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Archive as of December 2007

One World Trust Releases 2007 Global Accountability Report December 2007
One World Trust, a leading expert in the field of global governance and accountability, has released a report at the British Parliament measuring and ranking the accountability of 30 of the world's most powerful intergovernmental, corporate, and non-governmental organizations. The Report analyses each organisation's capabilities according to the four dimensions of accountability as defined by the Global Accountability Framework: transparency, participation, evaluation, and complaint and response mechanisms. This year's report shows that intergovernmental organizations showed excellent transparency and evaluation systems, while NGOs showed the best participation capabilities and corporations showed the best complaint and response mechanisms. More information.
OCLC Releases Social Networking Study November 2007
The Online Computer Library Center has released its international study on online social spaces, entitled “Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World.” The survey polled over 6,100 respondents from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US, as well as 382 US library directors. The study focuses on user practices and preferences in social spaces, user attitudes about sharing, information privacy, and librarian social networking practices and preferences. More information.
EU Opens In-Depth Investigation of Proposed Google-DoubleClick Merger November 2007
The European Commission Directorate on Competition has announced a four-month in-depth investigation into Google's $3.1 billion proposed merger with Internet advertising company DoubleClick. The Directorate has completed a preliminary investigation, which could have ended in either approval or this higher scrutiny of the merger. More information.
ICANN Board Decides to Pursue Further Whois Study October 2007
The Board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers voted Wednesday to defer making a decision on whether names, phone numbers and other private information on domain name owners should remain public in open, searchable Whois databases. The Board instead decided to pursue further study of the issue, despite seven years of discussing Whois. More information.
OECD Online Public Consultation Comments Available October 2007
The OECD recently held an online public consultation to receive input on the proposed themes and issues of the upcoming OECD Ministerial to be held in Seoul, Korea on June 17-18, 2008. The theme of the Ministerial is the “Future of the Internet Economy. The online consultation is now closed, but all comments received are available on the OECD website. More information.
EPIC Launches Privacy and Human Rights 2006 Report September 2007
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Privacy International have released the 9th "Privacy and Human Rights" report. "Privacy and Human Rights: an international survey of privacy laws and developments" provides an overview of key privacy topics and reviews the state of privacy in over 75 countries around the world. Recent developments and emerging issues include social networking, Internet advertising, and location privacy, as well as new country reports for the Middle East, Latin America and cyberspace. More information.
OECD Online Public Consultation on 2008 Ministerial Now Open August 2007
The OECD has launched an online public consultation process to receive input on the proposed themes and issues of the upcoming OECD Ministerial to be held in Seoul, Korea on June 17-18, 2008. The theme of the Ministerial is the “Future of the Internet Economy.” The Ministerial represents an opportunity for high-level stakeholders from government, business, the technical community, and civil society to consider broad social, economic and technical trends shaping the development of the Internet Economy, and to discuss policies that can respond to evolving societal needs. The Online Public Consultation is one of a series of initiatives aimed at involving non-governmental stakeholders in the OECD Ministerial meeting and in its preparation. The public consultation will be open until Friday, September 14, 2007. More information.
Fellowship Program to Enhance Global Participation in ICANN August 2007
People from across the world will have more opportunities to attend ICANN's 30th Public Meeting in Los Angeles October 29 - November 2, 2007, thanks to a global fellowships program. The fellowship program was first established at this year's San Juan ICANN meetings, where 33 fellows from 24 countries played an active role at the San Juan meeting - and 65 per cent of the fellows and 68 per cent of applicants had never attended an ICANN meeting. The fellowship will assist in covering airfare, hotel and a stipend. Recipients will be expected to actively participate in and contribute to ICANN processes. As always, registration for ICANN's meetings is free for anyone wanting to attend. Priority will be given to current residents of developing and least developed nations who are interested in participating in the ICANN government advisory committee, the country code names supporting organization, and the generic names supporting organization. Applications will be accepted from now until 1200 PDT (UTC -7) on August 24, 2007. More information.
OSCE Report, "Governing the Internet," Now Available July 2007
A new report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe takes a detailed look at how the Internet is governed in the OSCE region. The concept of Internet Governance is addressed from a number of different sides and examples from various countries in the OSCE region show how diverse issues of Internet Governance are being tackled by different stakeholders. "Governing the Internet," issued by the 56-nation OSCE, warns that 'governance' must not be allowed to become a code word for government regulation of Internet content. More information.
Registration for 2007 Internet Governance Forum Now Open July 2007
Registration for the 2007 Internet Governance Forum, being held November 12-15, 2007, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is now open. The main purpose of the Forum is to discuss a wide range of issues related to Internet Governance, and, where appropriate, to make recommendations to the international community. The working and function of the Forum is multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent. The Forum is free and open to the public. More information.
OECD Communications Outlook 2007 Now Available July 2007
The biannual OECD Communications Outlook is now available. The 2007 edition provides an extensive range of indicators on the development of different communications networks and compares performance indicators such as revenue, investment, employment and prices for services throughout the OECD area. These indicators are essential for industry participants and for regulators who use benchmarking to evaluate policy performance. This book is based on the data from the OECD Telecommunications Database 2007, which provides time series of telecommunications and economic indicators, such as network dimension, revenues, investment and employment, for OECD countries from 1980 to 2005. More information.
Joint ANEC/BEUC Comments on the EC Communication on RFID in Europe July 2007
European consumer groups ANEC and BEUC have issued a joint policy paper entitled, "Joint ANEC/BEUC Comments on the EC Communication on RFID in Europe: Steps towards a policy framework." The position paper, which is based on the European Commission Communication on RFID from March 2007, is the joint ANEC/BEUC contribution to the RFID Experts stakeholder group set up to help the European Commission drafting a Recommendation on privacy and security aspects of RFID and provide general advice on the future Commission policy on the issue. Both ANEC and BEUC participate to this group. More information.
EU Commission Opens Inquiry into Google-DoubleClick Merger July 2007
The European Commission Directorate on Competition will review Google's $3.1 billion merger with internet advertising company DoubleClick. The news comes a few days after European consumer group BEUC sent a letter urging Commission to investigate the merger. The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party recently expanded an investigation of Google's data retention policies to include the policies of all search engines. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also is reviewing the merger. More information.
EU and US Reach Agreement on Financial Data Sharing June 2007
The European Union and the United States have reached an agreement on the sharing of individuals' financial information. Last June, it was revealed that the US used broad, secret administrative subpoenas to review vast amounts of information from Belgium-based SWIFT, which routes financial data among 7,800 financial institutions in more than 200 countries. The US will now restrict its use of any data received from SWIFT to being exclusively for counter-terrorism purposes. The US plans to retain the data for up to five years. In addition, the European Commission will appoint an "eminent European" who will conduct oversight of US use of SWIFT data. More information.
EU and US Reach Agreements on Passenger Name Records Data Sharing June 2007
The European Union and the United States have reached an agreement on the sharing passenger travel records data. The agreement reduces the 34 pieces of data on passengers now collected by US law enforcement authorities to 19 data fields, including name, contact data, payment details, and itinerary information. The agreement also provides some redress possibilities for EU citizens, and sets out a retention period of 15 years. More information.
