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Cooperation Working Group - RIPE 70
Session I
Thursday, 14 May 11:00 - 12:30
Scribe: Chris Buckridge
WG Co-Chairs: Maria Häll and Meredith Whittaker

Session 1: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Net Neutrality but Were Too Afraid to Ask

Following the introduction from the Working Group Co-chairs, Maria Häll and Meredith Whittaker, Marco Hogewoning made a brief announcement regarding the current development of a EuroDIG (European Dialogue on Internet Governance) community statement on net neutrality statement. He encouraged RIPE community members to contribute to the development ahead of the EuroDIG event in June 2015.

An overview of Net Neutrality regulation in Europe, J. Scott Marcus

The presentation is available at:

J. Scott Marcus provided an overview of the net neutrality situation in the EU, looking at its development and history, and it may impact operators now or in the future. He noted that there are numerous definitions of "net neutrality" and can be a fraught issue as it can affect things people care about, including freedom of expression etc.

He noted that there have always been "quality of service" (QoS) functions in the Internet Protocol, and that there are applications, particularly in times of crisis, where quality management is vital.

On the economic side there are various strains of thought.

  • Quality and price differentiation is generally seen as benign by economists
  • Two-sided markets theory is applicable, and is also seen as relatively benign
  • economic foreclosure is problematic, where large players attempt to shut down smaller players that might be competitive.

He noted that the European Commission did a public consultation on net neutrality, these results were not published in full, but Marcus's own analysis of the responses sees broad support for consistent net neutrality regulation by market players, but consumers opposed most forms of traffic management… leaving the question of what consumers are actually worried about? He also noted that EU regulation is largely driven by a fear of divergent regulation across the Member States, with net neutrality and roaming the main elements left to be negotiated in the Telecoms Single Market (2013), with debate going on between EU institutions.

He outlined questions for policymakers for any regulations: does it provide balance between divergence and flexibility? Balance between harmful and non-harmful differentiation? Prioritisation for services that need it (mission critical services, VoIP, video conferencing)? Is it future proof? Neutral? Does it balance costs and benefits? And are the terms themselves adequately defined?

Matthew Moyle-Croft, Amazon Web Services, noted that incumbents can use regulation against small players, and asked Marcus's views on net neutrality in this context.

Marcus agreed that it's a concern and balance is needed - historically, in the EU incumbent operators were government-owned, and while the system has tried to give national regulators as much independence as possible, implementation of that is not perfect. He suggested that the issue is likely more driven by consumers worried about freedom of expression and loss of choice.

Patrik Fältström, Netnod, argued that the effectiveness of EU telecommunications regulation to date has been quite different depending on whether you're looking at copper or fibre, and particularly noted that we do not see bitstream and local loop unbundling on fibre.

Marcus noted that, in principle, EU regulates both copper and fibre, but does so in quite different ways, and there are questions about whether network operators need more economic incentives to roll out fibre. Marcus suggested that the EU has the amount of fibre that consumers want and reiterated that the best investments are in situations where there is neither too much nor too little competition.

Patrik stressed that regulation has been effective for copper, but not fibre, and asked why this was the case. Marcus noted that some national regulators have felt that they would get a better build out of fibre if they didn't enforce regulation on issues like local loop unbundling and bit stream. He also stressed that there are practical technological issues that must be taken into account, and the European Commission is currently conducting a study on this, though it is not factoring into the Digital Single Market proposal text.

Malcolm Hutty, Linx, noted that on the question of two-sided markets, consumers have a choice of network operators, while content providers don't - there's only one network operator that can deliver content to a given customer. This led to regulated pricing (in telephony), which we've avoided doing for Internet, but that has only been viable in a one-sided market.

Marcus replied that he would argue against radical regulation as it disrupts the relatively healthy status quo. He made an analogy to broadcasting: every provider is a bottleneck - in that sense, highly valued content has no trouble getting on broadcast, but the long-tail might be blocked. From an economic perspective, is it cost-effective to make customers unhappy by making it harder for them to find the things they want to view? Alissa Cooper has argued that very little consumer switching goes on, but there may still be enough fear of this to prevent bad conduct on the part of the operators.

Blake Willis, L33 Networks, noted that statistics on broadband adoption in the EU are provided by independent organisations, whereas in the US this data provided by big telcos, and there is a related difference in their trustworthiness. He argued that the broadband adoption situation in the US is much worse than the official statistics indicate.

Marcus agreed that these problems exist.

Inside the Net Neutrality Sausage Factory - Bendert Zevenbergen, Oxford Internet Institute

No presentation uploaded.

Bendert Zevenbergen provided a case study of making Internet law, looking at the development of the Netherlands' net neutrality legislation, which he was involved in conceiving and drafting. He discussed how net neutrality came to be identified with “Internet freedom”, his discussions with Dutch legislators, and key events, including the decision by KPN in 2011 to block their mobile customers from using the Internet communication app WhatsApp, which proved to be a pivotal moment in generating support for the legislation.

