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Friday, August 01 2014 @ 07:36 PM CDT
Wednesday, February 12 2014 @ 08:42 AM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
For more than a decade there has been active resistance in some quarters to the continuing custody by the U.S. of the root domain registries of the Internet. Those directories (which control the routing of Internet traffic into and out of nations) are administered by ICANN, which in turn exists under the authority of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Today, Neelie Kroes, the strong-willed European Commission Vice-President in charge of the E.C.’s Digital Agenda, has put the question of “Internet Governance” (read: control of these registries) back into the news. Specifically, Kroes announced in a press release that the Commission will pursue a “role as honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance.”
Monday, October 14 2013 @ 04:36 PM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
The unexpected disclosures of NSA activities by Edward Snowden presents a splendid example of U.S. government, as well as popular, indifference to world opinion. As part of its efforts to control the political damage of the embarrassing revelations, the Obama administration repeatedly stressed that only foreign nationals had been the targeted. As the breathtaking breadth of the data accessed and analyzed became clear, this rationale raised the question of how the foreign citizens - and even leaders - of U.S. allies might feel about being considered to be fair game for the NSA’s attention.
The answer to that question is that they weren’t happy. Nor, as we will see, were a group of NGOs that had no reason to think they were targeted at all.
Saturday, November 11 2006 @ 05:18 PM CST
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
Once upon a time, there was something new called "the Internet," and it was an unknown quantity. While some guessed what it could become, most did not. Famously, Mark Andreessen - of Mosaic, and later Netscape fame - and Tim Berners-Lee did, while Bill Gates did not. Less publicly, those that helped to create something that came to be called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - or ICANN - did, and the standards analogue of Bill Gates - the International Telecommunications Union - or ITU - did not.
The result was that ICANN came to control a small but vital piece of the Internet, called the root directories, while the ITU, a venerable global telecommunications standards organization existing under the aegis of the United Nations, and tracing its origins to 1865, did not, although perhaps it could have laid claim to those essential elements had it appreciated their future importance at the time.
And that road not taken, as Robert Frost once said, has made all the difference.
The almost haphazard way in which the future control of the root directories of the Internet was decided has become almost the stuff of legends (one of many versions may be found here). By some lights, the ITU would have been the logical home for the directories to reside, but regardless of your favorite interpretation of the actual events, that was not to be, and the ITU lost out.
Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:23 PM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
A topic I've been following for about a year now is the struggle over "Internet governance," which has translated most directly during that time period into the following question: "will the US Department of Commerce give up control of the root directories of the Internet or won't it?" The debate over that question sadly monopolized the World Summit on the Internet Society (WSIS) for most of the life of that initiative (to date), and promises to continue to do so.
That's a shame, because the WSIS initiative was founded to bring the benefits of information technology and Internet access to all of the peoples of the world. Appropriately, it's administered by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) under the auspices of the United Nations, and if you're interested you can follow what's happened (and hasn't happened) over the past year by scrolling through the news stories, comments and blog entries availalbe in this folder, or by scanning this issue of the Consortium Standards Bulletin.
As you'll see from the materials in either location, ICANN's stewardship of the root directories is up for renewal (or termination) at the end of September of this year. Comments were earlier submitted on what to do when September has run its course, and a public meeting was held two days ago on the question of whether or not to renew the ICANN Memorandum of Understanding, or to put the job out to bid.
According to The Register's Kieren McCarthy, that meeting "should go down in Internet history," as the moment in time when the U.S. government "conceded that it can no longer expect to maintain its position as the ultimate authority over the internet." But the article then goes on to say:
However, assistant commerce secretary John Kneuer, the US official in charge of such matters, also made clear that the US was still determined to keep control of the net's root zone file - at least in the medium-term.
"The historic role that we announced that we were going to preserve is fairly clearly articulated: the technical verification and authorisation of changes to the authoritative root," Kneuer explained....
Tuesday, June 27 2006 @ 09:51 PM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
For some time I have been covering the topic of Internet Governance, both in the macro (and more meaningful) sense of ensuring that both the Internet and the Web fulfill the incredible promise that they hold for the advancement of all humanity everywhere, as well as in the micro, and more political sense of who should control the root directories of the Internet - a more symbolic than substantive question of control.
