Documentary coverage of IGF-USA by the Imagining the Internet Center

Posts Tagged ‘information society

Lock, stock and smoking keyboards: IGF-USA panel discusses cybercrime in a global perspective

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The blame goes to all parties involved. Every time a phishing scam succeeds, an account is broken into or money stolen right from a bank account, while it’s ultimately the fault of the perpetrator of the crime, those who created the security software, the regulators who are supposed to be on watch and the individual user who gives out their private information are all complicit in cybercrime. That was the viewpoint of participants in a cybercrime panel at IGF-USA Oct. 2, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama has, both during the campaign and in the initial stages of his presidency, said that he is looking to make cybersecurity a major focus of his administration, and part of this effort has led to this month serving as cybersecurity awareness month, but where should that awareness be cultivated?

“Whatever the U.S. policy is, it’s inextricably intertwined with the global policy,” said Christopher Painter, acting senior director for cybersecurity at the National Security Council.

But how can that policy be enforced? Threats to the integrity of the world’s online networks can emerge from anywhere at any time, and are nearly impossible to both prevent and punish.

“There is no static cyber threat, there is no one place to focus,”said Jennifer Warren, vice president of technology policy and regulation and government and regulatory affairs at Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications.

Don Blumenthal, the senior principal with Global Cyber Risk, stood firm by the need for landmark cases to serve as a disincentive for criminals who look at the history of online law enforcement and see that there are few punitive dangers waiting before them.

But if everyone on the panel can agree that there’s a need for more punitive measures, an acknowledgment that everyone, both individual, corporate, governmental and internationally needs to work together in preventing cybercrime and the critical need for more education in regard to teaching the public about the steps that they can take to try and staunch the flood of online security threats; why hasn’t anything been done yet?

Security professionals are good at making sure that nothing happens.   – Ken Silva, chief technology officer at VeriSign.

At every step of the way, people on every rung of the online ladder point the finger at a group either beneath or above them. Teachers, saying they have too much on their plate, encourage students to engage with the Internet without teaching them any safety precautions, thinking that the technology will take care of it. The techies create their software, knowing full well, as Silva sternly said, that the static password system that serves as the predominant backbone of most citizens’ security measures, has been out of date since its inception years ago. And the government, who the techies look toward with hopes of enforcement, have their hands tied due to lacks of funds, manpower and the shifty international waters that impede progress in quickly catching and apprehending criminals.

Several ideas were floated during the panel’s discussion, including a newfound emphasis on the K-12 education on cybersecurity, a nationwide campaign to build up a public consciousness of the need for more active individual activism in maintaining cybersecurity similar to that of Smokey the Bear and putting together a universal set of standards as to what cybercrimes are so that some progress could be made in instituting some international laws to assist in tracking and apprehending international security threats (which comprise a majority of security breaches in the U.S.).

But all of the panelists involved in this discussion knew full well that to implement even one of these measures would require a degree of consensus and effort that, so far, has been remarkably difficult to come by.

-Morgan Little,


IGF-USA panel: Supplying broadband access nationwide continues to be growing concern

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access_panel IGF_USA 09 copyPanelists articulated the challenges and opportunities associated with providing wide broadband Internet access to rural communities in the United States during a discussion at the Internet Governance Forum-USA Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C. The expert panel, consisting of people with various professional and personal backgrounds, discussed how access impacts their specific communities. The topics they covered included:

  • Access in rural USA with special focus on issues faced by Native American communities
  • Access issues in U.S. urban centers; perspectives on issues of technical build-out and demand
  • Roles of government in promoting access
  • Lessons learned from libraries and distance-learning initiatives in extending access

All panelists agreed that open Internet access remains vital to the steady, free flow of information, but complications remain about how to ensure people outside of urban areas can gain entrance to the online world. Here are the specific discussions the panelists had.

igfaccess2Brian Tagaban, representative of The Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission

Tagaban said Native Americans must foster their traditions and community within their reservations, but they end up losing members to urban centers when they have to find employment. He said providing broadband access would allow Native Americans to stay connected to their communities.

