’s Inaugural Coordination Council Meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil. .
Becoming part of the growing network of NETmundial Solutions mappers allows you to…
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There are 6 easy steps to becoming a content contributor…

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To  access the Map and start contributing, please go to: And if you are interested in becoming an  institutional Content Partner, please email the GovLab at
We eagerly invite you to use the Map, contribute to it, and — by doing so — help develop a tool that serves the whole Internet Governance community. Let us know your thoughts on how to improve it. Stay tuned for future developments and refinements.

GovLab Blog Internet Governance

The GovLab SCAN – Issue 80

This is our 80th edition of The SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance. Feel free to share your suggestions with us at

Latest Developments

Bennett, Cory. Security clearance hack stretches back full year. The Hill. June 19, 2015.

  • Late Thursday night, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) officials acknowledged that “a data breach exposing security clearance data occurred a full year ago.” This means that the hackers had a full year to explore and take as much data as they wanted. According to the author, “The OPM’s inability to uncover the malicious actors will also likely generate new rounds of criticism of the already embattled agency and its director, Katherine Archuleta.”

Canadian government websites go dark after ‘cyber attack’. BBC News. June 17, 2015.

  • On Wednesday, Canadian servers suffered a massive cyber attack, and government sites were shut down for several hours. The hacking group Anonymous claimed responsibility, saying it was “in retaliation for the recently-passed anti-terrorism law, known as C-51.” The group also declared that this bill is “clear violation of the universal declaration of human rights” and that it “targets minority groups and dissidents alike.” The sites are now back online, but officials say they do not know whether any data had been taken.

Corwin, Philip S. Electronic Frontier Foundation Tells ICANN to Delete URS from .Travel. CircleID. June 15, 2015.

  • In this piece, Corwin discusses a recent request made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for ICANN to “drop the notion of applying the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) dispute resolution system to .Travel and other legacy gTLDs without undertaking a full Policy Development Process (PDP).” According to the author, ICANN misstepped when they decided to impose these regulations on .Travel in an effort to increase consistency across all gTLDs. Corwin praises EFF and says they made a valuable contribution to ICANN accountability by expressing strong opposition to this attempt to sidestep proper decision-making processes.

European court blames website for hosting offensive comments in ‘shock’ decision. RT. June 17, 2015.

  • This week, free speech activists were disappointed with a decision from the European Court of Human Rights approving the Estonian justice systems right “to fine a news website for user-generated hate comments under an article.”  Delfi AS v Estonia, was rooted in a nine-year case over an article about a ferry company that contained hate speech in the comments underneath. According to the judge, the article itself was balanced, but the comments underneath contained hate speech. The judge concluded “the ability of a potential victim of hate speech to continuously monitor the Internet is more limited than the ability of a large commercial Internet news portal to prevent or rapidly remove such comments.”

Evans, Stephen. South Korea provokes teenage smartphone privacy row. BBC News. June 16, 2015.

  • The South Korean government recently ruled that “people under 19 who buy a smartphone must install an app that monitors their web activity.” This measure would also allow parents to block access to “undesirable” sites. This move has raised a national conversation about the extent of government paternalism in Korean digital communications. According to the author, most teenagers seem to resent this new measure and many argue that “learning to control what kinds of media are encountered on the net is now a part of growing up.”

Fung, Brian. Time Warner Cable will be the first to get hit with a net neutrality complaint. The Washington Post. June 16, 2015.

  • Just a few days after the new net neutrality law officially took effect in the United States, San Diego–based firm Commercial Network Services  (CNS) stated that they plan to file a complaint against Time Warner Cable for charging “unreasonable rates to deliver its streaming videos to Time Warner’s customers.” CNS streams live video over the Internet, and according to the company’s chief executive Barry Bahrami, Time Warner’s interconnection practices have not been ‘just and reasonable’, as required by the new net neutrality rules. The FCC has not weighed in on this matter yet, and each filing will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Gallagher, Sean. Encryption “would not have helped” at OPM, says DHS official. ArsTechnica. June 16, 2015.

  • Last week, hackers gained access to sensitive data on millions of employees and contractors within the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) system. According to Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Dr. Andy Ozment, encryption would not have helped in this instance because “the attackers had gained valid user credentials to the systems that they attacked — likely through social engineering.” OPM leadership noticed the breach when the agency was updating their tools and capabilities. According to Director Katherine Archuleta, the breach would never have been discovered if not for these updates.

