Last Event: Is the Internet Fragmenting? Part 3: The Business Lens


Recent developments related to the Internet and whether it is fragmenting include a diverse set of technical, economic, and policy advances and decisions that have been taken in response to the continued growth and globalization of the Internet and its evolving role as critical infrastructure for the digital economy.  Taken together, they raise an overarching concern over whether the global Internet may be fragmenting due to the intended or unintended consequences of these decisions taken without full consideration of their potential impact.


Ted Dean 
Deputy Assistant Secretary for ServicesU.S. Department of CommerceInternational Trade Administration

Robert Pepper
Global Connectivity and Technology Policy, Facebook

Carolina Rossini
Vice President, International Policy, Public Knowledge

Jonathan Zuck
President, ACT|The App Association

Dr. M-H. Carolyn Nguyen – Moderator 
Technology Policy Strategist, Microsoft

Panel Summary

Ted Dean
Companies depend on the movement of data. The view in Europe has been that data flow is a only a concern of giant US tech companies. This doesn’t appreciate the breadth of all companies’ dependence on data flows. All types of companies in all industries approach the ITA on this issue. For example, a 2-person office in Berlin that wants to move their employment file back to the US is now dealing with data flows. Any aspect of any business relies on the movement of data.

People have said that the IoT will be less problematic because it’s not about personal data, but other data is co-mingled with data that has privacy protections.

The experience of the safe harbor negotiations led to looking into the abyss of what happens if data doesn’t move and that was a very unappealing view. We did get out of the woods on this very narrow issue with the US-EU Privacy Shield. We spent 2.5 years on this with Europe to hash it out but there are counties all over the world where these issues have not been dealt with.  Companies can’t function if they can’t move data.

Jonathan Zuck
The Internet allows small businesses to behave like big ones. The same thing is happening in the app space. This is one of the key factors of small business success on the Internet. The same thing that happened in the app space is now happening in the data space where economies of scale come from is the centralization of data and the ability to put data in one place and not have to have data centers everywhere.

Members of his association ACT! – The App Association) run into data protection problems moving the data and suddenly their applications couldn’t scale. Systems with more localization will hurt entrepreneurs and small businesses the most. Small businesses are the biggest economic growth and stability drivers after a recession and data restrictions hurt them the most.

His organization has members in every congressional district. This is important for him as a lobbyist but more important is the impact on the economy because these economic drivers are spread out. There is distribution of resources around the country this is a function of being able to leverage the internet to scale. This is also a function of phase 1 of the app ecosystem – local apps, loaded on to the phone, They worked off of local data. Phase 2 of the app ecosystem involves client server interaction for information. Anything that causes fragmentation of the Internet will hurt this and is bad for innovation, small businesses, and the economy.

Robert Pepper
Should fragmentation at the application layer be part of the Internet fragmentation debate? Should income inequality be part of that debate? At the opening event of this series, Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda stated that we have 50% of the planet not connected. If we want to realize the full benefits of the Internet, we need to connect everyone.

Connectivity causes substantial economic benefits. 2 million small businesses in India have Facebook accounts and promote their businesses on Facebook. Connecting the unconnected is huge problem to be solved.

There is an income inequality paradox in terms of connection. When people are connected it’s an income multiplier. When a country reaches a 24-25% adoption rate threshold as more people connect, it helps that country grow it’s GDP and income inequality between countries shrinks. The paradox is that income inequality increases in that country between the people who are connected that improve, and those that do not, and the gap grows. The only answer is to connect everyone.

An NTIA report on the subject shows that many people who are not connecting are not connecting because they don’t see the value, not because of affordability. So the first step is increase awareness of the benefits.

At the applications layer, there are people that don’t know about the Internet. How do we introduce them to the Internet in ways that are pro-consumer and not anti-competitive? There are ways this can be done, many related to zero rating.  An example of a zero rating service is Amazon kindle. People love Kindle. In actuality, Amazon has a contract with AT&T to provide the connection for Kindle content which consumers are not billed for. This is an example of zero rating.