OECD Recommendation on Electronic Authentication June 2007
On June 12, the OECD Council adopted a recomendation on electronic authentication. The recommendation reaffirms the important role of e-authentication in building trust online and encourages Member countries to establish compatible technology-neutral approaches for effective domestic and cross-border e-authentication of persons and entities. The Recommendation is supported by an OECD Guidance Report for e-Authentication that provides a number of foundation and operational principles to help Member countries establish or amend their approaches to e-authentication to foster cross-jurisdictional inter-operability. More information.
OECD Recommendation on Cross-border Co-operation in the Enforcement of Laws Protecting Privacy June 2007
On June 12, the OECD Council adopted a new Recommendation setting forth a framework for co-operation in the enforcement of privacy laws. The framework reflects a commitment by governments to improve their domestic frameworks for privacy law enforcement to better enable their authorities to co-operate with foreign authorities, as well as to provide mutual assistance to one another in the enforcement of privacy laws. More information.
The second edition of the World Information Society Report: Beyond WSIS was launched on the occasion of the World Information Society Day on 16 May 2007. Published by ITU and UNCTAD, this report looks beyond the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS, Geneva 2003 - Tunis 2005) to the creation of an inclusive, people-centered and development-oriented Information Society, open to all. Some of the themes covered in the report are: the evolution of the digital divide, trends in the information society, ICT growth strategies, cybersecurity and WSIS implementation. The report tracks progress in digital opportunity for 181 economies over the past few years since the start of the WSIS process and is accompanied by a series of tables providing the latest statistics on the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) worldwide. The report has been created by the “Digital Opportunity Platform”, an open multi-stakeholder platform with contributions from governments, private sector, academics and civil society, as well as inter-governmental organizations. More information.
World Information Day - May 17 May 2007
The UN declared May 17 World Information Society Day to "raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technology can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide." More information.
Fellowship Program to Enhance Global Participation in ICANN May 2007
People from across the world will have more opportunities to attend ICANN's 29th Public Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico thanks to the trial global fellowships program launched today. The fellowship will assist in covering airfare, hotel and a stipend. Recipients will be expected to actively participate in and contribute to ICANN processes. As always, registration for ICANN's meetings is free for anyone wanting to attend. Priority will be given to current residents of developing and least developed nations who are interested in participating in the ICANN government advisory committee, the country code names supporting organization, and the generic names supporting organization. More information.
2nd Annual Access to Knowledge Conference - Yale Information Society Project April 2007
On April 27-29, 2007, the weekend of World Intellectual Property Day, the Yale Information Society Project is hosting the Access to Knowledge conference. Taking place between sessions of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in which the Development Agenda is being formalized, this conference program is focused around mobilizing different spheres of society: Industry, Civil Society, Governments, and Technologists. In an effort to promote access, the conference will offer remote participation, and is inviting contribution of background materials and questions on access to knowledge issues. More information.
OECD Releases Report on User Created Content April 2007
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released its report on "participatory Internet", or User Created Content. The report describes the rapid growth of User Created Content and its increasing role in worldwide communication. The report also draws out implications for policy, such as the kinds of social, cultural and economic opportunities and impacts created by UCC, its associated challenges, and what kind of role, if any, governments should be taking in this area. More information.
One World Trust Releases Report on ICANN Accountability and Transparency March 2007
One World Trust is a UK-based NGO that conducts research into the changes required within global organisations in order to make them answerable to the people they affect. One World Trust has just released its Independent Review of ICANN's Accountability and Transparency - Structures and Practices, which identifies a number of areas where ICANN practices observe principles of accountability, and a number of areas where there is room for improvement. ICANN received high marks for its transparency, particularly for the amount of information that it shares on its website, but it was also noted that ICANN should ensure the public are being engaged consistently across the different constituent bodies. More information.
ICANN Council Establishes Work Group for WHOIS Proposal March 2007
The ICANN GNSO Council considered the WHOIS Task Force's Final Report on WHOIS services at the ICANN meetings in Lisbon this month. Because the proposal endorsed in the Final Report leaves many implementation details unanswered, the Council decided to establish a new working group to examine implementation issues. The group will focus on the endorsed OPoC approach (which removes registrants' mailing addresses, phone and fax numbers and email addresses from the publicly available WHOIS database), and will only return to the alternative proposal mentioned in the Final Report if it cannot sort out the implementation details. More information.
FrontLine Releases Digital Security and Privacy Manual March 2007
Front Line, an NGO founded to protect human rights workers, has published a manual entitled Digital Security and Privacy for Human Rights Defenders. The manual provides a clear and simple introduction to computer security, including password protection, data destruction, cryptology, and encryption on the Internet. The manual also covers Spam, identity theft, the circumvention of Internet censorship and filtering, and includes helpful case studies. More information.
ICANN WHOIS Task Force Issues Final Report on WHOIS Services March 2007
The ICANN WHOIS task force has issued its Final Report on WHOIS Services. The task force endorsed a proposal that would remove registrants' mailing addresses, phone and fax numbers and email addresses from the publicly available WHOIS database, and replace this information with an "operational point of contact" who would contact the registrant in the case of an issue with the domain name. The Final Report will be discussed at the upcoming public ICANN meetings in Lisbon on March 26-30, 2007. The GNSO Council will then make a policy recommendation to the ICANN Board. More information.
US State Department Issues Annual Human Rights Report March 2007
The US State Department has just released its annual human rights report. The report, spanning over 1800 pages and over 180 countries, describes the performance of governments in putting into practice their international commitments on human rights reflected in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each country report includes a section on privacy, which is addressed mainly in the context of Internet censorship, access and surveillance. More information.
The Freedom of Expression Project February 2007
Freedom of Expression in the networked communications environment is an exploration of the challenges and opportunities for freedom of expression in the modern world. How the human right to freedom of expression is realised depends upon the various means through which people communicate, exchange ideas and express themselves. As this communication environment changes so will the prospects for protecting and advancing freedom of expression. This project aims to map those changes, providing a resource for people interested in these issues and acting as a forum for discussion and debate. The project is coordinated by Global Partners and Associates and funded by the Ford Foundation. More information.
Council of Europe Data Protection Day January 2007
The Council of Europe will be celebrating a Data Protection Day on January 28, 2007. This will be the occasion for European citizens to become more aware of personal data protection and of what their rights and responsibilities are in that regard. The day also aims to educate individuals on the risks associated with the illegal mishandling and unfair processing of their personal data. Each interested member state, international and national body is organizing events at a local level, such as panel discussions, media campaigns and education programs. More information.
ICANN launches Public Comments on WHOIS Task Force Report November 2006
ICANN has invited public comments on its Preliminary Task Force Report on WHOIS services. The report sets out the key findings on policy issues in the generic top level domain (gTLD) space that have emerged since the WHOIS Task Force was convened last year. The report highlights two different approaches to limitations on the availability of WHOIS data, the "operational point of contact" proposal, and the special circumstances proposal. The public comment period runs until January 15, 2007. The task force will consider the public comments received and prepare a final report for submission to the Generic Names Supporting Organization Council. More information.
28th International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners' Conference November 2006
The United Kingdom Information Commissioner's Office hosted the 28th International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners' Conference in London on November 2-3, 2006. The conference included 58 data protection and privacy authorities, as well as a number of legal scholars and NGOs from around the world. The program, called "A Surveillance Society?" examined where and how the boundaries should be drawn as technological advances and public and private sector initiatives threaten to build the infrastructure of a surveillance society. The commissioners adopted a resolution recommending an increase in transparency, data minimization, and consent-based storage of personal data by Internet Service Providers. "A Report on the Surveillance Society" was also presented at the conference. More information.
