International: EU Privacy Hawks Target Safe Harbor, Antigua Moving Closer to Piracy

ITU Battle, NSA Debacle Spur Review of Internet Governance

Tempestade com raios em Sao Paulo, Brasic. Flavio Ensiki. Creative Commons

The bruising 2012 ITU battle in which Russia and other authoritarian states sought to use the ITU to exert more control over the internet and continued fallout from the NSA disclosures have led to the creation of a commission to consider internet governance.

The Global Commission on Internet Governance will encourage globally inclusive public discussions and debates on the future of Internet governance through a public consultation platform, and through other institutional, media, and academic channels. It will create and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance that can act as a rallying point for states that are striving for a continued free and open Internet.  The commission will focus on four key themes:

  • Enhancing governance legitimacy;
  • Stimulating innovation;
  • Ensuring human rights online;
  • Avoiding systemic risks.

ICANN meanwhile has set up its own initiative to tackle concerns about the Internet’s future. In November, it established a panel that will address concerns about Internet governance. People in government, civil society, the private sector, the technical community and international organizations will be part of the group, ICANN said.

Despite a push from some countries for a more government-centric model, ICANN believes that an Internet governance model that includes businesses and civil-society groups in the decision-making process remains the best approach. ICANN is scheduled to discuss this so-called multistakeholder model in further detail during an Internet governance conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil in April..  Work of the commission will formally begin at the conclusion of ICANN’s high-level panel on Internet cooperation in May 2014. Planning and research however are well underway, they said.

Background on Internet Governance

EU Privacy Hawks and Pragmatists Square Off on EU-US Safe Harbor

The EU Data Privacy Directive prohibits the transfer of data outside the EU to nations not applying similar privacy safeguards.  When enacted this threatened to create a Cyber Berlin Wall between the US and the EU, so the parties compromised on a self-regulatory process by which U.S. companies can certify they comply with the EU principles of notice to consumers, choice (i.e. ability to opt-out), disclosure of transfers to third parties, access to information, adequate security, data integrity and enforcement (see below)

As part of the fall out over the NSA scandal, the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has voted to suspend the Safe Harbor but the EU’s administrative arm, the European Commission, is refusing to do so for fear of jeopardizing an huge trade deal being netogatied between the two economic super powers.  The suspension was sought to enable a complete review to ensure that “transfers of personal data for commercial purposes from the [EU] to the US can only take place in compliance with EU highest standards”.   The US is not the only country on the EU’s “frenemies list”, as concerns have been expressed about surveillance in the UK, Canada and New Zealand as well.

On a related note, EU Justice Minister, Viviane Reding, was sharply critical of recent EU privacy settlements with Google for “pocket change” and that under the legislation she had proposed it could have been fined up to 2 percent of Global Income.

Antigua to Reform Copyright Laws to Exclude U.S. Per WTO Ruling

After many years of fruitless negotiations over how to collect sanctions from the U.S. over its banning Antigua from the U.S. online gambling market; the Antigua government is adopting a new strategy in a bid to end the long standing internet gaming dispute with the United States.  Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack, delivering the traditional Throne Speech at the start of a new session of parliament on Tuesday, said that

necessary arrangements would be made to the Copyright Act, the Trademark Act and the Patents Act to invoke the WTO (World Trade Organization) approved sanction by removing any protection which US intellectual property may have in Antigua and Barbuda.

European Commission rejects call to suspend data sharing agreement with US, Press TV; Viv Reding: That French Google fine? Pfft – it’s pocket money, The Register, Antigua adopts new strategy in online gaming battle with United States, Carribbean 360;

New think tank tackles Internet governance, PC World