The question is how do we introduce people to the Internet to those who have not been introduced to it and increase relevance?

What about Facebook Free Basics? It’s designed to provide connectivity at low data connection rates in many parts of the world where there’s a “skinny” connection. The tech requirements are published and any app provider can use free basics as long as they meet the tech requirements, which are the same for all the apps, i.e. the Facebook app can’t use video, just as others can’t. The key question again is how do we close the adaption gap for the 4 billion that are unconnected?

At the application layer there are different business models. For example, everyone should have the ability to connect to Netflix, but Netflix has different arrangements with different studios who have release varying release windows, so not everyone everywhere can get the same content on Netflix. These are business decisions and not fragmentation. 

Carolina Rossini
When thinking about fragmentation, we need to look deeper into freedom of expression and economic rights, which are human rights.

It helps to clearly define fragmentation and it’s important to distinguish what type of fragmentation we are talking about – technical fragmentation which is the most dangerous kind, like when countries try to implement an alternative DNS systems – or are we talking about fragmentation to users of content and applications being delivered to them? Thus it’s important to have common standards. This goes beyond freedom of expression towards freedom of economic opportunity.

From the civil society perspective, this is not a distraction from the surveillance and encryption issues, but a good positive agenda to pursue. We have a lot of people coming out of the WSIS process who are paying attention to the importance of connectivity. Civil society wants to have a voice, play a role in “what type of connectivity” we are talking about. Civil society is developing a series of standards so that when international banks fund these connectivity initiatives, they take privacy and freedom of expression into consideration. This means no alternative DNS system so that people can access the same cultural and education resources that people from the global north have access to, otherwise we would be fragmenting on the side of the user experience.

We should think about the root of the problem of technical fragmentation, i.e. in China where a huge population can’t communicate clearly with populations the US and Brazil because the government is blocking access as well as trying to create a new Internet. This creates barriers for Chinese entrepreneurs and innovators. But this may have changed a bit over last few years with the likes of Ali Baba.

These are some points to distinguish what is fragmentation and what is merely a new expression of old business models. We need to keep an eye on competition and consumer rights. Europe is stronger on privacy but then you have to localize your servers. This can be bad for users in less democratic countries. Civil society has different narrative from companies on localization in Brazil.

The moderator asks what are the pressures that are causing fragmentation?

Ted Dean
Safe Harbor was addressing multiple drivers of fragmentation at once. They needed to be disentangled and dealt with. How do counties deal with legitimate goals like protecting their citizens’ privacy while protecting data flows at the same time?

How can this be done in a way that enables trade and growth? We haven’t cracked this problem broadly and the Privacy Shield agreement covers only a piece of it. Part of the problem is protectionism. We need to get this right on a macro policy level because businesses depend on it.

Carolina Rossini
We need to take into account historical cycles and the impact of Snowden revelations.  There’s been an increased clash of people involving civil rights. If governments want to establish civil rights in ways that don’t follow due process, the populations will not have proper discussions to repeal these things. For example, the Microsoft case. The US was trying to access data outside the US. There are geopolitical implications of going outside existing treaties. The lack of understanding of the geopolitical environment leads to real consequences.

Robert Pepper
Very often we have government actions leading to fragmentation. There is a matrix look at government policies and actions related to connectivity.

  • The well informed and well intentioned.
  • Well intentioned but ill informed.

The second is frequently the case. Recently a large Asian country talked about why they need local data centers. The actual reason stated was to create jobs and tax revenues. They didn’t understand what the impact on business and direct foreign investment in their country would be. Once a data center is built there’s not many jobs in it.  Local data requirements for manufacturing increase the costs of production, thus hurting economic growth.

3) The ill intentioned but well informed.

4) The ill informed and ill intentioned, that’s where you get real chaos.

Jonathan Zuck
There are 2 reasons for fragmentation and a lot of excuses. Protectionism and censorship. Everything else is an excuse. So the causes are what excuse was given to do a policy that fragments the Internet.