Filiz Yilmas, Akamai, noted that the laws have been in place for a while and wondered what has been the impact and how have providers had been affected.

Bendert noted that Dutch group Bits of Freedom had done some follow-up work on this.

Filiz requested that some of this follow-up be presented and discussed in a future Cooperation Working Group session.

An overview of the FCC's Open Internet Order - Mike Blanche, Google

The presentation is available at:

Mark Blanche gave an overview of the recent ruling by the US Federal Communications Commission on net neutrality, what it means for operators, and what the road ahead looks like.

Milton Mueller, ARIN, raised some corrections, specifically that the FCC's Internet policy statement of 2005 had been published; via that, the FCC had basically established a net neutrality policy, with no legal basis, but it was applied. He argued that Verizon made a mistake in (successfully) challenging that regulation, because it did not require classification but did enforce net neutrality, and that was a situation preferable to the current one.

Mike noted that the OECD work shows that most interconnection occurs without regulatory involvement, and this is certainly a good thing, with the hope that the FCC realises that peering interconnection works well already.

The Open Internet: A Mobile Industry Perspective - Mani Manimohan, GSMA

The presentation is available at:

Mani Manimohan discussed the background and recent net neutrality developments from the perspective of GSMA's members, mobile operators. He stressed the mobile industry's primary concerns around maintaining an open Internet, allowing for necessary traffic management, a healthy environment for investment in infrastructure, and a global perspective that includes those emerging markets where broadband penetration remains low.

Trefor Davies, LONAP, questioned how much transparency there was in the UK market of different operators and their traffic management practices, noting that it had taken 2-3 years of lobbying to get to point where the government legally threatened operators who had been blocking services such as Skype.

Mani agreed that there had been blocking, though there were limited instances, and that without specific regulation in place, the regulator in the UK had used soft levers on operators to remedy this situation.

Jean-Jacques Sahel, ICANN, questioned how isolated cases of blocking specific services were, noting that a BEREC 2012 report reported that 44% of mobile networks restricted VOIP.

Mani noted some questions about the sampling in the BEREC report, but also suggested that competition would get rid of this over time.

Corinne Cath, Oxford Internet Institute, suggested that the mobile industry argument seemed to be that regulation was complex and imperfect, and therefore there should not be regulation. She noted that this is true for many areas of law, and argued that in relation to issues like "zero-rating", it's not clear that operators are doing things in best interest of customers.

Mani stressed that zero-rating is not traffic prioritisation, and agreed that there is a valid concern that zero-rating could favour certain services over others, though he noted that other industries have used this kind of model (newspapers, for instance). He agreed that if operators only zero-rate some of their services, then that should be looked at as anti-competitive – but he noted that this is already addressed by existing law.

Session II
14 May 14:00 - 15:30
Scribe: Chris Buckridge
WG Co-Chairs: Maria Häll and Meredith Whittaker

Session 2: Where Do Human Rights Fit on the OSI Stack?

A Part of the Technical Community as one of the Stakeholders on Internet Governance in Russia - Alexandra Permyakova, RACI attendee

The presentation is available at:

RACI attendee Alexandra Permyakova gave an update on the regulatory situation in Russia.

Alexander Isvanin, Tech SA, noted that while the presenter gave a very good official view, all of the laws described are being actively used to censor the Internet in Russia, with well-intentioned laws used to implement filtering against political opposition. He also noted that while the Internet tax that was cancelled by Putin, there are other laws taxing things like flash memory. He stressed that Russian citizens are not being listened to by the Russian government on these issues.

Maxim Burtikov, RIPE NCC, commented that it seems the Russian government is leaning towards a continental European model of censorship (similar to France, Belgium etc.), but that while the goals are the same, but methods are differ.

Toward human rights-preserving technological standards – Corrine Cath, Oxford Internet Institute

The presentation is available at:

Corinne Cath gave a presentation on her work looking at the link between technical standards and human rights. She raised questions such as how would we measure a technical standard against human rights concerns? How would we incorporate this into the standards process(es)? How can those impacted by technologies gain a credible voice within the technical debate?

Iljitsch van Beijnum,, questioned whether there was actually little involvement in the IETF by civil society, and suggested that perhaps such stakeholders are participating in other ways or are not identifying as “civil society” (for instance, many involved from a technical standpoint are very interested in "civil society" issues like human rights).

Malcolm Hutty, LINX, followed up on Corinne's examination of tussle theory, which implies that while protocol design could indulge a systematic bias (e.g. pro- or anti-surveillance), it is better to make it as neutral as possible. Corinne agreed that according to this definition of tussle theory, many in the IETF seem to have rejected it, adopting a more solid opinion on surveillance capability.

Julf Helsingius, BaseN, noted that in general, while technologists understand the human rights part fairly well, the human rights people understand code not at all.