Dynamic Privacy Coalition Launched at Internet Governance Forum November 2006
The Internet Governance Forum launched a Dynamic Coalition on Privacy on November 2, 2006. The Coalition will address emerging issues of internet privacy protection such as digital identities, the link between privacy and development, and the importance of privacy and anonymity for freedom of expression. It aims at developing a set of recommendations for the IGF to consider. Members are individual representatives and affiliates from more than 40 entities, including national governments, independent data protection authorities, international organizations, civil society organizations, private corporations, and the academic community. More information.
Internet Governance Forum held in Athens October-November 2006
The Internet Governance Forum, created out of the World Summit on Information Society in Tunis, held its first meeting in Athens, Greece, on October 30 - November 2, 2006. The Forum's main purpose was to discuss a wide range of issues related to Internet Governance, and, where appropriate, to make recommendations to the international community. Attendees of the Internet Governance Forum agreed to launch "dynamic coalitions", multi-stakeholder groups that work together on a common issue through the use of online collaboration tools and meetings. More information.
Conference on International Transfers of Personal Data October 2006
A conference on international transfers of personal data, co-organized by the European Commission, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party and the US Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, was held in Brussels on October 23-24, 2006. The conference examined the different mechanisms for international flows of personal data. A particular session was devoted to the Safe Harbour system set up for transfers of personal data to the United States." More information.
OECD Information Technology Outlook available October 2006
The OECD has published its Information Technology Outlook. The 2006 edition looks at the increasing importance of digital content in selected industries and how it is transforming value chains and business models. The potential of technological developments is examined: ubiquitous networks, location-based services, natural disaster warning systems, the participative web and the convergence of information technology with nanotechnology and biotechnology. More information.
Informatik und RŸstung conference September 2006
A conference on "Informatik und Rüstung" ("Computer Science and Warfare") was held in Berlin on September 29-30, 2006. International technology and privacy groups debated the impact of surveillance technologies, such as camera surveillance and radio frequency identification technology, upon civil liberties. More information.
Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue Statement on Passenger Name Records September 2006
The TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), a network of more than sixty EU and U.S. consumer organizations that acts as a consultative forum to the EU and U.S., wrote to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and to the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security to offer a consumer perspective on the implications for privacy, and the questions of efficacy, related to a transatlantic agreement that might jeopardize the privacy and security of passenger name records. Among other recommendations, TACD urges the US and EU governments to undertake a comprehensive study on the effectiveness of air traveler profiling and the alternative techniques that could be pursued to promote air travel safety and protect the privacy of passengers. More information.
Amnesty International Releases Report on Tech Companies in China July 2006
Amnesty International has released a report condemning Internet companies for collaborating with the Chinese government in suppressing free speech. Focusing on the actions of Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google, the report makes specific recommendations as to how Internet companies operating in China might work to protect free speech and human rights while doing business in the country. Yahoo has reportedly turned over information on dissidents using its services to authorities, while Microsoft and Google have respectively censored blogs and search results that are critical of the Chinese government. More information.
World Information Society Day: May 17 May 2006
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in November 2005, adopted the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, which recognized that there is a need to build more awareness of the Internet. It specifically called upon the declaration of May 17th as World Information Society Day; the annual observance was officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly. This Day will help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information communications technologies (ICTs) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. The theme for 2006 is "promoting global cybersecurity". More information.
WSIS Follow-up Conference Held in Copenhagen February 2006
The World Federation of United Nations Associations Task Force on WSIS & The Danish Network on WSIS organized a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 21-22, 2006 to follow up on the World Summit on the Information Society, which concluded on November 18, 2005 with an agreement among world leaders on ambitious objectives and promises for the future Information Society. The conference, called "Where to go from Tunis? Implementation of and follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society and the role of Civil Society in this process," evaluated the results of the WSIS process and took stock of what impact the summit can have on global development in general, and more specifically on the future of the Information Society, particularly from a civil society perspective. The event presented keynote speeches and workshops focused on four concrete issues and approaches, including one on "Human Rights and ICT's." More information.
Event: P2P File-Sharing, Digital Rights and e-Democracy November 2005
IP Justice and the Transnational Radical Party will host an event on "P2P File-Sharing, Digital Rights and e-Democracy" during the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis. Questions the panel will explore include what the privacy rights implications of P2P technologies are; whether Holllywood's reaction to P2P are endangering traditional civil liberties; and how P2P can encourage democratic participation. More information.
Public Voice Symposium on Data Protection in Latin America November 2005
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), GECTI (Grupo de Estudios en Internet, Comercio Electrónico, Telecomunicaciones e Informática) of the University of los Andes, and CPSR-Perú hosted a Public Voice Symposium on "Privacy and Data Protection in Latin America—Analysis and Perspectives" in Bogota, Colombia on October 20-21, 2005. The event, attended by well over 200 people, provided governmental data protection and information access authorities, civil society and human rights groups representatives, and academic experts from Latin America an opportunity to analyze and debate the most current public policy issues and recent developments in privacy in Latin America. EPIC also released the 2005 version of the "Privacy and Human Rights" report. More information.
CILS to Release Report on Information Society November 2005
The Center for International Legal Studies will release a report on the "Legal Issues in the Global Information Society." This book analyzes the most pressing legal issues facing WSIS. It provides an analysis of the major topics to be discussed at WSIS, including Internet regulation, data protection and trans-border data flows, technology, privacy and surveillance.
CSIS to Host Event at WSIS November 2005
The Citizens' Summit on the Information Society (CSIS), a coalition of civil society organizations, will organize a parallel event on November 17, 2005, together with independent Tunisian civil society groups. The organization of the event was triggered by the lack of meaningful civil society inclusion in the WSIS preparatory process, and the growing suppression of independent voices in the summit host country, Tunisia.
UNCTAD to Present Report at WSIS November 2005
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development will present its "Information Economy Report 2005" in November 17, 2005. This report examines, from a development perspective, recent trends in the area of information and communication technologies (ICT's) and their impact on enterprises and industries. It analyses policy options at the national and international levels in the area of ICT's and their applications to business and commerce, and highlights implications for developing countries. The report looks, e.g., at information security concerns and related risk management approaches, and the adaptation of legal frameworks to combat cybercrime.
International Survey Presented to Iberoamerican Privacy Experts November 2005
At the 4th annual Iberoamerican Meeting on Data Protection (Encuentro Iberoamericano de Protección de Datos) of the Iberoamerican Network of Data Protection (Red Iberoamericana de Protección de Datos), in Mexico City on November 2-4, 2005, EPIC presented the English and Spanish editions of the upcoming "Privacy and Human Rights 2005" report (pdf, 4 mb), while CPSR-Perú focused on the recent developments in privacy in Latin America (pdf). Other presentations explored the impact of digital rights management (pdf) on data protection. The conference brought more than 300 participants and privacy experts from all over Latin America, from government data protection and information access agencies to state legislatures, academia, civil society, and the telecommunications, financial and credit reporting industries. Press clippings about the event can be found here.
