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

Posts Tagged ‘US department of commerce

IGF-USA 2012 Afternoon Plenary: Remarks from Larry Strickling

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Brief session description:

Thursday, July 26, 2012 – Larry Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the US Department of Commerce, spoke about the United States and the global Internet.

Details of the session:

Larry Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the US Department of Commerce, highlighted the importance of the multistakeholder model in his afternoon keynote talk at IGF-USA Thursday at Georgetown Law Center.

Larry Strickling speaks during closing plenary at the IGF-USA conference in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2012.

The NTIA has long been integral in the operation of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which regulates global domain name policy. While NTIA, on behalf of the US Department of Commerce, reached an agreement with ICANN in 2009to transition the technical coordination of the DNS to a new setting in ICANN under conditions that protect the interests of global Internet users, NTIA represents the US government on ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee and it is still an influential force.

Given the near-infinite reach of Internet services, Strickling emphasized the need to include more global representatives in the process of domain name regulation and the discussion of related issues.

“We have focused on enhanced cooperation and finding ways for the global Internet community to have a more direct say in matters of Internet governance,” he said. “This issue is one of great importance as we head into the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) and World Trade Forum conferences over the next year, where some countries will attempt to justify greater governmental control over the Internet.”

Strickling said the NTIA has made a concerted effort to dissolve the illusion of US control over the Internet infrastructure by showing a heightened respect for the laws of individual countries and finding new ways to address conflicts of interest.

He also expressed his support of greater transparency in all organizations involved in Internet governance, including the International Telecommunication Union, and forcefully restated that the US position on Internet governance is to appropriately limit the role of the government in policymaking.

“Those of us in the US government will work to be as inclusive and transparent as we can be,” he said. “We will push back against calls for more control. Limiting ourselves to the role of facilitator is absolutely key to the ultimate success of the (multistakeholder model). We will press ahead.”

— Katie Blunt

 

IGF-USA 2012 Workshop: Cyber Security – Channeling the Momentum at Home and Abroad

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Brief session description:

Thursday, July 26, 2012 – The US House of Representatives has passed four cybersecurity bills, and the US Senate has indicated an intent to consider cybersecurity legislation in the current session. The US Department of State is working with its global partners to develope relationships, collaborative action and norms of behavior for cyberspace. The US Department of Commerce has spearheaded a government initiative on botnets and is working with industry on botnet mitigation measures. The Department of Homeland Security is increasing its cybersecurity staffing for strategic and operational concerns. And the White House is transitioning its team on cybersecurity policy with a second cybersecurity adviser to the president. Stuxnet and Flame attacks have captured international attention. Cybersecurity remains a key theme in discussions in the United Nations, the International Telecommunications Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, ICANN and the annual Global Internet Governance Forum. This workshop addressed questions such as: What are businesses, countries, and the technical community doing in this heightened era of cyber security concern? What should they be doing? What are the considerations for individual users here in the U.S. and around the world? How can all these pockets of activity help protect – and not hamper the protection of – the very medium that provides for productivity, communications, efficiencies, innovation, and expression?

Details of the session:

The session was moderated by Audrey Plonk, global security and Internet policy specialist at Intel Corporation. Panelists were:

  • Tom Dukes, senior advisor, Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, US Department of State
  • Jeff Greene, senior policy counsel, Cyber Security and Identity, Symantec
  • Kendall Burman, senior national security fellow, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Patrick Jones, senior director of security, ICANN

Panelists from the government and private sectors gathered at IGF-USA’s cybersecurity workshop to discuss how these entities are collaborating to deal with domestic cybersecurity threats and international cybersecurity issues.

Patrick Jones speaks as a panelist at “Cyber Security: Channeling the Momentum at Home and Abroad,” during the IGF-USA conference in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2012.

This issue is especially pertinent right now. There have been a number of high-level conferences and meetings in Washington and other locales over the summer of 2012 on this topic, and, as moderator Audrey Plonk, global security and Internet policy specialist for the Intel Corporation, puts it, “Cybersecurity is the new black.”

Jeff Greene, panelist and senior policy counsel of cybersecurity and identity at Symantec, agreed. “At this time three years ago, cybersecurity was something that was mentioned in passing,” he commented. “Now the interest is exponential.”

