Internet Society - News Headlines

When It Comes to IoT, We Must Work Together to #SecureIt

Internet Society - News Headlines - Ven, 19/10/2018 - 18:40

My first ever rendezvous with the word “IoT” was during my final year at a college conference, when a prominent regional start-up figure dispensed an oblique reference to it. I learned that IoT was the next big thing veering towards the mass market, which would eventually change the course of everyday human existence by making our way of life more convenient. What caught my attention was the term “things” in IoT – an unbounded category which could be anything from the the bed you sleep on, the clothes you drape, or even the personal toiletries you use.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a class of devices that “can monitor their environment, report their status, receive instructions, and even take action based on the information they receive.” IoT connotes not just the device but also the complex network connected to the device. Multiple studies have revealed that there are more connected devices than people on the planet. Although, combining computers and networks to devices has existed for long, they were previously not integrated to consumer devices and durable goods, used in ordinary day to day life. Furthermore, IoT being an evolving concept, exhibiting a range of ever-changing features, its definition as well is not static.

Personally, I am extremely distrustful when it comes to using IoT devices. My apprehension is not unfounded and reflects a common concern. “The State of IoT Security” report by cybersecurity firm Gemalto found that 90% of consumers are equally worried about the security aspect of IoT. Another interesting revelation is that 54% of consumers surveyed own on average four IoT devices, but only 14% have knowledge concerning the security. Even in the case of my country, India, a study by Accenture revealed that 70% of the respondents cited security as the major concern deterring the use of IoT.

Such pervasive concern arises because IoT devices available in the market today have low privacy and security features and are thus, insecure by design. There exist multiple entities in the supply chain and often each entity assumes that the other is responsible for ensuring security. This necessitates the need for incorporation of security and privacy by design at the manufacturing stage.

These devices collect data routinely for their functionality and mostly with the consent of users. However, although the data derived from the device owner benefits the individual user, they also benefit the manufacturer, leaving a huge scope for probable breach of data. Moreover, with the aid of IoT, as we collectively transition from real spaces to virtual spaces, consequently exposing ourselves to increased risks. This increases the overall vulnerability of users, often invading their privacy, which is vital for living a harmonious life. The sense of being able to enjoy one’s private space without any surveillance is a basic human right every individual should be able exercise.  A safe Internet then, would be a space where individuals can freely navigate through the network-operated devices without worrying about their privacy. IoT’s requirement to address this concern for individual privacy needs to be sufficiently prioritized.

The digital future ahead is ridden with uncertainties – even the current mounting concern on privacy could not have been foreseen when the Internet was in its infancy. As the Internet relentlessly continues to evolve, we as users need to constantly familiarize ourselves to the ensuing forms of risk and proactively engage with these issues, as it is ultimately we who have to face the music.  Thus, the onus for making IoT devices secure and safe for use is a collective responsibility, to be addressed in a multistakeholder fashion. The road to #SecureIt can only be taken when everyone engages with the issue in a collaborative fashion.

Learn more about IoT and what you can do to help #SecureIt.

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IXPs: Why Is the Middle East Lagging Behind?

Internet Society - News Headlines - Ven, 19/10/2018 - 16:26

On October 2nd, the Internet Society was happy to support the ITU in organizing the IXP Workshop on Peering and Interconnection in the Arab World “Towards unlocking regional interconnection opportunities” It was held in Manama-Bahrain, and kindly hosted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of Bahrain. This workshop was held on the eve of the Annual Meeting of the Arab ICT Regulators Network (AREGNET), and 30 regulators and 10 operators attended from all over the Arab region.

The workshop started with an overview of the Arab peering landscape given by Christine Arida, Director for Telecom Services and Planning at National Telecom Regulatory Authority of Egypt. Christine showed that the region is well served by undersea cables, with the oldest IXP established 20 years ago. However, all countries have either an underperforming IXP or do not have one at all. Regionally, cross-border interconnection is almost non-existent – with very few exceptions and most of the traffic is exchanged in London and Marseilles.

The debate started with an acknowledgement that strong and vibrant IXPs are needed in the Arab region. IXPs are a means and not the end… They are the enablers of digital transformation and a means to attract investment. Cheaper operating cost, better user experience, resiliency of the national networks in the face of Internet blackout, and national security are few of the known benefits of IXPs. So why is a region that has material and human capital lagging behind?

It turns out that regulatory restrictions are imposed on peering and networks development. Incumbent operators are not interested in peering due to their dominant market positions. Competition is weak and smaller operators are few. There is no incentive for collaboration or for optimizing costs and traffic flows.

Ian Cleary (Google) showed that successful IXPs are those that engage the community and are able to leverage the network effect to grow and attract investments. As a matter of fact, the money is not “in the switch,” but rather in the entire the ecosystem that is built around the switch such as technical expertise, concentration of content, data centers, better flow of information, etc. The IXP is nothing but a switch that galvanizes around it a digital ecosystem.

Martine Levy (Cloudflare) pointed out a few other best practices, including commercial incentives, neutrality of the location, and convenience of the location. Other success factors have nothing to do with technical know-how or expensive gear. These are the good governance of the IXP based on collaboration and agreements, transparency in the operations, and again community engagement. Unlike transient, peering agreements have zero cost associated with them, they are the result of trust and collaboration, the stuff the Internet was built on.

Kyle Spenser of the Uganda IXP showcased the African region success in building IXPs and explained how East African countries were able to collaborate on interconnection and services to achieve efficiency of the scarce bandwidth and resiliency of national networks.

Ossama Al-Dosary, advisor to MCIT KSA, explained that the role of government is not to regulate by default, but only to regulate when needing to solve a certain problem. In KSA, the current IXP regulation aims at breaking the cycle of operators not wanting to peer with each other. The role of the regulator, the panel agreed, is to facilitate, convene, and incentivize.

Aftab Siddiqui of the Internet Society led the discussion about the role of governments and challenged the audience to come up with actionable “next steps.” Here are the recommendations received:

    • Compile IXP data from the region into a one-page document brief
    • Implement “meet me at the border” interconnection between the networks of two adjacent countries
    • Use TRAs to convene communities and showcase the gains that will be achieved by all from joining an IXP
    • Attend the Middle East Network Operators Group (MENOG), where network operators meet to exchange best practices and bridge their knowledge gap in Internet operations

Additionally, someone pointed out that there are two distinct groups of people: the governments represented by LAS and ITU on the one hand, and the operators on the other hand. There was a recommendation well received by the ITU and LAS to attend the next MENOG to break the silos and nurture the culture of collaboration.

I have a sense of urgency to do something and act quick. My region deserves the best and is in dire need of digitization which can give us the kind of value-add only a knowledge economy can. My culture is one based on cautiousness. We like to start when all pieces of the puzzle are known and identified. Unfortunately, we are losing too much time in trying to maintain control and predict the exact future. We should build it first and solve the problems as they arise. Isn’t this how the Internet grew from 3 to 64,000 networks in 25 years? We have to have faith in best practices, and understand that success is not dependent on purchasing state-of-the-art, expensive equipment. It is dependent on our ability to collaborate and empower the community to work hand in hand with governments to shape tomorrow. My region has many blessings, and I just realized that the most difficult thing we need to do is to start the culture of collaboration.

Read the Internet Society’s policy brief on IXPs.

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Human Connection Frames Success of 2018 Indigenous Connectivity Summit

Internet Society - News Headlines - Gio, 18/10/2018 - 17:10

The Internet is an incredible tool that can help amplify voices that may not otherwise be heard. But when it comes to making sure everyone can have access to this tool, we can’t downplay the power of human connections to overcome connectivity challenges.

One of the things that stood out for me most at the 2018 Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS) last week in Inuvik, NT was getting a first-hand view of what happens when Indigenous voices are at the forefront of Internet solutions.

Nearly 140 people joined us in the Arctic Circle for a two-day series of panels and presentations focused on finding solutions to improve connectivity in rural and remote Indigenous communities, with a special focus on northern connectivity challenges. The livestream was viewed over 850 times.

It was inspiring to hear speakers shed light on the ways they innovated to bring Internet to underserved Indigenous communities on their own terms through Community Networks throughout North America and abroad.