For example, the Snowden revelations weren’t revelations weren’t to the people who used them as an excuse to try to fragment the Internet. Another are the late hour attempts to block the IANA transition. There are well informed, bad actors who would like to see the open internet be less open, under multilateral institutions. What better way to bring that about then to show them that the US can’t be trusted with stewardship over ICANN by not honoring our commitment to let the IANA contract expire.

The bulk of this discussion should be aimed at those well intentioned but ill informed Countries. How can we get information out there and what are short term and long term CTA’s that can move the discussion forward?

Ted Dean
On privacy, there are legitimate policy aims but we haven’t given folks confidence that those aims can be met without restricting data flows. A lot of this is just proving that the solutions work, e.g. making sure Privacy Shield works.

The ITA is working on cross border privacy rules in the APEC context to get ahead on this. Privacy Shield is limited solution between Europe and the US. 21 Asian economies came to consensus. They crafted a program where companies get certified that they adhere to these rules. We need to make sure solutions deliver in practice.

Jonathan Zuck
The key to innovation is experimentation. Success of small businesses happens when we preserve that environment of experimentation. 

Robert Pepper
Take away the excuses and focus on the well intentioned, ill informed countries. There are opportunities to work with them. Most government officials aren’t techies, i.e. they don’t understand routing.

Always ask the first order question, what is the problem you’re trying to solve and find real solutions that won’t cause Fragmentation. It’s about building trust and long term relationships and helping inform the process. There is a lot of work and it needs to be done. This is not the traditional advocacy. We don’t want to move from a multi-stakeholder framework to a multilateral one.The multi-stakeholder model works but it makes a lot of governments nervous. We need to work with these small governments.

Carolina Rossini
It’s not just about the policy makers. It’s about the consumers and general public as well. They need to be informed. We need a bottom up and a top down approach.

Key Takeaways

  • Companies can’t function if they can’t move data. The E.U./U.S. Privacy Shield agreement only addresses a small piece of the problem.
  • Small businesses are tremendous drivers of economic growth and the Internet allows for small companies to scale like big companies. The centralization of data is key to this. Restrictions on data hurt small businesses and the economy.
  • It’s important to focus on Fragmentation on the technical layer, such as countries trying to create alternative DNS systems. This has human and economic rights implications because users in those countries can’t access the same information as people in other countries.
  • There are legitimate privacy concerns. We haven’t found a solution on the macro level to address these without restricting data flows.
  • Solutions need to address the actual problems that need to be solved in ways that don’t fragment the Internet.

This event has been planned to comply with the requirements of the Legislative and Executive Branch gift rules. Executive Branch personnel wishing to attend should consult with their designated Agency Ethics Office.

Next Event: The DNS Forum

DNS Forum         
September 14 – 15, 2016
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Washington, D.C.

Eventbrite Registration is required. Click here to register.     
This event will be webcast live at                  

On September 14 & 15, Public Interest Registry, CENTR, LACTLD, i2Coalition, and ISOC-DC will bring together a diverse group of experts to discuss the impacts of policy on DNS (domain name system) technical operators.  Panelists and audience members will discuss the implications of privacy, security, and content policies for these technical operators and how the technical community can best engage in the evolving multistakeholder model of Internet governance.

Developing sound policies to build trust online, to encourage use and innovation, and to ensure an open and secure Internet is vital.  So is the ability for those policies to be implemented by technical operators. The discussions during this forum are designed to bridge the gap that can form between policy development and the technical implementation.  Encouraging collaboration between policy and technical stakeholders can only lead to a stronger policies and a more resilient Internet for users.

Registration is free but seating is limited.  

Eventbrite Registration is required. Click here to register.     

