The Netizen Report: Governance Edition

Tweet of the week: “If you are not at the table, you are probably on the menu.” via @guatemalia

The sixth annual Internet Governance Forum meets in Nairobi next week. The schedule can be downloaded here. If you are not going in person you can participate remotely. Links to the webcasts and Webex remote participation platform will be posted here soon before the meeting begins on Tuesday. In the coming days we will post a more detailed guide for remote participation, and a list of sessions likely to be of particular interest to the Global Voices community. Another great way to interact with people involved with the IGF is to join the Diplo Internet Governance Community.

Issues including cyber-security, diversity, freedom of expression, critical Internet resources, and the future of Internet governance will be discussed in Nairobi by delegates from all over the world representing governments, companies, the technical community, and civil society organizations. No doubt there will be  discussion of a recent proposal by Russia, China, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to establish a UN “code of conduct” for the Internet, as well as a proposal (PDF) by India, Brazil and South Africa to create a “new global body” within the UN system to control the Internet. Milton Mueller at the IGP blog has analysis of both proposals here and here.

ICANN is moving ahead with its plans for global domain name expansion. It has launched a new website explaining the new “generic top level domains” (gTLDs), with a new applicant guidebook outlining the rules for applying to create and administer new pieces of Internet real estate. Minds and Machines has an overview.

Policy and Politics:

The German arm of the Pirate Party, whose platform includes copyright reform, data privacy and anti-censorship among other issues, won nearly 9 percent of the vote in Berlin's state elections last weekend.

A U.S. appeals court  ruled against the Obama administration‘s efforts to stop a lawsuit challenging the legality of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments (FISA) Act, which among other things allows the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant if one party in the conversation is overseas.

Censorship news:

Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblogging service is stepping up censorship to quash “rumors,” according to the company's CEO. In a related analysis, James Reilly of the University of Sydney describes the Chinese government's method for managing popular unrest as “contained contention.”

WordPress has been blocked in Syria.

The Pakistani interior minister says his government may ban Gmail and YouTube because terrorists and other assorted bad guys use them.

Thai web editor Chiranuch Premchaiporn (popularly known by her nickname, Jiew) is on trial for violating the Computer Crime Act. Her defense began on September 20th. As webmaster of one of Thailand's most popular alternative websites, Prachatai, she is being held responsible for comments left on the site by unknown users.

Sovereigns of Cyberspace:

Baidu, sometimes known as “the Google of China” is branching out to Thailand and Egypt.

The media is saturated with talk of Facebook's new features and the Google+ public launch. No need to cover those here!


The World Wide Web Foundation has launched the World Wide Web Index, “the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the Web and its impact on people in a large number of countries.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports: “Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets.” Among other things, the article discusses the Contact Summit to be held in New York in October.


“Account Deactivation and Content Removal: Guiding Principles and Practices for Companies and Users” (PDF), a report written jointly by the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. It is the product of a series of multi-stakeholder discussions convened by the Global Network Initiative.

Gilad Lotan, Erhardt Graeff, Mike Ananny, Devin Gaffney, Ian Pearce, and danah boyd (2011). “The Revolutions Were Tweeted: Information Flows during the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions.” International Journal of Communications 5, Feature 1375-1405.  Also click here for online visualizations of the data.

The Canadian SecDev Group released a new report on corporate collusion with Chinese Internet censorship and surveillance: “Collusion and collision: Searching for guidance in Chinese cyberspace”

NOTE: If this weekly post does not satisfy your weekly appetite feel free to follow my netizenreport Google Reader tag, and the #netfreedom hashtag on Twitter. If you would like to submit information or links to be included in future editions of the Netizen Report please contact me.

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