4over6

Microsoft launches IoT Central to Simplify Internet of Things Management

By News Aggregator

By Richard Hay

This week Microsoft’s Sam George, the Partner Director for Microsoft Azure IoT announced on the companies Internet of Things (IoT) blog that the company is now offering a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to help companies manage their IoT efforts.

According to George, IoT is now a big part of many companies infrastructure and growing quickly. That means they need a service to help them not only manage the IoT devices they are starting to use but also the means to analyze the vast amounts of data they generate.

Microsoft IoT Central is built upon the companies proven cloud service Microsoft Azure and compliments their existing Azure IoT Suite to enhance the control and customization options of the services.

Right now the service is not available to the general public but you can sign up to get pre-release information and to be notified when access opens up.

In addition, if you are an IoT company looking to possibly partner with Microsoft in this area you can also make contact with them to open up that dialog.

Finally, here is an overview video of the upcoming service:

Read more here:: datacenterknowledge.com/feed/

The post Microsoft launches IoT Central to Simplify Internet of Things Management appeared on IPv6.net.

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Sierra Wireless pays $3.2M to acquire GlobalTop GNSS

Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ:SWIR), British Columbia based provider of tightly integrated device-to-cloud IoT solutions acquired Taiwan-based GlobalTop Technology’s GNSS embedded module business for $3.2M. GNSS’s products generated $5.0M in revenue during the last 12 months. Sierra’s product portfolio consists of wireless devices, including 2G, 3G, and 4G embedded modules and gateways.

GlobalTop’s GNSS embedded module portfolio will become part of the Sierra Wireless OEM Solutions product line. Its primary use cases are car navigation, maritime positioning, freight management, vehicle tracking, and pet tracking.Sierra’s product portfolio journey shows that the company has been gradually gearing up towards acquiring navigation-based location tracking capability of its platform. The company’s website shows that it sells positioning modules for commercial, industrial and automotive customers.

GlobalTop’s GNSS boasts a strong product portfolio including Firefly Series, Ivory Series, Titan Series, Ladybird Series, and Hummingbird Series.

Read more here:: feeds.feedburner.com/iot

Sierra Wireless pays $3.2M to acquire GlobalTop GNSS

By News Aggregator

Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ:SWIR), British Columbia based provider of tightly integrated device-to-cloud IoT solutions acquired Taiwan-based GlobalTop Technology’s GNSS embedded module business for $3.2M. GNSS’s products generated $5.0M in revenue during the last 12 months. Sierra’s product portfolio consists of wireless devices, including 2G, 3G, and 4G embedded modules and gateways.

GlobalTop’s GNSS embedded module portfolio will become part of the Sierra Wireless OEM Solutions product line. Its primary use cases are car navigation, maritime positioning, freight management, vehicle tracking, and pet tracking.Sierra’s product portfolio journey shows that the company has been gradually gearing up towards acquiring navigation-based location tracking capability of its platform. The company’s website shows that it sells positioning modules for commercial, industrial and automotive customers.

GlobalTop’s GNSS boasts a strong product portfolio including Firefly Series, Ivory Series, Titan Series, Ladybird Series, and Hummingbird Series.

Read more here:: feeds.feedburner.com/iot

The post Sierra Wireless pays $3.2M to acquire GlobalTop GNSS appeared on IPv6.net.

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Vigilante botnet infects IoT devices before blackhats can hijack them

By Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: Seth Anderson)

Mirai, the botnet that threatened the Internet as we knew it last year with record-setting denial-of-service attacks, is facing an existential threat of its own: A competing botnet known as Hajime has infected at least 10,000 home routers, network-connected cameras, and other so-called Internet of Things devices.

Hajime uses a decentralized peer-to-peer network to issue commands and updates to infected devices. This design makes it more resistant to takedowns by ISPs and Internet backbone providers. Hajime uses the same list of user name and password combinations Mirai uses, with the addition of two more. It also takes steps to conceal its running processes and files, a feature that makes detecting infected systems more difficult. Most interesting of all: Hajime appears to be the brainchild of a grayhat hacker, as evidenced by a cryptographically signed message it displays every 10 minutes or so on terminals. The message reads:

Just a white hat, securing some systems.

Important messages will be signed like this!

Hajime Author.

Contact CLOSED

Stay sharp!

Another sign Hajime is a vigilante-style project intended to disrupt Mirai and similar IoT botnets: It blocks access to four ports known to be vectors used to attack many IoT device. Hajime also lacks distributed denial-of-service capabilities or any other attacking code except for the propagation code that allows one infected device to seek out and infect other vulnerable devices.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read more here:: feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index?format=xml

Vigilante botnet infects IoT devices before blackhats can hijack them

By News Aggregator

By Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: Seth Anderson)

Mirai, the botnet that threatened the Internet as we knew it last year with record-setting denial-of-service attacks, is facing an existential threat of its own: A competing botnet known as Hajime has infected at least 10,000 home routers, network-connected cameras, and other so-called Internet of Things devices.

