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Your Online Freedoms are Under Threat - 2017 Freedom on the Net Report

As more people get online every day, Internet Freedom is facing a global decline for the 7th year in a row. Today, Freedom House released their 2017 Freedom on the Net report, one of the most comprehensive assessments of countries' performance regarding online freedoms. The Internet Society is one of the supporters of this report. We think it brings solid and needed evidence-based data in an area that fundamentally impacts user trust. more

Google Now a Target for Regulation

The time was - way back around the turn of the century - when all Internet companies believed that the Internet should be free from government regulation. I lobbied along with Google and Amazon to that end (there were no Twitter and Facebook then); we were successful over the objection of traditional telcos who wanted the protection of regulation. The FCC under both Democrats and Republicans agreed to forbear from regulating the Internet the way they regulate the telephone network; the Internet flourished, to put it mildly. more

STEM to STEMM: It Will Take Musicians to Save the Internet

The internet is under all kinds of attacks from all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. It’s not just the internet’s infrastructure that is under attack, so too is the very concept of the internet as an open communications platform serving the commonweal. Constructing effective technical defenses of the internet will require that America’s students learn and develop the quantitative disciplines known as STEM; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Constructing effective, ethical defenses of the internet will require that students study art and philosophy. The two educational paths are symbiotic... more

Enabling Privacy Is Not Harmful

The argument for end-to-end encryption is apparently heating up with the work moving forward on TLSv1.3 currently in progress in the IETF. The naysayers, however, are also out in force, arguing that end-to-end encryption is a net negative... The idea of end-to-end encryption is recast as a form of extremism, a radical idea that should not be supported by the network engineering community. Is end-to-end encryption really extremist? Is it really a threat to the social order? more

The FCC Robocall Proceeding: International Insularity

In March of this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an initial Notice of Inquiry (CG No. 17-59) to mitigate robocalls. In July, it adopted a Second Notice. Mitigating spoofed telephone calls is a global problem which every country in the world has been addressing as part of a global ecosystem for many years in intergovernmental and industry bodies, in academic R&D and patent filings, and industry products with ongoing activity continuing today. more

Net Neutrality 101: Why 'Title II' Doesn't Apply to Internet Transmissions

No baby boomers had been born when Congress enacted Title II of the Communications Act in 1934 as a means of regulating the Bell telephone monopoly, and the first Millennials were in elementary school when that monopoly was broken up in 1983. Title II was set to die along with plain old telephone service until the Obama administration decided Title II should be used to implement net neutrality -- the principle that consumers should have reasonable access to internet functionality. more

RIPE 75: Imprssions of the Meeting

RIPE held its 75th meeting in Dubai in mid-October. As usual, there was a diverse set of presentations covering a broad range of activities that are taking place on today's Internet. The topics include issues relating to network operations, regulatory policies, peering and interconnection, communications practices within data centers, IPv6, the DNS, routing and network measurement. If that's not enough, the topic of the Internet of Things has been added as a Working Group in the RIPE pantheon. If you add address policy, database and RIPE services to the mix, you get a pretty packed five days with topics that would appeal to most Internet folks. more

The Hack Back Bill in Congress is Better Than You'd Expect

Rep's Graves and Sinema recently introduced H.R. 4036, the catchily named Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act or ACDC act which creates some exceptions to criminal parts of computer crime laws. Lots of reports have decried "hack back" but if you read the bill, it's surprisingly well targeted. The first change is to what they call Attributional Technology, and says it's OK to put bait on your computer for an intruder intended to identify the intruder. more

How Governments Can Be Smart About Artificial Intelligence

The French MP and Fields medal award winner, Cédric Villani, officially auditioned Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, the Internet Society's Senior Director, Global Internet Policy, last Monday on national strategies for the future of artificial intelligence (AI). In addition, the Internet Society was asked to send written comments, which are reprinted here. more

The Darkening Web: Is there Light at the end of the Tunnel?