DNS Forum Agenda 

Wednesday, September 14 

8:00 – 9:00               Coffee & Registration

9:00 – 9:15               Welcome and Introduction 

Paul Diaz, Vice President of Policy, Public Interest Registry

Stephan Welzel, General Counsel DENIC,  Chair of CENTR Legal & Regulatory Affairs Working Group

Eduardo Santoyo, CEO of CO Internet, Chair of LACTLD Board 

9:15 – 10:45         Panel 1: The Impact of Privacy Regulations and Requirements on Technical Operators and Providers

Andres Piazza
, Executive Director, LACTLD 

Byron Holland, President and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)

Jörg Schweiger, CEO DENIC eG

Felix Wittern, Fieldfisher

Frank Torres, Senior Director of Consumer Affairs, Microsoft 

10:45 – 11:15           Break 

11:15- 12:15             Panel 2: Content – Policy Approaches and Technical Implications

Elizabeth Finberg
, Vice President and General Counsel, PIR 

Chuck Tobin
, Partner, Holland & Knight

Christian Dawson, Co-Founder, i2Coalition

David Abrahams, Head of Policy, Nominet

Elisabeth Ekstrand, Head of Legal and Administration, .se 

12:15 – 2:30             Networking Lunch 

2:30 – 3:30               Panel 3: Engagement in the Evolving Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance Model

Sally Wentworth
, Vice President of Global Policy Development, ISOC 

Annebeth Lange
, Special Adviser International Policy, NORID

James Bladel, Vice President of Policy, GoDaddy

Megan Richards, Principal Adviser in DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT), European Commission

Jamie Hedlund, Vice President, Strategic Programs, Global Domains Division, ICANN

3:30 – 4:00               Day 1 Wrap Up

Paul Diaz, Vice President of Policy, Public Interest Registry

Stephan Welzel, General Counsel DENIC,  Chair of CENTR Legal & Regulatory

Affairs Working Group

Rosalia Morales, CEO of NIC.CR, Member of ICANN CCWG Accountability

Thursday, September 15

8:00 – 9:00               Coffee & Registration 

9:00 – 10:30             Panel 1: Building Trust Online: Security & Encryption 

Simon McCalla
, Chief Technology Officer, Nominet UK 

Danny McPherson
, Senior VP & CSO, Verisign, Inc.

Jay Daley, Chief Executive, NZRS Ltd


10:30 – 11:30           Closing Keynote

Christian Dawson, Co-Founder, i2 Coalition



Recent Event: Is the Internet Fragmenting?

Is the Internet Fragmenting?

*This event requires registration, please register through the RSVP link at the bottom of the page

Tuesday, May 10th 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center
901 K Street, NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20001

Recent developments related to the Internet have prompted alarming questions about whether it is fragmenting. They include a diverse set of technical, economic, and policy developments and decisions that have been taken in response to the continued growth and globalization of the Internet, and its evolving role as critical infrastructure for the digital economy. Examples include a rise in DNS content filtering, deployment of distinct IPv4 and IPv6 networks, introduction of zero rating services, and an increasing number of laws related to data localization and restriction of cross-border data flow. Taken together, they raise an overarching concern over whether the global Internet is moving from a universal system to one characterized by various types of fragmentation that are caused either by intended or unintended consequences of technical, commercial, and/or political decisions taken without full consideration of their potential impact.

Please join Microsoft and The Greater Washington DC Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC) for a panel discussion on Tuesday, May 10th that will bring together policy stakeholders, including government, the technical community, civil society, industry, and other organizations to consider these issues more fully. Panelists will discuss the different types of Internet fragmentation, their associated technical, economic, and political impacts and when fragmentation may be desirable or problematic. Additionally, the panelists will examine how these should be taken into consideration in policy making.

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda

 Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Kathryn Brown

President and Chief Executive Officer, Internet Society
Dr. Laura DeNardis

Professor and Associate Dean, School of Communication at American University
Director of Research, Global Commission on Internet Governance

Danil Kerimi

Head of Digital Economy, World Economic Forum

Paul Mitchell

Senior Director of Technology Policy, Microsoft

Jeremy West

Senior Policy Analyst, Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Follow the discussion on Twitter: #Fragmentation   

This event has been planned to comply with the requirements of the Legislative and Executive Branch gift rules.   
Executive Branch personnel wishing to attend should consult with their designated Agency Ethics Office. 