Hajime uses a decentralized peer-to-peer network to issue commands and updates to infected devices. This design makes it more resistant to takedowns by ISPs and Internet backbone providers. Hajime uses the same list of user name and password combinations Mirai uses, with the addition of two more. It also takes steps to conceal its running processes and files, a feature that makes detecting infected systems more difficult. Most interesting of all: Hajime appears to be the brainchild of a grayhat hacker, as evidenced by a cryptographically signed message it displays every 10 minutes or so on terminals. The message reads:

Just a white hat, securing some systems.

Important messages will be signed like this!

Hajime Author.

Contact CLOSED

Stay sharp!

Another sign Hajime is a vigilante-style project intended to disrupt Mirai and similar IoT botnets: It blocks access to four ports known to be vectors used to attack many IoT device. Hajime also lacks distributed denial-of-service capabilities or any other attacking code except for the propagation code that allows one infected device to seek out and infect other vulnerable devices.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read more here:: feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index?format=xml

The post Vigilante botnet infects IoT devices before blackhats can hijack them appeared on IPv6.net.

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Corsa Strives to Combat Growing Volumetric DDoS Attacks

By Frank J. Ohlhorst

DDoS attacks are on the rise, and with the rise of those attacks come some sobering realizations. One realization is that DDoS attacks are evolving and becoming more persistent. Another realization is that DDoS attacks are escalating in size, so much so that experts expect at least one Tbit/s attack a month in 2017. Attacks of that scale will make the record-setting 620 Gbps attack against the “Krebs on Security site” seem almost insignificant. An attack which used unprotected IoT devices to generate massive amounts of traffic, something unheard of at the time. However, with DDoS attacks, there is a common theme, one established in the reality that there is not much difference between a 300 Gbps, 500 Gbps and a 1 Tbps attack. Or, more simply put – big is big, and mitigating those attacks proves somewhat similar.

The basic strategy to mitigating volumetric DDoS attacks is not particularly complex. Administrators set up rules to flag the attack traffic, detect the attack, apply those rules to dump attack traffic, all the while keeping all other traffic flowing normally. Unfortunately, the lack of complexity does not always make things easy. Bruce Gregory, CEO of Corsa points out that there are several places mitigation can fall down. Gregory said, “You have to be able to store enough rules to cover the massive quantity of bots involved in the attack, plus create and store the rules quickly enough, and process all the rules in real time and at line-rate. If mitigation fails at any of these, the attack succeeds and the site comes down.”

Put simply, protecting against rising volumetric DDoS attacks requires the very best DDoS detection and a mitigation solution that can handle multi-hundred Gbps attacks. That’s a tall order, and one Gregory claims that the Corsa Red Armor mitigation appliance can fill. “The Corsa Red Armor NSE7000 was made precisely for this kind of volumetric DDoS attack,” said Gregory. “Service providers and network architects can leverage Red Armor for universal mitigation of any size volumetric DDoS attack. It provides the needed 100G line rate enforcement and only impacts traffic as a bump in the wire.”

Gregory recognizes that 100G DDoS mitigation at line-rate is a big claim. To that end, Corsa ran rigorous performance tests to verify the Red Armor platform was up to the task. The results showed the DDoS mitigation appliance can apply 200,000 rules in under a minute while saturated with a 100 Gbps mix of normal and attack traffic.

To accomplish this, Corsa’s hardware architecture separates front-end processing of traffic with distinct TCAM offloads and advanced search algorithms. The architecture allows the mitigation engine to work at 100 Gbps line-rate and process packets at 150Mpps while simultaneously updating rules tables at a rate of 3,389 rules per second. Gregory added, “This means that hundreds of thousands of attack types can be detected and the appropriate mitigation rules stored and acted upon in less than 60 seconds with no impact to legitimate traffic.”

Volumetric attacks are the new normal, and Gregory’s advice to network architects is to step up their defenses with more capable mitigation techniques that can bring a quick end to DDoS attacks.

Read more here:: gigaom.com/feed/

Corsa Strives to Combat Growing Volumetric DDoS Attacks

By News Aggregator

By Frank J. Ohlhorst

DDoS attacks are on the rise, and with the rise of those attacks come some sobering realizations. One realization is that DDoS attacks are evolving and becoming more persistent. Another realization is that DDoS attacks are escalating in size, so much so that experts expect at least one Tbit/s attack a month in 2017. Attacks of that scale will make the record-setting 620 Gbps attack against the “Krebs on Security site” seem almost insignificant. An attack which used unprotected IoT devices to generate massive amounts of traffic, something unheard of at the time. However, with DDoS attacks, there is a common theme, one established in the reality that there is not much difference between a 300 Gbps, 500 Gbps and a 1 Tbps attack. Or, more simply put – big is big, and mitigating those attacks proves somewhat similar.