I think some of the most important successes, however, came when ICS participants were able to interact during breaks, round-table discussions, on the bus trip to Tuktoyaktuk, at the community feast, and even on the flights to and from the event. I’ve already heard of a few participants who were able to make connections that may result in future work together.

When you bring everyone to the table to achieve a common goal at events like the Indigenous Connectivity Summit, connections are made. Partnerships are formed. Problems are solved. People are empowered. One participant even noted that within the first day of the event she had already solved four problems she faced back in her community.

The first Indigenous Connectivity Summit report found that improved connectivity in Indigenous communities leads to better access to critical services like employment, education, and health within communities. It can also play a huge role in language and culture revitalization.

Likewise, the successes of the leaders of Indigenous connectivity at this event will no doubt have a ripple effect in the communities they serve. People will be better equipped to learn or develop Indigenous languages through apps. Communities will have better access to social media campaigns like We Matter that provide messages of hope to Indigenous youth around suicide prevention. The possibilities are literally endless.

I have to express my sincere gratitude to our local partners, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Town of Inuvik, and the community members of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. They made sure we experienced the best of the region, from drum dancing and Arctic Games demonstrations to the opportunity to try local foods and tour the Inuvik Satellite Station.

Our other partners were also a huge help, especially with the pre-Summit training day in Edmonton: the University of Alberta and the First Mile Connectivity Consortium. And I’d like to give a huge shout out to the sponsors who made the event possible: CANARIE, Canadian Internet Registration Authority, Cybera, Google, Iristel and Ice Wireless, ICANN, Telesat, and OneWeb.

While the event was an all-around success in terms of connections, we have to remember that we all have a responsibility to ensure Indigenous voices are included in the future of the Internet. As such, it’s important to keep the conversation going and foster these connections to achieve success beyond this event.

One of our goals was to provide a forum for participants to connect and develop lasting partnerships. If you made a connection with someone at the Summit that could result in future work together, or if you were able solve a challenge you are experiencing because of something you learned or a connection you made, please let us know.

If you weren’t able to join us in person and would like to connect with any of the ICS participants, let us know and we can help make it happen.

Stay tuned to our website for the launch of the upcoming 2018 Indigenous Connectivity Summit community report.

Find resources on community networks, cultural preservation, and Indigenous-driven access at the Indigenous Connectivity page and help #SwitchItOn!

Image ©Shuli Hallak

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Splintering the Internet: The Unintended Consequence of Regulation

Internet Society - News Headlines - Gio, 18/10/2018 - 16:01

In early 2000, two Paris-based, anti-racism groups sued Yahoo on the basis that its auction’s site was exposing French people to more than 1,000 objects of Nazi memorabilia. In May of that year, a French court confirmed the illegal nature of the sale under French law, claiming that the company had offended France’s “collective memory.” More importantly, the judge also ordered Yahoo to identify ways to block French users from its Nazi auction site or other Yahoo sites with content deemed to be racist.

The case attracted significant attention, due to the legal precedent it could set on the right of one country to reach across borders and impose its own laws on online material stored in other countries. At the time, Yahoo’s lawyer expressed his hope that “other countries [wouldn’t] take the same route.”

Fast forward 18 years and today’s Internet is going through an intense phase of regulation with similar effects to those of the Yahoo case. Almost every country in the world is currently in the business of “regulating the Internet.” A clarification is important at this stage. “Internet regulation” is a somewhat loaded and misguided phrase. In reality, what most state actors seek to address are issues of anticompetitive behavior, content moderation, or the handling of personal data. None of these issues takes place “on the Internet.”. Instead, they occur at the applications’ layer of the Internet – what we refer as the World Wide Web. But, this is a discussion deserving of a whole different note.

But regulation of the Internet can have unintended consequences. One such consequence is extra-territorial application. It’s particularly important for what it means for a resilient, global Internet. The Internet was not designed to recognize physical boundaries or to comply with only one actor’s rules. It wasn’t being anti-conformist – it just wasn’t relevant. Resiliency is ensured through diversity of infrastructure and this diversity comes from nodes located globally, in different parts of the world.  The more there is a push to try to make the Internet fit within national borders or to make it comply with one nation’s regulatory thinking for the sake of maintaining some sense of control, the more we risk sabotaging the diversity that is critical for its resilient and global nature. Extra-territorial application of laws can provide the wrong incentives for state actors to engage in a regulatory race that will only result in a fractured, less resilient Internet.

Courts, international lawyers and academic scholars are familiar with the notion of extra-territoriality as an evolving manifestation of state sovereignty, which, historically, has gone through a constant transformation seeking to adapt to an ever-changing international system. With the Internet, the pace of this has intensified.

The main challenge here is that the Internet is global, so regulations and court decisions that affect it may have extra-territorial effects. There are two questions we seek to advance as part of our concept note on “The Internet and Extra-Territorial Effect of Laws.”

  • How mindful are states about avoiding harmful and unnecessary impact outside their borders?
  • How can they minimize such negative effects?

As this concept note uses the term, extra-territoriality refers to the applications of the laws of one country to persons, conduct, or relationships outside of that country. Globalization has intensified both the quantity of transnational interactions and the interest of states in regulating them. But, when it comes to the Internet, things are a bit more complex; although by accident, globalization is an Internet feature, not a bug, and legal systems everywhere should recognize this, not try to “fix” it. We must make decisions that exert jurisdiction extra-territorially in ways that allow the Internet to evolve as an open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy technology for everyone. But, when a law does not specify its geographic reach, what limits (if any) could courts place on its application?

In order to answer this question, we need to first understand the causal link between social and economic progress and the Internet. The Internet is premised upon a set of fundamental properties, including openness, innovation, permission-less innovation, interoperability, collaboration, and competition. These properties allow the Internet to be a driver for new economies to emerge, for bringing societies closer together, and for allowing novel forms of political expression. These are known as the “Internet invariants” because without them, the Internet would not be like the one we know and use today.

Unfortunately, in many cases, decision-makers are imposing rules that spill over on the Internet elsewhere, hampering innovation, deterring investment in their own countries, and risking a new digital divide. You only need to look at the annex of the concept note to see how overwhelming the regulatory activity currently is.

The concept note does not suggest that regulation should not happen. Regulation is the prerogative of nation states and state actors have the responsibility to defend the interests of their citizens. However, there is a valid argument that many of the problems associated with the extra-territorial application of laws can be mitigated if stakeholders encourage decentralized, collaborative approaches, including international norms development processes. Such processes and structures can create better outcomes because they have broader participation and are more politically responsive and economically sustainable than some top down approaches.

We often talk about the importance of collaboration in the Internet. In this specific case, we must collaborate to avoid such things like inconsistency, uncoordinated action, fragmentation, and international tension, to name a few. Our thinking has shown that all these unintended consequences can be real in an environment where nation states seek to regulate the global Internet.

Read “The Internet and Extra-Territorial Effect of Laws.”

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GLIF 2018 Held at the Home of Hamlet

Internet Society - News Headlines - Mer, 17/10/2018 - 16:00

The 18th Annual Global LambaGrid Workshop (GLIF 2018) was held on 18-21 September 2018 at the Kulturværftet in Helsingør (Elsinore), Denmark. Kronberg Castle, located next to the venue, was immortalised as Elsinore in the William Shakespeare play Hamlet, but there proved to be nothing rotten with the state of high-bandwidth networking as 50 participants from 19 countries came to hear how these networks are facilitating exascale computing in support of biological, medical, physics, energy production and environmental research, and to discuss the latest infrastructure developments.

This event was organised by myself with support from NORDUnet who hosted the event in conjunction with the 30th NORDUnet Conference (NDN18), and where I also took the opportunity to raise awareness of the MANRS initiative.

The keynote was provided by Steven Newhouse (EBI) who presented the ELIXIR Compute Platform which was being used for analysing life science data. In common with high-energy physics, genomics research produces a lot of data, but this is more complex and variable, requires sequencing and imqging on shorter timescales, and of course has privacy issues. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is based across six countries and employs over 1,600 people, but also collaborates with thousands of other scientists and requires access to existing national repositories as well. High-bandwidth networks are therefore necessary to interconnect their on-site computer and storage clusters, but will increasingly be necessary to facilitate connectivity with other research and commercial cloud resources such as and HelixNebula.