Recent Event: The Internet at a Crossroads

Please join us at our next event!

Eventbrite registration required: 

the-turn-to-infrastructure-book-cover-e1460133073153The Internet Governance Lab at American University and The Internet Policy Forum of the Greater Washington DC Chapter of the Internet Society cordially invite you to join us for a special book launch of The Turn to Infrastructure in Internet Governance, by American University Internet Governance Lab Professors Derrick Cogburn, Laura DeNardis, and Nanette Levinson, and colleague Francesca Musiani, Centre National de la Rechrche Scientifique France. 

Professors Cogburn, DeNardis, and Levinson will be joined by Dean James Goldgeier of the School of International Service, Jeffrey Rutenbeck of the School of Communication, and a panel discussion on the future of Internet governance with special guests: 

  • Fiona Alexander, NTIA, Department of Commerce
  • Kathy Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society

About the Book. Never in history have conflicts over governance of the Internet attracted such widespread attention from policymakers and the general public. High-profile controversies such as the Apple encryption debate, Sony data breach, and Snowden’s disclosures about NSA surveillance have attracted great scrutiny to the subject of how the Internet is operated and administered. An area once concealed in institutional and technological complexity is now rightly bracketed among other shared global issues—such as environmental protection and human rights—that have considerable global implications but are simply incongruous with national borders. This new book brings together leading international thinkers in Internet governance to address and emerging phenomenon: not governanceof the Internet, but governance by co-opting the infrastructureof the Internet. Examples include the use of the Domain Name System for censorship and content filtering, attempts to build back doors into encryption products, and national data localization laws requiring companies to store data within geographical borders. This book addresses what is at stake for Internet freedom and innovation, and for the prospect of a universal and open Internet, in this turn to infrastructure for Internet governance.

We are thrilled that the event is co-sponsored by The Internet Society (DC Chapter), along with the School of Communication and School of International Service at American University.

Location: American University main campus, intersection of New Mexico Avenue, NW and Nebraska Avenue, NW. Accessible by redline metro to Tenleytown metro, courtesy shuttle to American University campus.


Recent Event

The Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation, The Public Interest Registry (PIR) and The Internet Policy Forum of the Washington DC Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC) invite you to attend:

Internet Capacity Building for Social Good

Eventbrite Registration Required – click here 

(If you’ve already registered, you’re good. No need to re-register!)
Friday February 12, 2016 from 12 noon1:30 PM

Hashtag: #Pathfinder2


Marc Noël, Mike Raftery – 501cTECH
501cTech is a nonprofit organization helping to build the capacity of nonprofits serving the common good by providing innovative and sustainable technology solutions. 501cTECH provides services such as Managed IT Support, cloud migrations and IT consulting, and is an organizer and thought leader in the nonprofit IT community. 

Roshani Kothari – D-tree International
Roshani Kothari will talk about how D-tree leverages mobile health technology to save lives by empowering frontline health workers to diagnose, treat and follow up with patients more effectively.  

Robert Guerra –
Robert Guerra is a civil society expert specializing in issues of internet governance, cyber security, social networking, multi-stakeholder participation, internet freedom and human rights. 

@Care2 was founded in 1998 with a simple mission: to help make the world a better place. Today, Care2 is a highly-engaged social network of over 34 million citizen activists standing together for good and making extraordinary impact – locally, nationally and internationally – largely by working in solidarity on petitions and pledge campaigns.

About the Pathfinder Initiative

The Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation, (GKPF), and its partners launched the Pathfinder Initiative to to help build effective Civil Society Internet use strategies. Civil Society Internet Awareness and Capacity Building offers an opportunity for your organization to:

  • Access resources and services that enable you to make better use of the Internet. 
  • Offer additional solutions and services to your members and supporters. 
  • Develop and implement digital strategies, such as effective online communication, community engagement, and fundraising. 
  • Increase your security and stay on top of Internet security best practices. 
  • Gain a voice for your organization in how the Internet is run and governed.
  • Demonstrate to Civil Society organizations products and services that enable them to make better use of the digital technologies and the Internet.
  • Gain exposure to and goodwill among Civil Society Organizations.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of and access to an important yet underdeveloped market segment.
  • Demonstrate corporate social responsibility.