The basic strategy to mitigating volumetric DDoS attacks is not particularly complex. Administrators set up rules to flag the attack traffic, detect the attack, apply those rules to dump attack traffic, all the while keeping all other traffic flowing normally. Unfortunately, the lack of complexity does not always make things easy. Bruce Gregory, CEO of Corsa points out that there are several places mitigation can fall down. Gregory said, “You have to be able to store enough rules to cover the massive quantity of bots involved in the attack, plus create and store the rules quickly enough, and process all the rules in real time and at line-rate. If mitigation fails at any of these, the attack succeeds and the site comes down.”

Put simply, protecting against rising volumetric DDoS attacks requires the very best DDoS detection and a mitigation solution that can handle multi-hundred Gbps attacks. That’s a tall order, and one Gregory claims that the Corsa Red Armor mitigation appliance can fill. “The Corsa Red Armor NSE7000 was made precisely for this kind of volumetric DDoS attack,” said Gregory. “Service providers and network architects can leverage Red Armor for universal mitigation of any size volumetric DDoS attack. It provides the needed 100G line rate enforcement and only impacts traffic as a bump in the wire.”

Gregory recognizes that 100G DDoS mitigation at line-rate is a big claim. To that end, Corsa ran rigorous performance tests to verify the Red Armor platform was up to the task. The results showed the DDoS mitigation appliance can apply 200,000 rules in under a minute while saturated with a 100 Gbps mix of normal and attack traffic.

To accomplish this, Corsa’s hardware architecture separates front-end processing of traffic with distinct TCAM offloads and advanced search algorithms. The architecture allows the mitigation engine to work at 100 Gbps line-rate and process packets at 150Mpps while simultaneously updating rules tables at a rate of 3,389 rules per second. Gregory added, “This means that hundreds of thousands of attack types can be detected and the appropriate mitigation rules stored and acted upon in less than 60 seconds with no impact to legitimate traffic.”

Volumetric attacks are the new normal, and Gregory’s advice to network architects is to step up their defenses with more capable mitigation techniques that can bring a quick end to DDoS attacks.

Read more here:: gigaom.com/feed/

The post Corsa Strives to Combat Growing Volumetric DDoS Attacks appeared on IPv6.net.

Read more here:: IPv6 News Aggregator

Introducing the Arduino MKRFOX1200

By News Aggregator

By Arduino Team

On Arduino Day, we announced the latest member of the Arduino MKR family: the MKRFOX1200. This powerful IoT development board offers a practical and cost effective solution for Makers looking to add Sigfox connectivity to their projects with minimal previous networking experience.

The MKRFOX1200 shares several similarities with other MKR products, like the MKR1000 and MKRZero, including a compact form factor (67 x 25mm) and a Microchip SAM D21 32-bit Cortex-M0+ microcontroller at its core. The recently unveiled board also features an ATA8520 module for long-range, low-energy consumption, and is capable of running for over six months on two standard AA 1.5V batteries.

Designed for Makers ready to take their IoT projects into the real world, the MKRFOX1200 comes with a GSM antenna that can be attached to the board and a two-year subscription to the Sigfox network. This provides users with full access to Sigfox’s efficient messaging system (up to 140 messages per day), cloud platform, webhooks, APIs, as well as the new Spot’it geolocation service.

MKRFOX1200 can be used in a wide variety of settings, from agriculture (livestock management, smart irrigation and weather stations), to smart cities (dumpster monitoring, air quality networks, street lighting or parking lot tracking), to utility metering and other industrial applications.

“Sigfox loves Makers,” says Nicolas Lesconnec, Head of Developer Relations. “Sigfox aims to empowers billions of new IoT solutions. We’re proud to partner with Arduino, the leading open-source electronics platform, to offer the simplest way to connect anything.”

Sigfox currently operates in over 30 countries, with more to follow in the next few years. (Use this map to see whether it has been deployed or is rolling out in your area.) The first version of the MKRFOX1200 is compatible with Sigfox Radio Configuration Zone 1 (868MHz, 14dBm), meaning it is only supported in network-covered regions of Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa.

Interested? You can find the MKRFOX1200’s specs here, and watch Massimo Banzi’s overview below. The board is now available on Arduino’s European online store!

Read more here:: blog.arduino.cc/feed/

The post Introducing the Arduino MKRFOX1200 appeared on IPv6.net.

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Understand More, Fear Less: Will G20 Be Able to Contribute to an Internet Future with a Human Face?

