State of the Net for the Week of January 21

Yvette Miller ⬥ 21 January

President Obama’s announced reforms for the National Security Agency (NSA) have been a mixed bag for those who may have been looking for stronger reins on the agency’s data gathering programs. As Wired reports, tech companies will have more leeway to disclose government requests for data, and there will be greater policy protections for individuals outside of the U.S. A review team will also be established to examine the government’s position on big data and to coordinate global standards for privacy.

However, the NSA will continue to gather bulk data, and the reforms do not address concerns about the NSA’s efforts to exploit tech companies’ security weaknesses. This likely will strengthen efforts to look outside of the U.S. for solutions to address Internet governance concerns.

The NSA revelations have had a far-reaching impact on conversations about Internet governance already. Brazil has stepped up as a major voice in the debate as President Dilma Roussef expressed anger about the NSA data gathering and subsequently called for a Brazil Conference on the Future of Internet Governance for April 2014. This event has been the focus of government, business, and civilian interest since it was announced in September.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been reevaluating its role in the debate.  In an Internet Governance Webinar with ICANN Senior Executives, CEO Fadi Chehadé said that ICANN is under pressure to participate more actively and encourage multistakeholder model approaches. Now, President Obama’s announced NSA reforms, particularly the establishment of the review panel, clarify the U.S.’s voice in these conversations. Time will tell how loudly it will be heard.

For Your Radar

The 2014 Beyond the Dot Conference will be held at the Newseum on February 19. The event will bring together policymakers, corporations, non-profits, government officials, and average Internet users to explore and discuss a different side of new gTLDs – specifically, what they will mean to all Internet users and how they will change the way that we approach Internet navigation, commerce, and other topics.

The International Trademark Association (INTA) will hold a series of roundtables from January 21 – January 31, covering the gTLD registration process and how it can be used to protect brands online. FairWinds’ Counsel Steve Levy will lead a January 29 roundtable in Philadelphia on new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

January 24: First Donuts’ Sunrise Periods End

January 2014: ICANN Sends out Notifications of Intent for Auctions (Expected)

March 2014: First ICANN Auctions Begin (Expected)

March 23-27: ICANN 49 Singapore

Public Comment Periods:

Jan 31: Comment period closes on ICANN’s Draft Vision, Mission & Focus Areas for a Five-Year Strategic Plan

Feb 21: Comment period closes on ICANN’s Second Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT 2) Final Report & Recommendations

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