David Martin (Argonne National Labs) continued this theme, by presenting on the US Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Initiative. This aims to develop and operate the next generation of supercomputers at the Argonne, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Labs by 2021, along with a software stack that will present a common computing platform for supporting advanced research applications and neural networks. The Argonne Labs Computing Facility will be based around an Intel Aurora supercomputer with over 1,000 petaflops of processing, 8 PB of memory, and 10 TB/s of input/output capability that will require future network connections in the petabit-per-second range.

Joe Mambretti (Northwestern University) then discussed the Open Science Cloud (OSDC) which is an open-source cloud-based infrastructure that allows scientists to manage, share and analyse large datasets. The aim is to have 1-2 PB of storage at each participating campus, interconnected with 100 Gb/s+ links, but presented and managed as a common namespace with uniform interfaces and policies.

The rest of the day was devoted to how network automation can integrate compute and storage facilities, particularly across multiple domains. Migiel de Vos (SURFnet) presented the work being undertaken for SURFnet 7, and explained the distinction between automation and orchestration whereby the former is considered task and domain specific, whilst the latter is developing intelligent processes that consist of multiple automated tasks across multiple domains. This required the development of new information models, standardised interfaces, automated administration, and then predetermined service delivery agreements.

Gerben van Malenstein (SURFnet) then discussed LHCONE Point-to-Point Service that allowed Layer 2 circuits to be dynamically established between Data Transfer Nodes for exchanging data from the Large Hadron Collider. This was built on the AutoGOLE work which was now enabled on 21 open exchange points. Nevertheless, whilst AutoGOLE was a functional and proven multi-domain system, there was still limited uptake by network services and end-users, which was necessary to completely remove human configuration of network equipment and create a truly global research platform.

Most of the following day was devoted to technical discussions chaired by Lars Fischer (NORDUnet) and Eric Boyd (University of Michigan). These focused around some practical examples of network automation being used at the University of Michigan, a passive network measurement system with programmable querying at 100 Gb/s line rates that was being developed by the IRNC AMIS Project, as well as discussions on how to automate the generation of network topology maps.

Topology maps are useful for users to show how they can reach counterparts in other parts of the world, and where particular services are available. They are also useful as a marketing tool to show investors and stakeholders how they contribute towards creating a truly global infrastructure, and demonstrate how the NREN model is accepted around the world, and for example, the GLIF map has become a somewhat iconic piece of artwork.

Other developments were the establishment of a new exchange point called South Atlantic Crossroads (SAX) based in Fortaleza, Brazil that was expected to interconnect with new cable systems to Angola (SACS) and Portugal (EllaLink), as well as to AMPATH and SouthernLight over the existing MONET connection. There were also plans to build procure a new 100 Gb/s connection from Europe to the Asia-Pacific, from Geneva to Singapore via the Indian Ocean to supplement the existing link from Amsterdam to Tokyo via Russia.

There were further updates on the new KREOnet network which supported 100 Gb/s links between five major Korean cities and Chicago (StarLight) via KRLight, as well as multiple 10 Gb/s links to 11 other Korean cities, Hong Kong and Seattle. The KREOnet-S infrastructure further offered SDN capabilities permitting dynamic and on-demand virtual network slicing, whilst a Science DMZ provided high-performance computing facilities for KISTI’s new 25.5 petaflop supercomputer.

SURFnet is transitioning its network to SURFnet 8 and would be upgrading its core network and international links, whilst StarLight was developing a Trans-Pacific SDN testbed, as well as an SDX for the GENI initiative.

The closing plenary session focused on how high-bandwidth research connections and exchange points can be better planned and coordinated, and whether a new entity should be created to support this. The GLIF Co-Chairs Jim Ghadbane (CANARIE) and David Wilde (AARNet) outlined some ideas around this, and then hosted a discussion on how things should be progressed.

Further Information

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Senegal First African Country to Implement Recommendations of ‘Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa’

Internet Society - News Headlines - Mar, 16/10/2018 - 19:50

Last week, we have had a busy two days (11-12 October 2018) in Dakar participating in a mutlistakeholder workshop on Privacy and Personal Data Protection in Senegal co-organized by the Personal Data Protection Commission (CDP), the Ministry in charge of Digital Economy (MCTPEN), the Internet Society Senegal Chapter, and supported by the African Regional Bureau of the Internet Society. This workshop was recommended in the Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa launched in May 2018 during #AISDakar by the African Union and the Internet Society.

Senegal stands out as the first African Union member to act on that recommendation and run such a workshop, bringing together policy makers, law enforcement, data protection authorities, lawyers, academics, entrepreneurs, and actors of the private sector, civil society, and technologists to debate the issues and build a shared vocabulary and shared understanding.

The discussion was wide-ranging, informed, and mature

Wide-ranging, because the organizers did a great job of attracting a diverse and engaged set of stakeholders and giving them the time and space to contribute.

Informed, because the participants were asking all the right questions (about privacy, innovation, cybercrime, threats to information, reputation and rights, and so on), backed up by real experience and practical concerns.

Mature, because three themes came out strongly through the discussion:

  • The Internet raises challenges, for example, of reconciling freedom of opportunity, freedom of expression, and freedom of access to information with the risk of criminal and malicious activity, and the impact of measures taken to counter such activity.
  • Those challenges are as much social, economic, educational, and legal as technical, and require a correspondingly multidisciplinary approach. There are no single stakeholder solutions, here.
  • Educating and mobilizing the public to make safe use of the Internet and maximize its opportunities is a huge and multifaceted task. It needs engagement at the level of families, schools, employers, and society at large. But it’s essential if we are to protect and enhance individuals’ rights while responding positively and sustainably to technical innovation.

The workshop ended with a strong recognition of the Internet a force for good in society and the importance of ensuring trust in online applications and services, as a key factor in sustaining a productive and beneficial digital economy for everyone.

Learn more about Personal Data Protection Guidelines for Africa, why your Digital Footprint matters, and how to manage and protect your Online Identity and Privacy.

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G20 Women’s Summit: Digital Inclusion for Women

Internet Society - News Headlines - Mar, 16/10/2018 - 16:06

What if future generations in 2030 learned about gender inequality in their history class and not in their lived realities? What can rural women achieve when included in digital society? What can we do now to ensure a future without a gender digital gap?

Many women and girls are being left behind in digital development. Women are 12% less likely to use the Internet globally than men, while in low and middle-income countries, the gap between women’s use and that of men is 26%. This is not only a question of connectivity, but about using the Internet in a meaningful way.

These were some of the critical issues the W20 Summit tackled in Buenos Aires last week.

W20 Argentina, a step forward in the right direction

Women20 (W20) is one of the key G20 engagement groups which supports the promotion of gender inclusive economic growth.

Its recent summit was an opportunity for leaders to make progress on several fronts ranging from digital inclusion to labor inclusion, financial inclusion, and rural development.

In the final Comuniqué, 146 delegates from all sectors of the economy committed to “[Improving] access, affordability, safety, and security of digital services, broadband, and connectivity plans, and the availability of relevant content and services, while taking into consideration women in all their diversity.” This was one of the 15 recommendations that the W20 included in their final communiqué presented to the Argentine President, Mauricio Macri.

The text includes a call for “developing holistic and cross-sectoral policies” that abolish the barriers to women’s access and use of technology and recommend “guaranteeing inclusive educational programmes in STEM” and “ensuring women’s participation in the development of Artificial Intelligence in order to avoid gender bias.”

Next steps: W20 Japan

In 2018, the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Declaration committed to bridge the digital gender divide and now the W20 Communiqué will give more tools to G20 heads of state at the Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires on 30 November.

However, this will not happen without a tangible action plan.

This is what The Internet Society, together with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), have jointly called for in a background paper that analyzes how to unlock access to the Internet in support of women’s inclusion.

As in the G20 Open Letter, we urge all G20 countries to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholder groups to adopt commitments that live up not just to the promise, but also the responsibility, of ensuring that the evolving digital society supports a healthy web ecosystem and puts people first.

