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Revised DOTCOM Act Highlights Importance of Community Empowerment

Last week, the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee amended the DOTCOM Act, a bill which, in earlier drafts, would have halted the IANA functions transition process for up to a year pending US Congressional approval. The new bill reflects a much deeper understanding of, and confidence in, the significant amount of work that the global multistakeholder community has undertaken in planning both for the transition of IANA functions oversight and for the increased accountability of ICANN.

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Congress Expresses Greater Confidence in Multistakeholder Work on IANA Transition

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a productive hearing on Stakeholder Perspectives on the IANA Transition. CDT, along with other witnesses, provided the subcommittee with an update on the state of play in the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition and ICANN accountability discussions. We emphasized the strength of the on-going multistakeholder process for developing the transition plans, as well as the absolutely essential linkage between ICANN accountability reforms and a successful IANA functions transition.

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Freedom Online Coalition Considers Best Practices for Promoting Freedom Online

This week, member governments of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) meet in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for their 5th annual Conference. The overarching theme for the 2015 meeting is “Internet Policy Making – Best Practices for Promoting Online Freedoms” and is billed as an opportunity for governments, private sector, and civil society to discuss the threats to freedom online and the opportunities to protect and promote “fundamental freedoms and human rights.”

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Digital India’s Impact on Privacy: Aadhaar numbers, biometrics, and more

Much of the discussion at the recent India-U.S. Information and Communications Technologies Working Group focused on the Indian government’s “Digital India” initiative to promote universal connectivity, with the goal of providing every citizen with broadband connection by December 2016. As part of a “cradle-to-grave digital identity” for its citizens, the government plans to draw on the Aadhaar program, a controversial unique identification system that has led the Indian government to create the world’s largest biometric database. Lisa discusses its privacy concerns and more.

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Protect the Internet: Support the IANA Transition

The Internet is at a crucial stage of its evolution. Last year, the Commerce Department announced its intention to transition out of its oversight role of core Internet technical functions (the IANA functions) and hand that stewardship over to the global multistakeholder community. The IANA transition is a key element in the evolution of the global Internet and the current multistakeholder approach to Internet governance. Caution is appropriate, but the project must be pursued.

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Reflections on the Internet Governance Forum

The ninth Internet Governance Forum (IGF), held this year in Istanbul, closed last Friday with a broad cross-section of stakeholders calling for renewal of the IGF, reflecting the meeting’s success meeting and the widespread recognition that IGF should to continue beyond 2015. CDT’s Matthew Shears and Emma Llanso recap the important forum.

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Previewing the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul

The 9th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meets in Istanbul this year from 1 to 5 September. The meeting will be a chance for human rights advocates, members of government, industry representatives, the technical community, academics, and others from around the world to come together and discuss issues related to Internet policy and governance. Matthew Shears and Emma Llanso will be there representing CDT.

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Principles for ICANN Accountability

The question of accountability has hung over ICANN ever since it was created in the 1990s to oversee the Internet’s system of domain names. ICANN recently initiated a consultation intended to develop a plan for how it can remain accountable in the absence of its historical contractual relationship to the US government. The key question has become whether, after the US cuts the umbilical cord, ICANN will be subject to too little accountability, or even worse, whether it will become “accountable” to other governments or special interests that will exercise more intrusive control than the US ever did.

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