By Wolfgang Kleinwächter

Co-authored by by Constance Bommelaer, Senior Director of Global Internet Policy at Internet Society and Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aarhus

Last week, the G20’s ministers responsible for the digital economy met in Düsseldorf to prepare this year’s G20 summit, scheduled for Hamburg, July 2017. Building on important strides initiated two years ago during the G20 summit in Antalya and based on the G20 Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Initiative (DEDCI), which was adopted last year under the Chinese G20 presidency, the Düsseldorf meeting adopted a “G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Declaration” which also includes a “Roadmap for Digitalisation”. One day before the ministerial meeting, non-state actors were invited to discuss “Policies for a Digital Future” within a so-called Multistakeholder Conference.

The ministerial outcome document reflects a deepened understanding of the Internet’s role in the future. It reiterates the importance of the digital economy for the overall economy, for growth, job creation and a sustainable development. And it reaffirms the commitment to the goals and principles laid down in the documents of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the OECD Ministerial Declaration of Cancun (June 2016).

Despite the diversity of the “Group of Twenty” — which includes both the G7 countries (US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Italy) and the BRICS countries (China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Africa) as well as countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Argentina — the document recognizes, “that freedom of expression and the free flow of information, ideas and knowledge across border are essential for the digital economy and beneficial to development”. Furthermore it “reaffirms support for ICT policies that preserve the global nature of the Internet” and “allow Internet users to lawfully access online information, knowledge and services of their choice”.

It is also remarkable that Paragraph 3 of the Düsseldorf Declaration reaffirms the G20 commitment “to a multistakeholder approach to Internet Governance, which includes full and active participation by governments, private sector, civil society, the technical community and international organisations, in their respective roles and responsibilities”. The ministers of the G20 countries also support “multistakeholder processes and initiatives which are inclusive, transparent and accountable to all stakeholders.”

This is good news and will help to deepen and broaden the still controversial discussions around “enhanced cooperation”, “Internet fragmentation” and “multistakeholder models” in the global Internet Governance Ecosystem.

But what the meeting also showed was increasing concerns around trust, and new challenges offsetting the Internet’s benefits. In many regards, it reflected a view that the Internet is no longer a naïve space which offers more and more opportunities, but a technology with risks and threats and with significant impact on humans lives and diplomatic relations. Indeed, despite the world’s increasing dependency this global network the Internet has become a centerpiece of a political context where globalization is being put into question.

New reflexes of fear are emerging, and not only from governments who may sense they are losing control of their national boundaries and see new risks of cyberattacks against their critical national infrastructure. Workers fear that digitalization will destroy their jobs, consumer movements argue that new business models undermine consumer protection, and industry is proactively calling for norms to limit state-sponsored cyber-attacks in times of peace. Developing countries fear becoming marginalized in a digital world. Micro-, small and medium sized business (MSMSs) fear having no chance to compete with the digital giants. And individuals fear losing their privacy and digital identity.

We’ve seen many of these issues expressed in the consultations of the Internet Society’s “Internet Futures” project. And indeed, many of those “digital fears” are real and justified. However, innovation always produces opportunities which go along with risks. More opportunities, more risks.

This is not new. We saw this when the automobile was invented (the risk was that people would die in car crashes and the air will be polluted) or when nuclear fission was discovered (the risk was nuclear war and nuclear energy disasters). The way forward was always the same: Do not stop innovation but develop strategies to get the threats under control. Maximize opportunities, minimize risks. The airbag in the car or the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in the world of nuclear bombs are two examples how safeguards can be developed — both by other technical innovation or by good will in intergovernmental negotiations.

In shaping the future, we must not be naïve but we should not let fear become the driving force for the development. As Marie Curie once said as she was making ground-breaking discoveries “now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less”, because “nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” But in today’s digital environment understanding alone is certainly not enough. What we need are also actions. What we need are innovations like an “airbag” and an “NPT” for the digital future.

Is the digital revolution to be human?

If trust in institutions such as media, business or governments is eroding in general, the Internet is no exception as shown in ISOC’s 2016 GIR on Data Breaches.

The G20 preparatory process revealed that many stakeholders question the value of the digital revolution for mankind. The transformation resulting from the Internet of Things (IoT) combined with artificial intelligence and robotics will certainly drive a potentially radical transformation of industry and society. And while the impact of this technological transformation is yet to be seen, it is important that they have a human dimension at their core.

In many regards, the challenges of the future will also amplify the challenges we have today. As Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, stated recently, we seem to have lost control of our personal data in an online world increasingly characterized by monitoring and surveillance. An unsustainable environment increasingly portrayed by manipulation and distrust where it seems no one is liable nor accountable

Another increasing fear is the impact of ICTs on jobs. Studies predicting that 50% of today’s jobs are at risk of automation, and where 65% of children entering primary school will end up working in new job types that don’t yet exist, are all sources of anxiety.

