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European Union Politics

A party vote left her in power, but her government’s plans on how to leave the European Union were left in disarray.
www.nytimes.com | 12/13/18
The U.K. government can reverse its decision to leave the European Union and remain in the bloc without the approval of its EU counterparts, the European Court of Justice said.
www.wsj.com | 12/10/18
Italy’s populist government is looking for a route out of a fight with the European Union over its budget, as the financial fallout from the clash pushes the economy to the brink of recession.
www.wsj.com | 12/5/18
Italy’s populist government is looking for a route out of a fight with the European Union over its budget, as the financial fallout from the clash pushes the economy to the brink of recession.
www.wsj.com | 12/5/18
What lies ahead for companies, governments and individuals regarding cybersecurity in 2019? Will we see the EU government forcing US data centers to hand over data? Will the European Union issue its first major fines for organisations in contravention of its General Data Protection Regulation? Will our growing dependence on social media expose us to [&hellip
Slovenia's government on Tuesday appointed a female officer as the head of the army, a first for the small country which is a member of NATO and the European Union.
www.foxnews.com | 11/27/18
A day after European Union leaders waved through a deal laying out the terms for British departure from the bloc, the British government has shifted into campaigning mode for Parliament’s Dec. 11 vote.
www.wsj.com | 11/27/18
A day after European Union leaders waved through a deal laying out the terms for British departure from the bloc, the British government has shifted into campaigning mode for Parliament’s Dec. 11 vote.
www.wsj.com | 11/27/18
A fable about Italy, bond yields and politics in the European Union.
www.nytimes.com | 11/24/18
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday that a good Brexit deal is within reach after the European Union and her government agreed on a draft declaration outlining their future relations.
www.foxnews.com | 11/22/18
Italy’s new government is rattling the country’s establishment, European Union and financial markets, but many Italians see the five-month-old government as a breath of fresh air.
www.wsj.com | 11/18/18

Over the past few years, the term "open internet" has become popular among politicians in Washington and Europe. It is bandied about in political pronouncements that assert that everyone needs to somehow support the open internet without ever actually defining it. It is sometimes used as a synonym for Net Neutrality.

In fact, it is a bogus public relations term that is rather like saying you believe in the Tooth Fairy. Furthermore, it vectors the focus away from more serious needs such as effective cybersecurity defense, and all too evident threats by adversaries who are using the open attributes of some internets to mount attacks on facilities and data repositories. It is time to stop using the term.

Open

The term "open" in the context of communication networks invokes potentially hundreds of different parameters. The first significant use of "open" occurred forty years ago with the emergence of the massive Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) initiative that governments and industry mounted in the ITU, ISO, and numerous other venues. The work led to massive numbers of standards, including in the U.S., the Government Open Systems Interconnection Profile (GOSIP) specifications that profiled open networking products. Indeed, an open and relatively secure OSI internet was rolled out using the internet protocol CLNP. Ironically, it was the DARPA internet for closed and carefully monitored R&D networks based on TCP/IP in the early 1990s that were pushed out into the public infrastructure by Clinton and Gore without any real security that has been recently politically advanced for openness.

Furthermore, the basic current construct of openness is fundamentally nonsensical. It is exemplified with a hypothetical conversation. "You have a smart phone and lots of computer devices, and probably a home network. Are you willing to allow everyone and anyone in the world to have unfettered access and usage? No?" Well, you get the idea now. It led to the Cato Institute dubbing this as the "What's Yours is Mine" philosophy.

Thus, lies the conundrum and absurdity of advocating unfettered openness of networks and devices. Advocating "openness" is equivalent to suggesting that all computer and network resources belong to everyone in the world for the taking and exploitation. No rational person, organization, or nation is likely to buy into that proposition.

