IEEE Global Internet Policy Monitor

The IEEE Global Internet Governance Monitor is a weekly document reporting on significant Internet Governance related activities around the world. To access the full reports containing additional details and other news items, please join the Internet Technology Policy Community on IEEE Collabratec. Following are summaries of the most recent reports:


8 June 2016

The following is summary of the most recent IEEE Global Internet Governance Monitor report. To access the full reports containing additional details and other news items, please join the Internet Technology Policy Community on IEEE Collabratec.

The weeks ICT news has focused mainly on international cooperation with negotiations ongoing for major cooperation deals between the USA and the EU, ASEAN and India, as well as plans for further regional cooperation in Europe and Asia.

In European news the European Union has started laying the ground-work for a digital single market for its member states. The intention for the new strategy is to foster innovation and cut red tape for start-ups, whilst also ensuring greater choices and protections for consumers. The European Parliament has responded to the strategy proposed by the European Commission in 2015 with an own-initiative report. The report will feed into the upcoming legislative proposals, which will require the European Parliaments approval before coming into full force.

Following on from recent developments the Privacy Shield between the USA and the EU has come in fro further criticism, with Giovanni Buttarelli the EUs Data Protection Supervisor arguing that the agreement is not robust enough. This condemnation is likely to place increasing pressure on the Juncker Commission to renegotiate the deal, potentially placing a final agreement beyond the term limit of the current Commission.

In other European news the EU Commission has launched a call for proposals for the deployment of a series of broadband networks and European Digital Service Infrastructures. The announcement comes as part of a 10.5 million program designed to improve the EUs digital infrastructure.

Across the Atlantic there is a greater array of news stories as the US houses of Congress continue to battle with the state regulator, the FCC, on issues of cyber privacy and net neutrality.

In particular there have been announcements this week from the House of Representatives of plans to cut the budget of the FCC so as to protect major cable television providers AT&T and Comcast. The move will greatly affect the FCCs ability to use its new net neutrality powers and will diminish the FCCs authority on all cyber issues in the USA.

On an international note the USA is currently planning to form a bilateral cyber cooperation pact with India during Prime Minister Modis visit to the USA this month. The deal will be the first of its kind and will encompass a range of cyber issues from international governance to cyber security.

Whilst the American Government has announced this positive step forward in cyber cooperation, other arms of the Federal system have been quick to object to other international news items. Of interest are the Department of Defense's statement that the US will not cooperate with the Russian military on cyber issues. This comes as a result of Russia's actions in the Ukraine which have prompted a breakdown in cooperation with the US.

In Asia there has been increasing focus on Pan Asian cooperation across cyber related issues, with increasing focus on the actions of ASEAN and the TTP agreement with the USA.

In India the national telecom regulator Trai has published a paper attempting to define net neutrality and the issues it would like to discuss in its upcoming consultation. Trai are looking to stakeholders to answer six key questions, including what should comprise the core principles and policy approach toward net neutrality in India.

Cyber security has been of increased importance to Asia's militaries following an announcement from the ASEAN body that State Defense Chiefs have agreed to form a new Cyber Security group. In a separate announcement Taiwan also announced that they would be forming a fourth branch of its military to deal with cyber security and external threats.

Cyber analysts have focused heavily on Asia's digital divide this week, with discussion of how the TTP agreement between ASEAN and the USA could improve cyber skills. Particular interest has also been given to the impact of India's internet access upon the country's economy. With one article commenting that India could see an increase in GDP of $1 Trillion if it can get all of its citizens online.

In the rest of the world there has been little news in terms of ICT stories, with the notable exception being the continued investigation into the Bangladesh Central Bank hack. What was initially viewed as an isolated event has now been found to have happened across the SWIFT messaging network, with a total of 12 banks, including some in the Philippines and New Zealand believed to have been effected. There have also been allegations from the cybersecurity firm Symantec Corp that North Korea has been behind a series of hacking attacks on Asian Banks that has culminated in the current SWIFT messaging hack.