My most detailed coverage can be found in the November 2005 issue of the Consortium Standards Bulletin, titled WSIS and the Governance of the Internet, which I wrote in the run up to the second plenary meeting, and closing event of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), an ambitious initiative launched by the United Nations and administered by the ITU to to bridge the digital divide between the haves and the have-nots.
That second meeting was held in Tunis, Tunisia, and was overshadowed by the ongoing political spat over who should control the root directories of the Internet - small databases that include the two letter national identifiers that end domain names and help direct Internet traffic to the appropriate geographical target. Currently, those domains are under the control of ICANN, which is in turn empowered to administer the directories under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Telecommuncations and Information Administration, a branch of of the United States Department of Commerce.
That subjection of a vital, if small, element of the Internet infrastructure to the control of a single nation achieved increasing significance as the Bush administration adopted an increasingly "go it alone" attitude in the post-9/11 world, and the political brouhaha that built up over the issue after the Department of Commerce announced in the summer before the Tunis summit that it would not, as earlier promised, relinquish control of the root directories built into a resounding crescendo that opershadowed, and indeed overpowered, any real progress that might otherwise have been accomplished at Tunis.
The upshot was that the opposition caved to the U.S. on the eve of the summit, taking away as a sop the formation of a new Working Group on Internet Governance, which is now in formation, leaving control of the root directories in U.S. hands.
Now, however, another time-sensitive event is looming: the expiration of the MOU itself, opening the door for debate over whether ICANN itself should remain the indirect custodian of the root domains (the domains are actually administered by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, or IANA), or whether the contract should be turned over to another contractor (if you'd like to know the full details of how things operate, see the Feature Article from the September CSB, titled WSIS, ICANN and the Future of the Internet).
Sunday, December 04 2005 @ 11:10 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
Two weeks ago, the U.S. pulled off an Internet governance coup in Tunisia. Today, ICANN's Board of Directors is meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. In between, among other things, ICANN was hit with three new law suits relating to how it does its job. If it's not one thing, it's another.
It's been just over two weeks since the World Summit for the Information Society folded up its tents (literally) in Tunis. I've been following the WSIS process for two years, and cumulating blog entries and news items for the last six months here. I also dedicated this November's issue of the Consortium Standards Bulletin to the "compromise" that left the root zone of the Internet to the management of the U.S., and created a new Internet Governance Forum to accommodate the desires of the rest of the world to participate in decision making regarding the future use and impact of the Internet.
Now that everyone is back home, how is it going? Here are a few notes and reports from all over that give a sense of what's been happening.
Sunday, November 20 2005 @ 11:26 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
19,000 people went to Tunis to figure out how to bridge the Digital Divide between the first and the third world. How could the hundreds of press representatives there have found virtually nothing about open source worth reporting?
Friday, November 18 2005 @ 11:28 AM CST
Contributed by: updegrove
In the run up to the Tunis Summit, someone blinked on the face-off over
Internet governance. The questions is, who - the U.S.? The opposition?
Or maybe both? For now, its all spin.
Saturday, October 29 2005 @ 01:30 PM CDT
Contributed by: Andy Updegrove
The future of the Internet won't be decided in Tunis in a few weeks, but who will decide the future of the Internet may be. Here's how you can tell the U.S. Ambassador what you think about that.
Saturday, October 01 2005 @ 11:33 AM CDT
Contributed by: updegrove
In an action which the White House will probably call an another
example of "Old Europe" in action, the EU has broken ranks with the US
over Internet governance.
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Quote of the Day
“For the first time ever there is a default open format for Government documents
-OpenForum Europe U.K. chapter celebrating the annointment of ODF by the U.K. Cabinet Office
“The document format world has just been turned upside down
-Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols, writing at ZDNet.com See all Quotes
Latest NewsISCC Selects American National Standards Institute as an Accreditation BodyANSI.org
August 1, 2014 - International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) has selected the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as an accreditation body for its certification system for sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions.
ISCC and ANSI signed an MOU to cooperate in an independent third-party program to accredit certification bodies that will be conducting ISCC certification. ANSI and ISCC will regularly assess, monitor, and oversee these certification bodies for continuous compliance with ISCC EU and ISCC PLUS certification scheme requirements.... ...Full Story
Deepening Reform of Standards Requires Overall Planning and Breakthroughs
USITO.org Weekly July 31, 2014 - On July 17, the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) held a meeting to discuss the further reform of the standardization system. During the meeting, SAC director general Tian Shihong (also a member of the Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine Administration (AQSIQ) leading group) summarized previous achievements and reviewed the overall reform process.