Internet

Next, there is the oft-bandied term "internet." There is no singularity that exists as "the internet.". Many different internets have existed since Louis Pouzin developed the concept in France nearly fifty years ago, and will continue to exist. Indeed, after years of legal wrangling over IPR ownership of the term INTERNET, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in its landmark year 2000 order, legally recognized that INTERNET is a meaningless term and free for anyone to use for anything they choose.

Throughout the world, there are countless networks that at multiple levels are enabled to process and route digital packets among devices within their architectures. Many have varied gateways with other networks. Innumerable internets and related services coexist as virtual overlays among them. Increasingly in the rapidly emerging NFV-SDN-5G world, these will be network slices orchestrated from data centres that are gatewayed as needed using the most efficient protocols and endpoint addresses.

Even if one focusses on one of the most politically popular of the internets based on IPv4, the only real measurement of the topology by CAIDA is fuzzy to say the least, and comprising roughly 50 million routers, 150 thousand links, and 50 thousand autonomous systems. As CAIDA notes, it is also highly U.S. — centric.

By comparison, the GSM global mobile internet currently has nearly 9 billion connected devices and 5 billion users and growing at an exceedingly fast rate — offering substantial openness at higher security levels.

Open Internet

An obvious consequential question is how the term "open internet" originated and why it persists. The phrase is generally associated with the Obama Administration's Net Neutrality initiative — which itself was largely initiated by Over the Top (OTT) providers that rely on the DARPA internet's U.S. centricity to pursue offshore markets — especially for mining available information and directly reaching end users. The term's use was almost unknown prior to 2008, although it was the political successor to the Clinton Administration's Internet Freedom strategy.

In Washington lobbying circles, the term has been co-opted by almost everyone as a kind of political mantra without ever explaining details — even with the reversal of FCC Net Neutrality policy. Oddly, the U.S. State Department is still promoting the term abroad - even as the Trump Administration's Net Neutrality policy has changed domestically. However, incongruity is a stable of life in Washington and no one expects intellectual or policy consistency.

In the European Union, the term Open Internet is tightly bound to Net Neutrality, and has special significance in efforts to bring about a common market. Elsewhere in the world, it is not apparent that anyone really cares, as the global mobile internet infrastructure is more important.

What has changed?

Over the past several years, the exponential increase in the placement of malware and exfiltration of sensitive information via open networks should have re-vectored the Open Internet rhetoric. The DARPA Director who approved its R&D internet development in the 1970s began sounding the alarm in a continuing series of initiatives and papers to senior U.S. DOD officials beginning in the late 1990s. Evgeny Morozov at the political level began raising concerns in 2011 with his famous book, "Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom." The WikiLeaks Assange activism about the same time should also have been a wakeup call as to the ease and harms of massive data exfiltrations. Even the theft of the U.S. government's OPM clearance data failed to lessen the fervor for open internets.

However, it appears that a series of recent events in the U.S. have finally begun to heighten concerns about the dark side of internet openness. This began with the revelation in 2016 that Putin hoisted the U.S. on its own open internet petard in actively intervening in the U.S. elections and the U.K. Brexit vote. The confirmation by the Mueller indictments of FSB and GRU officers underscored the clear and present danger to the most critically important, existential governance of the nation. Subsequent events have amplified the concern with the emergence of neo-Nazi social media sites bringing about the mass murder at a Pittsburgh Synagogue and Facebook's being co-opted in active political influence campaigns as a service.

So today, the Open Internet mantra is a hard sell — especially to foreign countries who likely have no interest in suffering the same experiences of the U.S. The mantra should be discarded and re-focused on providing something of considerable current value - effective cyber defense for all communication networks. In many cases, that requires internets that provide effective cyber defense at network gateways and considerably greater attention to the threat vectors like the so-called Pervasive Encryption protocols that exacerbate data exfiltration and malware placement. In many cases involving critical infrastructure, it means ensuring totally closed internets.

If a communication freedom mantra is needed, political leaders should return to the proven legacy norms such as "reachability" and "universality."