We also urge the G20 leaders to adopt these recommendations and make the necessary commitments to tackle the digital gender gap!

This is the challenge the 2019 G20 presidency from Japan will have to tackle!

Read Women’s digital inclusion: background paper for the G20. The Internet Society is proud to be a partner of EQUALS: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age.

Help build an Internet that’s for everyone! #CountMyVoice

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Website update: Experiencing problems with translations into French and Spanish

Internet Society - News Headlines - Lun, 15/10/2018 - 19:14

I must apologize to readers of our French and Spanish versions of our website. We are currently experiencing a problem with our usage of the WordPress Multilingual (WPML) plugin that is preventing us from sending our new content out for translation.  It is proving to be quite difficult to identify and fix the issue. We are working with our development team, our hosting provider, and the WPML support team to find the solution. I hope that in the next couple of days we can solve this and return to our regular publishing in three languages.

Thank you for your patience.

P.S. Those who want more of the technical details can see the open WPML support ticket. You are also welcome to contact me directly at

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The Week in Internet News: Facebook Bans ‘Clickbait’ Political Accounts

Internet Society - News Headlines - Lun, 15/10/2018 - 15:35

Good-bye clickbait? Facebook has tossed out more than 800 publishers and accounts it accused of trafficking in clickbait and political spam, the Washington Post reports. Facebook also accused some of the accounts of “inauthentic behavior,” otherwise known as fake news. The bans met with some resistance, with some critics saying Facebook’s terms of service represent a moving target.

Let’s Encrypt rising: Let’s Encrypt, a service that provides websites free SSL certificates, is helping the Internet move toward better encryption, Forbes says. Let’s Encrypt “may finally fix the broken world of HTTPS hosting and usher in an online future in which creating an HTTPS site becomes as transparent as visiting one,” the author writes.

Government’s role in IoT security: The U.S. government could drive more security into the Internet of Things industry by changing its tech acquisition standards, says Nextgov. Federal agencies could use the Federal Acquisition Regulation to enforce minimum security standards, the author suggests.

RIP Google+: Google is planning to shut down the consumer version of its Google+ social media site after the company disclosed a massive data breach there, The Verge reports. Google+ also has “low usage and engagement,” according to Google.

Insecure security cameras: Millions of IoT security cameras, network video recorders, and DVRs manufactured by a Chinese company and sold under several brands are vulnerable to a number of Internet-based attacks, ZDNet reports. A feature that connects the devices to a customer’s cloud account is vulnerable and includes a default admin username of “admin” with no password.

AI’s final frontier: Satellite operator SES is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to explore ways to use artificial intelligence to help operate its satellite fleet, SpaceNews says. Government agencies and other space companies are also looking for ways to use AI in space.

Change is hard: Executives say that rolling out distributed ledger technology like blockchain at the enterprise level has been harder than expected, Forbes reports. That’s according to a survey of more than 200 executives working on blockchain initiatives at banks, technology vendors, dedicated blockchain companies, and other organizations. Top challenges include scalability issues, hardware security, and difficulty handling the payments portion of transactions.

Are you an IoT beginner or maven? Take the quiz and #GetIoTSmart.

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We need to talk… about the state of internet governance

Internet Society - News Headlines - Ven, 12/10/2018 - 18:19

In about a month, some of the key stakeholders in internet governance will come together in Paris and talk about the public policy challenges facing the internet in 2018 and beyond. They will do so at the Internet Governance Forum, a UN-supported platform that will meet for the thirteenth time this year.

The IGF traditionally brings different groups of stakeholders into a large conference centre, and provides for the opportunity for these different stakeholders to discuss: the idea being that understanding, consensus and collaboration will emerge between these different communities.

Join us for a pre-IGF stakeholder networking event on Tuesday, 16 October in Brussels.  Learn more and register!

Multistakeholderism: a vivid term with many meanings

The IGF model of multistakeholderism is one of a plethora of different approaches to engaging with actors beyond states in questions of global governance. Some rely more on governments, other processes rely on technical expertise, others have come and gone. Others, like the Internet Society, tend to refer to multistakeholder approaches, rather than one model.

Many observers tend to think this concept was invented by the internet community, but shaping (global) policy through direct engagement with stakeholders has been an integral part of a range of different policy fields for a long time. In environmental policy, labour relations, and forestry management to name but a few, one of the key questions asked by policymakers has been “how can we develop globally-relevant, fair, legitimate and efficient policies?” The conclusions drawn policymakers often included the strengthening of participatory governance mechanisms, which is where multistakeholder approaches step in. These approaches try to answer the ‘who’ (participation), ‘why’ (purpose), and ‘how’ (process) questions differently from how governments of flesh and steel would normally answer them.

For better or worse, the IGF is one of the biggest platforms for internet governance. The IGF undoubtedly serves a purpose at this moment, and is very useful for many of its participants. However, we have been talking about its reform for a while now, and even longer.

What needs to happen?

Does the IGF need another grand review? There are many things that could be done to generate a new momentum behind the IGF. These are not new and do not address all the problems, but as a whole, these elements may work to help us consider some of the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions that still linger around the IGFs and other multistakeholder fora.

  1. Sort out our calendars. First of all, this IGF takes place at a time when an increasingly important number of ‘competititors’ will also be discussing internet governance. For example, the ITU’s Plenipotentiary is taking place at the same time as the IGF.
  2. Give it time. The IGF also has no day zero this year, to enable different groups to organise fringe events and coordination meetings. Hence, meetings like the Brussels pre-IGF meeting, on 16 October are incredibly important to allow for people to share information prior to the meeting itself.
  3. Work out who does what. Other venues are also venturing into the IGF space, with the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation recently having been announced, amongst others. So, we see a collection of different fora being (re-)established to focus on internet governance. Rather than a threat, this is actually an opportunity to think about the next thirteen years of the IGF: a little competition is actually a good thing.
  4. Get real. The IGF has often been touted as the opportunity to gather the world’s internet community together to discuss how the internet should be governed. This gargantuan task is not an easy one. What can the IGF actually achieve? The expectations of the forum need to be clearly set out, so that all stakehholders can share the same aim, and then work to deliver it.
  5. Focus. It may be useful to generate common themes and threads for discussion across IGFs, so that reporting, discussion and measurement can be continuous and tell a coherent and consistent story from one IGF to the next.
  6. Make much better use of the NRIs. National and Regional initiatives can feed into discussions at the IGF in a far more constructive way. They can also be platforms to push outcomes from the IGFs.
  7. Ensure all stakeholders are involved. IGFs tend to be open spaces, but that does not mean that self-exclusion, ignorance, or what I have heard termed ‘exclusion by acronym’ does not exist. Despite the diverse and broad nature of the subjects discussed at the IGFs, much of the entrepreneurial community is not present at these discussions; and their discussions on these topics go on in parallel in other spaces, such as this one. Furthermore, if states want the IGF process to be as legitimate as possible, they also need to engage fully in the events.

Join us for a pre-IGF stakeholder networking event on Tuesday, 16 October in Brussels. Learn more and register!

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Indigenous Connectivity Summit 2018: Training Day

Internet Society - News Headlines - Ven, 12/10/2018 - 18:12

True to its location in Festival City – also known as Edmonton, Alberta – the 2018 Indigenous Connectivity Summit’s training day crackled with the energy of community networking advocates from around the world.

Held at the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta, the event began with a smudging ceremony led by Dr. Lana Whiskeyjack from Saddle Lake Cree Nation. Lana spoke about the role of smudging to ground ourselves through ceremony. Herman Many Guns from Piikani First Nation then said a prayer and thanked our Treaty 6 hosts for allowing us to host the event on their territories.

Returning to the main venue, Jane Coffin from the Internet Society stressed that community networks are not “pirate” initiatives but rather efforts by communities to support community development through locally-owned and operated broadband. They aim at long-term sustainability and are driven by cooperation and innovation: “They inspire us to think differently and to solve problems together.” Jane also pointed to the barriers these initiatives face, including inappropriate licensing and permits, high taxes and fees on equipment, limited access to financing and funding, and restricted spectrum. Governments and regulatory agencies play an important part in addressing these issues.