Global Cyber institutions have been largely quiet this week. Amongst this week's announcements have been ICANNs introduction of new bylaws and the invitation for submissions from those wishing to sit on the 2017 nominating committee as chair and chair-elect. In other news Tunisia has agreed to host the 2016 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-16) with the UNs International Telegraph Union (ITU).


1 June 2016

The following is summary of the most recent IEEE Global Internet Governance Monitor report. To access and download the full report containing additional details and other news items, click here.

The weeks ICT news has focused mainly on international cooperation with negotiations ongoing for major cooperation deals between the USA and the EU, ASEAN and India, as well as plans for further regional cooperation in Europe and Asia.

In European news the European Union has started laying the ground work for a digital single market for its member states. The intention for the new strategy is to foster innovation and cut red tape for start-ups, whilst also ensuring greater choices and protections for consumers. The European Parliament has responded to the strategy proposed by the European Commission in 2015 with an own-initiative report. The report will feed into the upcoming legislative proposals, which will require the European Parliaments approval before coming into full force.

Following on from recent developments the Privacy Shield between the USA and the EU has come in fro further criticism, with Giovanni Buttarelli the EUs Data Protection Supervisor arguing that the agreement is not robust enough. This condemnation is likely to place increasing pressure on the Juncker Commission to renegotiate the deal, potentially placing a final agreement beyond the term limit of the current Commission.

In other European news the EU Commission has launched a call for proposals for the deployment of a series of broadband networks and European Digital Service Infrastructures. The announcement comes as part of a 10.5 million programme designed to improve the EUs digital infrastructure.

Across the Atlantic there is a greater array of news stories as the US houses of Congress continue to battle with the state regulator, the FCC, on issues of cyber privacy and net neutrality.

In particular there have been announcements this week from the House of Representatives of plans to cut the budget of the FCC so as to protect major cable television providers AT&T and Comcast. The move will greatly affect the FCCs ability to use its new net neutrality powers and will diminish the FCCs authority on all cyber issues in the USA.

On an international note the USA is currently planning to form a bilateral cyber cooperation pact with India duringPrime Minister Modis visit to the USA this month. The deal will be the first of its kind and will encompass a range of cyber issues from international governance to cyber security.

Whilst the American Government has announced this positive step forward in cyber cooperation, other arms of the Federal system have been quick to object to other international news items. Of interest are the Department of Defenses statement that the US will not cooperate with the Russian military on cyber issues. This comes as a result of Russias actions in the Ukraine which have prompted a breakdown in cooperation with the US.

In Asia there has been increasing focus on Pan Asian cooperation across cyber related issues, with increasing focus on the actions of ASEAN and the TTP agreement with the USA.

In India the national telecom regulator Trai has published a paper attempting to define net neutrality and the issues it would like to discuss in its upcoming consultation. Trai are looking to stakeholders to answer six key questions, including what should comprise the core principles and policy approach toward net neutrality in India.

Cyber security has been of increased importance to Asias militaries following an announcement from the ASEAN body that State Defence Chiefs have agreed to form a new Cyber Security group. In a separate announcement Taiwan also announced that they would be forming a fourth branch of its military to deal with cyber security and external threats.

Cyber analysts have focused heavily on Asias digital divide this week, with discussion of how the TTP agreement betweenASEAN and the USA could improve cyber skills. Particular interest has also been given to the impact of Indias internet access upon the countrys economy. With one article commenting that India could see an increase in GDP of $1 Trillion if it can get all of its citizens online.

In the rest of the world there has been little news in terms of ICT stories, with the notable exception being the continued investigation into theBangladesh Central Bank hack. What was initially viewed as an isolated event has now been found to have happened across the SWIFT messaging network, with a total of 12 banks, including some in the Philippines and New Zealand believed to have been effected. There have also been allegations from the cybersecurity firm Symantec Corp that North Korea has been behind a series of hacking attacks on Asian Banks that has culminated in the current SWIFT messaging hack.