EPIC to Launch "Privacy & Human Rights 2005" at WSIS November 2005
The Electronic Privacy Information Center has organized a panel to launch the 2005 edition of Privacy and Human Rights at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia, November 16-18, 2005. With its review of privacy laws and related developments in more than 70 countries around the world, Privacy and Human Rights 2005 is the most comprehensive survey on privacy and data protection ever published. Privacy is one of the most critical policy issues facing governments today. The survey will prove to be an enormously important resource for policymakers, experts, government officials and activists alike during the World Summit on the Information Society. The panel will gather representatives from civil society and human rights organizations—including those from Tunisia—as well as data protection authorities and academic experts to discuss the importance of the right to privacy in the development of the Information Society. More information
OECD Communications Outlook Report Available October 2005
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released its "2005 OECD Communications Outlook" (pdf). The report was prepared in the context of the OECD's work on the analysis of communication policy in member countries. This report addresses the issues of policy, regulation, and the size and structure of the telecommunication and broadcast markets.
WSIS Announces Parallel Sessions September 2005
The organizers of the World Summit on the Information Society of November 2005, in an effort to increase dialogue and the exchange of experiences among all WSIS stakeholders, have offered civil society an opportunity to hold events parallel to the summit. The list of events (available as a Microsoft Excel file) accepted has just been released, including EPIC's proposal to host a panel to release the English and Spanish versions of the 2005 edition of its Privacy and Human Rights survey.
OSI Announces Fellowships for Open Information Policy September 2005
The International Policy Fellowships (IPF) program is calling for applications for 2006-2007 fellowships. These fellowships support analytical policy research in pursuance of open society goals such as the rule of law, democratic elections, diverse and vigorous civil societies, and respect for minorities. Deadline for applications: September 20, 2005. Eligible are candidates from Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Mongolia, as well as Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. More information
Research Group Issues Report on US Role in Internet Governance July 2005
The Internet Governance Project's report "The Future US Role in Internet Governance" (pdf) responds to a recent statement of the U.S. Commerce Department. The group expressed concern that the statement could reverse an earlier policy to promote internationalization and a leading role for non-state actors in the management of the Domain Name System. The group warns that "unilateralism in Internet Governance undermines the long-term stability of the Internet," but recommends that the US take "a leadership role in defining a global governance framework."
UN Working Group on Internet Governance Releases Final Report July 2005
In a report released mid-July in Geneva, the UN WGIG has set out four policy options (Microsoft Word document) for Internet Governance. The report "advocates a meaningful participation of developing countries in Internet governance" and "recommends further improving coordination among the various international organizations and institutions dealing with Internet governance issues." Also available are a background report, press release, and a letter from the WGIG Chairman (all available in pdf) to the UN Secretary General.
Symposium in Congo on Linking Research on Information and Communication Technologies to Development May 2005
More than 80 students, researchers, professors, leaders of community projects, government and private sector representatives gathered in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, between May 16 and May 17, 2005 for a workshop and a symposium on the theme of linking research on information and communication technologies (ICTs) to development. The conference analyzed the current barriers and challenges to the increase of research on ICTs in universities and high schools, the impact of research on ICTs on the development of communities, the role of research on ICTs in the Information Society, and privacy and security risks involved in the use of ICTs. More Information
NGOs Release Report in Preparation for the World Summit on Information Society May 2005
Three international human rights NGOs have released a joint report on the information society in Tunisia and on the operational conditions for the preparation of the World Summit on Information Society to be held in Tunis in November 2005. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Rights and Democracy, and the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) express their "grave preoccupation at the capacity or the willingness of the Tunisian authorities to respect their obligations under international law," both with regard to the organization of the participation of civil society in the November 2005 Summit, as well as in the setting up of the information society in Tunisia. The report was published in Tunis on May 6 at a seminar organized by the Tunisian League for Human Rights (Ligue tunisienne des droits de l'Homme—LTDH) and the National Centre for Freedoms in Tunisia (Centre national pour les libertés en Tunisie—CNLT) on the occasion of the international Press Freedom Day. The report and press release are available in English and French.
OECD Publishes New Report on Open Government; To Release Report mid-2005 on Public Participation in Policy Making May 2005
The OECD Policy Brief on "Open Government" (pdf) is now available online. A longer version of this Brief will appear in a forthcoming OECD report on " Modernising Government" with an annex which provides useful comparative information on legislation and institutions for open government in the OECD member countries. The OECD also announced the pending release of "Evaluating Public Participation in Policy Making." This report will draw heavily upon the insights and contributions of government experts, scholars and civil society practitioners from OECD countries. It builds upon the findings of a previous OECD report, Citizens as Partners: Information, Consultation and Public Participation (2001) (pdf), which highlighted the lack of systematic evaluation of government efforts to engage citizens and civil society in policy making.
OECD Provides Resources on Policy Issues Related to Internet Governance April 2005
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has compiled several important policy reports related to Internet Governance, including security, privacy, telecommunication policy, universal access, consumer protection, e-commerce, and broader information economy issues. The OECD has also prepared a report as an input to the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance.
Internet Governance Project Publishes New Report on ICANN Reform April 2005
The Internet Governance Project has released "What to do about ICANN: A Proposal for Structural Reform" (pdf). The report puts forward three recommendations for improving the accountability of ICANN: (1) Creation of an international oversight body to replace US oversight of ICANN; (2) Restoration of ICANN's global elections; and (3) Decentralization of the Internet root zone and coordinated management between ICANN and the ITU.
US Government Report on Future of Domain Name System March 2005
The US National Research Council released a significant report on the future of the Internet. "Signposts in Cyberspace: The Domain Name System and Internet Navigation" explores a broad range of issues related to the use, development, and governance of the Internet. Commentary on the report is available at ICANNWatch.
Madrid Agenda Honors Victims of 11-M, Urges Democratic Response to Terrorist Threat March 2005
The International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism, and Security concluded with the release of the Madrid Agenda. The statement is "an agenda for action for Governments, institutions, civil society, the media and individuals. A global democratic response to the global threat of terrorism." At the closing plenary UN Secretary General Kofi Anan urged governments to safeguard human rights and the rule of law. A special session on Democracy, Terrorism and the Internet issued a declaration The Infrastructure of Democracy (Spanish) that urged governments to understand that an open Internet, like democratic government, provides the best response to future acts of terrorism. The Varsavsky Foundation helped organize the event and supported civil society participation.
Madrid Summit Explores Democracy, Terrorism, and Security March 2005
The International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security, which takes place in Madrid, from the 8th to the 11th of March, will host more than 200 academics and expert practitioners from around the world who specialize in terrorism and security. These experts, after months of group work, will submit the results of their investigations at the Summit, with the objective of achieving a common framework of international action to fight terrorism and to reinforces the democratic values and principles.
• Debates will be held in four thematic areas: the underlying causes of terrorism, how to confront the problem of terrorism, democratic answers to terrorism, and the role of civil society.
• Conclusions reached at the Summit will be incorporated into the Agenda of Madrid, which will be published on the 11th of March.
WSIS Preparatory Meeting in Geneva Concludes February 2005
The second preparatory meeting (Prepcom II) of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has just concluded. The two week meeting held at the United Nations in Geneva provided an opportunity for governments, civil society and the private sector to discuss many pressing issues such financing the information society and internet governance. For more information about the meeting including statements and announcements go to the Public Voice Prepcom Update page or read a summary of the two week meeting at
Public Voice Issues Updates and Highlights Announcements from the WSIS Prepcom II February 2005
The Public Voice is posting ongoing updates from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prepcom II in Geneva from February 14-25, 2005.

Go to the Public Voice Prepcom II Update page » Announcements made at the WSIS Prepcom held in Geneva include the following:
  • The UN ICT Task Force has proposed the concept of a Global Alliance for ICT Policy and Development. There will be an open consultation on the Global Alliance, on Monday February 21, from 10:00-13:00 in Salle XXI, Palais des Nations, Geneva.
