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Global Policy Weekly – March 28, 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.


ICANN: ICANN has released a “thought paper” that “offers guidance for anyone who prepares an order that seeks to seize or take down domain names.” The paper, which was prepared by ICANN’s Security team, explains how domain names are managed and how seizure and take down requests affect different pieces of the Internet name system. 

UK: A committee of British lawmakers has released a report that calls for pro-active content policing by online services. According to the BBC, the committee has “called on Google to introduce an algorithm to remove search links found to be in breach of privacy – or face legislation to force it to do so.” CDT has written about the problems that lawmakers would certainly face if they sought to force search engines or other online intermediaries to “forget” online content as well as about the many problems created by requiring pro-active policing by intermediaries.

Swaziland: Swaziland’s government is preparing a lèse majesté law: a law that would make criticizing the King on social networks illegal. As elsewhere around the globe, the Internet has been used to organize public protests in Swaziland. CDT has written in the past about the threats to Internet innovation and free expression that lèse majesté laws pose.

Japan: A Tokyo court has ordered Google to remove certain words from its autocomplete service. A Japanese man alleges that Google’s autocomplete function associated his name with criminal acts and that this has caused him to lose his job. Google has refused to comply with the court’s injunction, saying that it is a US-based company and that the Japanese court does not have the right to regulate it.

UK: The Chancery Division of the British High Court has ordered a British ISP, O2, to hand over customer details associated with nearly 10,000 IP addresses. These addresses were allegedly used to illegally download porn using BitTorrent clients. The UK has a data retention law, so O2 likely has extensive customer information associated with these IP addresses.

France: France’s National Digital Council, an advisory council that operates under the French Minister for the digital economy, has criticized as “extreme” President Nicholas Sarkozy’s proposal to make criminals of those who access websites that are associated with hate groups or with advocates of terrorism. In a statement, the Council emphasized that all French laws (even those intended to fight cybercrime), must be consistent with principles of free expression.

Spain: Since Spain’s new anti-piracy law came into effect, Internet traffic has simply shifted to services that are not regulated by the law.

India: Responding to a suit filed by the Indian Music Industry, a court in Kolkata has ordered the country’s 387 ISPs to each block 104 websites that allegedly host some infringing material. The court has said that DNS blocking, IP blocking, or URL blocking would all be acceptable. CDT has written in the past about the free expression problems raised by each of these methods.

EU: The European Parliament has voted not to refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice for judicial review. Instead, the treaty will be voted on by the European Parliament in June. If, in June, the Parliament rejects ACTA, then the EU will not be able to ratify the treaty.


Australia: Australia is looking for companies to bid on its $36 billion National Broadband Network infrastructure project but the Australian attorney general has blocked Huawei, a Chinese company, from competing for the contract. The attorney general’s move stems from concerns over the number of cyberattacks apparently originating in China and within Chinese intellegence agencies.

Iran and China: Reuters reports that Chinese telecom company ZTE Corp has long supplied surveillance systems to the Iranian-government-controlled telecommunications company TCI, which has a near monopoly on Iran’s landline phone service and Internet services. Iran is also obtaining American technology from ZTE, thereby circumventing American export controls. 


COE: The Council of Europe adopted its Strategy 2012-2015 on Internet Governance. From the Strategy: “The Council of Europe fully supports the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance which ensures that the Internet remains universal, open and innovative, and continues to serve the interests of users throughout the world.”  The Strategy emphasizes the COE’s plans to work with the Global Network Initiative

OECD: The OECD is hosting a high-level meeting in Mexico City this week focusing on “New ICT solutions for public sector agility.”  The meeting will cover topics including, leveraging ICTs for advancing public policy objectives”, “monitoring implementation of e-government projects”, and designing policy tools to guide e-government implementation.”

OECD: The OECD recently released a report on mobile termination rates.  The report emphasized that low/zero mobile termination rates (“the fees that telecommunication network operators (fixed, mobile and VoIP) pay for delivering telephone calls to mobile wireless providers”) promote competition in the telecommunications sector and enable innovative VoIP services. Regulatory bodies across the globe, from the US to the EU, are discussing whether the time is right to completely phase out mobile termination rights.

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