While many of these fears are well-grounded, there is also a need to approach them in a sound and strategic manner. Many aspects of automation, for instance, are still dependent on innovations yet to come, and adapting to an increasingly digital world is about adapting skills and education to such an environment. This includes fostering confidence in using the technology, source criticism and a basic understanding of how the Internet and its economy work, and how it’s governed. Promoting human empowerment in a 21st-century environment is to recognize that digital literacy is vocational and civic education combined in one.

Will the Internet technology bring the world together or tear it apart?

The G20 meeting in Düsseldorf also put the finger on the constant tension between globalization and the development of an interconnected Internet. Geopolitics continues in an interconnected world, and it puts to test free trade, liberal ideologies and enables new actors that challenge the traditional roles of states.

Technology isn’t neutral in balancing geopolitical interests. Cyber threats and attacks including to harm nations economically are becoming more common, sophisticated and damaging. With this, cyberspace on its own has become the fifth domain of warfare, and tensions among governments are likely to increase. The UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cybersecurity will meet later in June to clarify the mutual responsibilities of governments to promote confidence building in cyberspace. In the same month, the new Global Commission on Stability in Cyberspace (GCSC), which has a three years mandate to bring a multistakeholder perspective to the intergovernmental negotiations, will have its first full meeting in Tallin.

So, is the Internet helping to unite nations or can it tear them apart? Are we moving towards a multipolar world where everybody is fighting against everybody or are we able to identify common interests and to build new innovative political mechanisms — like the multistakeholder approach — around the technical innovation which drives now the global economy?

Since the 80′, globalization and growth of an open and interconnected Internet have been closely interrelated. Openness is their common denominator. However, today’s fears and temptations of isolation could have an unavoidable impact on the open Internet as we know it, i.e. the communications infrastructure of the digital economy and society.

As we have seen in recent years, the Internet is increasingly seen as a domain where hacking and dis-information are “the continuation of politics by other means”. What happens in cyberspace is no longer isolated to cyberspace, but is seen as a manifestation of global dynamics. Online hate-speech, surveillance, terrorism, and state-sponsored attacks are all activities that are driving these developments and are in turn impacting the Internet itself. Censorship, calls to weaken encryption and to force data to adhere to national borders will reduce the opportunities which come with an open, free, borderless and secure Internet.

As noted by Jovan Kurbalija, head of the Geneva Internet Platform, “if the crisis of globalisation leads to further restrictions in the movement of people, capital, and goods across national borders, the same is likely to happen with Internet cross-border traffic.” Such “a less integrated society would lead towards a more fragmented Internet along national and commercial borders” with unforeseeable consequences for cybersecurity, the digital economy and human rights. The risk of these dynamics of a fragmented Internets is that economic and social promises of the digital opportunities would be broken, we would see a deepening not only of the digital divide but new forms of digital battles to re-distribute the shrinking digital dividends. In the wake of new global commitments such as the 2030 Agenda, this is of utmost concern as it could undermine the Internet’s role as a critical enabler for development.

But this is also why the G20 agreements can be so important. They identify the opportunities, the challenges, and offer a chance to settle the political mistrust through collaborative visions. They can help to turn digital fear into a digital détente.

Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

The G20 this year did agree on a set of useful goals from expanding Internet infrastructures through increased competition to supporting MSMEs in reaping the benefits of digitization and promoting consumer protection online.

This is good, BUT much more needs to happen. Fears will disappear and eventually become themselves an engine for progress if we have a concrete plan to harness the impact of the Internet on our societies. This implies to deconstruct the issues and transform high-level declarations into actions.

We would propose considering at least three immediate actions:

  • Increasing accountability for data breaches by giving users control and imposing more of the economic externalities of the data breach on the organizations holding the data.
  • Promoting digital inclusion by expanding access and empowering users. Digital literacy needs to be a priority in education, and business practices have to adopt a user centric approach in managing personal data.
  • Protecting encryption to protect a trusted ecosystem. Because confidentiality is the basis of any society and economy. Weakening encryption constitutes a systemic risk to the Internet and its plethora of online services including banking transactions, e-commerce or government services.

The Way forward

How can this be achieved? There is no blueprint or ideal solution. Each case must be treated individually. But one thing is for sure: It will need the efforts by all stakeholders.

Governments certainly play an important role. But they are not “the only band in the digital town”. The G20 recognized in Düsseldorf “the critical importance of private sector and enterprises in the digital economy”. This is a very realistic statement. But this will not be enough. All stakeholders are needed. A multistakeholder approach can’t be reduced to a public-private partnership where big government and big industry agree on top down behind closed doors. A multistakeholder approach — as supported in the Düsseldorf Declaration — also needs the involvement of the Internet technical community and the active participation of civil society, the citizens, and netizens in cyberspace. Otherwise, decisions will not be legitimate nor sustainable.