“We have 155 sites around the reservation,” he said, “but to connect all those sites with some sort of sustainable broadband is unsustainable for us, so we have to pick and choose what sites have access.”
Tagaban said that, after conferring with experts around the world, The Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission decided to build their own infrastructure. “We should start taking control of our information needs,” he said.

He said the commission has begun working on creating an infrastructure, but questions remain about how to make the set up sustainable. For example, Tagaban said the commission still needs to figure out who could manage the telecommunications set up. But he also wants to make sure that the infrastructure is limited in scope so that there’s room for communities to grow.

For now, though, the immediate concern is getting access to all Native Americans.

“As we go forward one of the things we know we’re going to have to deal with is some sort of broadband plan,” Tagaban said. “How are we doing to get this out to the small rural areas? How are we going to get people to adopt it. With 50 percent unemployment, it’s going to be hard. We’re toying with idea of free Internet.”

Raquel Noriega, director of strategic partnerships for Connected Nation Inc.

Connected Nation is a not-for-profit organization that has been investigating how the government and private sectors can push broadband to parts of society that are not adopting it quickly enough. Noriega said they’re attempting to bridge the domestic digital divide, so to speak, and she said there’s both a supply-side and demand-side challenge to their endeavor.

“By supply, I mean making broadband available to all American citizens,” she said. “We need infrastructure to take part in the information technology revolution that is taking place in front of us, and it’s more of a rural challenge. By demand-side challenge, we mean a focus on adoption. To really realize the benefits to the country and the economy, we don’t need just big pipes, we need people to use them.”

Connected Nation, which has existed since 2001, attempts to entice private investment into access issues.

“Clearly the best way to do that was to showcase there was more pent up demand that private investors may not have acknowledged in their research.”

Noriega said Connected Nation attempts to support rural communities with limited access to the Internet in two other key ways: using institutions that are already in place and providing benchmarks that locales can look toward.

In rural areas, these things are a lot more spread apart, and therefore one needs to engage what is already there—associations, hospitals, libraries, governments—because those already exist. We bring data and communication to local communities. We’re trying to empower them with a sense of where they are today and then they can benchmark themselves with other communities and start understanding what they need to do to catch up.  – Raquel Noriega

Nancy E. Weiss, general counsel for the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Weiss brought a little history and perspective to her address, claiming that a couple of key historical American figures would favor open access.

“If Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were around today,” Weiss said, “they would be at the forefront of public access computing and the Internet.”

Weiss said the continuing struggle of providing widespread Internet access is analogous to past governmental efforts to make libraries accessible to rural towns and communities.

“The whole idea was to develop a network of library services throughout the nation so people had access to information and education,” she said. “It shows the importance of ensuring that people have access.”

Weiss said libraries are still the sole source of free Internet access in 72 percent of urban communities, and 90 percent of all libraries provide training in computers, which she said is vitally important because “it’s one thing to have (the Internet), it’s another thing to know how to use it.”

Derrick L. Cogburn, associate professor of international relations and director of the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities

Cogburn may not have articulated the idea of “collaboratories” first, but he’s certainly using them to their fullest potential in academia.

Cogburn has taught a global graduate seminar on disability and development the last 10 years that brings together students from universities in the United States and South Africa. He said the overarching question behind beginning the seminar was, “When you have all these knowledge resources that exist around the world, how do you get them to work together even if they’re not in the same place?”

The answer? Collaboratories.

The term is nothing new. Physical scientists have used collaboratories (a combination of collaboration and laboratories) for a couple of decades now to share research and innovations. But Cogburn said the need for these virtual environments is becoming more necessary in governmental, private and university sectors.

“We need to be able to work in global virtual teams,” he said. “We need to be able to work with people who are not physically in the same environment with you. We’re working in a multi-stakeholder environment.”

Cogburn said collaboratories are all about creating centers without walls, universities without boundaries. And the hope is that these kinds of set ups allow for greater access among people worldwide.

“We want to intersect with students in virtual space,” he said.

-Colin Donohue,

IGF-USA workshop on e-crime and malicious conduct in the DNS: Let the punishment fit the e-Crime

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A person walks into a bank with a gun. The town falls silent, the cops circle the bank with their own guns drawn and a silent standoff punctuated by bull-horn-augmented persuasions ensues. Once apprehended, that person subsequently faces criminal charges and most likely, imprisonment. The same consequences must be paid by criminals who carry out e-crimes like phishing and the creation of malware. That is the view of Rodney Joffe, senior vice president and chief technologist for Neustar.