Global Cyber institutions have been largely quiet this week. Amongst this weeks announcements have been ICANNs introduction of new bylaws and the invitation for submissions from those wishing to sit on the 2017 nominating committee as chair and chair-elect. In other newsTunisia has agreed to host the2016 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-16) with the UNs International Telegraph Union (ITU).


25 May 2016

The following is summary of the most recent IEEE Global Internet Governance Monitor report. To access the full reports containing additional details and other news items, please join the Internet Technology Policy Community on IEEE Collabratec.

A busy week this time around in the world of ICT. Developments of interest have filtered in from all corners of the globe and are explored in further detail in the monitor below.

In Europe, it was reported this week that the proposed new framework for facilitating the transfer of personal data between the EU and US, the so named ‘Privacy Shield’ has still to be endorsed by a data protection committee containing representatives from the national governments of EU countries. The Article 31 Committee met with officials from the European Commission earlier this week and was due to be updated by the Commission on "the state of play on the EU-US Privacy Shield". However, technology news site Ars Technica reported that the meeting was concluded without agreement being reached on whether the Privacy Shield should be deemed as providing for adequate data protection when personal data is transferred to the US from the EU in line with framework, as is required by EU law.

Also of interest on the theme of governance, ministers from 14 EU countries have this week called for the removal of "unjustified barriers" to the movement of data across borders. The ministers from Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK outlined their views in a letter to Henk Kamp (6-page / 532KB PDF), Dutch minister for economic affairs. The Netherlands currently holds the presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers. The Council, together with the European Parliament, is responsible for passing new EU legislation. The letter was also sent to European Commission officials, including the EU's digital commissioners Andrus Ansip.

On a cyber-security note, the European Council announced new cyber-security rules designed to make networks and information services across the European Union safer and more secure. The network and information security (NIS) directive will require providers of essential services – such as energy, transport, health and finance – and "digital service providers" – such as online marketplaces, search engines and cloud services – to take steps to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and to report any major security incidents.

Regarding cyber-privacy, an issue of extensive contention at the moment, it was revealed during the week thatUdo Helmbrecht, the director of ENISA, the EU cybersecurity agency, and Rob Wainwright, director ofEuropol, the bloc’s law enforcement agency, have been in talks over the last two weeks to try to come up with an agreement on encryption. The two organisations have previously been publicly opposed to one another regarding the issue of encryption but the announcement this week suggested they have now agreed on limits to law enforcement agencies’ access to private data.

News from the US included the story detailing how US Senators have warned against the US plan to let China and Iran in on Internet governance as part of the US administration’s work towards handing authority over the body that controls Internet domain naming function, which interprets code into words, off to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers , an international agency based in California. The plan has met with delays in the face of congressional objections, but hopes within the administration are for the transfer to be completed prior to President Obama vacating office. Senators warned against that move in a letter addressed to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on Thursday. "The proposal will significantly increase the power of foreign governments over the Internet, expand ICANN's historical core mission by creating a gateway to content regulation, and embolden [its] leadership to act without any real accountability," said the letter, which was signed by Republican senators Ted Cruz of Texas, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Mike Lee of Utah.

Also of interest was the news revealing the extent to which net neutrality complaints have flooded the US following the FCC rules regarding net neutrality took effect in June 2015. Internet service customers have filed 20,991 net neutrality complaints since the implementation of the new regulations according to new data released by the Federal Communications Commission. The data includes 86,114 Internet service complaints filed since October 31, 2014 against home Internet and cellular ISPs. Net neutrality has been the most common type of complaint since the rules went into effect and is near the top of the list even when counting the first seven months of the data set in which net neutrality complaints weren't yet being accepted.

Cyber-Security also received a good degree of coverage in the US this week. Of particular interest was the announcement that the ill-gotten gains of New York criminals will be used to fight cyber-attacks in London in a new initiative to protect the world’s two largest financial centres. TheManhattan District Attorney’s Office is giving $25m over five years from criminal forfeits to fund the Global Cyber Alliance with the City of London Police. The project aims to share intelligence on attacks across borders: past crackdowns have often been stymied because companies have kept such attacks secret due to fear of reputational damage.