It is good that the G20 Ministerial Declaration refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to freedom of expression and “applicable frameworks for privacy and personal data protection”. Ignorance of individual rights will undermine trust as a key issue of digital transformation. This is relevant also for mass surveillance, both by governments and by private corporations. References to this controversial subject are missing in the Düsseldorf Declaration. This issue has been raised recently in the March 2017 meeting of the UN Human Rights Council by UN Special Rapporteur for Privacy in the Digital Age, Joseph N. Canatacci. And this issue will not go away, neither for the governments of the G20, nor for the private corporations which are collecting personal data from billions of individual Internet users.

Anyhow, the commitment to the multistakeholder approach by the G20 governments is a good step forward. The next step is to translate the commitment into concrete actions. How “sharing” of policy development and decision making among state and non-state actors in cyberspace — as agreed in the WSIS Tunis Agenda from 2005 — can be organized in the day-to-day operations? This is not easy and a big challenge. This needs political creativity. And there is a still a long way to go.

Even with the positive approach towards multistakeholderism under the German G20 presidency, a lot of the multistakeholder gestures were more symbolic than substantial. The Ministerial Declaration was negotiated behind closed doors by the governmental Sherpas and participation in the multistakeholder conference was by invitation only. There was no remote participation as we know it from EURODIG or the UN Internet Governance Forum.

With other words, if form follows function, there is still space for improvement for the G20 governments to position themselves in the global Internet Governance Ecosystem. Key criteria for multistakeholder processes, specified in the 2014 NetMundial Declaration from Sao Paulo, like openness, transparency, bottom up, inclusiveness etc., did not exactly match with the 2017 “Road to Düsseldorf”.

It remains to be seen how the G7 will handle their meeting of the Digital Economy Ministers in Torino in September 2017. And it will be interesting to see, how the BRICS summit in Xiamen, also in September 2017, will handle the new challenges which come with cybersecurity, digital economy, individual rights and multistakeholder approaches.

Argentina will overtake the G20 presidency in 2018. The Latin America country hosted already three ICANN meetings. Those experiences will certainly help them to take the next step in linking technical innovations — which drive the digital economy — to political innovations — which drive the digital society.

Written by Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aarhus

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More under: Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Privacy, Security

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Understand More, Fear Less: Will G20 Be Able to Contribute to an Internet Future with a Human Face?

By News Aggregator

By Wolfgang Kleinwächter

Co-authored by by Constance Bommelaer, Senior Director of Global Internet Policy at Internet Society and Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aarhus

Last week, the G20’s ministers responsible for the digital economy met in Düsseldorf to prepare this year’s G20 summit, scheduled for Hamburg, July 2017. Building on important strides initiated two years ago during the G20 summit in Antalya and based on the G20 Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Initiative (DEDCI), which was adopted last year under the Chinese G20 presidency, the Düsseldorf meeting adopted a “G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Declaration” which also includes a “Roadmap for Digitalisation”. One day before the ministerial meeting, non-state actors were invited to discuss “Policies for a Digital Future” within a so-called Multistakeholder Conference.

The ministerial outcome document reflects a deepened understanding of the Internet’s role in the future. It reiterates the importance of the digital economy for the overall economy, for growth, job creation and a sustainable development. And it reaffirms the commitment to the goals and principles laid down in the documents of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the OECD Ministerial Declaration of Cancun (June 2016).

Despite the diversity of the “Group of Twenty” — which includes both the G7 countries (US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Italy) and the BRICS countries (China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Africa) as well as countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Argentina — the document recognizes, “that freedom of expression and the free flow of information, ideas and knowledge across border are essential for the digital economy and beneficial to development”. Furthermore it “reaffirms support for ICT policies that preserve the global nature of the Internet” and “allow Internet users to lawfully access online information, knowledge and services of their choice”.

It is also remarkable that Paragraph 3 of the Düsseldorf Declaration reaffirms the G20 commitment “to a multistakeholder approach to Internet Governance, which includes full and active participation by governments, private sector, civil society, the technical community and international organisations, in their respective roles and responsibilities”. The ministers of the G20 countries also support “multistakeholder processes and initiatives which are inclusive, transparent and accountable to all stakeholders.”

This is good news and will help to deepen and broaden the still controversial discussions around “enhanced cooperation”, “Internet fragmentation” and “multistakeholder models” in the global Internet Governance Ecosystem.

But what the meeting also showed was increasing concerns around trust, and new challenges offsetting the Internet’s benefits. In many regards, it reflected a view that the Internet is no longer a naïve space which offers more and more opportunities, but a technology with risks and threats and with significant impact on humans lives and diplomatic relations. Indeed, despite the world’s increasing dependency this global network the Internet has become a centerpiece of a political context where globalization is being put into question.