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

www.circleid.com | 11/17/18
Italy’s new government is rattling the country’s establishment, European Union and financial markets, but many Italians see the five-month-old government as a breath of fresh air.
www.wsj.com | 11/17/18
The decline in the currency comes as the British government struggles to find support for its plans to leave the European Union.
www.nytimes.com | 11/15/18
Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain spoke about her plan for leaving the European Union after two cabinet ministers quit her government and others in her own party showed a lack of support.
www.nytimes.com | 11/15/18
Romania's president said Monday his country isn't ready to take over the European Union's rotating presidency on Jan. 1 and called for the government to step down.
www.foxnews.com | 11/12/18
The Bank of England is expected to keep interest rates on hold Thursday as it waits for the outcome of the stalled Brexit discussions between the British government and the European Union.
www.foxnews.com | 11/1/18
Denmark interrupted an Iranian assassination plot, the Danish government said, as it called for the European Union to respond.
www.wsj.com | 10/31/18

This blog by Ira Magaziner, often called the "the father of ICANN," is part of a series of posts CircleID will be hosting from the ICANN community to commemorate ICANN's 20th anniversary. CircleID collaborated with ICANN to spread the word and to encourage participation. We invite you to submit your essays to us in consideration for posting. (You can watch the video interview of Magaziner done for ICANN’s History Project here.)

* * *

My story begins in ancient times when dinosaurs ruled the earth. It was a time when you could download a movie onto your desktop computer through your 56k dial-up connection if you had a few days. It was a time when more people were on the Minitel in France than on the Internet globally and when the Republic of Korea could fit all of its internet users into one small hotel room. I know because I met them all in that room.

In early 1995, then United States President Bill Clinton asked me, as his senior advisor for policy development, to help recommend what steps he could take if re-elected in 1996 to accelerate the long-term growth of the US economy. I suggested that we set a policy environment in the U.S. and globally that could accelerate the growth of the newly developed Internet, we could help fuel a global economic transformation.

I realized that the Internet had great potential, but that its future was very precarious, balanced on a knife’s edge between two extremes that could delay it or even destroy it. On the one side, if the Internet was too anarchic with no publicly accepted guidelines, it could engender constant lawsuits, scaring away investors and people who wanted to help build it. On the other side, if typical forces of bureaucracy took over with a mass of government regulations and slow intergovernmental governing bodies, the creativity and growth of the internet would be stifled.

We formed an inter-departmental task force and over the next few years: passed legislation and negotiated international treaties with other countries that kept Internet commerce free of tariffs and taxation; recognized the legality of digital signatures and contracts; protected Internet intellectual property; allowed the market to set standards rather than regulators; kept Internet telephony and transmission in general free from burdensome regulation; and empowered consumers to use the Internet affordably, among other measures. We aimed to establish the Internet as a global medium of communication and commerce that could allow any individual to participate.

As we did all of this, there was one problem that concerned us deeply: how could the technical coordination of the Internet succeed and scale in the face of the complex political and legal challenges that were already beginning to undermine the legitimacy of the Internet as it then existed?

At that time, IANA was housed in a small office at the University of Southern California (USC) and run by Jon Postel under a contract the University had with the U.S. Department of Defense/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

From a small office filled with large stacks of paper and books on the floor, on tables, and hanging off of shelves on the walls, it was Jon who decided what the top-level prefixes were for each country, and who in each country should be responsible for administering the Internet.

The A-root server was run by a company called Network Solutions in Virginia under a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce. It had a virtual monopoly to sell domain names. It worked with Jon to synch up numbers with names.

But, Jon and the leadership of Network Solutions did not get along. There were constant disputes. They were so frustrated with each other that on more than one occasion I found myself trying to referee disputes between them at the request of the Department of Commerce and DARPA who, as administrators of the contracts, were often caught in the middle.

Internet infrastructure was also insecure. I went on a tour to visit some of the servers that ran the Internet. Some were in university basements where I literally could have walked in and pulled the plugs on the servers. There was no security.

