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Internet Stability, Security Must Be Maintained, U.S. Says

Date: August 16, 2005
Source: Computer Crime Research Center


... the criminal misuse of information technologies" (55/63 and 56/121) and "Creation of a Global Culture of Cybersecurity" (57/239), and actions taken by computer security incident response teams (CSIRTs).

The Internet Domain Name and Addressing System: The United States continues to support the private sector led technical coordination and management of the Internet's domain name and addressing system (DNS) in the form of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), with government advice on DNS issues provided by the Government Advisory Committee (GAC). We also recognize that governments have legitimate public policy and sovereignty concerns with respect to the management of their country code top level domains (ccTLD) and the United States is committed to working with the international community to address these concerns, bearing in mind the fundamental need to ensure stability and security of the Internet's DNS. With respect to international coordination of the DNS, WSIS should recognize the role of existing institutions, encourage effective, bottom up decision making at the local level, the continued deployment of mirror roots and responsible address allocation policies.

Multilingualism: The United States believes that the development of technologies that facilitate the use of domain names in languages other than Latin based character sets is an important step in making the Internet truly global. WSIS should encourage continued work and collaboration on internationalized domain names by existing standards bodies and processes by which agreement can be reached on appropriate language tables.

Interconnection Costs: The United States believes that arrangements for international Internet connections should continue to be the subject of private, commercial negotiations. The international settlement regime that applies under the telecommunications regime cannot be applied to Internet traffic. WSIS should look to ongoing work on this important topic in existing institutions, such as the ITU and the OECD, and encourage national authorities to take steps to open markets to competitive entry and promote increased competition in the market place. A competitive market creates an enabling environment that encourages investment and/or international infrastructure assistance. The development of regional Internet Exchange Points and local content should also be encouraged.

Intellectual Property Rights: The United States attaches great importance to a comprehensive, effective and properly enforced intellectual property system and believes that any Information Society envisioned by the WSIS must clearly and explicitly recognize that such a system is essential to the Information Society because it creates an incentive for creativity and innovation. To that end, WSIS and its documents must recognize, respect and support the existing international intellectual property system. The balance between owners and users of intellectual property is an important underpinning of an effective intellectual property system. Existing international intellectual property agreements encompass and reflect the balance between owners and users of intellectual property. Indeed, this balance is struck so that intellectual property owners are encouraged to develop and disseminate their works and inventions to the public for use and enjoyment. The United States believes that the appropriate United Nations forum for dealing with intellectual property issues is the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which has regularly examined the interaction of cyberspace and intellectual property since the early days of the Internet.

Spam: Increasingly, spam is, in large part, a security issue: spam is one way in which viruses and other security threats can be delivered to computers. Industry must play a lead role in developing technical tools to address this problem. In addition, many of these security threats often result from criminal conduct. The Convention on Cybercrime provides a comprehensive framework to address these threats. In 2003, the United States enacted an anti-spam law established a framework of civil and criminal enforcement tools to help America's consumers, businesses, and families combat unsolicited commercial e-mail. However, the United States does not believe that the statute alone will solve spam. The United States approach to combating spam relies on a combination of legal tools for effective law enforcement, development and deployment of technology tools and best practices by the private sector, and consumer and business education. We believe that work undertaken to combat spam should ensure that email continues to be a viable and valuable means of communication. Governments have a role to play in educating consumers and enforcing spam laws. To this end, governments should encourage spam enforcement agencies to join the London Action Plan on international spam enforcement cooperation.

Data Protection and Privacy: The United States appreciates the concerns expressed in the report on data protection and privacy. Protecting the privacy of individuals' sensitive personal information is a priority for the United States government and for United States consumers. Companies have an important role to play by implementing reasonable safeguards to protect sensitive consumer data. The United States also believes that multilateral and private-sector initiatives have a strong and important role to play in encouraging the development and use of privacy-enhancing technologies and in promoting consumer education and awareness about online privacy issues. A deliberate and balanced approach to privacy that is open to innovations offers the best environment for Internet expansion. Any effective approach to ensuring protection of personal information includes: appropriate laws to protect consumer privacy in highly sensitive areas such as financial, medical, and children's privacy; government enforcement of these laws; and encouragement of private sector efforts to protect consumer privacy.

Consumer Protection: The United States believes that a vigorous, competitive electronic marketplace benefits consumers. Consumer protection policy should ensure that consumers can make well-informed decisions about their choices in this marketplace and that sellers will fulfill their promises by the products they offer. To this end, governments should protect consumers by: (1) enforcing laws against practices that harm consumers; (2) disseminating information and educating consumers; and (3) encouraging private sector leadership to develop codes of conduct and to provide easy-to-use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for addressing consumer complaints. These principles are expressed in various existing international guidelines for consumer protection, including the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection, the OECD Guidelines for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce, and the APEC Consumer Protection Principles.

Human Capacity Building: The United States believes that each person should have the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in order to understand, participate actively in, and benefit fully from, the Information Society and the knowledge economy. This requires increased capacity building in the areas of ICT policy and regulation, technology knowhow, access to information, and the application of ICT to various development sectors. WSIS should support the continuing work of multiple stakeholders to build capacity of professionals and institutions in developing nations and to ensure the efforts are both technically innovative and supportive of market-based approaches.

Meaningful Participation in Global Public Policy Development: The United States encourages the participation of developing countries in ICT forums as a complement to national development efforts related to ICTs. As such, it is important to develop the capacity of government officials and other stakeholders who can address the complicated issues and difficult choices raised by the evolving ICT environment. Through the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI), the United States, together with U.S. industry, has demonstrated its commitment to capacity building by providing tuition free training courses for policy makers around the world in the telecommunications, broadcast and ICT-related fields.

Conclusion

The United States once again thanks the WGIG for its report and reiterates its willingness to engage in dialogue related to Internet governance in relevant multiple fora. Given the breadth of topics potentially encompassed under the rubric of "Internet governance" there is no one venue to appropriately address the subject in its entirety. While the United States recognizes that the current Internet system is working, we encourage an ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders around the world in the various fora as a way to facilitate discussion and to advance our shared interest in the ongoing robustness and dynamism of the Internet. The focus of these discussions should be on how all stakeholders can continue to collaborate in addressing Internet-related issues. In these fora, the United States will continue to support market-based approaches and private sector leadership in Internet development broadly.
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