New reflexes of fear are emerging, and not only from governments who may sense they are losing control of their national boundaries and see new risks of cyberattacks against their critical national infrastructure. Workers fear that digitalization will destroy their jobs, consumer movements argue that new business models undermine consumer protection, and industry is proactively calling for norms to limit state-sponsored cyber-attacks in times of peace. Developing countries fear becoming marginalized in a digital world. Micro-, small and medium sized business (MSMSs) fear having no chance to compete with the digital giants. And individuals fear losing their privacy and digital identity.

We’ve seen many of these issues expressed in the consultations of the Internet Society’s “Internet Futures” project. And indeed, many of those “digital fears” are real and justified. However, innovation always produces opportunities which go along with risks. More opportunities, more risks.

This is not new. We saw this when the automobile was invented (the risk was that people would die in car crashes and the air will be polluted) or when nuclear fission was discovered (the risk was nuclear war and nuclear energy disasters). The way forward was always the same: Do not stop innovation but develop strategies to get the threats under control. Maximize opportunities, minimize risks. The airbag in the car or the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in the world of nuclear bombs are two examples how safeguards can be developed — both by other technical innovation or by good will in intergovernmental negotiations.

In shaping the future, we must not be naïve but we should not let fear become the driving force for the development. As Marie Curie once said as she was making ground-breaking discoveries “now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less”, because “nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” But in today’s digital environment understanding alone is certainly not enough. What we need are also actions. What we need are innovations like an “airbag” and an “NPT” for the digital future.

Is the digital revolution to be human?

If trust in institutions such as media, business or governments is eroding in general, the Internet is no exception as shown in ISOC’s 2016 GIR on Data Breaches.

The G20 preparatory process revealed that many stakeholders question the value of the digital revolution for mankind. The transformation resulting from the Internet of Things (IoT) combined with artificial intelligence and robotics will certainly drive a potentially radical transformation of industry and society. And while the impact of this technological transformation is yet to be seen, it is important that they have a human dimension at their core.

In many regards, the challenges of the future will also amplify the challenges we have today. As Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, stated recently, we seem to have lost control of our personal data in an online world increasingly characterized by monitoring and surveillance. An unsustainable environment increasingly portrayed by manipulation and distrust where it seems no one is liable nor accountable

Another increasing fear is the impact of ICTs on jobs. Studies predicting that 50% of today’s jobs are at risk of automation, and where 65% of children entering primary school will end up working in new job types that don’t yet exist, are all sources of anxiety.

While many of these fears are well-grounded, there is also a need to approach them in a sound and strategic manner. Many aspects of automation, for instance, are still dependent on innovations yet to come, and adapting to an increasingly digital world is about adapting skills and education to such an environment. This includes fostering confidence in using the technology, source criticism and a basic understanding of how the Internet and its economy work, and how it’s governed. Promoting human empowerment in a 21st-century environment is to recognize that digital literacy is vocational and civic education combined in one.

Will the Internet technology bring the world together or tear it apart?

The G20 meeting in Düsseldorf also put the finger on the constant tension between globalization and the development of an interconnected Internet. Geopolitics continues in an interconnected world, and it puts to test free trade, liberal ideologies and enables new actors that challenge the traditional roles of states.

Technology isn’t neutral in balancing geopolitical interests. Cyber threats and attacks including to harm nations economically are becoming more common, sophisticated and damaging. With this, cyberspace on its own has become the fifth domain of warfare, and tensions among governments are likely to increase. The UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cybersecurity will meet later in June to clarify the mutual responsibilities of governments to promote confidence building in cyberspace. In the same month, the new Global Commission on Stability in Cyberspace (GCSC), which has a three years mandate to bring a multistakeholder perspective to the intergovernmental negotiations, will have its first full meeting in Tallin.

So, is the Internet helping to unite nations or can it tear them apart? Are we moving towards a multipolar world where everybody is fighting against everybody or are we able to identify common interests and to build new innovative political mechanisms — like the multistakeholder approach — around the technical innovation which drives now the global economy?

Since the 80′, globalization and growth of an open and interconnected Internet have been closely interrelated. Openness is their common denominator. However, today’s fears and temptations of isolation could have an unavoidable impact on the open Internet as we know it, i.e. the communications infrastructure of the digital economy and society.

As we have seen in recent years, the Internet is increasingly seen as a domain where hacking and dis-information are “the continuation of politics by other means”. What happens in cyberspace is no longer isolated to cyberspace, but is seen as a manifestation of global dynamics. Online hate-speech, surveillance, terrorism, and state-sponsored attacks are all activities that are driving these developments and are in turn impacting the Internet itself. Censorship, calls to weaken encryption and to force data to adhere to national borders will reduce the opportunities which come with an open, free, borderless and secure Internet.

