Internet Governance

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Can We Control the Digital Platforms?

The digital market has matured over the last 20 years, and it is no longer an excuse for governments to do nothing with the aim to let new markets and innovations emerge without immediate regulatory oversight. It has become clear this period is now well and truly over. The European Commission has already launched several lawsuits against the digital giants. Regulation, in general, is known as "ex-post" (after the deed has been done). This is set to change, as I will explain later. more

Can Legislatures Safely Vote by Internet?

It is a well understood scientific fact that Internet voting in public elections is not securable: "the Internet should not be used for the return of marked ballots. ... [N]o known technology guarantees the secrecy, security, and verifiability of a marked ballot transmitted over the Internet." But can legislatures (city councils, county boards, or the U.S. Congress) safely vote by Internet? Perhaps they can. To understand why, let's examine two important differences between legislature votes and public elections. more

Stronger Pro-Growth International Policies Are Needed for the Internet, Says ICC

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has announced that greater efforts to bring about better, more consultative global policy-making are needed to maximize the potential of the Internet to power future economic growth. ICC BASIS (Business Action to Support the Information Society) plans to use its presence at the 8th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF), taking place in Bali, Indonesia, between 22-25 October, to call for attention to a greater collaboration between stakeholder groups and stronger pro-growth international policies in order to help the Internet retain its place as the world’s primary economic enabler. more

Enhanced Cooperation v2005 is Dead; Long Live Enhanced Cooperation

The page with the WSIS version of enhanced cooperation of Internet governance, developed in 2005, was turned forever on 30 September 2016 with the expiration of the IANA contract between the NTIA and ICANN. The IANA arrangement was the last issue that remained unchanged since the WSIS Tunis phase where the international community discussed Internet governance related issues for the first time. On 1 October 2016, the concept of enhanced cooperation as defined by the Tunis Agenda ceased to exist. more

Optimistic Speculation on What Elon Musk Might Do With Twitter

Elon Musk is a self-proclaimed "free speech absolutist" which leads some to worry that Twitter will be open to the sort of thing one finds at gab.com if his purchase of the company is completed. I have no idea what Musk plans to do with Twitter but let me offer some optimistic speculation. For a start, I don't believe Musk will use Twitter to advance right-wing candidates or policy. more

Re-Booting Internet Governance: Resurgence of Ideas and Proposals

Milton Mueller reporting at IGP: At the recently concluded Seoul Conference on Cyberspace, a memo was circulated calling for the creation of a "Commission on the Future of Internet Cooperation." The commission, the confidential memo said, would consist of "civic leaders, ministers, CEOs and technical pioneers." Its purpose will be to "provide new ideas for transnational and multistakeholder proposals for Internet governance." According to the leaked document, the group is supposed to begin work in October and conclude its work with a presentation at the World Economic Forum in January 2014. more

What Is Privacy?

Ask ten people what privacy is, and you'll likely get twelve different answers. The reason for the disparity is that your feelings about privacy depend on context and your experience. Privacy is not a purely technical issue but a human one. Long before computers existed, people cared about and debated privacy. Future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis defined it as "the right to be left alone" in 1890. Before the Web became a ubiquitous phenomenon, people primarily thought of privacy in terms of government intrusion. more

The ITU Strategic Plan: Time to Terminate

In recent times, groups of people gather at the ITU in Geneva and write a "strategic plan" covering the next few years. Indeed, there is a current questionnaire to that effect. It is frozen in a world that existed 30 years ago, and by any measure, surreal and absurd. It needs to be terminated. Here is why. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has existed in various forms since 1850 to perform two basic functions. more

Russia and Ukraine: A Tale of Two Languages, One Rising and One Falling

For companies with global aspirations, Russian has long been considered a "must support" language. These days, that is no longer the case. But even before Putin decided to invade Ukraine, the Russian language had been slipping, ever so slightly, in global website support. While support for Ukrainian has been steadily rising. I’ve been tracking the languages supported by the leading global brands for nearly 20 years and... more

Transparency Meets Sustainability: Announcing the SDIA Open Data Hub

Last month, the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA) announced our Open Data Hub, a resource that's meant to boost transparency, trust, and data availability to help researchers, industry, and society realize a sustainable digital economy. It is essentially our answer to the challenge recognized across the sector: that the lack of reliable data is one of the most foundational issues we face in creating a sustainable ICT ecosystem. more

ICANN Is Violating Its Legal Agreements with the U.S. Government – Who’s Next?

In April, I published an article, The Multistakeholder Moment of Truth: Will Stakeholders Hold ICANN Accountable?, alerting stakeholders that ICANN is violating its legal agreements with the U.S. Government -- namely the InterNIC licensing agreement and merged Memorandum of Understanding. At that time, I warned that it is essential for stakeholders not to remain silent in the face of this transgression, "hoping that such behavior left unchecked will end of its own accord." more

The Cuban Internet in the Aftermath of the Anti-Government Protests

In an earlier post, I looked at the use of the Internet by anti-government protesters last month and the government's attempt to block them. Now, a few weeks later, let's see how the Internet changed after my July 18 post. The protesters used messaging and social media services, which the government tried to block, and posted images and videos of protests around the island. more

Massive Changes to the Chinese Tech Industry

It was on the cards. For weeks, Jack Ma, the digital tycoon of China, founder of Ant and of e-commerce giant Alibaba (the Chinese Amazon), disappeared off the radar after he was summoned by the Chinese Government and most likely lectured on the fact that his company was out of step with official Chinese policy. Consequently, the Government levied a multi-billion dollar antitrust fine against Alibaba, deleted its popular web browser from app stores and took several other actions against the company. more

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