McCabe, David. House panel approves bill on Internet domain transition. The Hill. June 17, 2015.

  • On Wednesday, a House committee passed a bill “that would give Congress more oversight of the plan to give up America’s control of the Internet domain name system.” Because some lawmakers have expressed concern about the transition, this bill was proposed “to give Congress time to review the proposed transition and require a Government Accountability Office audit of the transition.” According to Representative Greg Walden, the bill would stop lawmakers from attempting to limit funds for implementing the proposal.

Strickling, Lawrence E. Stakeholder Proposals to Come Together at ICANN Meeting in Argentina. National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) Blog. June 16, 2015.

  • In this blog post, Strickling discusses the NTIA’s priorities for the upcoming 53rd ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires. He mentions that the next step for the IANA transition will be for the  IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG) to “combine proposals into a consolidated transition proposal and then seek public comment on all aspects of of the plan.” Strickling then poses a number of questions that he hopes stakeholders will consider regarding the draft proposal, and ends with a hope that the community shifts focus to how they will implement the recommendations made. He concludes with a call for all global stakeholders in this process to “work together constructively to complete this final stage of the transition.”

Razumovskaya, Olga. Russia Proposes Strict Online Right to be Forgotten. The Wall Street Journal. June 17, 2015.

  • This week, the Russian government proposed a “right to be forgotten” rule that is “significantly stricter than its European counterpart.” The Russian law does not require individuals to provide specific hyperlinks when they request information to be deleted, which gives their right a far greater reach (than in Europe, where they are required to point to links that they want removed). Additionally, the new law extends “the right to erasure to public figures and information that is considered in the public interest.” Search engine companies, including Russia-based Yandex, would be required to comply with the law in order to do business in Russia.

Ruiz, Rebecca. F.C.C. Votes to Move Forward With Plan to Subsidize Broadband for Poor Americans. The New York Times. June 18, 2015.

  • This week, the United States Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) approved “a proposal to explore subsidizing broadband Internet for poor Americans.” The plan was introduced last month by Chairman Tom Wheeler, and will allow the Commission to include new anti-fraud measures and incorporate broadband Internet into an existing program that subsidizes telephone service. After the announcement, Democrats “celebrated the significance of taking aim at the so-called digital divide, the social and economic gap between those with access to technology and those without it.”

Papers and Reports

Who Has Your Back? 2015: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Available at June 2015.

  • This annual report evaluates technology companies’ policies that involve protecting user rights. The Electronic Frontier Foundation uses five criteria to assess company practices and policies: Industry- Accepted Best Practices, informing users about government data requests, publicly disclosing the company’s data retention policies, disclosing the number of times government seek the removal of user content or account and how often the company complies, and pro-user public policies, including opposing backdoors. Among the report’s key findings, nine companies received all available stars, and AT&T, Verizon, and WhatsApp lagged behind the industry in standing by users.

Wilson, Andi, Kehl, Danielle and Kevin Bankston. Doomed to Repeat History? Lessons From the Crypto Wars of the 1990s. Open Technology Institute. June 17, 2015.

  • This paper reviews a period in the 1990s that has come to be known as the “Crypto Wars” and attempts to distill lessons that are relevant to today’s battle between government actors and privacy advocates regarding encryption technologies.  The authors review instances of “sustained, coordinated effort among industry groups, privacy advocates, and technology experts from across the political spectrum to push back against government policies that threatened online innovation and fundamental human rights.” The article advocates that the key players in this space today should learn from the past instead of reviving the same conflicts.


Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF). HNET.Asia. June 20-July 3, 2015.

  • This is a regional initiative on Internet governance designed to provide “an  open platform for multi-stakeholders to discuss and identify issues and priorities, and ultimately advances the development of Internet governance in the Asia Pacific region as well as bring forward and contribute to the wider global Internet community.

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.