The tenuous nature of these arrangements led to significant concerns which came to a head one fateful week in early January 1996. During this week, the following events occurred:

  • The head of DARPA called me saying that it would no longer oversee the contract for IANA when it expired because there was too much controversy.
  • The President of USC called saying that they could not take the lawsuits being directed against them and wanted out of their contract.
  • Our legal counsel visited and described more than fifty lawsuits around the world challenging the validity of the Internet technical governance that could tear the Internet apart.
  • The International Telecommunication Union approached me demanding to take over the Internet after a decade of opposing the adoption of the Internet protocols.
  • A delegation of U.S. Congressmen and Senators visited and insisted that the U.S. Government had created the Internet and should never give up control of it.
  • Several delegations of representatives from over 100 leading IT and media companies, and 10 trade associations visited saying that Internet technical coordination and security had to be brought into a more predictable global environment before they would invest any further in it.
  • A European Union delegation spent two hours telling me that they would pursue their own regulation of the Internet routing system for Europe.
  • Representatives from the Internet Society told me that the Internet Society governed the Internet and they would resist any attempts by others to take control.
  • The US government security task force on the internet delivered a report saying that the internet was in danger of fracturing from the lawsuits and lack of agreed upon coordination mechanisms.

It was quite a week. We clearly had to do something.

I went home that Sunday, and while watching my favorite U.S. football team lose terribly on the television, I drafted the first concept memo of what an organization could look like that could successfully solve the current and potential challenges.

The idea of setting up a global, private, non-profit, apolitical institution, staffed by technical experts, that would be a grassroots organization accountable to Internet users and constituencies, while also being recognized by governments, was unprecedented and risky. When I discussed it with my interdepartmental taskforce, we knew it would be difficult and somewhat messy to implement, but we felt it offered the best chance to allow the Internet to grow and flourish.

The organization would have a government advisory group that could ensure the views of the collective governments were at the forefront, but that the governments would not control it. The organization would provide a strong focal point recognized by governments to combat any lawsuits. It would be flexible enough to evolve as the Internet evolved. It would generate its own independent funding by a small fee on each domain name registration, but it should never get too big. It would be stakeholder-based, and its legitimacy would have to be renewed regularly by its ability to persuade the various Internet constituency groups that it remained the best solution.

After two years of consultation, vigorous debate and many helpful suggestions and excellent modifications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was born in 1998.

Grassroots democracy is by its nature contentious and there have been bumps along the way. Overall, thanks to the efforts of many people who have played pivotal roles like Becky Burr and Andy Pincus who worked with me in the U.S. Government to establish ICANN, Esther Dyson, Vint Cerf, Mike Roberts and Steve Crocker who guided ICANN at key points, and the efforts of many others too numerous to mention who did the hard work of building the organization, ICANN has succeeded.

The political, policy and technical controversies that threatened to stifle or even destroy the Internet in its infancy in the late 1990s did not do so. The Internet is alive and well.

Billions of people now use the Internet. It accommodates a myriad of languages and alphabets. Wi-Fi, mobile devices, applications, and the “Internet of Things,” have all been incorporated. Despite almost unimaginable amounts of data and more addresses and domain names than we ever contemplated, one never reads about technical or legal problems that caused the Internet to break down.

While serious issues of privacy, security and equity must be addressed, no one can doubt that the Internet has created a positive transformation in the way the world communicates and does business. The Internet economy has grown at ten times the rate of the regular economy for more than twenty years now.

Congratulations to all of the people who have made ICANN a success over the past twenty years and to those of you working with ICANN today who will ensure its success over the next twenty years.