Last Event – Security and Privacy: Internet Capacity for Non-Profits and NGOs

Monday, December 14, 2015 from 12:00 PM2:00 PM

Eventbrite registration is required:
This event will be livestreamed at

Hashtag: #Pathfinder1

The Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation, The Public Interest Registry (PIR) and The Internet Policy Forum of the Washington DC Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-DC) invite you to attend the first event in a 3 event series of the Pathfinder Initiative about Building Internet Capacity for Non-Profits and NGOs. This kick-off event will focus on Internet Security.


Dr. Katherine Albrecht – Startmail

StartMail is built by the people behind StartPage and Ixquick, the world’s most private search engines. Startmail’s mission is to make email protection, security, and privacy available to everyone. Dr. Albrecht is a respected expert in the privacy arena, with a decade of experience as a researcher and activist.

Courtney Radsch – The Committee to Protect Journalists

Courtney C. Radsch, PhD, is a journalist, researcher, and free expression advocate. She previously worked for UNESCO’s Section for Freedom of Expression and as senior program manager for the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House, where she led advocacy missions to more than a dozen countries. She has also worked for Al-Arabiya in Dubai, the Daily Star in Lebanon, and The New York Times. Follow her on Twitter @courtneyr.

Christian Dawson – Internet Infrastructure Coalition

Christian Dawson was a founder of the Save Hosting initiative, designed to galvanize web hosting providers in matters of public policy, and is currently Chairman and co-founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition. He is a staunch advocate for Internet freedom as a tool for social and economic growth by fostering the growth and expansion of the Internet infrastructure industry.

About the Pathfinder Inititative

The Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation, (GKPF), and its partners launched the Pathfinder Initiative to to help build effective Civil Society Internet use strategies. Civil Society Internet Awareness and Capacity Building offers an opportunity for your organization to:

  • Access resources and services that enable you to make better use of the Internet.
  • Offer additional solutions and services to your members and supporters.
  • Develop and implement digital strategies, such as effective online communication, community engagement, and fundraising.
  • Increase your security and stay on top of Internet security best practices.
  • Gain a voice for your organization in how the Internet is run and governed.
  • Demonstrate to Civil Society organizations products and services that enable them to make better use of the digital technologies and the Internet.
  • Gain exposure to and goodwill among Civil Society Organizations.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of and access to an important yet underdeveloped market segment.
  • Demonstrate corporate social responsibility.




Last Event: Brazil and Beyond – An IGF 2015 Debrief

debriefThis year’s Internet Governance Forum is taking place in Joao Pessoa, Brazil from November 10 – 13and the theme of the 2015 IGF is “The Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development”. Delegates from all over the globe will debate critical issues affecting the future of the Internet at a time when much is at stake. Please join ISOC-DC for a discussion about the IGF 2015. This is an audience participation event.


Discussion Facilitators

Fiona Alexander – NTIA, US Department of Commerce

Courtney Radsch – Advocacy Director, Committee to Protect Journalists

Carolyn Nguyen – Telecommunications and Internet Governance, Microsoft

More TBA shortly!


Paul Brigner – Co-Convenor, ISOC-DC

Are You Happy With Your Internet?

A Discussion about Broadband Competition with
Blair Levin 

Friday, October 30, 2015 from 11:00 AM1:00 PM
Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center
901 K Street Northwest

WashingtonDC 20001

Eventbrite registration required, click here


What is the state of broadband competition in the US? Ask 4 experts and you will get about 6 different answers. How does the US stack up against other advanced economies? What can and should be done to improve broadband competition in the US?