  • The WSIS Group of Friends of the Chair (GFC) has issued their report for Prepcom II on Implementation. The report contains plans for post-WSIS follow-up including a proposed "team of stakeholders" to work on implementation. Read the Report
  • The Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) has issued their Preliminary Report (pdf). The next meeting of the WGIG will be held in Geneva on April 18-20, 2005. Comments submitted on WGIG Issue Papers are posted online.
  • A coalition of human rights organizations that visited Tunisia on a fact finding mission has issued recommendations for the Tunisian government to follow in order to improve its human rights record ahead of the November 2005 Summit. Read the report issued by the by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) Tunisia Monitoring Group. English, French
WSIS Human Rights Caucus Issues Petition in Support of Chinese Human Rights Group February 2005
Human Rights in China (HRIC) was denied NGO accreditation for the second time to the WSIS due to concerns expressed by the Mission of the People's Republic of China. HRIC is an international monitoring and advocacy non-governmental organization based in New York and Hong Kong. The WSIS Civil Society Human Rights Caucus has issued a petition and request NGOs to sign on in support of HRIC accreditation and fair accreditation procedures.   Read and Sign the Petition
UN Working Group on Internet Governance Consultation to Be Webcast February 2005
Members of the Working Group on Internet Governance have worked to ensure that the second consultation of the Working Group taking place from February 14-17 will be webcast.  Check technical requirements and access the webcast
UN Working Group on Internet Governance Issue Papers Now Online February 2005
The UN Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) has published a set of issue papers. They are the first of a series of 'draft working papers' prepared by WGIG members, reflecting the preliminary findings of various drafting teams. They papers are published to show the ongoing work of the Working Group and in order to seek public comment. Any interested stakeholders may comment using the template available at the working group site. Read the Issue Papers
Public Comments Requested on Data Protection in Relation to Intellectual Property and to RFID February 2005
The European Commission's Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection has adopted one working document on data protection issues related to intellectual property rights and another working document on data protection issues related to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).  They have launched a public consultation calling for comments on each of the documents until March 31, 2005. The documents are available at the Article 29 Working Party web site and comments should be submitted to the Article 29 Documents
US Senator Urges Department of Commerce to Retain Oversight of ICANN January 2005
In his statement of support for the nomination of Carlos Gutierrez as Secretary of Commerce, Senator Conrad Burns urged the Department to extend their ties to ICANN beyond the scheduled 2006 expiration. Burns said the US Government has played a critical role in Internet governance and he feared that ICANN was in danger of becoming a mini-international organization.  ICANN's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US Dept of Commerce
Free Expression Community Issues Concern About Tunisia as a Host for World Summit January 2005
The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and a group of experts have issued a statement of concern over the state of freedom of expression and civil liberties in Tunisia, the site of the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society.  They have just returned from a trip to Tunisia undertaken to monitor their restrictions on the press, media, publishing and the internet.  Having met with Tunisian writers, publishers, human rights organizations and government officials and agencies, the monitors remain seriously concerned about a number of areas including web site blocking, restrictions on book distribution, surveillance and interception of communications. The group will issue a full report at the next WSIS preparatory meeting in Geneva on February 17-25. IFEX News Release, WPFC News Release
WSIS Preparatory Meeting Approaches January 2005
The next Preparatory meeting (Prepcom) of the World Summit on the Information Society will take place on February 17-25, 2005 in Geneva. Registration has already begun online. The Group of Friends of the Chair of the World Summit on the Information Society has issued two texts which will form the basis of discussions. The Working Group on Internet Governance will meet on February 14-16th. Register for the Prepcom and Read the Texts
Electronic Commerce Steering Group to Meet January 2005
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Electronic Commerce Steering Group will meet in Seoul, South Korea, on February 23-26, 2004. This will be the 11th meeting of the group, which will discuss APEC's plans for 2005 work on issues such as privacy and spam. APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group
UNESCO to Hold Meeting on Online Freedom of Expression January 2005
On February 3-4, 2005, UNESCO will hold an international conference on "Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace" in Paris. The meeting is being organized as a forum to discuss the application of universal freedom of expression principles to cyberspace and ICT development. More Information
Africa Civil Society Invites Participation in Online Discussion January 2005
African Civil Society for the Information Society has opened an online discussion forum in both English and French on ICT Policy Priorities in Africa and Internet Governance. The discussion will form the basis for contributions by African civil society to the Africa regional Prepcom for WSIS which will take place on February 28, 2005. To participate in the consultation, contact atemtime [at] Africa Civil Society for the Information Society
Task Force Report on ICT Financing Mechanisms is Now Online January 2005
In its first phase, the World Summit on the Information Society called for a Task Force to evaluate mechanisms financing the information society.  The Task Force has just issued their report. Read the Report
ICANN Contributes Money to UN Working Group on Internet Governance
The Board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has contributed funds to the UN Working Group on Internet Governance. The Working Group requires funding to research and prepare a report defining internet governance and the policy issues involved. ICANN would like to clarify its role is in Internet governance and is working to improve its global image. ICANN Announcement
UN Document System Now Available Online
The United Nations has announced the launch of its Online Document System (ODS), a full-text web resource for official United Nations documentation. Comprehensive coverage begins from 1993 and older UN documents will be added on a daily basis. ODS Training Guide
UN Working Group on Internet Governance Established
The United Nations has announced that the Working Group on Internet Governance is now operational with 40 members.  The membership of the Working Group is made up of governmental, private sector and civil society representatives representing all regions. The task of this Working Group is to organize an open dialogue on Internet Governance, among all stakeholders, and to bring recommendations on this subject to the second phase of the Summit in November 2005. The first open consultation of the full working group will be held in Geneva on November 24, 2004. UN Press Release
Indymedia Servers Seized and Returned
On October 7, 2004, hard drives from two Indymedia servers were seized from the London office of a US-owned web hosting company, Rackspace. Civil society organizations are campaigning for public support of Indymedia and opposition to the seizure. More
Council of Europe Urges Adoption of Convention on Cybercrime
The Council of Europe is actively urging countries to sign in to law the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. Civil liberties groups encourage oppositional response to the Convention in arenas such as the UN Working Group on Internet Governance. while it is widely agreed that an international approach to combating cybercrime is necessary, this Convention is extraordinarily invasive and lacks the necessary privacy protections. More
World Social Forum 2005 Registration is Now Open
The registration is now open for the World Social Forum 2005. The Forum will be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil from January 26 to 31, 2005. Both organisations and individuals may register. More
OECD to Hold Meeting on Information Security and Privacy
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will hold next meeting of the its Working Party on Information Security and Privacy in Paris on October 18th and 19th, 2004. The agenda includes issues of computer security, authentication, spam, and privacy. More
Recent Victory at the World Intellectual Property Organization
After years of work by civil society organizations, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has adopted a decision to focus on development and the promotion of creativity, rather than just the maximization of intellectual property rights.  Cory Doctorow recently posted an article to Boingboing called "Massive Victory at WIPO" - the article is reposted here in English and Spanish. More
US Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Internet Oversight and Stability
On September 30, 2004, the US Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing called "ICANN Oversight and Security of Internet Root Servers and the Domain Name System (DNS)." Representatives of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the US Department of State, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, Verisign Inc., and an Administrator of the B Root Server were invited to testify on these issues. More
Civil Society Submits Nominations for Membership on the UN Working Group on Internet Governance
The Civil Society Plenary of the World Summit on the Information Society submitted a list of candidates as nominations for the UN Working Group on Internet Governance.Ê This included 9 recommendations for the Working Group and a second slate of 8 "connectors."Ê The nominations were sent to Markus Kummer, the Secretariat of the Working Group, on October 5, 2004. More
Civil Society Participates in Consultation of UN Working Group on Internet Governance