A busy week in the Asian ICT sphere this time around too. Of particular interest was the announcement that the Indian Government’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology brought together industry and academia in a first move of its kind to ensure India has a greater say in setting standards on the internet by engaging with the Los Angeles headquartered non-profit organisation Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann). It was reported that the department held daylong consultations with the IT services industry, ecommerce players, internet service providers and academia including IITs, to fill an important gap in the ongoing debate on internet governance — the lack of active participation from the private sector. Officials said the workshops aimed to identify the areas where the private sector and academia can work together to engage better with Icann.

On the topic of net neutrality, the Indian Telecom regulator TRAI has proposed exploring models to give consumers free Internet service within the Net neutrality framework, months after barring platforms like Facebook’s Free Basics and Airtel Zero under its differential pricing rule. The consultation paper (on free data) is being issued to explore model(s) that could achieve benefits of offering free data while avoiding the ingenuity that the differential tariff regulation is meant to prevent,” the regulator said in the consultation paper.

Also of interest were cyber-security related developments, with reports emanating that theAssociation of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has invited SWIFT for a meeting in June to discuss the latest cyber-attacks on banks in Bangladesh and Vietnam which involved SWIFT's financial messaging service. In addition to this Banks in Hong Kong are set to face stiffer cybersecurity obligations in light of measures being introduced by a financial regulator, an expert has said. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has introduced a new cybersecurity fortification initiative (CFI) in a bid to "raise the level of cybersecurity of the banks in Hong Kong".

Plenty of news from the remainder of the ICT world, with stories of interest including the announcements that Canada’s telecom regulator is set to take a sweeping look at a key Net neutrality issue at a public inquiry on “differential pricing” of home Internet and wireless data plans in the fall; the Group of Seven (G7), the leading advanced economies in the world, reportedly pushed the topic ofcybersecurity to the forefront of conversation at the G7's meetings in Japan last week and according to Google, there'll be half a billion internet users in Africa by 2020 following the organisation’s roll out of a new training scheme.

Of note emanating from Global Institutions this week, news that ITU’s governing Council opened its annual session under the chairmanship of Ms Julie Zoller, Senior Deputy Coordinator for International Information Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. State Department. Noting that leaders from around the world have committed to achieving global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ms Zoller said, “At this Council, we will ensure ITU’s contribution toward achieving the SDGs, setting us on a path to a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable world.” She added, “TheUnited States joins ITU in heeding the SDG call to action by harnessing the power of ICTs through our Global Connect Initiative, which aims to catalyse the efforts of all stakeholders to bring 1.5 billion additional people online by 2020, underscoring the idea that Internet connectivity is as important to development as other forms of infrastructure.”


18 May 2016

The following is summary of the most recent IEEE Global Internet Governance Monitor report. To access the full reports containing additional details and other news items, please join the Internet Technology Policy Community on IEEE Collabratec.

A somewhat quiet week in the ICT world this time around, however, there were still a range of points of interest for IEEE which are explored further below and throughout the monitor.

In Europe, cyber-security was the predominant focus this week, of particular note was the announcement that new measures designed to ensure critical IT systems in central sectors of the economy like banking, energy, health and transport are secure are set to be written into EU law. The Council of Ministers announced that the proposed Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive has won formal approval from the national governments that make up the EU. It said the Directive is likely to come into force in August once the European Parliament has voted to endorse the text.

Also of interest was the news that amidst growing cyber-threats faced by the Russian banking system, the country’s Central Bank has announced plans to design new requirements and standards, which should strengthen the level of its cyber-security. The plans were confirmed this week by Artem Sychev, deputy head of the department of S ecurity and Information Protection of the Central Bank.

On the topic of cyber-privacy it was recommended this week by an advisor to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) that website operators should treat IP addresses as personal data if internet service providers (ISPs) hold other information that can be matched with IP address data to reveal the identity of internet users. The CJEU has been asked by a court in Germany to help resolve a dispute over whether IP addresses constitute personal data for the purposes of the EU's Data Protection Directive.

