For too long, and on too many issues, policymakers have left the governance of technology in the hands of those who design it. Governments face three imperatives in mitigating the digital economy’s negative effects, and they can no longer afford to stand by.
Attendees at the upcoming virtual ICANN69 meeting (Community Days, 13-15 October | Plenary Week, 19–22 October) have been requested by the ICANN Ombuds Herb Waye to observe the Expected Standards of Behaviour and the Community Anti-Harassment Policy.
ICANN announced last week the Board of Directors approved a two-year extension to President and CEO Göran Marby’s Executive Services Agreement term. The extension will see his contract expire on 23 May 2024.
It was as if the Interstate System of highways had been built using volunteer road crews, working without a map. No one present at the 1969 creation of the network that later became the internet imagined that this niche Pentagon project — built as a research tool for a small group of academic computer scientists — would one day become the backbone of the global economy.
The ICANN 2020 Nominating Committee announced the selections for seven leadership positions Friday last in the following news release:
In 2014, the United States began the process of relinquishing the last vestiges of its stewardship over the internet, starting a transition of full control to an international nonprofit, ICANN. It was a big deal—you may remember Sen. Ted Cruz warning about “the significant, irreparable damage this proposed internet giveaway could wreak not only on our nation but on free speech across the world.” At the time, I thought the ICANN transition was a mistake. Now, I suspect I was wrong.
With ICANN, like many other organisations, forced to move their meetings into the virtual space, there has been a lot of learning about what works, and doesn’t. About what people want. And don’t. So for ICANN69 there was a demand from the community for YouTube streaming, to which ICANN has acquiesced for a limited number of sessions. There have also been protections added to prevent malicious disruptions that have occurred in previous virtual meetings.
Another component of internet-browsing is about to become criminal in Russia.
On Sept. 21, Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media (Minkomsvyaz) released a draft law that would criminalize the use of internet protocols that, in its words, encrypt a website name. The specific protocols the law is targeting are a jargony alphabet soup: TLS 1.3, ESNI, DNS over HTTPS (DoH), and DNS over TLS (DoT). But they’re important encryption techniques that are already, to varying degrees, deployed online, including in Russia.
On September 18, the US administration announced that it would ban new downloads of the TikTok and WeChat apps. Then, on September 19, the plan was halted when President Donald Trump gave tentative approval to a deal that involved the creation of a new, US-headquartered entity called TikTok Global. As part of the new deal, Oracle and Walmart would own a combined 20 percent of the newly created entity; the remaining 80 percent would be owned by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.
As part of the European Digital Strategy, the European Commission announced in June a Digital Services Act package to strengthen the Single Market for digital services and foster innovation and competitiveness of the European online environment. The revised package will “impact network operators, cloud and hosting providers, top-level domain registries and registrars”, among others.