Symantec’s business is centered on protecting enterprises from cyberthreats. Greene, who until recently worked with the Department of Homeland Security, said that according to this year’s Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, 75 percent of the enterprises Symantec deals with were threatened with a cyber attack in 2011.

He added that while the incidence of spam decreased in 2011, there has been a shift to web-based attacks. Greene also said the government and private sector are working together to reduce such threats.

“It is remarkable how much of the threat dynamic in both sectors is the same,” Greene said. “We see criminal and other malicious activity largely the same as the government does, so this is all work through government, private and international cooperation.”

Panelist Kendall Burman had a different view on government access to private sector and citizen information in terms of cybersecurity. As a senior national security fellow for the Center for Democracy and Technology, she has spent time exploring security and surveillance from the perspective of a member of a group focused on consumer privacy.

“I think that the tricky area from a civil liberties perspective is when the government is in a position of receiving that information, making sure that that information is limited to cybersecurity threats, and what the government can then do then once it receives it,” Burman said.

Panelist Tom Dukes, senior adviser for the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the US Department of State, weighed in from a government standpoint on cybersecurity issues, including the important role of the US government in pushing other countries to increase their outreach and share their perspectives on cybersecurity issues.

“Obviously what the US says, the positions we take, are highly influential and they are certainly looked at by a great many other countries,” Dukes said.

“One thing that the US has been trying to do for the last couple years in terms of addressing cyberpolicy issues in general, cybersecurity included, is to try to take sort of a leadership role in helping shape the world debate on how we think about these issues.”

Dukes said that the US has also made progress in terms of leading a global discussion on reaching a consensus about cyber security norms. Greene said that while the U.S. would like to set its own cybersecurity policies, this could cause global problems.

“If everyone has a different set of rules, (global policymaking)’s going to be pretty difficult,” Greene said.

Panelist Patrick Jones, senior director of security for ICANN, shared his view that while US policymaking is important in terms of cybersecurity, politicians should be aware of the effects that any laws they make may have globally.

“It’s helpful for policymakers, when they’re coming up with legislation, that they think of the Internet as global and consider that the decisions they make may have technical impacts that they’re not considering that impact the way people are using the Internet today – give those a thorough understanding before decisions are made about a particular legislation,” Jones said.

Jeff Greene speaks to the audience at “Cyber Security: Channeling the Momentum at Home and Abroad,” during the IGF-USA conference in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2012.

One of the final points of discussion during the workshop was the differences between cybersecurity and information security.

In the discussion it was noted that cybersecurity, in the US view on Internet governance, deals primarily with protection from Internet threats. Information security, in the Russian and Chinese view, also includes censoring the civic sector and content from many Western media and knowledge organizations.

Dukes said there are two considerations for openness and freedom of information that convince most leaders in the world to find common ground in the fairly liberal US position on cybersecurity issues.

First is the basic human rights aspect of the argument; many countries accept that people should, whenever possible within the bounds of public safety, have certain rights of free speech, communication and assembly. Most countries agree that this should apply online.

Dukes’ second point is the economic benefit of keeping the Internet as open and free-flowing as possible. “Many evolving world countries are really desperate to find ways that they can harness the power of the Internet to increase economic opportunity, to increase GDP, to increase development and growth,” he said. “Those arguments seem to be very pragmatic, but it’s hard for countries to disagree with that.”

— Mary Kate Brogan

IGF-USA 2012: Critical Internet Resources (CIRs) – Evolution of the Internet’s Technical Foundations

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Brief session description:

Thursday, July 26, 2012 – Since the initiation of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Critical Internet Resources (CIR) and the evolution of the Internet’s technical foundations have been a central focus of ongoing Internet governance debates. Varied views can engender misunderstandings that influence the opinions of global stakeholders, and different views exist about how to advance CIRs. International governmental approaches are proposed by some, while others strongly support the present bottom-up, consensus-driven models. Three foundational technological changes – IPv6, secure Domain Name System (DNSsec) and secure routing – framed the discussion in this workshop. Deployment of these new technical and organizational approaches raises significant challenges to stakeholders, operations and governance arrangements.