Civil society was granted equal participation with governments, the private sector and international organizations at the first consultation of the Working Group on Internet Governance.  At the meeting, which was held in Geneva on September 20-21, members of the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus presented their views on the formation and membership of the working group and the issues it should explore.  Civil Society organizations are nominating individuals to serve on the UN Working Group, a list of nominees as well as the statements delivered at the Consultation are posted at the Internet Governance Caucus web site. More Information on the Internet Governance Caucus
"Privacy in a New Era: Challenges, Opportunities, and Partnerships" Takes Place in Poland
The Public Voice project held "Privacy in a New Era: Challenges, Opportunities, and Partnerships" on Sept 13th in Wroclaw, Poland. The event was an important opportunity for civil society leaders and academic experts, particularly in the New European Union Member States, to meet with European data protection authorities and to explore emerging challenges to the protection of personal privacy. It was held in conjunction with the Data Protection Commissioners' Conference. The conference web page lists the speakers' presentations as well as related resources. More Information
Public Voice Organized WSIS Teleconference Sept 10th
The Public Voice project held a teleconference on Sept 10th at noon EDT (1600 GMT) to discuss the WSIS. Specifically, it was an opportunity to discuss WSIS briefings, strategize for the UN Working Group on Internet Governance Consultations to be held the following week, and plan civil society meetings at the upcoming UN ICT Task Force meeting in Berlin in November. More Information
The Public Voice Launches Monthly Newsletter
The Public Voice has just issued its first in a series of newsletters to be distributed monthy.  The Public Voice Update highlights recent developments in ICT policy and civil society work, Public Voice events and teleconferences, and proposals for civil society meetings. It also includes a list of upcoming NGO conferences and policy events, as well as useful resources. The newsletter will be archived online. To subscribe, send an e-mail to <>. Newsletter Archive
Celebrations of Freedom of Information: Right to Know Day
Freedom of Information Advocates are creating a "Celebration Map" for Right to Know Day, September 28th, the annual celebration of Freedom of Information.  Currently planned events and ideas for others are posted on the FOIAdvocate web site. EPIC will release the 2004 edition of "Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws" on September 28 in Washington, DC. More
OECD Establishes Spam-Fighting Task Force
OECD countries have set up a task force to help governments, businesses and civil society in the fight against spam. Over the next two years, the task force will work to coordinate international policy responses in the fight against spam, encourage best practices in industry and business, promote enhanced technical measures to combat spam along with improved awareness and understanding among consumers, and facilitate cross-border law enforcement. OECD countries will hold an international Workshop on Spam in Busan, Korea on 8-9 September 2004. More
Civil Society Works to Shape Internet Governance Working Group
The Non-Commercial Users Constituency of ICANN is suggesting nominees for membership in the emerging Working Group. In addition, the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus is drafting a statment to be submitted to the Chair of Working Group, calling for the formation of the group to incorporate among other things, transparency, diversity, and multi-lingualism. More
US State Dept to Hold WSIS Advisory Meeting
The US State Department International Telecommunications Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet on September 10th, from 10:30 am at the National Academy of Sciences. The Committee will discuss Phase II of the WSIS, including the UN Working Group on Internet governance and the Task Force on Financial Mechanisms. More
Report Released on Civil Society Influence on ICT Policy
Syracuse University's Convergence Center releases report on citizens' role in shaping communication and information policy, "Reinventing Media Activism: Public Interest Advocacy in the Making of U.S. Communication-Information Policy, 1960-2002." Read the Report
Report from the Latest Public Voice WSIS Teleconference
The Public Voice project convened a teleconference on July 16th to discuss civil society progress and strategize for the next phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. In these monthly meetings, we invite the participation of all members of civil society who are active or interested in the WSIS process. Meeting Reports and More Information
UN Working Group on Internet Governance Now Operational, Announces First Meeting
Markus Kummer, the Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance has announced that the group is now operational and will consult with all stakeholders of the WSIS in September. The meeting will take place on 20 / 21 September 2004 in Room XVIII, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. Interpretation in all UN languages will be provided. The meeting will be open to representatives of International Organizations, as well as to participants from NGOs, civil society and business entities accredited to the WSIS. More Information
Consumers' Rights Coalition Boycotts 2004 EU-U.S. Summit
Leaders of the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) have decided to boycott the 2004 EU-U.S.Summit on learning that business representatives (TABD) were invited to present their recommendations directly to the Presidents of the U.S., EU and European Commission, but consumers' groups were denied a similar meeting. More Information
ICANN Taskforces Produce Preliminary Reports on WHOIS - Public Comments due July 5th
The three task forces established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to develop policy on the WHOIS database have just released their Preliminary Reports to the public.  ICANN requests public comments during the period of May 28 - July 5, 2004 on the Preliminary Reports of each of the three task forces which focus on access, data, and accuracy. More Information
"Preventing the Internet Meltdown" Conference Announced
People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR) is pleased to announce an "emergency" conference aimed at preventing the "meltdown" of the Internet. The conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA from July 26-28, 2004. Representatives from commercial firms, educational institutions, governmental entities, nonprofit and other organizations, and any other interested parties are invited to participate. International participation is most definitely encouraged. The ultimate goal of the conference is to establish a set of specific actions and contingency plans for the Internet-related problems that could lead to the meltdown. More Information
EPIC Releases Public Voice WSIS Sourcebook
EPIC has published The Public Voice WSIS Sourcebook, a resource to promote a dialogue on the issues, the outcomes, and the process of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). This reference guide provides the official United Nations documents, regional and issue-oriented perspectives, as well as recommendations and proposals for future action. There is also a useful list of resources and contacts for individuals and organizations that wish to become more involved in the WSIS process. More Information
World Summit Prep Meeting Details Announced
The first preparatory meeting for the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society will be held June 24-26, 2004 in Hammamet (Tunisia). Participants will work to specify the structure, mechanisms, and expected outputs for the second phase of the Summit. More Information
The Public Voice Project Holds Privacy Roundtable in South America
The Public Voice recently held a roundtable on Consumers and Privacy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event involved members of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Consumers International (Oficina para AmŽrica latina y el Caribe), and the Instituto de Derecho del Consumidor del Colegio Pœblico de Abogados de la Capital Federal the Foro de Habeas Data. More Information
Non-Commercial Internet Users Issue Statement on World Summit
The Non-Commercial Users Constituency of ICANN issued a brief statement for the WSIS Forum held March 4th at the ICANN Rome Conference. Full Story
Controversial EU Intellectual Property Directive Passes Despite Widespread Public Opposition
The European Parliament has passed the controversial European Union Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive.  Civil liberties and consumer rights groups from across the globe have joined together in a coalition to oppose this harsh anti-piracy Directive. Full Story
CRIS Campaign Issues Report on World Summit
Sean O'Schioru of the Communication Rights in the Information Soceity Campaign has just issued a report, "Failure and Success at the WSIS: Civil Society's Next Moves." Full Report
4th Annual Big Brother Awards Held In France
The 4th edition of the Big Brother Awards was held in Paris on Wednesday, February 4, 2004. Every year PrivacyÊInternational and other human rights groups across the world present the Big Brother Awards to government agencies, private companies and individuals who have excelled in the violation of our privacy. Full Story, Big Brother Awards website
Public Interest Law Initiative Releases Sourcebook
The Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) has launched a new publication entitled Enabling Civil Society: Practical Aspects of Freedom of Association. This is a practical source book for activists, lawyers, government officials and others interested in how freedom of association relates to the legal regulation of NGOs. Full Story, PILI Sourcebook
Results of SPAM Survey Released
The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, which represents EU and US consumers, has just released the results of their online survey on Spam (unsolicited commercial emails) which was conducted between October and December 2003. Full Story, SPAM Report
Civil Society Issues Declaration at World Summit
During a press conference at the World Summit on the Information Society, representatives from civil society released their own information society declaration entitled Shaping Information Societies for Human Needs. Read the press release and the Declaration.