As noted by Jovan Kurbalija, head of the Geneva Internet Platform, “if the crisis of globalisation leads to further restrictions in the movement of people, capital, and goods across national borders, the same is likely to happen with Internet cross-border traffic.” Such “a less integrated society would lead towards a more fragmented Internet along national and commercial borders” with unforeseeable consequences for cybersecurity, the digital economy and human rights. The risk of these dynamics of a fragmented Internets is that economic and social promises of the digital opportunities would be broken, we would see a deepening not only of the digital divide but new forms of digital battles to re-distribute the shrinking digital dividends. In the wake of new global commitments such as the 2030 Agenda, this is of utmost concern as it could undermine the Internet’s role as a critical enabler for development.

But this is also why the G20 agreements can be so important. They identify the opportunities, the challenges, and offer a chance to settle the political mistrust through collaborative visions. They can help to turn digital fear into a digital détente.

Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

The G20 this year did agree on a set of useful goals from expanding Internet infrastructures through increased competition to supporting MSMEs in reaping the benefits of digitization and promoting consumer protection online.

This is good, BUT much more needs to happen. Fears will disappear and eventually become themselves an engine for progress if we have a concrete plan to harness the impact of the Internet on our societies. This implies to deconstruct the issues and transform high-level declarations into actions.

We would propose considering at least three immediate actions:

  • Increasing accountability for data breaches by giving users control and imposing more of the economic externalities of the data breach on the organizations holding the data.
  • Promoting digital inclusion by expanding access and empowering users. Digital literacy needs to be a priority in education, and business practices have to adopt a user centric approach in managing personal data.
  • Protecting encryption to protect a trusted ecosystem. Because confidentiality is the basis of any society and economy. Weakening encryption constitutes a systemic risk to the Internet and its plethora of online services including banking transactions, e-commerce or government services.

The Way forward

How can this be achieved? There is no blueprint or ideal solution. Each case must be treated individually. But one thing is for sure: It will need the efforts by all stakeholders.

Governments certainly play an important role. But they are not “the only band in the digital town”. The G20 recognized in Düsseldorf “the critical importance of private sector and enterprises in the digital economy”. This is a very realistic statement. But this will not be enough. All stakeholders are needed. A multistakeholder approach can’t be reduced to a public-private partnership where big government and big industry agree on top down behind closed doors. A multistakeholder approach — as supported in the Düsseldorf Declaration — also needs the involvement of the Internet technical community and the active participation of civil society, the citizens, and netizens in cyberspace. Otherwise, decisions will not be legitimate nor sustainable.

It is good that the G20 Ministerial Declaration refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to freedom of expression and “applicable frameworks for privacy and personal data protection”. Ignorance of individual rights will undermine trust as a key issue of digital transformation. This is relevant also for mass surveillance, both by governments and by private corporations. References to this controversial subject are missing in the Düsseldorf Declaration. This issue has been raised recently in the March 2017 meeting of the UN Human Rights Council by UN Special Rapporteur for Privacy in the Digital Age, Joseph N. Canatacci. And this issue will not go away, neither for the governments of the G20, nor for the private corporations which are collecting personal data from billions of individual Internet users.

Anyhow, the commitment to the multistakeholder approach by the G20 governments is a good step forward. The next step is to translate the commitment into concrete actions. How “sharing” of policy development and decision making among state and non-state actors in cyberspace — as agreed in the WSIS Tunis Agenda from 2005 — can be organized in the day-to-day operations? This is not easy and a big challenge. This needs political creativity. And there is a still a long way to go.

Even with the positive approach towards multistakeholderism under the German G20 presidency, a lot of the multistakeholder gestures were more symbolic than substantial. The Ministerial Declaration was negotiated behind closed doors by the governmental Sherpas and participation in the multistakeholder conference was by invitation only. There was no remote participation as we know it from EURODIG or the UN Internet Governance Forum.

With other words, if form follows function, there is still space for improvement for the G20 governments to position themselves in the global Internet Governance Ecosystem. Key criteria for multistakeholder processes, specified in the 2014 NetMundial Declaration from Sao Paulo, like openness, transparency, bottom up, inclusiveness etc., did not exactly match with the 2017 “Road to Düsseldorf”.

It remains to be seen how the G7 will handle their meeting of the Digital Economy Ministers in Torino in September 2017. And it will be interesting to see, how the BRICS summit in Xiamen, also in September 2017, will handle the new challenges which come with cybersecurity, digital economy, individual rights and multistakeholder approaches.

Argentina will overtake the G20 presidency in 2018. The Latin America country hosted already three ICANN meetings. Those experiences will certainly help them to take the next step in linking technical innovations — which drive the digital economy — to political innovations — which drive the digital society.

Written by Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aarhus

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