Written by Ira Magaziner

www.circleid.com | 10/25/18
Italy’s government vowed to forge ahead with its spending plans, despite warnings by the European Union that its proposed budget would breach the bloc’s fiscal rules, raising the prospect of a clash with Brussels.
www.wsj.com | 10/22/18

LONDON/BELFAST ? Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the European Union marched through London on Saturday in the biggest demonstration so far to demand that the British government holds a public vote...

www.nationnews.com | 10/20/18
Italy’s government approved a draft budget law for next year, confirming a set of expansionary measures that could lead to a fast-rising deficit and a conflict with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/15/18
Italy’s government approved a draft budget law for next year, confirming a set of expansionary measures that could lead to a fast-rising deficit and a conflict with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/15/18
Italy’s fiscal watchdog criticized the economic forecasts of the country’s new government, in a blow to the credibility of budget policies that are unnerving investors and the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/9/18
Italy’s fiscal watchdog criticized the economic forecasts of the country’s new government, in a blow to the credibility of budget policies that are unnerving investors and the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 10/9/18
Bulgarian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the suspected misuse of European Union funds, following the brutal slaying of a television reporter who highlighted possible government corruption.
www.foxnews.com | 10/9/18

BIRMINGHAM, England ? Britain cannot be bullied, Brexit minister Dominic Raab said on Monday, sharpening the government’s criticism of the European Union for taunting Prime Minister Theresa May and souring...

www.nationnews.com | 10/1/18
Italy’s antiestablishment government has significantly widened its budget-deficit target for next year to fund its electoral promises, in a move that will likely put it on collision course with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 9/28/18
Italy’s antiestablishment government has significantly widened its budget-deficit target for next year to fund its electoral promises, in a move that will likely put it on collision course with the European Union.
www.wsj.com | 9/28/18
The European Union is exploring a landmark deal with Egypt it hopes could alleviate a refugee crisis that has upended politics on the continent, EU officials said.
www.wsj.com | 9/21/18
The European Union is exploring a landmark deal with Egypt it hopes could alleviate a refugee crisis that has upended politics on the continent, EU officials said.
www.wsj.com | 9/20/18
Concerns mounted Saturday about the medical and psychological health of 150 migrants who were spending their 10th day stuck aboard an Italian coast guard ship while the government insists that other European Union nations must take them.
www.foxnews.com | 8/25/18
With the British government so fragile, the European Union is discussing how to finesse the real state of the talks to protect Prime Minister Theresa May and avoid a cliff edge.
www.nytimes.com | 8/15/18
The international community is apparently growing concerned about the delay in the formation of a new government, with the European Union Thursday calling for the swift creation of a national unity Cabinet as an essential move to ensure the functioning of state institutions.

Google is working on a return to China, with the tech giant developing a censored search engine to appease the country’s laws, according to a report from The Intercept on Wednesday.

The search engine would “blacklist sensitive queries,” according to a company whistleblower, who told the outlet he was concerned about the precedent this move would set.

“I’m against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people, and feel like transparency around what’s being done is in the public interest,” the whistleblower told The Intercept. “What is done in China will become a template for many other nations.”

Also Read: Jimmy Kimmel Accepts Ted Cruz's One-on-One Basketball Challenge - and He's Got Jokes (Video)

Google’s clandestine plans have been spearheaded by CEO Sundar Pichai since early 2017, according to the report. The project, operating under the name “Dragonfly,” is limited to a few hundred employees, The Intercept reports. The search engine would strictly be a mobile app when it launches, potentially within the next six to nine months, according to the report.

“We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com. But we don’t comment on speculation about future plans,” a Google spokesperson told TheWrap.

Also Read: Ex-Google Engineer Sues Company for Sexual Harassment, Says She Was Slapped at Company Party

China’s “Great Firewall,” as it has facetiously been dubbed, has stifled free speech online for years through a network of moderators, technical restraints and legislative regulations. The Chinese government blocks access to pornography and news stories that are overly critical of its Communist regime, as well as major sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Google’s new search engine would scrub results for topics the government doesn’t allow, like the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, along with certain images, per The Intercept. A parallel online universe exists in China, with popular social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo, a Twitter-esque communication app, filling the void of their blocked Western analogs.