Jim Reid agreed that one needs a certain clue level to participate in the IETF, and few civil society people are likely to make sense of it all. He also suggested that perhaps the IETF might want to ensure that new RFC documents include consideration of any implications in areas such as security or privacy. Corinne noted that the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) recently set up a human rights protocol consideration group.

Hans Petter Holen, RIPE Chair, asked how protocols designed by IETF (open model) compare to those developed by private companies (Facebook etc.) or inter-governmental processes (the ITU), noting his personal suspicion is that the open model has better chance of succeeding.

Marco Hogewoning, RIPE NCC, noted that there is currently a programme to get policy makers engaged in the IETF and help get them involved.

Paul Wilson, APNIC, disagreed with the idea that civil society stakeholders know nothing about technology, and suggested that people should look at events such as RightsCon, an annual technical event focused on human rights.

Sean Turner, IECA, agreed that there have been good examples of non-technical people assimilating into the IETF.

Campaigning for Security and Privacy - Rejo Zenger, Bits of Freedom

The presentation is available at:

Rejo Zenger presented on Bits of Freedom's non-traditional approach to creating and promoting technologies and policies that protect privacy, security, and freedom of communication.

Alexander Isvanin referred to his earlier comment on the Russian regulatory presentation, and noted that the Russian environment has gone much further in terms of uncontrolled surveillance and other issues.

Carsten Schiefner, ECIX, asked what could be done to prevent the legislative proposals outlined by Rejo.

Rejo recommended talking to parliamentary members, particularly for Dutch participants, and noted that there are strong economic arguments to be made against this proposal. He also recommended speaking to him and to Bits of Freedom on how to help.

Erik Bais, A2B Internet, noted that the Dutch already see airports, seaports and Internet infrastructure as critical and the Dutch Internet industry is already lobbying hard with government to say that this is bad for the Internet business. He pointed out that AMS-IX have heard from companies saying “we chose the Netherlands because it has good laws”, and this law would change that.

Vesna Manojlovic, speaking as an Internet citizen, urged people to donate to Bits of Freedom.

Bastiaan Goslings, AMS-IX, noted ASM-IX's support for the work Bits of Freedom is doing in this area, and that while AMS-IX usually strives to maintain a neutral position, this proposal gets the balance between security, privacy and the business environment very wrong.

Why should people trust technology if we can't guarantee security? - Dan Kohn, Linux Foundation

The presentation is available at:

Dan Kohn, of the Linux Foundation, presented on the Core Infrastructure Initiative Answer, an effort to strengthen and shore up the open source code that carries the weight of all of much of the Internet's security. The project is seeking new members (particularly organisations) and he urged anyone interested to speak with him.

Blake Willis, L33 Networks, noted that it can be hard for companies to justify capital expenditure for open source projects, but that companies can support with things like co-location and bandwidth, which is often relatively to provide. He also noted that some open source projects have guidelines on how to do this, others not - a standardised way to do this would be useful (guidelines or a BCP) so that someone who wants to donate can easily see how to do it.

Dan agreed, noting the mismatch between big companies that work more easily with companies that are larger and have standard business hours and the kind of smaller operators doing this work, and the CII tries to provide a link between larger funders and small open source operators. He noted that gittip/Gratipay and things like that are useful.

Meredith Whittaker noted that there is also a mailing list community spinning up around this.

Shane Kerr, BII, questioned whether asking big organisations to contribute might mean that they then influence these projects. He pointed out that high profile security problems have meant that some of these big company boards are asking questions about how involved their employees are in the open source projects that they rely on, and in terms of the Linux project, we have guidelines that we try to encourage people to follow. Meredith noted that there are efforts ongoing to ensure that sponsors do not take charge or steer discussions.

Andreas Schmidt, RACI attendee, asked whether national security institutions are something you want to hedge against, and if so, are you able to compete against them (budget-wise). How can you protect against intrusion?

Dan noted that we can strengthen all the protocols and software being used, strong encryption does work and the key thing is that you not screw it up.

Han Petter Holen asked how do you join CII.

Dan noted that CII has a single membership level, US$100k per year, which can be a no-go for many organisations. But he also noted that there are other ways to get involved, contributing to best practices and providing expertise.

Rejo Zenger, Bits of Freedom, noted that most government initiatives are based on security, and encouraged people to ask their government if they're serious about security – if so, they should invest in initiatives like this.

RIPE NCC Update: WSIS + 10 = ? - Chris Buckridge, RIPE NCC

The presentation is available at:

Chris Buckridge gave a presentation on the upcoming 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a key United Nations-driven Internet governance event. He noted that the process by which this review will be done and the likely outcomes remain uncertain, but provided an update on the confirmed information to date and outlined the interests of the RIPE NCC and RIPE community in this process.

Nurani Nimpuno, Netnod, and Maria Häll, WG co-chair, both expressed their agreement that this is an important issue for the community to follow, and commended the RIPE NCC for following the process and reporting back via the working group.


Maria noted that she would be stepping down after seven years as a Co-chair of the Cooperation WG.