Join us for a special discussion with Blair Levin, currently a Brookings Non-Resident Fellow, about policies for intensifying competition in the broadband era.  Based on lessons learned as a senior government official in the development and aftermath of the 1996 Telecom Act and the 2010 National Broadband Plan, as well as working with such efforts as Gig.U and Republic Wireless, Levin will outline a framework for what society should want competition to deliver, where competition comes from and the current policy levers most likely to intensify competition.


James Baller

Jim Baller is president of Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide, PC, a national law firm based in Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN. He represents clients in a broad range of communications matters nationally and in more than 35 states. He was the founder and president of the US Broadband Coalition, a consortium of more than 160 organizations of all kinds that forged a national consensus on the need for a comprehensive national broadband strategy and recommended the framework reflected in the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan. Jim also served as a consultant to Google on its Fiber for Communities initiative and is now the co-founder and president of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice.

Hal Singer

Hal Singer is a principal at Economists Incorporated, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. Although his consulting experience spans several industries, Dr. Singer has particular expertise in the media industry. He recently advised the Canadian Competition Bureau on a large vertical merger in the cable television industry. He has served as consultant or testifying expert for online pokies nz several media companies, including Apple, AT&T, Bell Canada, Google, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, NFL Network, Tennis Channel, and Verizon.

Dr. Singer earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. magna cum laude in economics from Tulane University.

Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center
901 K Street Northwest

Washington, DC 20001

Special Event!

5 in 5 in 5 – What’s Next for the Net

Friday, September 25, 2015 from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM 
This event will be Livestreamed at
Eventbrite Registration Required:

The history of the Internet is a story of unexpected developments and new opportunities. To explore what might be coming next, six people who are helping shape the evolution of the Internet will describe five different major changes to the Internet that could happen over the next five years. They will have five minutes to make their predictions, after which we plan to dive into a group discussion with the audience.

Breakfast and networking begin at 9:00 AM. Prior to the panel, we will be showing video highlights from the September 24 Internet Summit in San Francisco and the Technology Policy Institute’s Aspen Forum held in August.

The panel discussion begins promptly at 9:30 AM.

Discussion Leaders:

Paula Bruening, Intel

Leslie Daigle, ThinkingCat Enterprises

William Dutton, Quello Center, Michigan State University (and former Director of the Oxford Internet Institute)

Martin Levy, Network Strategy, CloudFlare

Michael Walker, Information Innovation Office, Defense Advanced Projects Agency


Michael R. Nelson, Public Policy, CloudFlare

IGF-USA 2105 Recap

By Susan Chalmers

I had the pleasure of attending the IGF-USA 2015. The event saw over 300 participants gather to discuss a broad array of Internet Governance and policy topics. From the WSIS+10 Process to policy issues relevant to the Internet of Things, from the IANA transition to cyberbullying and the politics of innovation, the IGF-USA program had something in store for newcomers to Internet Governance and veterans, alike.

NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling

NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling

The day’s schedule had an excellent flow – testament to the experience and expertise of the IGF-USA multistakeholder advisory planning committee. Following welcoming remarks from the organizers, Assistant Secretary of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration Larry Strickling gave a keynote address during which he explained the strength and the appropriateness of the multistakeholder approach to policy development for Internet-related issues. Reaffirming that the NTIA supports multistakeholderism in practice and in theory, Strickling noted that the Administration would soon be engaging in a series of multistakeholder policy consultations, including on privacy best practices for the private and commercial use of drones.

Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Steve Crocker then took the stage for a keynote conversation with POLITICO technology reporter Nancy Scola. To the delight of the audience, Crocker opened with an anecdote about meeting Cerf in high school German class, in the 1950s. The two young men then formed an extracurricular math club with their high school colleagues.

Internet Pioneers Steve Crocker and Vint Cerf

Internet Pioneers Steve Crocker and Vint Cerf

Cerf and Crocker covered a number of different topics broad and finite with Scola – from the scalability of the Internet’s architecture, to IPv6 adoption, to details around ICANN’s new gTLD program – before welcoming questions from the audience.