Joffe was part of a 9-person panel discussing E-crimes: Fraud and Abuse in the domain name system at IGF-USA in Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2009.

Greg Aaron, key account management and domain security for Afilias, said malware is the most prevalent and dangerous problem on the Internet. Another problem, though it may also be a blessing, is that no one owns the Internet, which means that no one is in charge.

Criminals always seem a step ahead, said Alexa Raad, CEO of Public Interest Registry and board chair of the Registry Internet Safety Group (RISG). Everyone should stop looking after just his or her piece of the pie, Raad said, and instead focus on taking responsibility for other sections.

More inventive forms of fraud are being unleashed on the Web, particularly against social networks, Fred Felman said. Felman is the chief marketing officer for MarkMonitor.

Malicious behavior is an abuse of trust, said John Berryhill, intellectual property attorney. Trust in one another is not a transitive property.

-Ashley Barnas,

IGF-USA panel on critical Internet resources: Evolution of the Internet’s technical foundations

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The 2009 IGF-USA session description of this panel is: “Critical Internet Resources (CIR) and the evolution of the Internet’s technical foundations are a central theme of Internet governance debates. Three foundational technological changes – IPv6 (the ‘new’ version of the protocol for the Internet); secure DNS (domain name system security) and secure routing – will underpin the dialogue between key experts from the Internet community, business and government. The successful implementation of these technologies can expand and improve the security of the Internet’s core infrastructures, but deployment raises significant challenges for Internet infrastructure providers and policy makers, and has implications for governance arrangements.”

Brenden Kuerbis, operations director for the Internet Governance Project, based at Syracuse University, served as moderator for a panel that included Alain Durand, director and IPv6 architect, office of the CTO of Comcast; David Conrad, VP for research and IANA Strategy for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); Fiona Alexander, associate administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; and Stephen Ryan, general counsel for the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN).

Kuerbis noted that documents drawn up during the World Summits on the Information Society suggest that critical Internet resources should be managed through global agreements.

“In the third year of IGF, control of CIR was raised forcefully by a member of the Chinese delegation,” Kuerbis said.

Going forward, the management of critical Internet resources is likely to become more contentious.  – Brenden Kuerbis

He noted the implementation of IPv6 and attempts to introduce more security will complicate the management of CIR.

David Conrad said there are critical Internet resources at all layers of the Internet infrastructure. Not all are being discussed at IGF. “You need electricity, you need IP addresses, routing infrastructure, ports,” he said. “In my experience in the IGF context the focus has only been on a select set of resources – those that are involved in what ICANN does. Electricity is more important than whether or not you can get a domain name. There is a focus on the developed world.”

He added that DNS security and routing are important topics that once again tend to have the policy dialogue centered around ICANN. “It is a place where most of the decisions are made around critical Internet resources – it is a community, just like the RIRs are communities that develop policies in a community-driven, bottom-up process. I encourage you to participate in these meetings.”

Stephen Ryan of ARIN discussed the Regional Internet Registries and their role in CIR. There are five recognized registries located in regions around the world. They were established in the 1990s. He said each “develops policies in its own regions regarding Internet numbering and associated issues.” The leaders of the five registries also meet to set common global policies. The boards are voluntary, and anyone is invited to participate in the process of governing the RIRs. These organizations provide Whois service and assign and give out numbers – IP addresses.

There was some discussion of the fact that IPv4 addresses are being depleted. This was anticipated years ago, and IPv6 is being adopted. “What’s our biggest challenge in regard to critical Internet resources?” he asked. “The numbers resources and the switch to IPv6. The fixed number of IPv4 numbers the free pool of remaining IPv4 resources is small.

Clearly we’re going to have to run IPv4 and IPv6 systems in tandem and that’s going to cause problems. Not many people in America understand IP numbers and that their modems won’t work.  – Stephen Ryan

He closed by smiling and saying, “Buy Cisco stock, that’s a tip.”

Alain Durand of Comcast spoke as a panel member who could speak to the CIR concerns of large technology companies.

