Day 1: Wednesday 8 March 2018

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Internet Governance, History and Principles

NASIG2018 started off with the session titled "Internet Governance, History and Principles" by Olivier Crepin-Leblond.


Olivier traced the evolution of the Internet through five 'waves': Wave 1 (Military 1957-1970s), Wave 2 (Academic 1970s-1990s), Wave 3 (Commercial 1990-2000s), Wave 4 (Mass Media 2000s-2010), and Wave 5 (Everybody & Everything 2010-). The first formal definition of Internet Governance (IG) originated from the UN Working Group on IG (WGIG) Final Report of 2005.

Internet was successful on account of several factors such as Shared Global ownership; Development based on Open Standards; and Freely accessible processes for technology and policy development. It is Open, Transparent and Collaborative. Internet's technological proposals are made through Request for Comments (RFC) documents, the first of which was by created by Steve Crocker in 1969.

The Internet rapidly grew during the 70s and 80s. Email was one of the earliest applications, developed in the 1970s. The Domain Name System (DNS), introduced around 1985 with 6 top-level domains (TLDs), enabled human-parsable addresses (initially implemented with host tables) and was a major innovation. Usenet, the hierarchical discussion board, was introduced in 1998. Gopher was an early information sharing system. Hypertext Markup Language (HTTP) was invented in 1993 and the first graphical browser, NCSA-Mosaic, in 1994. The period from the mid-1990s to 2005 saw a number of innovations, culminating in the founding of Google in 2005. Geographically too, the Internet had become an international resource from the 1980s, and reached the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and Costa Rica) in 1993.

The Internet is transforming the world today in every sector, including business, government, education, and personal productivity. Social media also enabled entire revolutions in some countries. The growing role of the Internet in the lives of people around the world led to the increasing felt need for Internet Governance. The governance of the Internet was the role of the IG ecosystem that consists of a number of institutions including ISOC, ITU, IETF, IAB, ICANN, W3C and more. In 2016, the full control of the root of the Internet (IANA) was transferred from the US Government to ICANN after a long community process (the new name of IANA is Public Technical Identifiers, PTI).

ICANN introduced the multistakeholder model of IG, which is considered open, transparent, bottom-up and user-centric, in contrast to multilateral processes used by the UN system (including ITU), where the process is top down and largely confined to Governments.

Today, the Internet is growing fast, and there is a need for all stakeholders--particularly the civil society--to be fully engaged in the multistakeholder process in order to continue to keep the Internet open, user-centric and bottom-up.

See Olivier's slides  here |Rapporteur: Satish Babu

Overview of Registrars & Registries: How do they help maintain Internet stability?

The second session of the day, “Overview of Registrars & Registries: How do they help maintain Internet stability?” by Ron da Silva, propelled the students into the world of names, numbers and protocols/parameters. Ron explained that registries are essentially globally coordinated ‘list keepers’.


Ron gave an overview of Internet addresses (‘numbers’). Every device or object connected to the internet needs to have a unique IP address. IPv4 was introduced in 1981 and, once the Internet began to expand, it became clear that 4.2 billion of them was not going to be enough to meet the needs of the future Internet. IPv6, which greatly expands the amount of available addresses, was introduced in 1999.  ICANN’sIANA/PTI acts as the authoritative register of blocks of IP address space, and lists details of who ‘holds’ which block of address space. IP address space is distributed to the world’s five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), who then distribute it at a regional level. The five RIRs participate in ICANN as the Address Supporting Organization (ASO).

Protocols and Parameters

Ron explained that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) develops protocols i.e. the agreed manner in which devices/applications will communicate with each other or behave. The authoritative list of protocols and parameters is maintained by ICANN’s IANA/PTI. Ron highlighted the importance of this: if there was no global coordination and agreed upon list, the Internet would fail as as devices would not be ’talking the same language’.  


Next, Ron gave a brief overview of the domain name system (DNS). Every website has a unique number but, as numbers are hard to remember, we use names instead. The DNS takes this name and maps it back to the unique identifier. An operator authorised to run a domain, for example .pr, the top level domain (TLD) for Puerto Rico is called a the registry and there are relatively few of them; around 20 large operators who manage multiple TLDs. ICANN’s IANA/PTI maintains the authoritative list of who operates which TLD.


Registrars are the consumer-facing side; registering domain name holders and providing hosting and email services. ICANN’s IANA/PTI maintains a list of accredited registrars.

There were several questions for Ron, including who gets to manage a domain, who funds ICANN and IANA/PTI and what happens if more than one operator wants to operate a certain TLD.