President Xi Jinping has made it clear in recent years he isn’t in favor of a free press.

“All news media run by the party must work to speak for the party’s will and its propositions, and protect the party’s authority and unity,” Xi said in 2016.

Also Read: Logan Paul Gets YouTube Downgrade: Ousted From Google Preferred, Booted From 'Foursome'

Google operated a censored version of its search engine in China between 2006 and 2010. The Mountain View, California-based company pulled out of China as its online censorship became increasingly severe. Attempts “to further limit free speech on the web,” said the company in 2010 had given it reason to back away from the country entirely.

That decision appears to be reconsidered under Pichai’s stewardship.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Google Hit With Record $5 Billion Fine by European Union

Breitbart and Drudge Hit by Google Cloud Issue, Go Offline

Google Unveils 'More Inclusive Vegan Salad' Emoji

www.thewrap.com | 8/1/18
Italy’s new government wants to reject a painstakingly negotiated trade deal between the European Union and Canada, and that is welcome news to many small farmers in Italy’s fertile north.
www.wsj.com | 7/30/18
Italy’s new government wants to reject a painstakingly negotiated trade deal between the European Union and Canada, and that is welcome news to Ettore Prandini, a small farmer in Italy’s fertile north.
www.wsj.com | 7/30/18
Half of British voters support a referendum to choose between leaving with a deal that the government may clinch with the European Union, leaving with no deal or staying in the EU, Sky News reported on Monday, citing its own poll.
www.dnaindia.com | 7/30/18
The U.K. has begun preparations for the stockpiling of food, medicines and other products in case it fails to reach a deal with the European Union before it leaves the bloc next March, government ministers said this week.
www.wsj.com | 7/26/18
Sri Lanka's president said the government will still end its 42-year moratorium on capital punishment despite requests by the European Union and other diplomatic missions not to do so.
www.foxnews.com | 7/23/18
The European Union’s executive branch will take Hungary to court over the government’s treatment of asylum seekers, escalating a battle over how to balance the continent’s legal guarantees for refugees with popular demand for tighter borders.
www.wsj.com | 7/19/18
The European Union’s executive branch will take Hungary to court over the government’s treatment of asylum seekers, escalating a battle over how to balance the continent’s legal guarantees for refugees with popular demand for tighter borders.
www.wsj.com | 7/19/18
There will be no second referendum on Brexit, a spokesman for Britain's Theresa May said on Monday, repeating the prime minister's belief that her plan for leaving the European Union was the only way to get a deal that meets the government's aims.
www.dnaindia.com | 7/16/18
Poland’s government is drafting new laws to rush its purge of the Supreme Court, racing ahead of efforts by the European Union to halt what authorities in Brussels view as a rapid erosion in rule of law.
www.wsj.com | 7/13/18
Poland’s government is drafting new laws to rush its purge of the Supreme Court, racing ahead of efforts by the European Union to halt what authorities in Brussels view as a rapid erosion in rule of law.
www.wsj.com | 7/13/18
President Donald Trump warned U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that a plan her government released Thursday outlining its future economic relationship with the European Union could hurt chances of a bilateral trade deal.
www.wsj.com | 7/13/18
The British government has outlined its hoped-for relationship with the European Union after Brexit in a blueprint that it calls bold and ambitious but that TV broadcasters and channel operators say lacks clarity. The U.K. is a major hub for channels, with more than 600 using a license from British media regulator Ofcom that, at […]
variety.com | 7/13/18
Several Brexit supporters in Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party will seek to harden the government's plan on leaving the European Union by changing her customs legislation in parliament next week.
www.dnaindia.com | 7/12/18
Despite a series of diplomatic spats between Britain and Trump, the British government is hoping for a quick trade deal with the US after it leaves the European Union.
www.dnaindia.com | 7/12/18
In a policy paper, the government will outline proposals to allow Britain to maintain close economic and security ties with the European Union even after it leaves the bloc in March.
www.dnaindia.com | 7/12/18