According to Mr. Tian, standardization system reform has made positive progress on technical standard system construction, consortia standards development, enterprise standardization management, social credit code system reform, standardization system planning and standardization law amendments. He identified a number of areas requiring further progress in 2014, including technical standard system construction, social credit code system reform, social group standard development, and enterprise standard filing-for-record system reform. ...Full Story
Bernard F. Collins II, Senior Advisor with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Speaks about the Value of Standardization and How Standards Boost Business
ANSI Weekly News July 31, 2014 - Standards and conformity assessment activities impact almost every aspect of life in the U.S., they are inseparably linked to all facets of our national economy, and are vital to the continued global competitiveness of the U.S. In fact, they influence an estimated 80% of global merchandise trade – or about $14 trillion.
Bernard F. Collins II, senior advisor for the Director of Science and Technology in the Acquisition, Technology and Facilities Directorate for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, recently spoke with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) about his work evaluating the space industrial base and improving satellite acquisition through the use of standardization....The following is part one of a three part interview.... ...Full Story
W3C Launches Push for Social Web Application Interoperability
W3C.org July 30, 2014 - W3C today launched a new Social Activity to develop standards
to make it easier to build and integrate social applications
with the Open Web Platform. Future standards — including
vocabularies for social applications, activity streams,
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federate social information such as status updates — will
address use cases that range from social business applications,
to cross-organization federation, to greater user control over
W3C chartered two groups today to carry out these activities:
* The Social Web Working Group will define the technical
standards and APIs to facilitate access to social
functionality as part of the Open Web Platform. These
include a common JSON-based syntax for social data, a
client-side API, and a Web protocol for federating social
information such as status updates.
* The Social Interest Group will co-ordinate messaging around
social at the W3C and formulate a broad strategy to enable
social business and federation. It will harvest use-cases
and review specifications produced by technical working
groups in the light of those use-cases.
The Social Web Working Group’s first face-to-face meeting will
take place the last week of October, as part of TPAC 2014,
W3C’s annual gathering of Working Groups. ...Full Story
Polish NGOs join to open up government Submitted
EU Joinup July 30, 2014 - Polands free software advocacy group FWIOO (Fundacja Wolnego i Otwartego Oprogramowania) has joined twelve other Polish NGOs in the 'Coalition for Open Government', pushing the country's public administrations towards greater transparency and electronic participation. Public administrations using free and open source software solutions help close the digital gap, ease sharing and re-use, and enable citizens to participate electronically with their government....The Coalition for Open Government wants the Polish government to join the Open Government Partnership. This international network aims to get governments to commit to transparency, empowering citizens, fighting corruption, and harnessing new technologies to strengthen governance.
One of FWIOO's aims is to get Poland's public administrations' to use of open document formats. This will reduce the threat of public authorities losing access to digital resources, a risk tied to the use of proprietary document formats.
Together with FWIOO, the Coalition for Open Government will be pushing for open technologies in the field of open data, and for removing technological barriers that hinder public participation and grant applications. ...Full Story
IEEE forms group to address 25 Gb/s Ethernet standard for cloud datacentres
Business Cloud News July 29, 2014 - The IEEE has formed a working group to explore the market opportunities and needs for a single-lane 25 Gb/s speed for server interconnects for Ethernet. The formation of the 25 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group comes shortly after Google, Arista, and Microsoft, operating as part of the recently formed 25G Ethernet Consortium released a specification enabling single-lane 25 Gb/s Ethernet and dual-lane 50 Gbps Ethernet links.
