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Global Policy Weekly – June 14, 2012

CDT’s Global Policy Weekly highlights the latest Internet policy developments and proposals from around the world, compiled by CDT’s Global Internet Freedom Project.


Ethiopia: Reporters Without Borders issued a report last week indicating that Ethiopia’s only ISP, which is state-owned, has begun using deep packet inspection, a sophisticated filtering method. The Tor Project reports that its services have been inaccessible in the country for the last three weeks. Tor allows users to browse the web anonymously and access domains that are blocked within their country.
India: The Register reported this week that the Indian government plans to strengthen its cybersecurity capabilities in order to thwart potential future “Stuxnet-like” attacks and to create a plan for conducting state-sponsored attacks if necessary.
Iran: Police authorities recently announced plans to deploy new software that will block unauthorized Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Nearly one third of Iranian Internet users use VPNs, which employ secure protocols that encrypt user data and can circumvent blocked content online. Moving forward, only commercial and state institutions will be permitted to maintain VPNs.
EU: The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association issued a proposal to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) last week to create a multi-tiered system for Internet traffic in which content providers could pay telcos extra for guaranteed (as opposed to “best effort) delivery of content. The proposal would undermine Internet neutrality principles and directly conflict with Internet neutrality law in Chile and the Netherlands.
EU: EC Vice President and Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes recently declared that while she supports the rights of all Europeans to access the open Internet, she does not plan to pursue a net neutrality policy for the EU. “I am in favour of an open Internet and maximum choice,” she wrote in a blog post. “That must be protected. But you don’t need me or the EU telling you what sort of Internet services you must pay for.” Kroes made these statements after consulting on the issue with BEREC, the EU telecommunications regulatory advisory panel.
Canada: The Canadian Intellectual Property Council, part of the country’s Chamber of Commerce, recently issued a white paper recommending that policymakers consider introducing “domain seizures, criminal prosecutions and asset seizures of online sharing sites, and even SOPA-style regulation of intermediaries” in order to combat online copyright infringement. Ars Technica describes key components of the paper.
EU: Regulators in the EU Article 29 Working party issued an opinion this week on requiring prior opt-in consent for the use of cookies. They write that exemptions to the requirement to obtain prior opt-in consent for the use of cookies should be honored if the cookie is used “for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network,” or if the cookie is “strictly necessary in order for the provider of an information society service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user to provide the service.” Brief analysis by Hunton & Williams.
UK: A defamation bill introduced in British Parliament this spring would protect Internet intermediaries against claims of defamation and libel so long as intermediaries are willing to disclose the “identity or contact details” of the individual accused of defamatory speech. The notice-and-action procedure for the proposed law has yet to be released. Digital rights advocates and other groups are cautioning that the law could pose a threat to online anonymity.
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