We are trying to actively participate. The bottom-up policy process has been successful. It has been flexible enough to meet all of our demands and we would like it to go on.  – Alain Durand

The depletion of IPv4 addresses is of concern, he said. “If you are a large service provider with many customers and you are growing you are going to be impacted more than individual users,” he said. “We have been concerned about imbalances between the RIRs in the world and that is why we have been participating in RIPE discussions, LACNIC discussions and participated in this process as a member of the community.”

Fiona Alexander of NTIA agreed that too much of the discussion of the World Summit on the Information Society text is absorbed by “people’s preoccupation with the domain name system.”

“The network is so decentralized,” she said in reference to the global Internet and the people engaged in working toward its evolution, “but the one organizing group everyone recognizes tends to be ICANN. When you read the WSIS text it explicitly says there are things beyond domain names. We should look at other things as a national priority and as we go into the global discussion of critical Internet resources.”

She said people in government are recognizing they need to understand the layers of architecture to understand its evolution and address needs.

“As the discussion is progressing in our own government about issues related to Internet or telecommunications you really have to understand the network architecture to make smart policy.

You have to more and more understand the different layers of this network. Governments are listening they are interested in these issues.  – Fiona Alexander

She added that governments know the uptake of IPv6 is important. “This is on the agenda of governments,” she said. “Our own government is struggling with this. We are working closely with NIST as we look at these issues – it helps that we are both in the Department of Commerce. It’s one of the things we are looking at as we assess the transitions that are fundamental to the network.”

-Janna Anderson,

CONCLUSIONS: ‘What We Don’t Know About the Future of the Internet’ Rainie and morning plenary respondents finish the session

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panel plenary IGFUSAThe panelists answered questions about finding ways to satisfy desires of people to share freely but somehow pay an appropriate price for the information they gain. “Most in my generation won’t want to pay for things because they are used to things being free,” Gyllenhaal said. “Young people will pay for things we use. I guarantee young people would pay for Facebook. It has become that important for us.”

Andrew McLaughlin came into this discussion in support of the principles many, including Chris Anderson (author of “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” and originator of the “Long Tail” idea in Internet economics), have brought to the forefront of the discussion of Internet economics. “Free doesn’t really mean ‘free,’” he said. “We have lots of media now that is free to the end-consumer in exchange for attention or something that benefits someone else. There will be things you are asked to pay for and things that third parties are asked to pay for.” He added it is important to find ways to properly “vindicate intellectual property rights” online and also address privacy, anonymity and authentication in the right way. “I find the ‘free’ debate to be kind of dissatisfying,” he said. “Free to the end-user still leaves you a broad way to pay for things.”

Lee McKnight noted that the issue is complicated. “It’s not just an issue of free and for-pay, there are barter arrangements that come into play as Internet governance has been progressing in these historic days,” he said. “Economic and competition policy will come to the fore… This is a ripe area for policy analysis and discussion at IGF in Egypt and over time as we continue to grapple over challenges.”

Rainie was asked about education and the Internet as an audience member noted how far behind education is in implementing the advantages of the Internet. “Participation matters,” he noted, saying it has been shown that students enjoy the ways in which they can be more active participants in their education when they can go online in classrooms.

McLaughlin chimed in. “The federal government is a disaster when it comes to using these new tools,” he said, noting that it blocks employees’ use of social networks.

“I hope that people less freaked out by these networks and systems will start running things,” he said, adding that every government employee should have a home page offering information they want to share and affording them the ability to collaborate with others in government. “That would drive a culture change that would be unstoppable,” he said, “and you would get the efficient task-oriented government we are trying to achieve.”

-Janna Anderson,

Response from Marc Rotenberg, EPIC, to Lee Rainie’s ‘What We Don’t Know About the Future of the Internet’

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marc_rotenbergMarc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center noted that he began working more than 15 years ago through a group called The Public Voice to promote positive decisions about the Internet – before the WSIS and IGF processes began – in order to get civil society involved in global decisions. “We felt it was important to have the voice of civil society in these discussions,” he said.