GovLab Blog Internet Governance

The GovLab at EuroDig 2015: Mapping Internet Governance

Last week, GovLab Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer Stefaan Verhulst participated in the EuroDig conference, which took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. The conference, an annual event, serves as an “open platform for informal and inclusive discussion and exchange on public policy issues related to Internet Governance (IG) between stakeholders from all over Europe.”
During the event, a considerable amount of time was spent on mapping Internet Governance.  The Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO) held an interactive workshop on how to co-design the GIPO Platform with the community present at EuroDig and collaborate across mapping efforts, including our NETmundial Solutions Map.
Within that context Stefaan presented on:

  • How to develop synergies between GIPO and other mapping initiatives; and in particular
  • How to ensure interoperability and coordination across taxonomies of Internet Governance.

You can find Stefaan’s presentation slides below. If you’d like to get involved in our efforts to map Internet governance, please contact stefaan [at] the
You may also be interested in our overview of existing mapping efforts here. 


Events GovLab Blog Internet Governance

Event Recap and Key Takeaways: The Conference on Internet Governance and Cyber-Security #SIPACyber

Last week, the GovLab participated in the Conference on Internet Governance and Cyber-Security, held at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in collaboration with The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG). The event spanned two days and covered several pressing topics in Internet governance, including privacy, freedom of expression, cross-border data flows, and cyber-risks in critical infrastructure. The conference brought together representatives from academia, industry, government, the technical community, and civil society, stating that “only by convening these diverse interests is it likely that effective policy frameworks can be developed over time.”
During the first and second plenaries, panelists discussed the future of the Internet and multi-stakeholder Internet governance. Some key narratives from these panels include:

  • There is a need to preserve the global reach and integrity of the Internet, and the “Universal Internet” isn’t a function of a particular set of technologies but of choices we make
  • The network is becoming fragmented, and we must answer questions such as “if there is a move for increased regulation, will it enable innovation?” and “where should governments and different actors place themselves?”
  • The conversation should shift from data security to data integrity, which includes security but also reliability and authenticity
  • Kathy Brown of the Internet Society called for a “collaborative model” as decisions cannot be made in a vacuum
  • Fadi Chehade, CEO of ICANN, stated that the logical infrastructure of the Internet is safe and resilient, and that the real issue will now be what is happening on the Internet, not the logical layer, as expressed in the President Ilves report

In face of these challenges in governance, Beth Noveck, the director of the GovLab, discussed how the Internet is allowing us to transform the ways in which we govern. According to Noveck, we have new tools that allow us to reach out and pinpoint people based on desired characteristics, such as level of expertise or representation or status. Through these tools, there is potential to evolve multistakeholderism from a dated concept into something that allows us to be more legitimate and effective. In emphasizing the need to become informed about who is involved in the space, she asked participants to check out the NETmundial Solutions Map, a tool the GovLab is working on to aid greater collaboration in the field of Internet governance.
The second day focused on issues specifically related to cybersecurity, including the cyber-risks of critical infrastructure and the new threats posed by the Internet of Things. Some key messages include:

  • Michael Chertoff, GCIG Commissioner, stated that it is not clear to identify those behind cyberattacks, and thus responsibility lies with enterprises themselves
  • It is not enough to be secure, but organizations also have to effectively communicate to the market that they are secure
  • Some of the big challenges with the Internet of Things, according to GCIG Commissioner Tobby Simon are 1) security of the device itself, 2) the platform the device is built on and its vulnerabilities, and 3) how and where the device is used
  • One of the main threats presented by the Internet of Things lies in the fact that any given device is connected to the rest of your network; as Rima Qureshi of Ericsson explained, the device is a backdoor into the larger system

To read or watch more about the event, check out the transcripts and session videos here.
To stay informed about developments in the Internet governance space please check out our weekly SCAN – Selected Curation of Articles on Net Governance. Also check out our recent curation of Internet governance calendars to stay informed about upcoming events and conferences in this space.
Finally, if you are interested and want to find out more about how to contribute to the NETmundial Solutions Map, please contact Stefaan Verhulst (stefaan at

Events GovLab Blog Internet Governance

Where can you find out what is happening on Internet Governance? A curation of eight calendars

The world of Internet Governance is complex and dynamic. To help navigate the Internet Governance ecosystem, the NETmundial Solutions Map seeks to provide a platform to exchange and document what responses exist to what issues and who is involved in the space.
The design of the map was informed by a set of user interviews. During these interviews, we heard over and over again the additional need to be able to identify and navigate the profusion of events in this space. Below, we have curated and compared a list of calendars covering global events you can use to become smarter about upcoming events and conferences in this field.