Next, I provided an overview of community networking initiatives in Canada. These projects stretch from coast to coast to coast, and are reflected in the work of the First Mile Connectivity Consortium (FMCC), a national association of Indigenous technology organizations. FMCC member organizations work to ensure that broadband development puts community desires and interests first – and illustrate the many ways we can build network infrastructure and services from there. To this end the FMCC has engaged in policy and regulatory interventions to establish and fund their work. A “whole community” approach that conceptualizes connectivity beyond individual households to encompass key institutions and public services – and recognizes all our relations – can help ensure these projects remain vibrant and sustainable.

Introductions in the room highlighted the expertise and experiences of around 60 participants from across Canada, as well as from the U.S., Mexico, and South America. We spent the day cycling between breakout clusters where participants discussed their projects and shared challenges and ideas. Here are a few highlights:

Network design focused on how community networks are planned and sustained, and included discussions of digital literacy and capacity building. We heard about Matt Rantanen’s work with Tribes in Southern California to build and operate a regional network, as well as his efforts advocating for Native American connectivity in North America and internationally. Travis Schindel discussed the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link serving the NWT, while Brian Beaton spoke about K-Net’s development journey in NW Ontario.

Digital literacy initiatives included Gordon Gow’s technology stewardship training in Sri Lanka and Trinidad, Denise Williams’ work with the First Nations Technology Council to develop Indigenous digital skills training in B.C., the Gwich’in Digital Literacy project involving Crystal Fraser and Trish Fontaine, and Deb Socia’s work with Next Century Cities in the U.S. Michael McNally gave a hands-on demo of the “Make the Net-Work” community network planning exercise, which involves open source 3D printed pieces, network yarn, and a map mounted on pegboard. This stream ended with Allan Mackenzie’s inspiring demonstration of language app development undertaken by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey in Atlantic Canada.

Funding and policy/regulation explored avenues that community networking champions can pursue with regulators, governments, and other partners. Sally Braun from Western James Bay Telecom Network discussed her team’s experience applying to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s “Connect to Innovate” fund – and provided a checklist for others interested in preparing proposals. James Alexie offered an overview of funding agencies in the U.S. On the policy/regulatory side, Maria Alvarez presented spectrum set-asides that the Mexican government established for Indigenous community networks, while Teresa Hopkins discussed the Navajo Nation’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission. Heather Hudson gave an overview of policy and regulatory frameworks for rural and Northern broadband in Canada and the U.S., while I presented about the CRTC’s recently established broadband fund.

Technology included considerations of both fixed and wireless networking equipment. Nico Pace from AlterMundi spoke about his team’s work building and deploying “geek free,” open-source wireless routers in Argentina and other countries. We heard about Bruce Buffalo’s efforts to provide free wireless connections to his home community of Maskwacis through Mamawapowin technology society, and the regional fibre network being developed by Bill Murdoch and others at Clear Sky Connections to service Manitoba First Nations. We also heard about speed and quality of service monitoring activities in Indigenous communities, including the ConnectIN project developed by Bill Murdoch, Denise Williams and Don Ginther from the Alberta First Nations Technical Services Advisory Group, and May Lynn Lee from Cybera.

The training day highlighted just some of the digital innovations led by Indigenous communities around the world. We concluded the day with a few questions for participants to consider for the ICS Summit in Inuvik:

What barriers do their projects face? How can governments and regulatory agencies support their work? And how can we ensure that policies, regulations and funding programs address the specific needs of community networks, as well as of larger-scale commercial projects?

These and other questions are being explored in the Arctic during this week’s Summit. Stay tuned!

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Internet Society submits comments for the revision of the Ethiopian Cybercrime law

Internet Society - News Headlines - Ven, 12/10/2018 - 13:07

Imagine how much the Internet has changed our lives in the last few decades. Today, thanks to the Internet, we can communicate with anyone around the world, instantaneously, reliably and cheaply. This enables us not only to be close to our friends and family that may be far away but also to bridge the knowledge gap that we have with the developed world. It also opens many work opportunities that we wouldn’t even imagine just a few years back and democratize media, allowing anyone to reach instantaneously millions of people at almost no cost, forcing transparency in governance more than ever before.

At national level, our economies are benefiting from the economic opportunities, directly and indirectly related to the Internet. Experts say that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that there are many more opportunities that are yet to be discovered.

However, we cannot deny that the Internet also comes with increasing challenges. Cybercrime is endangering Internet users, organizations and even countries. Our privacies are threatened every day. And more …  It is therefore appropriate that governments act to protect its citizens from the negatives impacts of the Internet by enacting laws and regulations. It was therefore appropriate for the Ethiopian government to enact a cybercrime law. However, it was clear from the beginning that the Computer Crime Law that was adopted in in 2016 infringes on the rights that every citizen is given by the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). In particular, the law infringes on the rights of free expression of citizens by adding provisions that have chilling effect on online expression. The law also has vague provisions that opens the opportunity for the government to accuse almost anyone who use the Internet. Last but not least, the law allows the court to shift the burden of proof to the accused, which is against the long accept judicial practice.

The Internet Society was therefore glad to hear that the government of the FDRE has decided to review the law and that the Internet Society is invited to comment on it. We have happily submitted our comments and we are looking forward to participate to the open discussions that we hope will allow to improve the law and contribute to the democratization of Ethiopia.

The future of the Internet is in the hands of all who use it. Help us at #CountMyVoice.

Editor’s note: We will link to the comments we submitted to the Ethiopian government from this post once the comments are published by the government.

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Prioritizing Indigenous Connectivity in North America

Internet Society - News Headlines - Gio, 11/10/2018 - 17:15

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly technology evolves. In 2007, the iPhone was released and dramatically transformed the way we communicate. Then, less than three years later, the first iPad hit consumer shelves and revolutionized personal computing. Now, Internet service providers around the world are racing to deploy the infrastructure needed to fuel our transition into smart cities of increasingly connected homes and driverless cars.

While some major U.S. cities are set to get home access to 5G broadband speeds as soon as this month, there are still many people living in rural and remote Indigenous communities across North America that struggle to open an email.

It’s time to get our priorities straight. The Internet is a powerful tool transforming virtually every aspect of our lives. But we can’t move forward if anyone is left behind. Indigenous voices must count in our digital future.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently made an important step in the right direction when it released details of its $750 million Broadband Fund to improve connectivity in underserved and remote regions of Canada.

The fund makes an important commitment to ensure applicants consult with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis and respect treaty and land claim rights. The great news is that CRTC will also give special consideration to projects that provide service to Indigenous communities living in remote and underserved areas throughout Canada.

Since anyone from a band council to a big three telecom corporation is eligible to apply for the fund, it’s a prime opportunity for Indigenous communities to connect themselves to the Internet on their own terms through community networks.

Community networks are communications infrastructure built, managed and used by local communities. They provide a sustainable solution to address the connectivity gaps that exist in underserved urban, remote, and rural areas around the world.

The Internet Society will highlight some of these at the 2018 Indigenous Connectivity Summit (#Indigenet2018) this week in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. In partnership with University of Alberta, First Mile Connectivity Consortium, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, and the Town of Inuvik, the event will inspire solutions to connect the last 1,000 miles by showcasing success stories of community networks from North America and abroad.

While the CRTC Broadband Fund could be a huge step towards instigating fast, affordable and sustainable Internet solutions in Indigenous communities, collaboration will be key to get the most bang for their buck. That means we need the CRTC and broadband fund applicants to join governments, policy makers, businesses, and community leaders at the Indigenous Connectivity Summit to honour their commitment and support them.

Thankfully, we already have some important allies in our corner. Here’s how our sponsors are helping to make #Indigenet2018 possible:

Our Gold Level sponsors:

  • CANARIE manages and develops components of digital research infrastructure for Canada’s research, education and innovation communities.
  • Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is a member-based not-for-profit organization, best known for managing the .CA internet domain on behalf of all Canadians, developing and implementing policies that support Canada’s Internet community and representing the .CA registry internationally.
  • Cybera is a not-for-profit corporation responsible for the operation of Alberta’s Optical Regional Advanced Network.
  • Iristel, is a Canadian provider of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services and its subsidiary, Ice Wireless, is a regional mobile operator and telecommunications company based in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

Our Silver Sponsors:

  • Google is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. Google has supported the Summit since 2017.
  • OneWeb is a proposed satellite Internet constellation of approximately 882 satellites expected to provide global Internet broadband service to individual consumers as early as 2019.

