RIPE 62

RIPE 62 Cooperation Working Group
Amsterdam, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 - 14:00

Status: Final

Co-Chair Maria Häll introduced the agenda. The minutes of the previous Cooperation WG session were approved.

B. Internet Intermediaries – Moderators: Paul Rendek, Patrik Fältström

  • Introduction: Patrik Fältström
  • Internet Intermediaries
  • The human rights perspective
  • Striking a balance between integrity/neutrality, law enforcement, business


Niall O’Reilly noted the importance of understanding how these three factors (neutrality, law enforcement and business) affect each other, and that the “best” balance between them may favour two out of three. Patrik agreed that this was an important calculation, but one that is not widely enough discussed.

Benedikt Stokkeland noted that there is a need for regulation in some areas that is going unmet. He cited the example of ADSL providers providing telephone services over ADSL, the reliability of which means it cannot be a replacement for a standard telephone in an emergency situation. He noted that “Responsibility” is another axis that conflicts
with the money-making axis - there is a need to ensure people can’t be sold something dangerous to them.

Olaf Kolkman suggested that “Public benefit” is a plane that cuts through this multi-plane structure in Patrik’s presentation. He also noted that in the non-Internet space, much experience has already been gained in balancing law enforcement and freedom/openness. In terms of regulation, there is a need to make available technology that is of public benefit in the long-term, and this should contribute to decision-making.

Jim Reid argued that “Public benefit” can mean many things – RIPE may differ with the Chinese Government on what is constitutes “public benefit”. He also noted that there are additional dimensions added to the calculation by “alliances” between those different positions, and cited the UK, where ISPs challenged a law to make ISPs enforce laws, a decision based on their own business case, rather than in the interests of “freedom”. Patrik added that different definitions of “lawful” around the world also pose a problem.

Wout de Natris suggested that this discussion demonstrates that all stakeholders are still learning how to work together, but that this cooperation will be vital in ensuring that when there is a crisis, governments do not “panic” in responding.

Constanze Bürger emphasised the need for awareness, and suggested that governments have a responsibility to ensure that the freedom of the Internet is not abused, but that regulation may not be the best tool for this.

Patrik Fältström noted the lack of harmonization of positions even within governments, and that often, within a government, there is one group talking about opennesss and another group talking about cybercrime issues, each coming to different conclusions for Internet policy.

Maria Häll asked whether it is actually desirable to have a different legal framework for the online world.

Edmund Juskevicius, of Industry Canada, noted that the Internet tends to work pretty well most of the time, and asked how has this sort of cooperation been done up to this point. Patrik noted that there has been work done in some areas from an EU regulatory perspective, but there has been a more general lack of focus, and this is now starting to change. Paul Rendek also noted the greater interest being taken by international organisations like the OECD, with whom the RIPE NCC is working as part of the Internet Technical Advisory Committee.

Malcolm Hutty highlighted the importance of government participation in developing cooperative relationships, and noted that this has often been lacking. In terms of the larger question of liability, he noted that there are people who break laws, through content or activity, and people want that stopped, and that this situation raises certain questions: what is the mechanism for doing this? If it is through intermediaries, what are the checks? Can private sector intermediaries act as law enforcement agencies, that is call in evidence, witnesses etc.? While such a solution may look attractive to stakeholders dealing with a large number of complaints, it would mean a very different system of justice
for the online world. It is government’s role to create these definitions and balance the needs of law enforcement agencies against citizens’ rights. Malcolm suggested that at this point, governments are only hearing from the complainants, and they need to take a more balanced view on such issues.

Niall O’Reilly emphasised that it is governments that must face this responsibility and that there must be some kind of evidence-based review. He noted that in terms of the Internet, it will be impossible to predict the results of new policies without some kind of evidence-based review and discussion.

Aleksi Suhonen highlighted the case of Finland’s child porn filter and the unforeseen consequences of this policy, which can serve as a warning case. He also noted that many operators are multi-national and therefore need to navigate different, often competing legislations, which can be very difficult.

Toomas Lepik noted that the Palestinian government would like to turn off some Autonomous Systems from the routing path.

Constanze Bürger argued that it is necessary to discuss these issues, and that the Internet poses real challenges in terms of borders, self-regulation and democracy. She noted that laws are not the only solution, and that government needs to look to other sectors for solutions as well.

C. Update on European Union Activities:

Data Retention Directive – Patrik Fältström

Jochem de Ruig of the RIPE NCC asked about law enforcement and data retention, and noted that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) have concerns regarding IPv6 and the logs that ISPs keep regarding assignments and allocations. Patrik noted that the first issue knowing which ISP is using which IP address, which comes back to the quality of the RIPE Database. He pointed out that some parties have argued we need something other than RIR databases, and for this reason he is wary of making changes to policy that will affect data quality in the RIR databases. If you find the ISP, the issue is then what is the responsibility of the ISP? At the moment, most existing regulation says that the ISP must know who had which IP address at a given time.

