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RIPE 71 Cooperation Working Group
Thursday, 19 November 09:00 - 10:30
WG Chair: Meredith Whittaker
Scribe: Chris Buckridge

Digital Privacy in the EU: What you should know and why it matters - Valentina Pavel

The presentation is available at:

Valentina presented on including the new General Data Protection Regulation, the umbrella agreement covering the EU and US citizens on privacy, and the safe harbour agreement between the US and EU that allows for exchange of data for business purposes (which was recently the subject of a European court decision that essentially suspended that agreement). She noted that the EU is currently working on a mechanism to allow ongoing transfer of personal information for business purposes to continue. She concluded that mass surveillance clearly has implications for legal and political environment.

Shane Kerr noted that the umbrella agreement for law enforcement, but noted that there is very little privacy legislation in the US - how does that protect EU citizens? Valentina noted that the umbrella agreement is a paradox, because the US does not have the domestic laws in the spirit of the agreement. Shane also asked whether policymakers are concerned about this; Valentina noted that there has been a lot of pressure on policymakers, particularly from NGOs.

Alexander Isvanin asked about Russian citizens privacy, whether there would be any similar agreements between the EU and Russia. Valentina noted that there has not been any agreement between EU and Russia, but she noted that Israel stopped its agreement with the EU after the safe harbour decision.

Collin asked about the parallels with the EU cookie law - will this simply mean that US companies explicitly ask EU citizens to agree use of their personal information? Valentina accepted the analogy, but noted that in many jurisdictions in Europe the “cookie law” had been badly implemented (at this point the law essentially results in people having to accept cookies to access content, which was not the intent). She also noted the adoption of the data protection reform will improve the implementation situation.

Export controls, human rights, and networked technologies - Collin Anderson

The presentation is available at:

Collin presented on export policy, a policy space that he noted has actually impacts the business of people in the RIPE community, and in which RIPE community members could contribute by making sure that technical definitions are appropriate and determining whether something is a good thing. The presentation touched on issues such as the role of regulators in preventing or facilitating the export of surveillance technologies to third countries, and EU regulatory approaches to this.

Alexander Isvanin noted that these controls had often not been effective, and open source software and hardware has made these control irrelevant - it seems regulators still need to understand this. He noted though that EU sanctions have been more effective as blanket preventions. Collin agreed that it is often not the Wassenaar signatories who are the parties to such transfers, though with multi-million dollar equipment this is more likely to be a state-based organisation. He also noted that the EU and US refusing to sell to oppressive regimes does not prevent others from selling to them.

Access and poverty in the United States: Using open data to understand network performance through a socio-economic lens -- Oana Niculaescu

The presentation is available at:

Oana presented on access in different socioeconomic communities, as studied with M-Lab using data from the US Government broadband map and M-Lab's own data. The study produced clear connections between broadband
access and income, location, population density and other variables.

Several speakers asked about different variables in the study: Christopher Amin asked about whether results controlled for ISP services offering different options - are poor people simply choosing the cheaper option? Chris Buckridge asked about poorer urban populations, and whether density is an important factor. Rob Seastrom asked about whether correlation goes with density more than anything else - he suggested that more fine-grained analysis would be useful. Collin Anderson also asked about the locations being looked at in the study.
Dana noted that these were interesting questions for further study.

Kaveh Ranjbar noted that RIPE NCC would be keen to help out with this, in terms of both outreach and publication and data analysis and collection.

RIR accountability: Accountable to whom, to what end…? - Farzaneh Badii

The presentation is available at:

Farzaneh presented a proposal for a study on the accountability of RIRs, why it is important and how it is assured. The study would particularly focus on institutional isomorphism in the RIR system, or the similarity (and reasons for it) of the accountability mechanisms of the different RIRs.

Nurani clarified that the study would look not at the specific accountability mechanisms, but how and why the RIR models are similar - Farzaneh confirmed this was a focus, and that the study would look at institutional learning. Nurani also pointed out that the concept of multistakeholderism was rooted in the RIR communities before the term existed. She also noted that the RIPE/RIPE NCC distinction is important to be clear on, and in terms of accountability, the RIRs are very focused on community empowerment. She noted that there is a need for trust across the system, and that the RIR communities are not self-contained. She finally noted that accountability is something to be chased, not attained.

Shane Kerr provided some historical context regarding the development of the RIR communities, noting that RIPE is relatively unique, even amongst the other RIR communities. However, he noted that in any field, you are likely to see commonality in how different sets of people approach similar problems. He also noted that "multistakeholderism" was a model retroactively applied to the RIR community model, and it is not an ideal fit.

Axel Pawlik noted that RIPE NCC is supportive of this study.

Peter Koch noted that the RIPE Working Groups are not related to the RIPE NCC, however still have accountability to the community, and that therefore there are points where that accountability needs to be looked at more closely. He supported this being done.

Valentina Pavel noted that a large section of the Romanian IP address space is currently blacklisted (due to spam): who is accountable for this?

Paul Rendek noted that the RIRs have been pushing in the direction of accountability, and it's interesting that it comes from “outside” - he very much welcomed the study.

Government experiences engaging with RIRs - Tahar Schaa (on behalf of the German Government)

The presentation is available at:

Tahar presented on the German government's positive experience in proposing a policy change via the RIPE Policy Development Process.

Kaveh Ranjbar noted that the RIPE NCC is aware of this change in the make-up of the RIPE community and and is working to support it.

Nurani Nimpuno described this as a fantastic and important example to other governments with an interest in contributing to IP addressing policy.

RIPE NCC report on the WSIS+10 process - Chris Buckridge

The presentation is available at:

Chris Buckridge gave a brief report on the continuing preparations for the upcoming 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society by the United Nations General Assembly. He noted the collaboration going on across the technical community to engage on these issues, including the joint statement on the process, emphasising the importance of a multistakeholder approach to this review and future WSIS activities.

Collin Anderson asked about whether individuals or organisations could still sign up to the joint statement and how they might otherwise usefully engage their governments. Chris noted that the joint statement is still open for signatories, but that it is otherwise very late in the game to engage governments, particularly given that the language of the final output document will likely be agreed in advance of the actual High Level Meeting on 15-16 December.

Paul Rendek noted that while the preaching meeting is not something for people to be too concerned with, but that it may lead further down the line to increasingly government-focused activities or events - it's important for us to remain engaged as a community to ensure that we can rally to push back against those kinds of developments.