2016: Year In Review
The state of the Internet’s infrastructure remains strong; every aspect of the Internet has continued a rapid growth rate throughout 2016. Its role in our daily lives is as integrated as ever. The Internet is increasingly vital to not just our way of life, but also to employment, economic stability, and growth.
General Internet Education Efforts
As i2Coalition speaks with one voice for the companies that make up the infrastructure of the Internet, it’s never been a more critical or challenging time. With so many aspects of policy affecting the Internet, we have needed to redouble our education efforts to legislators, ensuring that politicians with vague ideas of how the Internet works, do not find new ways to break it. This year, i2Coalition has forged more relationships than ever with executive and legislative staff. We’ve focused much of our efforts and energy on being a resource for key influencers and authors of Internet related legislation, teaching them how the Internet actually works at the infrastructure level.
Our primary goal with trade has been to be be outspoken advocates for trade transparency efforts, for TPP, and for all trade agreements moving forward. We weighed in on various aspects of the E.U.’s Digital Single Market consult. We discussed, with key Congressional stakeholders, difficulties faced by changes made to the Wassenar arrangement. Based in part on this advocacy, President Obama has instructed the State Department to revisit problematic changes. We submitted a letter to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) asking for clarification on the standards, procedures and difficulties encountered by Internet infrastructure providers in working with U.S. sanctions regulations.
Opposition to Rule 41, a rule which dramatically expanded the U.S. government’s ability to hack, was at the center of a number of our efforts. Before Rule 41 went into effect at the beginning of December, we joined multiple letters in an attempt to halt the rule change. Efforts to attempt to gain clarity on how the Rule 41 rule change will be used are still underway.
We played a key role in guiding and advocating for a Congressional commission to address the importance of encryption and encryption policy. We were engaged in discussions around multiple encryption bills. We weighed in on key conversations on how the U.S. should update the vulnerabilities equities process.
Much of i2Coalition’s efforts were centered around ICANN Accountability. After two years of engagement around the CCWG accountability portions of the IANA transition, we saw the transition plan get signed off on by the multistakeholder community. Next came extensive lobbying, speeches, letter writing campaigns and ultimately an amicus brief, all coordinated by i2Coalition. We were truly able to say that our organization was key to ensuring that the transition occur. We were proud to be honored by the heads of NTIA and ICANN for our leadership in this area. Our IANA Transition lobbying was listed among the year’s top lobbying victories by TheHill.com. i2Coalition is an active, vocal, leader in both IGF and IGF USA, where both members and leadership alike, spoke about the future of Internet governance and international trade. We also provided the closing remarks for the DNS Forum.
i2Coalition continues to defend the role of the Internet intermediaries . We filed our first self-funded amicus brief in “Perfect 10 vs. Giganews”, taking the position that vicarious liability should not be extended to service providers. We consulted with the U.S. Copyright Office on proposed modifications to section 512, and filed comments in their ongoing review of this important law. We participated in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Roundtable on Subject Matter Eligibility. We filed comments with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on their Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. In each case, our goal is to ensure understanding of the important role that intermediaries play, and should not play, online.
We continued working to ensure passage of reforms to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. , and for a while it looked like it was really going to happen, but it didn’t. Next year we’ll be at that again. We will also be continuing talks on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments of 2008, and whether reforms are possible, when it comes up for renewal next year. We supported Congressional efforts to move the Judicial Redress Act forward in U.S. Congress; in January it was signed into law, effectively giving citizens of certain U.S. allies the same protections under the Privacy Act, offered to U.S. citizens.
Gender Diversity and Equity Initiative Working Group
Our Gender Diversity working group traveled the globe in 2016, and raised awareness of the need for more diversity in tech through the use of effective storytelling and engaging panels. In the latter half of the year, the group began focusing its attention on parental leave, and is currently researching case studies of what works in various companies and countries, in hopes of determining what kind of parental support is needed, to truly make a difference.
Abuse Reporting Workshops
We continued working with The Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) on a series of issues, including abuse reporting. We set up a special open list to discuss how the Internet infrastructure ecosystem can come together to make abuse reporting more practical and efficient. We held workshops on abuse reporting in Marrakech, Morocco and Philadelphia, PA.
General Industry Outreach Efforts
In 2016, we hosted DNSSec and DANE roundtables. We participated and spoke at over two dozen global conferences. We hosted six i2Brew events for our members. We held a series of 2016 CEO roundtables during HostingCon in New Orleans. We founded a discussion list for the General Counsels of the i2Coalition membership and to discuss the challenges they face. We launched a channel on industry forum, CircleID. We started our first two day conference, the Smarter Internet Forum, alongside our partners at M3AAWG. At this conference we awarded our first Internet Community Leadership Award to Ron Yokubaitis. We tried our best to see our industry colleagues everywhere we could, and we look forward to seeing them even more in 2017.
It’s been a busy 2016, but in some ways it’s been a slow year. In the United States, where many of our political issues are based, most issues have been obscured by election year politics, and less has been moving forward than in a normal year. i2Coalition is gearing up for a VERY busy 2017, and we’re ready to do whatever we can to make sure that this industry continues to survive and thrive.