Our Bronze Sponsors:

  • The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation. ICANN has also been a supporter of the Summit since 2017.
  • Telesat is a Canadian satellite communications company providing service for broadcast, telecom and corporate entities in North America and abroad.

As digital citizens, we all have a responsibility to create an Internet that is truly open and accessible to everyone.

Making sure the CRTC honours its commitment to include Indigenous voices in the decisions and solutions that shape our future is a critical part of closing Canada’s digital divide. It’s also an important step on the path towards reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.

Let’s come together at #Indigenet2018 and ensure the CRTC follows through to #CountMyVoice and #SwitchItOn!

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Training the next generation of network engineers in Kyrgyzstan

Internet Society - News Headlines - Gio, 11/10/2018 - 06:00

The Internet Society in conjunction with Packet Clearing House (PCH), our Kyrgyzstan Chapter (ISOC-KG) and the CAREN Project organised a BGP and Peering capacity building workshop on 3-7 September 2018 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. This five-day workshop was aimed at training engineers for the existing KG-IX Internet Exchange in the capital Bishkek, but also for the prospective Ferghana Valley Internet Exchange being established in the southern city of Osh.

The workshop was led by Nishal Goburdhan who’s an Internet Analyst at PCH, a non-profit organisation that builds and support IXPs around the world. He was assisted by myself (Kevin Meynell), with the workshop being hosted by the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

The workshop was comprised of a mix of lectures and hands-on lab work to teach the skills required for interconnecting networks on the Internet, and participating in an Internet Exchange. It commenced with Internet address planning using both IPv4 and IPv6, followed by setting-up OSPF on different internal networks, then interconnecting those using BGP and applying routing policy and filtering. The workshop concluded with how to set-up an IXP and discuss current best practices for peering.

Twelve participants attended the workshop, drawn from the incumbent telco Kyrgyz Telecom, KG-IX, commercial ISPs, universities, and KRENA (the National Research and Education Network). Despite limited previous experience and some difficulties in communicating between English, Russian and Kyrgyz languages (although we had an excellent translator), the group proved very adept at picking-up what needed to be done, cooperating as a team, and completing the tasks. It was also extremely encouraging that although none of the participants had any previous IPv6 experience, they were keen to learn how to set-up and manage IPv6 networks which will be critical for the future development of the Internet in Kyrgyzstan.

KG-IX has greatly improved performance and reduced the cost of Internet access in Kyrgyzstan, but this has mostly benefitted Internet users in the capital Bishkek and northern part of Kyrgyzstan. The Ferghana Valley in the south part of the country also has a substantial population, yet has poor access to communication services and users typically pay more than five times for the same bandwidth as in Bishkek.

Establishment of the Ferghana Valley Internet Exchange Point (FVIXP) is therefore extremely important for improving connectivity in the region, particularly with respect to reducing costs. This open and neutral exchange, supported by the Internet Society, is planned to be built in Osh, but will also need network engineers to support it which was one of the motivations for organising a capacity building workshop to develop the necessary skills.

The Internet Society would like to thank the Internet Society Kyrgyzstan Chapter, the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Nishal Goburdhan and Packet Clearing House, and the EU-funded CAREN Project for their support of this workshop.

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Africa Is on a Steady Journey to Digital Transformation

Internet Society - News Headlines - Mer, 10/10/2018 - 13:47

The world has seen Africa’s digital future advancing by leaps and bounds in the adoption and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the private and public sectors. What makes this more interesting and promising, is the level of investment and growth of women Engineers in recent years making headlines.

The Gambia has seen much of these developments in recent years with examples of inspiring women Engineers like Mrs Anna Secka Saine who has contributed in building many backbone Networks in Africa such as, Internet eXchange Points (IXPs), National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), and, as well helped trained many young and Professionals engineers.

We have also seen rise in the number of Computer Science clubs, after school coding, summer coding camps, Robotic clubs among others, which all projects the level of awareness and interest.

In August, two brilliant young Gambian High School science students, Sera Momodou Ndure and Ajie Isatou Ceesay from Marina International School (MIS) and West African International School (WAIS) respectively represented The Gambia at the Africa Girls Can Code Initiative (AGCCI2018) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Africa Girls Can Code Initiative (AGCCI) 2018-2022 is an Africa Wide Initiative being developed and implemented by the U Women and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in Collaboration with the African Union commission (AUC) and Sponsored by the Danish Government.

The aim of the AGCCI is to help promote STEM and equip young high school girls with Digital literacy, Coding, Critical thinking and mentorship to be future African Digital Innovators, entrepreneurs and Policy leaders.

The training gathered over 80 girls from across Africa who all underwent a two weeks intensive training on gaming, animation, fashion and art, design thinking and robotics, among other themes at the African Union Commission Headquarters from the 20th – 31st  August 2018.

Participants also had the opportunity to meet great leaders and visited the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology and the Bole international Airport where they were given chance to explore Aviation Technology.

In attendance to welcome and cheer our Gambian participants were: The Gambian Ambassador to Ethiopia – HE Ambassador Sulayman Alieu Jack, Mr. Almami Kassama, Deputy Head of Mission and team.

Our Director of the Internet Society Africa Regional Bureau Dr. Dawit Bekele also joined the delegation in giving the girls a warm welcome to Ethiopia as well as meeting His Excellency the Ambassador and delegates.

Other speakers at the event included Letty Chiwara – UN Women Ethiopia Country Representative, H.E. Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil – Commissioner for Social Affairs at the AU and Andrew Rugege from ITU who encouraged the girls to learn as ICT is the solution to Africa’s prosperity.

The Internet Society Gambia Chapter is proud for the recognition and is pleased to have been very supportive in nominating and selecting these brilliant girls with the support of Mrs. Jamilatou Saidy Faye – Senior Manager Consumer Affairs at the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) and the officials of The Gambian Embassy in Addis Ababa for coordinating the necessary logistics for our participants.

As new members of the Internet Society and The Gambia Chapter, we hope to continue guiding, mentoring and supporting our AGCCI 2018 participants to continue this amazing journey and to be ambassadors of the AGCCI  and Internet Society by sharing their experience with fellow young women and students in The Gambia.

As Governments and International organizations like the ITU, AUC, UN Women, Internet Society among others continue to step forward with these strategic initiatives to support the grassroot community, we believe that there is hope that Africa will be able to solve its problems by Africans themselves!

Help build an Internet that’s for everyone! #CountMyVoice

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Routing Security boosted by major network operators

Internet Society - News Headlines - Mar, 09/10/2018 - 06:40

There have been some important developments towards improving routing security over the past few weeks, with announcements at NLNOG and AusNOG, as well as from Cloudflare about commitments to validate IP prefixes and reduce route leaks and hijacks. This supports the work we’ve being doing with the MANRS initiative to raise awareness of this issue, and to persuade network operators to take collaborative responsibility for this critical aspect of the Internet.

Cloudflare to deploy RPKI

Cloudflare has been a long-time advocate of routing security, and during their recent Crypto Week, they announced that they’ll be deploying RPKI on their networks. Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) allows IP address prefixes and AS numbers to be cryptographically verified (using Route Origin Authorization), and therefore provides some assertion that the holders of these have the right to announce them. The use of RPKI is included as one of the four MANRS actions “Global Validation – facilitating validation of routing information on global scale” which includes the creation of ROAs and the maintenance of accurate data in Internet Routing Registries (IRRs).

Cloudflare also announced GoRTR, which is an open-source implementation of the RPKI to Router (RTR) protocol (see RFC 6810). This is written in the Go Programming language, and is able to retrieve and validate RPKI (see RFC 6480) prefix origin data from a trusted cache. All major router vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, Huawei, Arista, Quagga, FRR are able to support RTR.