It was noted that there are often different rules for IP, cell and fixed-line telephony, and this is problematic. Maria Häll and Patrik Fältström noted that Sweden has made a proposal (not implemented) that is technology neutral, but this is not reflected in the Directive. Patrik believes, though, that the people working on this in the Commission would like the revised Directive to be technology neutral.

European Critical Infrastructure Directive – Kurt Erik Lindqvist, Chris Buckridge

Kurt Erik (Kurtis) Lindqvist and Chris Buckridge presented a brief summary of the discussions currently going on around the revision of the European Critical Infrastructure Directive, and the possibility that it will be expanded to cover the ICT sector.

Leo Vegoda asked if the Directive intended to apply to organisations based in EU. Kurtis responded that it was his understanding that the Directive targets physical assets rather than organisations.

Maria asked, given the closed nature of the EC discussions to date, whether there is a problem in terms of lack of information flowing between the different stakeholder groups. Kurtis acknowledged that an open discussion such as would happen at a RIPE Meeting would be preferable, but that it is a positive step that the Commission has reached out and invited a wide range of industry and technical community representatives to contribute to the discussion.

Kurtis also gave a brief account of the recent critical infrastructure discussions held in Hungary, and the joint EU-US work that is being done.

Jaap Akkerhuis noted that while the Directive talks about cross-border issues, there is a feeling that national telco industries don't talk to each other and are isolated. He also noted that for most telcos, borders don't really exist apart from regulation. Kurtis noted that the point of the work in this area is that physical assets clearly affect more than one country. While the industry can route around many borders and obstacles, however, the cable infrastructure demonstrates that there are limits to this. He noted that the Directive talks about infrastructure that affects more than 2 member states.

D. Update on Council of Europe Activities – Wolfgang Kleinwächter

Chris Buckridge gave a quick update on the work being done by in the Council of Europe on a set of Principles for Internet Governance, particularly the conference held in April that brought together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the issue. This work is ongoing.

Maria Häll commended the important work being done by the Council of Europe.

E. CSTD WG Update – Nurani Nimpuno

Nurani Nimpuno provided an overview of the work being done in the Working Group convened by the UN’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development  (CSTD) to examine ways to improve the IGF. While initially composed only of government representatives, there was a concerted push for greater multistakeholder involvement, and Nurani was selected as one of the five technical community representatives.

Nurani noted that the initial meeting turned out to not be very substantive, though it was clear that there are very diverging views on the issues. A second meeting in Geneva also failed to produce a report, and the WG’s report will now be written by the Chair. The technical community representatives have stated their objection to this outcome, as it places this back in the hands of Member States alone.

Nurani noted that the technical and business communities have failed to some extent in reaching out to the civil society stakeholders, and that better coordination between these groups will be important moving forward.

Maria Häll noted that this whole process is an attempt to make the multistakeholder model work on a global level.

Constanze Bürger noted that it was difficult to convince some in government of the value of participating in the IGF, but noted that the regional and national IGFs can be very useful in this regard. Nurani agree on the need to more effectively demonstrate the value of the IGF to all stakeholders.

F. ICANN GAC Update - Maria Häll

Maria Häll gave an update on the activities of the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), noting that has grown to 109 members. The issue of new gTLDs has been the major area of activity for the GAC over recent months, and the GAC has been working with the Board and community to resolve a range of issues identified in a “Scorecard”.

Z. AOB

Steve Nash noted that while there has clearly a lot of work going on in this area, the working group’s mailing list has been virtually silent, and it would be great to see more discussion on the list. Maria agreed, and noted the Working Group Co-Chairs will be working to improve this over the coming weeks and months.

Wout de Natris pointed out that few government people were in attendance, and that the technical community members need to take these specific topics to their relevant government people and challenge them to take part. He also noted, in response to an earlier point from Malcolm Hutty, that the Internet poses one significant difference for law enforcement to their usual work: when you track someone down on the Internet, you may have to go to addresses where the actual perpetrator isn’t there, only a hosting provider with a command-and-control centre for that network. This has major implications for obtaining evidence, and establishing a framework for how this works is a role for government and law enforcement.

Jim Reid noted that it is clear that government representatives are not taking part in RIPE Meetings in great numbers, and it might be necessary to change tack. He suggested that it might be useful for more community members to take part in the RIPE NCC Roundtable Meetings. Paul Rendek thanked Jim for the suggestion. He noted that while the Roundtable Meetings are deliberately closed, to facilitate government participation, it may be useful to invite more community members to contribute, and the RIPE NCC will look into this option.

Maria Häll closed the meeting.