World Summit on the Information Society Begins in Geneva
Civil Society groups from around the world are meeting this week at the WSIS to urge national governments to safeguard human rights and to promote full participation in the information society. The Geneva meetings address a range of goals for the Information Society and means of achieving them. The Summit involves the adoption of a Declaration of Principles and a Plan of Action. The documents were shaped at preparatory conferences throughout the year by governments, the private sector and civil society representatives. Many members of civil society are insisting on the inclusion of privacy and human rights protections. NGOs say that the preparatory drafts did not adequately protect free expression, narrowly focused on Internet policy, and over emphasized law enforcement interests. Visit the Public Voice WSIS Phase 1 page for more information.
Release of Advocacy Handbook on Cyber-Crime Convention
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties released today an Advocacy Handbook for the Non Governmental Organisations: The Council of Europe's Cyber-Crime Convention 2001 and the additional protocol on the criminalisation of acts of a racist or xenophobic nature committed through computer systems. The handbook provides a policy analysis of the Convention from a human rights perspective focusing on implications for freedom of expression, privacy of communications and data protection as well as compatibility problems with the European Convention on Human Rights. Although the Cyber-Crime Convention states in the preamble that a proper balance needs to be ensured between the interests of law enforcement and respect for fundamental human rights, the author finds that the balance resolutely and regrettably favours the former. Read the handbook and visit the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties web site.
UNESCO Issues Statement on WSIS Progress
Ko•chiro Matsuura, the Director General of UNESCO, issued a statement expressing concern about present drafts of the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). According to Mr. Matsuura, the drafts lack an unambiguous "assurance that freedom of expression is recognized as the fundamental principle underlying and informing the development of the information society." He also expressed concern that the reference to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still under negotiation in the present drafts. In addition, "Explicit references to the role of media, including the role of traditional media, in the information society in general and to their independence, pluralism and freedom, in particular, need to be retained in the Summit texts," he said. Read the statement.
International Symposium Adopts Statement on Human Rights and the Information Society
At the International Symposium on the Information Society, Human Dignity and Human Rights, which took place in Geneva on November 3-4, 2003, a group of experts met to discuss and formulate a statement on human rights in relation to the information society. The group, comprised of independent experts from all regions of the world representing a diversity of backgrounds, expertise, nationalities and perspectives, examined the opportunities and threats which the development of ICTs brings with it for human dignity and human rights. Their objective was to assert in preparation for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), that the information and communication society must be firmly based on, and must contribute to the development of, human dignity and human rights - all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Visit the Symposium web site, the WSIS web site, and read the statement.
Worldwide Coalition of NGO's Write to ICANN President
More than 50 consumer and civil liberties organizations from around the world have written to the President of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) urging civil liberty and privacy protections.  ICANN met last week in Carthage, Tunisia and discussed WHOIS, a database that could have a significant impact on privacy, civil liberties, and freedom of expression for Internet users.  The WHOIS database broadly exposes domain registrants' personal data to a global audience, including criminals and spammers. Civil society groups from over 20 countries have sent this letter urging ICANN to limit the use and scope of the WHOIS database to its original purpose, which is the resolution of technical network issues, and to establish strong privacy protections based on internationally accepted privacy standards. Spanish and French versions of the WHOIS letter. For more information, visit the ICANN web site or the EPIC WHOIS page.
Release of "Involving Civil Society in ICT Policy: the World Summit on the Information Society"
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Communication Rights in the Information Society campaign (CRIS) have released a downloadable publication highlighting some of the principal issues at stake in the WSIS process. Published in English, French and Spanish, the book includes a basic orientation to the WSIS for non-governmental and non-commercial participants as well as information about the CRIS campaign. Available for download here, it is designed to build awareness of and capacity to engage in ICT policy-making spaces at international, regional and national levels, including the WSIS. For more information, visit the The APC web site » or the CRIS campaign site » or click here to download the publication (pdf).
ICANN Convinces VeriSign to Suspend SiteFinder Service
On September 15, VeriSign, the registrar for .com and .net, implemented a new service redirecting users who misspelled or misidentified a .com or .net URL to their Site Finder web page, a click-per-view search engine that programmers claim gathers personal information. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) responded by insisting that VeriSign suspend the Site Finder service, and restore the .com and .net top-level domains to the way they were operated prior to 15 September 2003. ICANN stated that VeriSign's "wildcard" deployment is not in compliance with its obligation to act as a neutral registry and has "adversely affected anti-spam software, e-mail deliveries, and core DNS operations, as well as raised privacy concerns." VeriSign denies all allegations and plans to reactivate the service with slight modifications; the company has said it will give at least 30 days notice beforehand. Read CNET's coverage of the VeriSign-ICANN dispute.
OECD - FTC Announce New International Cross Border Fraud Guidelines
The United States Federal Trade Commission and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a roundtable briefing in Washington, DC, on June 17 to announce new cross-border fraud guidelines. At the briefing, which was held simultaneously with events in France and Australia, FTC and OECD representatives provided details on an international effort to protect consumers from cross-border fraud. In addition to the U.S. and OECD participants, the event featured speakers from the United Kingdom, France, Finland, and Australia. For more information, read the FTC Press Release or visit the OECD cross border page.
Comments Requested in Internet Policy Development
The Generic Name Supporting Organization (GNSO), a subgroup of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is attempting to address the problem posed by the WHOIS database. As part of the policy development process, the GNSO issued a privacy issues report and created three taskforces to deal with three specific issues of WHOIS data. The GNSO's policy development process mandates a period of public comment on the description of work for each of the three taskforces.
WHOIS Privacy Issues Report Released
Current policies for the .COM/.ORG/.NET top-level domains require the publication of personal information, such as a registrant's mailing address, email address, telephone number, and fax number. EPIC, the non-commercial representative on the WHOIS Taskforce, released a WHOIS Privacy Issues Report (pdf). The report is issued as ICANN considers new policies for WHOIS data and recommends that WHOIS policies follow the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Privacy Guidelines. The OECD Privacy Guidelines reflect an international consensus on privacy protection for transborder dataflows that directly implicates WHOIS policies and practices. See EPIC's new page on WHOIS and Privacy for more information.
Formation of .ORG Advisory Council
The Public Interest Registry is seeking nominations for the .ORG Advisory Council. The .ORG Advisory Council will consist of twenty-one members representing a broad and geographically diverse spectrum of the non-commercial community. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit nominations, including self-nominations, for the Advisory Council. More information.