Lists of valid routes are now being securely distributed (via HTTPS) via Cloudflare’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) using a lightweight local RTR server. This free service is being offered in order to encourage adoption of route origin validation on the Internet.

NLnet Labs announce Routinator

This follows on from the announcement of Routinator from NLnet Labs back in July. This is an open source RPKI toolset that offers a Certificate Authority (CA) package to allow network operators to run RPKI on their own systems instead of using the hosted platforms offered by the five Regional Internet Registries; a Publication Server, to let network operators publish the certificates and ROAs generated by the CA; and finally Relying Party software that allows network operators to download the global RPKI dataset, validate it and use it their BGP decision making process.

NTT IRRdb to provide ROA validation

Job Snijders (NTT) also announced during the recent NLNOG 2018 event, that the NTT IRR database will now provide ROA validation status as well. NTT operates one of the major Internet Routing Registries, but until recently virtually anyone could create any route/route6 object and sneak those into the prefix-filters. But perhaps one of the most important points of his presentation was that he believed only about 20 major network operators needed to start doing Route Origin Validation in order to greatly improve routing security and achieve big benefits.

AusNOG & Hurricane Electric

AusNOG 2018 was held on 30-31 August 2018 in Sydney, Australia. This is one of the most important and influential national Network Operator Groups, and this year I did a lightning talk on possible route hijacks, possible route leaks and logon announcements, based on data from

One incident of a possible route hijack occurred in Australia where a network operator started advertising a handful of prefixes that they didn’t own. Unfortunately, one of their peers Hurricane Electric accepted those advertisements and it ended up reaching the global routing table.

However, Walt Wollny (Hurricane Electric) was up next, and was able to announce they had already started to implement strict filtering with its direct peers . They also have a website showing the AS numbers of all their direct peers, what prefixes they were receiving, and what policy was being being implemented, along with a documented algorithm for prefix filtering.

Cloudflare and MANRS

Last but not least, Martin Levy (Cloudflare) mentioned the MANRS initiative in his blog and re-iterated Cloudflare’s willingness to collaborate, although expresses the view is that MANRS does not go far enough or have sufficient ability to weed out bad actors. Whilst not disagreeing with this statement, I would point out that MANRS is primarily intended to be an awareness raising initiatives to persuasively bring about behavioural change amongst network operators, of whom many are simply unaware that routing security is a substantial issue. As the MANRS community grows, not only will awareness increase, but it will become easier for the good actors to identify and take actions against those operators where prefix hijacks, route leaks and bosons are prevalent.

Get Involved

It’s great to see so many good things starting to happen around routing security, and more network providers getting involved in implementing the solutions. If you are running a network infrastructure then be part of the solution and help protect the core. Join MANRS.

Further Information

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Indigenous Connectivity Summit – my perspective

Internet Society - News Headlines - Lun, 08/10/2018 - 20:32

As the Director of Technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association I’ve been working with Native communities in San Diego County and Southern Riverside County of California in the United States for the past seventeen years. With a long background in Dot Com graphic design exposed to networking and web servers, the transition into technology was an obvious one.

A descendant of the Cree Nation with ancestors hailing from Norway and Finland may partially explain why I’ve been tagged a “cyber warrior for broadband.” I am 6’4” with long hair. Maybe it’s because I sketch in metal to build cyborg arms. But I believe it has more to do with the fact that I have lived in and among Southern California reservations since 2001, working with a team of local people, solving a myriad issues related to connectivity. We’ve come a long way, connecting thousands of homes to the Internet. Several thousand remain, but we are getting closer.

But more needs to happen.

The views, voices and knowledge of Indigenous people need to be included in the policy and tech that help build the Internet. If we’re not part of it, we’re literally written out of it.

So, yes, more needs to happen. A lot more.

I will be in Inuvik, Canada this week, at the second annual Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS), along with more than 140 other people just like me. People who have the same drive to see their communities connected. The value of coming together and the power of collaboration cannot be underestimated.

I attended the first ICS in Sante Fe, New Mexico in November of last year and it inspired me. Partnerships were formed. Relationships over technical and policy issues were forged. I’ve become passionate about it, and willing to dedicate my time and energy to be involved in a gathering of this nature. It’s so valuable to local communities, on the ground, trying to forge a new path, on their own, to create connectivity for themselves. This coming together allows those of us who have built networks in our communities, and have suffered all the tests that a task of this nature involves, to get into in-depth conversations about a problem that is universal in Indigenous communities worldwide.

These are not Canadian issues or American issues—they are global issues. And the only way to address them is to bring together the global Indigenous to share experiences and understand that we are not alone in our community with a lack of basic services. There are others in the same situation on other continents, in other countries, in other states, right next to us. A lot of momentum is gained when you get to join a group of people that look like you, and think like you and act like you, and have solved the same problems that you have staring you in the face.

There is an energy and passion in the Indigenous youth, to get things moving and solve the issues that they are living with and the barriers that face their communities. The Indigenous Connectivity Summit allows mentors, and accomplished network builders to join these young self-empowered individuals who seek the same successes for their communities, and to share their stories. Experience is valuable, but sharing that experience is where you start to make a difference. We can say, “we’ve built this network three and a half times over seventeen years and we’re still working on that last half to be a whole build.”

Why would I ever want to see another community just like ours jump into a task like that “cold”?

There are so many ways not to build a network, and we have identified so many of them, that at times, I wonder how we got it done. We were very determined. Sharing all of those pitfalls, and missteps with our Indigenous brothers and sisters who are inspired to connect their communities, might just remove enough barriers to ensure they still have the energy for creativity and innovation once they get their networks up and running. They won’t have spent their passion and drive on failed attempts. We learn from our mistakes, and so should others, so that they may be free to go further and make different mistakes, to share with the next wave of inspired communities.

When I’m at ICS, I tend to escape the thoughts of incumbent telco’s holding back their services from our communities. I don’t dwell on the policy fights that I have on funding opportunities for tribes, and restrictions to resources that have been intentionally/accidentally imposed on Indigenous communities from achieving our goals.

I will leave the ICS and feel satisfied that I’ve shared the experiences I’ve lived, the work that we’ve done. I will also feel pleased to know that the people that are there to learn will go back to their communities knowing that they can accomplish their goals, build their own networks, and feel self-empowered. To live in a community and see a problem for years, and decide to fix that problem, learn how to conquer it, build the solution and succeed, is the formula for self-determination and self-sustainability.

Let’s work together to build an Internet for everyone. Register for the Indigenous Connectivity Summit 2018, which takes place this October in Edmonton and Inuvik, CanadaYou can also find ever-growing resources on topics including community networks, cultural preservation, and Indigenous-driven access at the Indigenous Connectivity page.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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The Week in Internet News: AI Can Help, But Humans Are the Problem with Fake News

Internet Society - News Headlines - Lun, 08/10/2018 - 15:14

AI battles the fake news: Can Artificial Intelligence combat all the fake news that’s out there? An article in Forbes looks at several ways fake news fighters are using AI, but the author casts some doubt on these approaches. Ultimately, humans are the problem, the article says: “The willingness to believe sensational information is a real phenomenon and debunking false information does not always change people’s minds.”

Fake tweets: As social networks take steps to fight against fake news, some still have a way to go. Twitter, for example, is still flooded with sham accounts that generate more than 1 million tweets a day, reports CBS News. Twitter disputed the study the story is based on, noting it has suspended more than 70 million suspicious accounts in May and June.

Tiny infiltrations: Chinese hackers have used tiny microchips to gain access to computers at 30 U.S. companies, including Apple and Amazon, Bloomberg reports. Both companies disputed the report, and the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre appeared to support the denials later in the week, Reuters says.

Blockchain’s bright future: There were several reports this week focused on the growth projections of the blockchain technology, with the blockchain market eventually worth more than US$7 billion, according to a Bank of America report quoted at Blockchain will create a huge opportunity for companies like Amazon and Microsoft, the bank said. Meanwhile, the market for blockchain in the agriculture and food supply industries will reach $430 million in the next five years, reports Cointelegraph, citing a Reportlinker forecast. Blockchain in the manufacturing sector could be worth $500 million by 2025, Cointelegraph says, citing the same projections.