Rapporteur: Susannah Gray


Internet Governance Overview

During this session, Judith Hellerstein gave participants an overview of the Internet Governance space through a journey examining its evolution. Starting in 1998 with the Plenipotentiary in Minneapolis. This conference serves as policy making body for theITU and it was here where countries were first pushed to recognize the need for private sector and other government to adopt resolutions on governance of the Internet. What emerged was a call for a world summit on information and a vote on December 21, 2001 in favor of the multistakeholder World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).


WSIS was a two-phase summit sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and was intended to focus on how to bridge the digital divide. The first phase was held in Geneva in 2003 and attended by delegates from 175 countries, but it failed to agree on the future of Internet Governance. This disagreement led to the formation of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). With 40 members, over 4 meetings, WGIG came to a common understanding of what the Internet was but had no agreement of what governance was. This was due to many issues related to language, the diversity of other issues that comprise Internet Governance such as critical resources, security and stability, and development. It should be noted that we still have extensive discussions about how governance is defined. The second phase of WSIS was the Tunis Agenda. This included 11 WSIS Action Lines and established the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Commission on Science, Technology, and Development (CSTD)
Overseeing these actions is the Commission on Science, Technology, and Development. It was established in 1992 by ECOSOC, and had two working groups. One focused on IGF reform and the other focused on enhanced cooperation. The later continues to be a working group that fails to propose an agreed upon definition. This is because there are two groups that clash on whether cooperation is a multilateral issue or a multistakeholder one.

WSIS +10 Review
This review creates a document that was submitted to the UN General Assembly 10 years after the first WSIS. The CSTD also submitted their own document to the UNGA. Overall, the document submitted showed that governments understand the difference between multilateralism and multistakeholderism even if they do not agree with multistakeholderism. As a result, the IGF has been reauthorized for another 10 years.

The IGF presently is a is a diverse space in which a variety of stakeholder can come together, which “inspires policy making power in the public and private sector...and work to create common understandings of how to maximize Internet opportunities.” It should be noted, however, that no binding policy directly emerges from this space. Finally, the IGF dynamic coalitions are an important aspect that allow for people to share best practices and collaborate on specific issues in an inclusive and transparent manner.

Overall, Judith provided an excellent overview of a topic that not only has substantial breadth, but also has significant depth in a clear and concise manner. Many thanks to Judith!

See Judith's slides  here | Rapporteur: Anna Loup  

Enforcing IP Rights in a Digital Environment

Hiram Melendez talked about Copyright issues. The Main concerns of policy makers regarding the internet. Communications decency act was approved but then was noted as unconstitutional. Main strategy for content owners to tackle privacy was to go after users or the company that was hosting it. Strategy of going against the users is not a great way so massive and pervasive and after a long time it was found that this strategy was not bearing fruit. Was costly also in how it was perceived by the public. Better to regulate online behaviour by tackling intermediaries. Recruit online service providers

WIPO Copyright treaty-owners have a right to communicate to the public their work and also can authorize others of the work. Just because someone is creating a platform the mere fact that you are providing the platform does not mean I am liable for what they put out on this platform. What are we going to do with these gatekeepers. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. DMCA has established a framework that has been replicated in many other countries .

Prior to DMCA had certain rules that were developed for infringement of copyright law. Vicarious Liability (ther right and ability to supervise the infringing activity and also have a direct financial interest in the activity. Contributory infringement- if you have knowledge and directly or materially contribute to this infringement.

You can be exempted from these rules under the Sony Safe Harbour, as long as your device is capable of substantial non-infringing other uses. Just because people can use it for bad things you cannot shut it down. Rarely do we have today devices that are not tethered or connected Inducement rule - You can be held liable if you are encouraging people to violate copyright laws.

DMCA talks about 4 processes: a) Transitory Digital Network Communications b) system Caching c) Info residing on systems or networks at the direction of users  d) info location tools. a-ISPs since they only handle traffic, pass through traffic, so to earn your immunity you have to provide for a policy that you use that provides for the termination of account for repeat infringers. If you do not have a policy that you could kick people out if they infringe on policies than you could lose your immunity.  It only said you need to have a policy for terminating accounts. It does not tell you that you can track or monitor people.

Notice and takedown. If you get an official notification from the content owner specifying several different elements than you have an obligation is faulty. Once you get an appropriate notification you take it down. The other person has the right to appeal this takedown and to prove that they have the lawful right to put it up.

Procedural way so that authors have a way to manage copyright issues and work with intermediaries so that they can manage their own business. There are alternative to the DMCA. Chile has a system that say the notice has to go to a judicial authority before they can take anything down. In Canada, they do not do takedown, they just keep sending notices to the infringement notices. France tried a three strikes rule but it failed. In the US there is a 6 strikes rule.

See Hiram's slides  here |Rapporteur: Judith Hellerstein


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