Calendar Hosting Organization Description Searchable Filters Option to Subscribe (Email or RSS Feed)

Calendar of Events

Association for Computing Machinery, “the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society” Events of a more technical nature Yes No Yes
imgresUpcoming Events The Diplo Internet Governance Community, an open “community of IG and ICT policy professionals from around the world” A wide range of Internet governance events Yes Has tags Yes
imgres  Events calendar The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a “nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world” Digital rights events No No Yes
twittergip_0Events calendar Geneva Internet Platform, “an observatory, a capacity building centre (online and in situ), and a centre for discussion” and “an initiative of the Swiss authorities operated by DiploFoundation” A wide range of global Internet governance events Yes No No
1280750336icann_logoICANN Calendar ICANN, “a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable” A wide range of global Internet governance events including ICANN meetings Yes Yes Yes
igf-logo-s_0Meetings Internet Governance Forum (IGF), “serves to bring people together from various stakeholder groups as equals, in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet” A list of regional, national and international IGFs and other Internet governance events Yes Yes No
imgres-1Events Calendar Internet Society, “a global cause-driven organization governed by a diverse Board of Trustees that is dedicated to ensuring that the Internet stays open, transparent and defined by you” A list of upcoming and past Internet governance events Yes Yes No
The NETmundial Initiative, “seeks to carry forward the cooperative spirit of São Paulo by enabling opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders” A wide range of global Internet governance events No Yes Yes

You can also read more about recent developments in this space in the GovLab SCAN, a weekly curated selection of articles on Internet governance.
Please let us know by emailing samantha at if there are additional sources to be included in the above table, or an upcoming event you think we should include in the GovLab SCAN!

Events GovLab Blog Internet Governance

Event: Will the "Internet of Things" Set Us Free or Lock Us Up?

Howard jacket mech.indd
Date: Monday, April 20, 2015, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Location: The Institute for Public Knowledge
Address: 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10003
Click here to RSVP to this event.
The Institute for Public Knowledge and The Governance Lab (GovLab) invite you to join us for a conversation with Philip Howard and Clive Thompson on Howard’s new book Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up. 

Should we fear or welcome the internet’s evolution? The latest smart televisions now watch us, and report on our behavior to their manufacturers.  If you don’t pay the bills on your car loan, the bank may shut down your car while you are hiking in a park.  The latest pacemaker may save your life, but the data on your heartbeats doesn’t belong to you or your doctor.  Recently, a refrigerator was caught sending spam.  The “internet of things” is made up of device networks—connected eyeglasses, cows, thermostats—with sensors and internet addresses. Soon we will be fully immersed in a pervasive yet invisible network of everyday objects that communicate with one another. There is lots of evidence that the internet of things will be used to repress and control people. The privacy threats are enormous, as is the potential for social control and political manipulation. Yet we should also imagine a future of global stability built upon device networks with immense potential for empowering citizens, making government transparent, and broadening information access. If we can actively engage with the governments and businesses building the internet of things, we have a chance to build a new kind of internet—and a more open society.
Philip N. Howard is a professor of technology and international affairs at the University of Washington and Central European University. He is the author of eight books, including The Managed Citizen, the Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, and now Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up. He is a frequent commentator on technology and politics for the national and international media. He blogs at and tweets from @pnhoward.
Clive Thompson is a journalist and the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for the Better. He specializes in writing not merely on the inventors of technologies, but about how everyday people use them—often quite unpredictably. In addition to the New York Times Magazine and Wired, he writes for Mother Jones and Smithsonian. He is one of the longest-running bloggers, having launched his science-and-tech blog Collision Detection since 2002. In his spare time he’s also a musician, performing in The Delorean Sisters and writing original music as part of the duo Cove.

GovLab Blog Internet Governance

NETmundial Solutions Map Released for Public Comment

Today, in the wake of the NETmundial Initiative Council working meeting (Stanford Communique) , the GovLab is pleased to announce the beta release of the NETmundial Solutions Map for further public comment (from April 1 -May 1, 2015). The release is the culmination of a 6-month engagement and development strategy to ensure that the tool reflects input from a diverse set of global stakeholders. The NETmundial Solutions Map is co-developed by the GovLab and Second Rise, and is facilitated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
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The tool is designed to support information sharing and collaboration across Internet governance issues. It will serve as a repository of information that links issues, actors, solutions and resources, and help users understand the current landscape of Internet governance.