The issues surrounding the recently agreed Privacy Shield arrangement between the EU and the US have also continued to receive coverage, with potential shifts in the US regulatory framework throwing yet more scrutiny on the process. This will be an issue of note for the foreseeable future and one that will require continued monitoring.

In the US, cyber-security and cyber-privacy issues dominated the headlines. From a cyber-security perspective, the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter this week revealed that cyber-attack techniques currently being employed by the US led coalition against the Islamic State were techniques which could also be used by other countries. Speaking in California, Carter told reporters that the U.S.-led coalition used electronic techniques to disrupt and degrade the jihadist force's ability to organize and said an unspecified number of other countries could do the same in other conflicts.

Also of interest on the topic of cyber-security, it was reported this week that on Wednesday a group of senior U.S. and China cyber officials held their first meeting since the two countries struck an anti-hacking agreement in September 2015 to try to ease years of acrimony over the issue. The so-called Senior Experts Group on International Norms and Related Issues is expected to gather twice a year, the U.S. State Department said in a statement announcing the meeting.

As previously referenced, cyber-privacy was also competing for top place on the US ICT agenda this week. James Comey, Director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reiterated this week to reporters that he believes encryption continues to hamper the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate criminals. He went on to predict more legal action in the future as opposing forces seek to resolve the ongoing debate over tech companies' obligation to comply with government requests to unlock iPhones and other products.

Continuing on this theme, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency run within the U.S. Department of Commerce, released data this week which detailed the distrust Americans have for their privacy online. In a blog post, the agency said that 19 percent of internet-using households reported that they had been affected by a data breach, identify theft, or similar malicious activity between July 2014 and July 2015.

In Asia, internet governance issues came to the fore this week. In India, it was reported that the Department of Electronics and Information Technology is bringing together industry and academia in a first move of its kind to ensure India has a greater say in setting standards on the internet by engaging with ICANN. The department planned daylong consultations with the IT services industry, ecommerce players, internet service providers and academia including IITs, with the aim of filling an important gap in the ongoing debate on internet governance namely the lack of active participation from the private sector.

Also of interest, the US this week issued warning regarding the potential fragmentation of the internet in light of Chinas plans to require compulsory registration of Internet domain names in China through government-licensed providers. The regulations for the administration of Internet domain names would also forbid the registration of websites containing any one of nine categories of broadly and vaguely defined prohibited content, and create a blacklist of forbidden characters in the registration of domain names, adding an extra layer of control to Chinas Great Firewall, two top U.S. officials in charge of Internet policy and administration, wrote in a statement Monday.

On a net neutrality theme, TRAI were back in the fray as the Indian Telecoms Regulatory Body announced it will start pre-consultation on net neutrality within two to three days. TRAI has already resolved the differential tariff issue, which is a major part of net neutrality, though not without controversy it must be said.

The ongoing cyber-conflict between North and South Korea continued to rumble on this week, with South Korea blaming their neighbor state to the North of a cyber-attack on a navy defense contractor. The contractor, Hanjin Heavy Industries, produces Seoul's naval vessels and amphibious assault vehicles.

From the remainder of the ICT world the news wasn’t overly forthcoming this week, however, two stories of interest; the announcement from the global financial network SWIFT that international banks face a threat from a new wave of malicious malware software and Facebooks announcement that it will be conducting a full investigation into allegations of political bias. The company has recently come under fire after an unnamed former Facebook employee told technology news website Gizmodo that workers often omitted conservative political stories from the company's "trending" list of topics that it says spiked in popularity.

Of note emanating from global institutions this week, news that ICANN has announced its senior leader transitions, with the organisations Chief Contract Compliance Officer, Allen R. Grogan, and Nora Abusitta, Senior Vice President of Development and Public Responsibility Programs (DPRD), having notified the body of their intent to leave ICANN later this year.