Echoing the 25G Ethernet Consortium, which is composed mainly of networking technology developers and cloud service providers, the IEEE said the reuse of serial lane 25 Gb/s signaling technology, developed to support 100 Gb/s Ethernet, optimises the cost of traffic per GB in datacentres built primarily for cloud – allowing these providers to send more data over the same links.... ...Full Story
Moving to LibreOffice saves Toulouse 1 million Submitted
EU Joinup July 29, 2014 - Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, has saved 1 million euro by migrating all its desktops to LibreOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. "Free software and open source in general is now an established part of the city’s comprehensive digital policy, and the open model promotes economic development and employment in the region", according to a study published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository today....Currently several thousand people out of the 10,000 who work for the city and Toulouse Métropole use LibreOffice daily. The migration started in 2012, following the political decision in 2011. The switch took a year and a half, and 90 per cent of the desktops now run LibreOffice...."Software licenses for productivity suites cost Toulouse 1.8 million euro every three years. Migration cost us about 800,000 euro, due partly to some development. One million euro has actually been saved in the first three years. It is a compelling proof in the actual context of local public finance",... ...Full Story
What the UK Government’s adoption of ODF really means
Moved by Freedom- Powered by Standards July 28, 2014 - On Tuesday the news that the UK Government had decided to use ODF as its official and default file format started to spread....This decision is a landmark for several reasons. First, it is not every day that you see an entire government migrate to a standardized file format. You may hear about government branches using this or that solution, but nothing that is so “abstract” than a file format. This time the UK Government has made the conscious decision to define a coherent policy in handling its digital documents, from the stage where they are created, edited and circulated all the way to the archival phase....
Most of the migrations from one office suite to another tend to happen without any coherent document management policy. Many organizations moving from, say, Microsoft Office to LibreOffice do not necessarily adopt ODF as their default format and will carry on supporting whatever version of the MS Office file format internally. This usually leads to frustrations and compatibility problems. This time, the UK Government decision takes a different approach. By deciding about the formats first, the UK creates the conditions necessary to have real choices for its government and its citizens, thus setting a level playing field for everyone....While reading among the tea leaves is not my favourite past time, it is relevant to assume that this decision may change a few things around the IT industry as well. By way of an example, I have always been amazed at Apple’s clean support of ODF inside Mac OS X but its constant absence across the iWork editions. Perhaps Apple will feel compelled to introduce ODF files in iWork now? Only time will tell. Cloud solutions will also have to improve or implement ODF and in some cases PDF support in a proper way.
The decision might also have consequences for other European countries and perhaps for the European institutions themselves, as the UK will now be an actual example of a country that has migrated to ODF, and not just one of the countries that made the choice of Free and Open Source Software.... But the whole point is that in 2014, trying to extract revenue by creating lock-in on office files is no longer acceptable. That, I think, is what the UK Government decision really means. And if I’m right, it’s only the beginning.... ...Full Story
Report: US needs to adopt minimal national security standard for cybersecurity
Fierce Homeland Security July 28, 2014 - The United States cannot allow cyber insecurity in information systems to reach a point where weaknesses would result in leaders "unwilling to make a decision or unable to act on a decision fundamental to our national security," said a new think tank report, suggesting a new national security standard for what's important to protect in cyberspace....Danzig said that because IT dependency and accompanying insecurities have come so rapidly evolved, the U.S. doesn't really understand what is acceptable and unacceptable risk let alone what the government's and the private sector's roles are in this area....He also said that the U.S. may need to adopt a strategy that "self-consciously" gives up some cyber benefits in exchange for greater security on key systems.
This might involve "stripping down systems so they do less but have fewer vulnerabilities" and less reliance on digital systems and more on humans, among other recommendations.
Another interesting initiative is to "map the adversarial ecosystem of cyberspace in anthropological detail" as a way to better understand enemies, our own incentives and operational methods, he wrote.... ...Full Story
The Document Foundation congratulates the UK government for their revolutionary and historical choice of open document standards
The Document Foundation July 25, 0214 - The Document Foundation (TDF) congratulates the UK government for the selection of the Open Document Format (ODF), in addition to Portable Document Format (PDF), to meet user needs. LibreOffice, the free office suite developed by TDF, supports both ODF – the native document format – and PDF (including PDF/A)....“TDF has always been a strong supporter of ODF, and a believer in open document standards”, says Thorsten Behrens, TDF Chairman. “July 22 will be a date to remember, as the culmination of a dream inaugurated when ODF become a ISO standard on November 30, 2006. By standardizing on ODF and PDF, the UK government is showing the world that it is entirely possible to find a way out of proprietary formats to enhance user freedom”....Complementing ODF, LibreOffice manages Hybrid PDF files, which combine the advantages of PDF and ODF by embedding a fully editable ODF document into a PDF without breaking any of the standard characteristics of both formats. ...Full Story