Details of the session:

The moderator for the session was Walda Roseman, chief operating officer of the Internet Society. Panelists included:

  • Steve Crocker, chair of the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
  • John Curran, president and CEO of the American Registry of Internet Numbers
  • Richard Jimmerson, director for deployment and operationalization, Internet Society
  • Vernita Harris, deputy associate administrator in the Office of International Affairs of NTIA, US Department of Commerce

Thursday’s IGF-USA conference at Georgetown Law Center featured an assembled panel of government and corporate experts who addressed the controversial issues concerning the control of critical Internet resources.

Walda Roseman, chief operating officer of the Internet Society (ISOC), chaired the discussion on the implementation and security of CIRs.

CIRs include IP addresses, domain names, routing tables and telecommunications, or what Steve Crocker, CEO and co-founder of Shinkuro Inc., Internet Hall of Fame member and chair of the board of ICANN, called the base of Internet architecture upon which everything else is built.

Moving from Internet Protocol Version 4 to IPv6

One of the most pressing concerns regarding CIRs is the revision of Internet Protocol (commonly referred to as IP) from version 4 to version 6, now the most dominant protocol for Internet traffic.

IPv4 used 32-bit addresses, allowing for approximately 4.2 billion unique IP addresses, but the growth of the Internet has exceeded those limits. IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, allowing for about 3.4×1038  unique addresses. This number is equal to approximately 4.8×1028 addresses for each of the seven billion people alive in 2012.

John Curran speaks about critical internet resources during IGF-USA conference in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2012.

Because headers on IPv4 packets and IPv6 packets are quite different, the two protocols are not interoperable and thus they are both being run in what is called a “double stack.”

However, IPv6 is, in general, seen to be a conservative extension of IPv4. Most transport and application-layer protocols need little or no change to operate over IPv6. The exceptions to this are the application protocols that embed internet-layer addresses, such as FTP and NTPv3. In these, the new address format may cause conflicts with existing protocol syntax.

Internet service providers, the Internet Society and many large Internet-based enterprises worked to support a World IPv6 Launch on June 6 this year to help accelerate the adoption of IPv6.

John Curran, president and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, said upgrading to IPv6 is a necessary step for “any enterprise that wants to still be in business in five years,” because it enables them to continue to reach new customers and grow.

When asked about the costs or burdens of upgrading to IPv6 for small businesses, Curran explained that in most cases the burden would fall on the hosting company through which they run their website.

Chris Griffiths, director of high-speed Internet and new business engineering for Comcast, confirmed this, stating his company would have to upgrade to continue to attract new clients.

Security issues always loom large in Internet evolution

The development of the Internet has led to a need for Domain Name System Security, or DNSSEC. Curran explained that DNSSEC maintains the integrity of the Internet by ensuring the information users obtain is from the source they believe they are corresponding with, essentially preventing redirection to fraudulent websites.

Redirection could come from hackers, hijackers and phishers, but also the US government, should initiatives such as SOPA or PIPA pass.

“My primary interest is keeping the open Internet alive,” said Richard Jimmerson, director of deployment and operationalization for ISOC. “Somebody in this room will want to invent the next Facebook or Yahoo! Today, that is possible, but if we do not pay attention to certain things, that may not be possible anymore.”

Griffiths said Comcast and other Internet technology companies work together through governance processes now in place to address, for example, the types of security vulnerabilities that can drive action to work to avoid future risk, and in making adjustments in infrastructure and dealing with other emerging challenges.

Steve Crocker speaks about critical internet resources during IGF-USA conference in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2012.

Conflicts arise over the management of CIRs

The US government currently maintains the most control globally over CIRs. This is not well received by some critics around the world, as they fear that the United States may abuse its power. Some have also proposed that they would like to see a roadmap of the Internet for the next 20 years.

Curran addressed these concerns by stating that the US government has a positive track record regarding the respectful and neutral administration of its responsibility for CIRs, mostly leaving all of the operational details to multistakeholder global governance bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force and ICANN, and added that roadmap would not likely be effective as there are too many unknowns moving forward.

Vernita Harris, deputy associate administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, explained that the newest Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) contract indicates it expects that ICANN and aspects of control over the Internet architecture “will be multi-stakeholder driven, addressing the concerns of all users both domestic and international.”

— Brennan McGovern