Encryption for drug deals: An executive from a company marketing an “unbreakable” and untraceable encrypted mobile device has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge, Ars Technica reports. The company was accused of thwarting the distribution of illegal drugs with help from the devices.

Case cracked, finally: Law enforcement officials have finally solved the case of a 15-year-old Macintosh virus called Fruitfly, MacObserver reports. The creator used the virus to malware to steal files, watch Mac owners by webcam, and listen to conversations by microphone. Ick.

Read the Internet Society’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning policy paper and explore how it might impact the Internet’s future.

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The Presence of Community Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean

Internet Society - News Headlines - Ven, 05/10/2018 - 15:00

The community of Latin America and the Caribbean has maintained an incessant activity in community networks topics, particularly during September. This work has been reflected in various spaces, highlighting the Latin American Summit of Community Networks that took place in Argentina.

A Work with History

Interest in community networks in the Latin American and Caribbean region is not recent. At least since 2015, the operators of these networks have worked together, exchanging experiences and best practices. Part of the result of this collaboration is found in the documents of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3). It is worth mentioning that the creation of the Internet Society’s Special Interest Group on Community Networks (SIG CN) was announced during the closing ceremony of the IGF 2017 meeting.

The effort has been reflected in various spaces. This year, several operators of these networks were invited to participate in the Fifth Annual Latin America Spectrum Management Conference, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from September 5 to 7. On the last day of the Conference, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conducted a capacity building workshop on spectrum and community networks.

The Latin American Summit

In addition to their participation in events organized by other stakeholders of the community, the SIG Community Networks called the Latin American Community Networks Summit. The event was held in two phases: a workshop with participants from seven countries in the region, and the summit itself.

The workshop was also organized in Buenos Aires, in the days after the Spectrum Management Conference. In addition to exchanging ideas and best practices, participants visited areas of the city where some non-rural community networks are deployed. The second phase of the summit took place in Córdoba, Argentina, where the participants lived together for six days. The activities were productive, with training sessions and spaces to discuss and agree on common positions.

These and other activities related to the subject are a powerful demonstration of the value of collaboration among stakeholders. The degree of organization and motivation of its participants are remarkable. Congratulations!

Help build a digital future that puts people first. #SwitchItOn

Photo © Dan York

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Are you ready? How to prepare for the DNSSEC Root KSK Rollover on October 11, 2018

Internet Society - News Headlines - Gio, 04/10/2018 - 22:23

Are you ready? Are your systems prepared so that DNS will keep functioning for your networks?  One week from today, on Thursday, October 11, 2018, at 16:00 UTC ICANN will change the cryptographic key that is at the center of the DNS security system – what we call DNSSEC. The current key has been in place since July 15, 2010. This is a long-planned replacement.

If everything goes fine, you should not notice and your systems will all work as normal. However, if your DNS resolvers are not ready to use the new key, your users may not be able to reach many websites!

This change of this central security key for DNS is known as the “Root Key Signing Key (KSK) Rollover”. It has been in discussion and planning since 2013. We’ve written many articles about it and spoken about it at many conferences, as have many others in the industry. ICANN has a page with many links and articles at:

But here we are, with only a few days left and you may be wondering – how can I know if my systems are ready?

The good news is that since the Root KSK Rollover was delayed 1 year, most all of the DNS resolver software has been shipping for quite some time with the new key. If you, or your DNS server administrators, have been keeping up with recent updates, you should be all set.

1. Test if you are doing DNSSEC validation

Before you do anything else, you should first check if you are doing DNSSEC validation on your network.  As noted in ICANN’s guidance document, go to a command-line / terminal / shell window and type:

dig @<IP of your DNS resolver> a +dnssec

For example, using Google’s Public DNS Server, the command would be:

dig @ a +dnssec

If the response includes this text:

;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: SERVFAIL

then you ARE doing DNSSEC validation and should read the rest of this article.

If the response instead includes:

;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR

… well, you are NOT doing DNSSEC validation. You can skip the rest of this article, go have a beverage, and not have to worry about the Root KSK Rollover on October 11.  However, you should also read up on DNSSEC and understand why you start validating to raise the level of security and trust on your network. (But, at this point, you might as well wait until October 12 to deploy it.)

If you are doing DNSSEC validation, read on. 

Two notes:

  • Unfortunately if you are not an administrator of your DNS resolvers, there are limited mechanisms to check if you have the new key. There are a couple of possibilities (see #2 and #3a below), but otherwise you will need to contact your DNS administrators / IT team and point them to this blog post and other resources.
  • In DNS / DNSSEC circles the root key is also referred to as a “trust anchor”.
2. Try the Sentinel KSK Test

For a small percentage of you reading this, you might be able to use the “sentinel test” that is based on an Internet draft that is in development. You can do so at either of these sites:

Right now there is only one DNS resolver (Unbound) that implements this sentinel test. Hopefully by the time we do the next Root KSK Rollover, some years from now, this will be more widely deployed so that regular users can see if they are protected.

However, for most of us, myself included, we need to go on to other methods…

3a. Check if your DNS resolvers have the new Root KSK installed – via various tools

There are several tests you may be able to perform on your system. ICANN has published a list at:

That document lists the steps for the following DNS resolvers:

  • BIND
  • Unbound
  • PowerDNS Recursor
  • Knot Resolver
  • Windows Server 2012RS and 2016
  • Akamai DNSi Cacheserve
  • Infoblox NIOS

For BIND users, ISC2 also provides a focused document: Root KSK Rollover in BIND.

3b. Check if your DNS resolvers have the new Root KSK installed – via specific files

If you have command-line access to your DNS servers, you can look in specific files to see if the new key is installed.  The current key (“KSK 2010”) has an ID of 19036. The new key has an ID of 20326. As Paul Wouters wrote in a Red Hat blog post today, these keys can be found in these locations in Red Hat Linux:

  • bind – see /etc/named.root.key
  • unbound / libunbound – see /var/lib/unbound/root.key
  • dnsmasq – see /usr/share/dnsmasq/trust-anchors.conf
  • knot-resolver – see /etc/knot-resolver/root.keys

Look in there for a record with an ID of 20326. If so, you are all set. If not, you need to figure out how to get the new key installed.

Note – these locations here are for Red Hat Linux. Other Linux distributions may use slightly different file locations – the point is that there should be a file somewhere on your system with these keys.

4. Have a backup plan in case there are problems

As Paul notes in his post today, it would be good to have a backup plan in case there are unexpected DNS problems on your network on October 11 and users are not able to resolve addresses via DNS. One suggestion is to temporarily change your systems to give out one of the various sets of “public” DNS servers that are operated by different companies. Some of these include:

IPv4 IPv6 Vendor 2606:4700:4700::1111 Cloudflare 2001:4860:4860::8888 Google DNS 2620:fe::fe Quad9 2620:74:1b::1:1 Verisign

You can switch to one of these resolvers while you sort out the issues with your own systems. Then, once you have your systems correctly configured, you can switch back so that the DNSSEC validation is happening as close to your users as possible (thereby minimizing the potential areas of the network where an attacker could inject malicious DNS traffic).

5. Plan to be around on 11 October 2018 at 16:00 UTC

Finally, don’t schedule a day off on October 11th – you might want to be around and able to monitor your DNS activity on that day.  This Root KSK Rollover has been in the works for many years now. It should be a “non-event” in that it will be “just another day on the Internet”. But many of us will be watching whatever statistics we can. And you’ll probably find status updates using the #KeyRoll hashtag on Twitter and other social networks.

The end result of all of this will be the demonstration that we can safely and securely change the cryptographic key at the center of DNS – which allows us to continue improving the level of security and trust we can have in this vital part of the public core of the Internet!

Image credit: Lindsey Turner on Flickr. CC BY 2.0

P.S. This is NOT what the “Root key” looks like!

Acknowledgements:  Thanks to Ed Lewis, Paul Hoffman, Paul Wouters, Victoria Risk, Tony Finch, Bert Hubert, Benno Overeinder, Hugo Salgado-Hernández, Carlos Martinez and other members of the dnssec-coord discussion list for the discussion that informed this post.

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