Today, information about internet governance is scattered and hard to find. At the same time we need more coordination and collaboration to address specific issues. The Map seeks to facilitate a more collaborative and distributed way of solving Internet governance issues by providing users with a baseline of what responses already exist and who is working on what — Stefaan Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief of Research and Development of the GovLab.

The need to create a tool that facilitates information-sharing and improves coordination was identified by both the NETmundial São Paulo meeting and the Ilves report:NETmundial Roadmap (Section II #4) “It would be recommendable to analyze the option of creating Internet governance coordination tools to perform on-going monitoring, analysis, and information-sharing functions.”
President Ilves’ Report Call To Action: “to map issues to existing DG groups and provide assistance in the implementation of existing DG groups’ solutions”

During the first phase of the design process, the GovLab conducted one-on-one interviews and an online survey to determine user needs in collecting information related to Internet governance. In the second phase, we invited experts and the public at large to participate in guided demonstrations and feedback sessions of the Map prototype. These were presented as use case scenarios using the 5 issue areas that have been populated with sample data (broadband deployment, DNS security, IPV6, online child pornography, and online gambling).
We used the feedback from these sessions to make continuous improvements to the design of the Map.
Finally, the GovLab also conducted a comprehensive analysis of some of the existing projects that aim to map the Internet governance landscape, and connected the key initiatives in a “Network of Internet Governance Mappers.” The goal for this group is to share best practices and key findings, with a specific focus on complementing each other’s efforts and seeking spaces for collaboration and content sharing.
This beta version of the NETmundial Solutions Map seeks to explore how to map the Internet governance landscape in a useful and sustainable way. Future revisions will continue to be guided by community feedback.
To this end, we welcome your comments on the following (period runs till May 1st):

  • What do you feel works well in the map?
  • What needs improving?
  • How can the map help you in your work?
  • Would you want to be part of the next version as a content provider?


GovLab Blog Internet Governance

Survey Results: How do Internet users currently search for information on Internet Governance?

Over the last few months we have sought to understand, through one-on-one user interviews and an on-line survey, how individuals search for and find information related to Internet governance issues. The insights gained through these efforts are meant to support the design of a NETmundial Solutions Map prototype.
We shared our findings from the interviews earlier here. In addition, we conducted an extensive analysis of existing Internet governance mapping efforts, and the results are posted here.  Our recent survey, aimed at capturing a broader set of needs and points of views, ran for two months until the end of 2014. Please find the results below:
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As the pie-chart below indicates, we received responses from a diverse set of stakeholders, reflecting the diversity of the Internet governance ecosystem. Given that the survey was located on the NETmundial initiative’s website, we can assume that the respondents are already familiar with Internet governance.
Participants gave a wide range of responses when asked why they were searching for information on Internet governance. Their feedback ranged from academic research, to business concerns, to understanding the impact of global Internet governance on the design of domestic policies. And some users responded that they were simply searching out of curiosity. This reflects a plethora of possible use cases for Internet Governance Maps.
Survey respondents also indicated that they were looking for a range of particular kinds of information. These included (in alphabetical order) :

  • Activities and events
  • Actors
  • Fora and processes
  • Historical context
  • Laws & Initiatives
  • Position Papers
  • Research Publications
  • Transcript
  • Webcasts

Similarly, survey respondents use a diversity of methods in searching for information on Internet governance issues. For the most part, respondents engage in a multi-step process, starting with search engines like Google and moving onto links from recommended blogs, articles, and resources. Some indicated that they reached out to experts, peers and trusted individuals within their network when they needed help in their information seeking process. We learned that peers and thought leaders are considered a valuable resource, particularly when trying to get the most up to date information. None of the respondents identified a single trusted source for all of their Internet governance information needs.
Those who indicated that they had negative experiences with finding information about  Internet governance provided the following reasons:

  • It is difficult to determine whether a source is credible.
  • It is difficult to find up-to-date information.
  • There is a lack of contextually relevant information.
  • It is not clear how things work, and where Internet policy is taking place.

We welcome your involvement in the next phase of development of the NETmundial Solutions Map. In February 2015, we will conduct consultations and invite further comments on the prototype currently in development.