In his book "The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace" (Penguin Books, New York 2017), Alexander Klimburg, an Austrian-American academic, gives "Internet Dreamers" a "Wake Up Call". He tells us the background-story why people start to be "anxious about the future of the Internet", as the recent ISOC Global Internet Report "Paths to Our Digital Future" has recognized. Klimburg refers to Alphabets CEO Erich Schmidt, who once said that "the Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity does not understand". more

General Data Protection Regulation and the Future of WHOIS

Why does all of the discussion around potential options for WHOIS in the era of the EU's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) feel like déjà vu? Is it because issues around WHOIS never really go away, and become a hot topic every few years? Is it because no one is really happy with the current system? Privacy advocates would be delighted to do away with it altogether, while business and Intellectual Property professionals press for improvements to accuracy and availability, which I fully support. more

Why Bitcoin Will Not Solve the Caribbean's Financial Inclusion Woes

There's a deluge of hype around Bitcoin and blockchain technologies right now, and policymakers and regulators in the Caribbean are doing their best to wrap their heads around the advantages and disadvantages of this virtual currency. Similar questions are being contemplated in the ICTs for development (ICT4D) community, taking into account that electronic money (e-money) platforms such as Safaricom's M-PESA have essentially solved the financial inclusion quandary for millions of people in Kenya. more

A European Perspective on the Equifax Hack: Encouraging Data Security Through Regulation

The Equifax hack is understood to have compromised the personal data of over 140 million individuals. Although recent hacks of other businesses have affected more individuals, the personal data held by Equifax is significantly more sensitive than the data compromised in other hacks and includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, current and previous addresses and driver licence details... (Co-authored by Peter Davis and Brendan Nixon.) more

The Catalonian Matter: Law and Order, Democracy and Freedom of Speech, Censorship and Trust

I'm an engineer, and I firmly believe that Internet matters and, in general, Information Society, should be kept separate from politics, so usually, I'm very skeptical to talk about those and mix things. Let's start by saying that I'm Catalonian. Despite the dictatorial regime when I was born, forbidden teaching Catalonian, I learned it, even despite, initially for family reasons and now for work reasons, I live in Madrid. However, I keep saying everywhere I go, that I was born in Barcelona... more

The Role of Domain Name Privacy and Proxy Services in URS Disputes

Here's another apparent limitation of the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), the domain name dispute policy that applies to the new generic top-level domains (gTLDS): Proceedings are unlikely to unmask cybersquatters hiding behind privacy or proxy services. Domain name registrants often use these privacy and proxy services to hide their identities when they register domain names. The services have legitimate uses but are controversial. more

News Briefs

Berners-Lee Talks Net Neutrality in Washington, "ISPs Should be Treated More Like Utilities"

U.S. Government Takes Steps Towards Increased Transparency for Vulnerabilities Equities Process

Russia Targeted British Telecom, Media, Energy Sectors, Reveals UK National Cyber Security Centre

Dutch Geographic TLDs Refuse Public Access to Whois Data

Civil Society Groups Call for Deletion of Internet Filtering Provision in EU Copyright Proposal

EU Privacy Case Could Backfire, Turn EU into Data Island, Say Experts

China Blocks WhatsApp, Says Messaging Service Should Stop Spread of "Illegal Information"

DHS Planning to Monitor, Collect Social Media Information on All Immigrants to US

Russia Demands Facebook to Store Citizens' Data on Russian Servers or Be Blocked

EFF Resigns from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) over EME Decision

Net Neutrality Advocates Planning Two Days of Protest in Washington DC

China to Create National Cyberattack Database

EU Presidency Pushing Other Member States for Substantial Internet Surveillance

China Continues VPN Crackdown, Targets Alibaba and Other Ecommerce Sites

Cloudflare Reverses Long-Held Policy to Remain Content-Neutral, Ends Service to the Daily Stormer

British Organizations Could Face Massive Fines for Cybersecurity Failures

U.S. Senators to Introduce IoT Security Bill

EFF Cautions Against Unfair TLD Policies, Offers Advice on Choosing New gTLDs for Best Protection

U.S. House Republicans Ask CEO's of Major Tech, Telecom Companies to Testify on Net Neutrality

'Not the Best Time' for Proposed Russia-U.S. Cyber Unit, Says NSA Chief

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