He joked that Lee Rainie’s talk was an unusual thing to see in Washington, D.C., because he admitted to the things he didn’t know about. Then he got serious. “Lee’s survey is particularly helpful, because it helps us understand both what we know about the Internet, people using the Internet, where the gaps – for example – exist in access to broadband –  and then on some of the more difficult questions, really what we don’t know yet. These are questions we need to ask and look more closely at, and that’s enormously helpful.” he said. “I am very glad Lee used the ‘P word,’ which is not ‘privacy,’ it is ‘paradox.’ Because, increasingly, as we look at issues related to Internet policy we see a lot of paradox.”

He noted the conflicting desires people have to share things while also maintaining privacy online. “Try to friend your kids on Facebook,” he joked, “and you will get an instant lesson on the ongoing value of privacy.

Even though people put out all of this personal information, they still feel that they want to exercise some control over it. They don’t have a view that, ‘Oh, gee, I’m a data exhibitionist – everyone come and take a look.’ Their view is much more like, ‘Here’s a photo of my friend from the party last week, you four guys gotta check this out.’ It’s this desire to want to exercise some control over digital identity that is actually framing many of the big debates that are happening today in the online world.  – Marc Rotenberg

He said when young people formed a protest group to dispute changes in Facebook’s terms of service it was a sign of their conflicted feelings. “To me, that was entirely a debate about privacy,” he said. “I don’t mean to go all Habermas on you, but this ability to negotiate public and private spaces is an essential part of the human condition and we’ve been doing it forever, from the village to the city to new communication networks to online communities  and I don’t think anything there has changed. I just think you’re seeing it presented in a new way.”

He said transparency of government should be accompanied by government respect for individuals’ privacy. “A second paradox is the relationship between privacy and transparency,” he noted, saying that governments should be making their work more transparent.

There’s no contradiction whatsoever between saying a government should be open and accountable for what it does and it still has to respect the privacy of the personal information it collects about its citizens about the information it collects about citizens. That’s one of the big challenges we face in the information age – not letting the desire to ensure that the accountability for decision-makers – which is critical for democratic institutions – become an excuse to reveal the private facts of individuals, which really don’t relate to the activities of government.  – Marc Rotenberg

He noted that there is a convergence of all of these concerns that leads to a need for a declaration of rights. “There has to be a discussion about a bill of rights for Internet users – we have to begin the discussion about protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of people who go online,” he concluded. “It’s a overdue debate.”

-Janna Anderson,

Response from Randy Gyllenhaal, Elon University, to Lee Rainie’s ‘What We Don’t Know About the Future of the Internet’

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randy_gyllenhaalRandy Gyllenhaal, the panel respondent representing young people, is a member of the documentary journalism crew reporting at IGF-USA for Imagining the Internet. He supplied the transcript of his contribution:

I’m no expert on the ins-and-outs of Internet politics, but I do fully understand my generation’s infatuation with being connected.

From the youngest age, we have understood what it means to be plugged in. We have grown up right alongside the Internet, more than any other generation… Instant messenger was introduce in middle school, MySpace came about in high school, YouTube and Facebook just in time for college…

I remember my first e-mail address, my first screen name, my first MySpace and my 4th MySpace.

But something Mr. Rainie said made me think… when Generation Y comes to power, how will we look at issues like copyright and information ownership?

As the Internet evolves and matures, we must evolve and mature with it – not something you’d expect to hear from a young person.  – Randy Gyllenhaal

It’s been ingrained in our heads that the Internet is free. Napster taught us that music can be free, taught us that news can be free – we’ve never had to pick up a newspaper in our lives.

Even TV can be free… yesterday I told my roommate to watch the new episode of “House” on Hulu… he said he didn’t want to sit through 30 seconds of ads…and would watch it on Ninjavideo…a site that streams TV and movies illegally. 30 seconds, that’s how A-D-D we are… it’s too much to bear.

My generation must grow up, and start taking responsibility for such a powerful tool that is the Internet. Nothing is free. The current model is not sustainable. Maybe I understand this more because I plan on going into journalism…but I hope others my age feel this way as well.  – Gyllenhaal

We want more Internet. We want cloud computing, we want mobile everything, we want it now, we want it fast, and we want it free. But in the future, it can’t be free, can it?

Young people are totally in favor of expanding the Internet and creating more outlets for information. I just wonder if we’re willing to pay for it.