International Affairs

Committee work

The EuroISPA International Affairs committee represents the views of the European Internet industry in discussions around Internet governance and international ICT cooperation.

Key dossiers

ICANN

EuroDIG

Internet Governance Forum

Council of Europe

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Latest developments

May 2016: EuroDIG and CENTR to host joint-workshop on content control at EuroDIG 2016

The European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) is an annual open multi-stakeholder platform to exchange views about the Internet and how it is governed. The 2016 installment will take place in Brussels on 09-10 June.

As part of the event, EuroISPA is teaming up with CENTR to organise a policy workshop for EuroDIG participants. The workshop will be titled Technical basics everyone should know before discussing online content control.

The session will be divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 (50min): "Technical training" to provide the audience with information on the underlying building blocks of the Internet and the functioning of the different internet layers (ISPs, IP addressing, DNS, naming). Objective: explain the impact of online content control on the technical operations of the different internet layers and how this affects the daily use of internet; lay the foundation for an informed discussion about content control.
  • Part 2 (40min): Moderated open debate kick-started by "fire starters". The moderator will build the bridge from the technical part to the policy debate. A balanced selection of "fire starters" from civil society, academia, law enforcement, etc. will fuel the debate with short, concise statements that are then open to discussion.

More information on EuroISPA's EuroDIG workshop can be found here.

Time has been blocked in the EuroISPA GM programme to allow members to attend the workshop.

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Previous updates

February 2016: ICANN finalises proposal to transition stewardship of key Internet functions from US government

Following its latest meeting in Marrakesh, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board submitted to the U.S. Government a plan developed by the international Internet community that, if approved, will lead to ICANN taking control of some key technical Internet functions.

Should the proposal be accepted by the US government, it will relinquish control of the IANA function (management of protocols, the Country Code Top Level Domains and maintains the IP Address allotments). The US government had demanded strong guarantees of ICANN transparency and independence as a prerequisite for transitioning IANA control to the multi-stakeholder grouping.

The U.S. Government will now review the package to ensure that it meets transparency/independence criteria. If approved, implementation of the plan is expected to be completed by the end of September 2016.

EuroISPA is represented at ICANN by International Affairs committee chair Malcolm Hutty.  We will dedicate time for an ICANN debriefing at the next EuroISPA General Meeting in Amsterdam.

More information can be found here.

January 2016: EuroISPA joins forces with CENTR to propose EuroDIG 2016 technical workshop

Building on successful collaborations in 2015, EuroISPA is joining forces with CENTR to propose a workshop at the 2016 European Dialogue on Internet Governance. The conference will take place in Brussels and will coincide with the June EuroISPA General Meeting.

The joint EuroISPA-CENTR proposal is titled:

CONTENT CONTROL: The impact of voluntary and/or mandatory actions on the different layers of the internet, from a technical perspective and in the context of questions including jurisdiction, censorship, enforcement

The workshop is inspired by the technical trainings CENTR and EuroISPA have provided to officials from the European Commission in recent years.

More information on the proposal can be found here.

December 2015: Internet Governance Forum on the ‘evolution of internet governance: empowering sustainable development’

From 10 to 13 November, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held its 10th conference on the “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development”. The press release can be found here. Eight sub-themes were discussed during the conference:

  • Cybersecurity and trust
  • The Internet economy
  • Inclusiveness and diversity
  • Openness
  • Enhancing multistakeholder cooperation
  • The Internet and human rights
  • Critical Internet resources
  • Emerging issues

Over 150 thematic workshops were held at the 10th IGF which focused on an array of topics; from zero rating and network neutrality to freedom of expression online and cybersecurity. One of the issues figuring prominently in the discussions was the issue of online privacy. Participants stressed that encryption and anonymity needed to be reinforced and agreed on the need for privacy, transparency and security issues to complement each other.

Amongst the participants was also the Vice President Ansip and various Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). A Joint Declaration (here) was signed by the Vice President and the MEPs which argues for improved internet access all over the world, an open and interdependent internet as a global resource, and the need to find solutions related to cybersecurity and cybercrimes. The EU delegation further recalled its support for the development of the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO), an organization that will monitor Internet related policy, regulatory and technological developments across the world.

Next steps

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will gather for the 10-year review of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) on 15 and 16 December 2015. During the WSIS, the UNGA will discuss the renewal of the IGF mandate and the further strengthening of its resources.

September 2015: US Government Accountability Office gives endorsement to IANA transition as Republicans voice discontent 

A highly-anticipated report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has given an endorsement to transfer control of the IANA functions from the US government to domain overseer ICANN. The report was published in mid-September, and can be read here.

Alongisde this, four leading US Congressional figures, including  presidential candidate Ted Cruz, have questioned whether the Obama Administration has the legal right to transfer control of the internet's key technical functions outside the US government. In a letter to the US Government Accountability Office, the lawmakers note that the Internet’s Zone Root File is designated a "national IT asset" by the federal government, and argue that its creation was "funded by the American taxpayer and coordinated by the Department of Defense." As such, it constitutes property of the United States and cannot be legally transferred to a third party. Read more here (links to external site).

August 2015: Internet governance: ICG publishes draft IANA transition proposals as ICANN contract extended until September 2016

On 17 August, the US government announced that it would extend the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) contract with ICANN through to September 2016. The move comes as the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) concedes that it needs more time to complete its work, have the plan reviewed by the US government and then put it into action if approved.

The ICG recently published its draft proposals on transferring the IANA contract to a multi-stakeholder group, under the auspice of ICANN. But work on developing a system of governance to ensure manage the transition and ensure future accountability has been a considerable challenge, and it is unlikely that the final proposal will be ready to submit to the US government until next summer.

Since 1998 the United States has contracted out, through the Commerce Department, the management of the master database for top-level domain names like .com and .net and their corresponding numeric addresses to ICANN. On the back of international pressure, the US government decided to ultimately allow its contract with ICANN to expire, and to pass on oversight of the agency to a global governance model.

Next steps

Draft proposals by the ICG for transition and accountability are currently available for public consultation. The aim is to finalise the proposals by the time of the ICANN meeting in Dublin on October, before beginning the process of seeking approval for the proposals from the US government.

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