Online Forum for Civil Society's Preparation of World Summit on the Information Society
UNESCO is sponsoring an online discussion for non-governmental organizations and civil society to discuss their input in the Final Declarations of the World Summit of the Information Society from 9 December 2002 to 15 January 2003.
Whois Taskforce Issues Interim Report
The Whois Task Force, created by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO), has issued its Interim report for public comment. The Interim report focuses on four key areas of recommendation which were identified in the task force's earlier Final Report on the Survey, presented at the ICANN meeting in Bucharest in June 2002. The deadline for comments on this report is November 08, 2002.
OECD Publishes Member States Consumer Policy Reports
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released the 2001 Annual Reports on Consumer Policy in OECD Countries. The reports provide an overview of consumer policy measures in member countries with respect to institutional developments, product safety, protection of the economic interests of consumers, consumer education and information, complaints and redress handling, and consumer issues related to other policy areas.
World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
The International Telecommunications Union will host an Informal Meeting on the Content and Themes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, from 16-18 September 2002. WSIS is scheduled to take place in Geneva in December 2003 and in Tunisia in 2005. The purpose of the upcoming meeting will be to advance the work on the principles and themes which should be taken into account during the WSIS and its preparatory process. The first day is open to all accredited organizations. The second and third day meetings are open to Governments only. A report from the Chair of Sub-Committee 2 (on content and themes), will serve as a core document for the meetings.
Comments Requested on Whois Report
The Whois Task Force, created by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO), is inviting comments on its draft Final Report as presented at the June 2002 ICANN meeting in Bucharest. The deadline for comments is August 28, 2002. All comments will be archived on the DNSO web site.
The Public Voice in Internet Policy making
On June 22, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) will host a one day public interest event to discuss the future rights and freedoms of the public in the information age. Topics to be considered include ICANN reform and Internet governance; the civil liberties implications of recently passed Terrorism and Cybercrime measures; and the future of the Public Domain in a world of increased intellectual property laws, Internet commercialization and media consolidation. The event is free and open to the public. To register send an email with your name and affiliation to <>.
Coalition Asks European Parliament to Vote Against Data Retention
In an open letter sent to all Members of the European Parliament, 40 civil liberties organizations from 15 countries strongly recommended that Members vote against general data retention of communications by law enforcement authorities. The vote, scheduled for May 29 in Brussels, is critical, as it constitutes the major step before the final adoption of the new EU Telecommunications Directive. It may have serious consequences on the manner in which data retention is currently regulated in the United States and other countries around the world. Individuals are also encouraged to endorse the letter, and may do so until May 28.
Privacy International to Host Big Brother Awards
On April 18, Privacy International will host the fourth annual Big Brother Awards at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in San Francisco, California. Four awards will be given to the worst invaders of privacy in the US government and private sector. The award categories are Worst Government Official/Most Heinous Government Organization; Most invasive company; Most Appalling Project; and Lifetime Menace. Nominations should be sent to <>.
UNESCO to Consult with NGOs about the World Summit on the Information Society March 2002
On April 22 and 23, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is holding a two-day consultation, at its headquarters in Paris, with more than 150 non-governmental organizations to dicuss preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The consultation will focus on ensuring adequate NGO participation in the Summit, which is scheduled to take place in Geneva in December 2003 and in Tunisia in 2005. The NGOs will also be asked to put forward proposals for the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action to be adopted by the Summit. For more information see the UNESCO press release.
ICANN Reconsiders At-Large Participation March 2002
On March 14, at its meetings in Accra, Ghana, the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) issued a resolution that essentially calls an end to public (or "At-Large") elections of Board members. Citing concerns about "the fairness, representativeness, validity and affordability of global online elections," the Resolution concluded that elections were not "the only or the best means of achieving meaningful public representation or the informed participation of Internet users in the ICANN process." This comes in response to a February proposal by ICANN President Stuart Lynn for a major reorganization of the body's current governing structure. For additional commentary and related information, see the Internet Democracy Project and ICANN Watch. (Mar. 02)
International Coalition Asks Council of Europe to Release Draft Protocol February 2002
On February 6, the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) -- an international coalition of civil liberties and human rights groups -- sent a letter to the Council of Europe asking for the release of the draft First Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime on the criminalization of acts of a racist or xenophobic nature committed through computer systems. The Convention itself was approved in November 2001. The protocol is an optional supplement to the Convention that will criminalize the "making available" or "distribution" of racist and xenophobic material through a computer system. A draft of the Protocol was publicly released on February 7.
World Sousveillance Day December 2001
On December 24, an international coalition of artists, scientists, engineers, scholars, and others held "World Sousveillance Day" to protest the increasing use of video surveillance and face recognition in public and private places. People everywhere were urged to take to the streets in disguise and photograph surveillance cameras.
International Coalition Urges EU to Safeguard Privacy November 2001
An international coalition of consumer and privacy organizations wrote a letter on November 12 to Guy Verhofstadt, President of the European Union Council of Ministers, expressing their concerns about President Bush's recent letter requesting that the proposed EU Directive on the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector be altered to allow for data retention of telephone calls and Internet messages. EU lawmakers voted on the issue the next day, and chose not to act on President Bush's requests. New York Times coverage of the issue is available here.
Civil Society meeting at ICANN November 2001
On November 13, the Internet Democracy Project will host a special Civil Society meeting in Los Angeles, CA. This coincides with the weeklong Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) meetings. Topics to be discussed include the future of .org, recent events concerning civil liberties in cyberspace (with a special focus on privacy issues), a dialog with ICANN At-Large Directors, network privatization, and a roundtable on ICANN At-Large membership. No pre-registration is required for this meeting and attendance is free.
APC Supports Echelon Committee June 2001
The Association for Progressive Communications Internet Rights Initative has released a statement supporting the ongoing work of the European Parliament's Echelon Committee.
TACD Sends Letter to President Bush June 2001
The letter from the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue to President Bush points out that no civil society representatives have been invited to participate in the June 2001 EU-US summit. The letter also several issues of concern to both American and European consumers.
ICANN Conducts Survey on Whois June 2001
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is conducting an online survey of the Internet community's views on Whois privacy issues. The Whois database allows any Internet user to find out who has registered a particular domain name and provides contact information for that person.
Public Voice at OECD Forum 2001 May 2001
The Public Voice is participating in OECD Forum 2001: Sustainable Development and the New Economy taking place in Paris, France on May 14-16, 2001.
Public Voice Releases Report on Digital Divide March 2001
The Public Voice has submitted a report to the Digital Opportunities Task Force - a G-8 Digital Divide initiative. "The Public Voice and the Digital Divide: A Report to the DOT Force" (PDF) assembles comments and proposals from the public and urges the G-8 to incorporate more public participation in future consultations. The current draft (PDF) of the DOT Force report is now available online.
Future Hague Treaty on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments February 2001
Special Forum on e-commerce issues held in Ottawa, Canada. Consumers International and Public Interest Advocacy Centre submit comments on the current draft of the Treaty.
Public Voice Seeks Comments on DOT Force Effort January 2001
Submit your suggestions for how best to address the challenge of the digital divide.
CyberCrime Convention Raises Civil Liberties Concerns
Members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign have expressed opposition to a proposed Council of Europe Convention on "CyberCrime."
Consumer Groups Urge Transatlantic Safeguards
Details at the web site of the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue.
ICANN Elects At-Large Members
Visit the web site of the Internet Democracy Project for more information about the recent elections.