Susan Chalmers, Kathy Brown, and Julie Zoller

Susan Chalmers, Kathy Brown, and Julie Zoller

Keynote remarks were also provided by Julie Zoller, Deputy Coordinator, International Communications and Information Policy, US Department of State; Kathy Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society; and Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, Senior Coordinator for International Information Technology Diplomacy. Their remarks touched upon multilateral institutions and multistakeholder, collaborative approaches to Internet Governance, the importance of the Internet Governance Forum and its mandate renewal, and the IANA stewardship transition and ICANN accountability.

The IGF-USA 2015 schedule also featured eight panel sessions, each treating a distinct and timely Internet policy topic. But for the limitations of physics I would have attended them all. Fortunately for us the Internet Society managed to record the proceedings and has made them available on its dedicated Livestream channel.

I attended the panel sessions Digital Trade Agreements as a Strategy for Internet Governance, which is my own area of personal interest, and Maintaining Trust Online: Cybersecurity, Encryption, Backdoors, and Privacy, a complex and multifaceted Internet policy area which I have yet to fully explore.

This latter panel, moderated by Jon Peha from Carnegie Mellon University, canvassed the challenge of balancing the benefits and pitfalls of encryption. Problems in this policy area were explored and solutions discussed from a diversity of perspectives, including law enforcement and security engineering. On encryption and the secure handling of sensitive information, for example, Eric Burger from Georgetown University described approaches taken to safely sharing health records across state lines for research purposes, using “multiparty computation” and “zero-knowledge computation.”

Maintaining Trust Online: Cybersecurity, Encryption, Backdoors, and Privacy Click here for bios

Maintaining Trust Online: Cybersecurity, Encryption, Backdoors, and Privacy

In a different realm of Internet policy, the panel on Internet Governance and trade, moderated by Edward Alden from the Council on Foreign Relations, focused on the inclusion of Internet-related provisions in plurilateral trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). One area that received particular focus from the panelists was on the free flow of information across borders. These provisions usually appear in the E-Commerce chapters of trade agreements, and would effectively prohibit a country from requiring that data be “localized” within its borders, requiring the free flow of information to and from that country, subject, however, to certain exceptions. This area raises questions of sovereignty, naturally, and whether exceptions to this provision for national privacy laws would be respected or at least defined.

Having sailed through a panoply of different Internet-related debates, insights, anecdotes, and illustrations throughout the day, I had anticipated being tired by the time the closing plenaries rolled around. But I was in fact eager to hear more, and the plenary session on Connecting the Next Billion was an excellent way to round out the substantive discussions of the day.

The “mother” IGF (as it was described during the panel), at the United Nations, has been developing deeper ties with national and regional IGF initiatives through intersessional work. One of the flagship initiatives of this intersessional work is Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion, an activity that seeks to solicit input from the global Internet community on ways to bring the next billion online, alleviating the digital divide. National and regional IGF initiatives in particular were invited to contribute to this intersessional work by feeding their respective discussions on the topic into the global IGF, for discussion at the IGF2015 in November this year.

The IGF-USA will make an excellent contribution to the IGF’s intersessional work through its plenary panel. During this panel, a host of experts discussed their respective efforts both in terms of hands-on projects (for example, ISOC’s Wireless for Communities project, or Comcast’s Internet Essentials program) and regulatory reform initiatives (for example, by the Alliance for Affordable Internet). All in all, this plenary session was an excellent display of the various efforts undertaken by different stakeholders to achieve a common goal, on a global basis.

Kudos to the organizers of the IGF-USA 2015 and its various speakers and volunteers. It was an excellent event – informative, enlightening, and of course, a great opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues on how to carry our shared goals forward for promoting a globally unique, open, and accessible Internet. And, as you can see, sometimes we have fun doing this, too.

The author with an incognito Mike Nelson

The author with an incognito Mike Nelson

Susan Chalmers


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