|[January 15, 2014]
Internet Society Urges President Obama to Effect 'Immediate and Meaningful' Changes to U.S. Government Surveillance Practices
WASHINGTON & GENEVA --(Business Wire)--
U.S. President Obama is expected to make a speech on 17 January 2014
regarding the recommendations in the report from the President's Review
Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies: Liberty and
Security in a Changing World. The world will be watching for substantive
action from the President to effect immediate and meaningful changes to
U.S. government surveillance practices that have shaken the confidence
and trust of Internet users worldwide. The President has a unique
opportunity to open a global dialogue to find ways to protect, as the
Advisory Board's report puts it, two different forms of security:
national security and personal privacy.
"We appreciate the tone of the report and the willingness of the U.S.
Government to seriously examine all aspects of this issue," said Bob
Hinden, Chair of the Internet Society Board of Trustees. "However, we
have serious reservations that the report and the President's response
to it will address the damage already done to the global Internet. The
pervasive surveillance revelations we have all heard about have
seriously damaged trust in the Internet ranging from the services and
applications, equipment vendors, Internet service providers, technical
standards, and the Internet governance mechanisms."
The Internet Society continues to urge all stakeholders, including
governmental actors around the world, to consider the effects of local
solutions in what has become a global system. Fragmntation of the
Internet is a very real risk. Actions have consequences and we are
already seeing breaks in the chain of trust that underpins the global
The damage to the Internet has been deep and, thus, the response must
urgently and forthrightly address the consequences including:
Trust in international privacy and data protection frameworks has been
called into question, and this directly threatens the trans-border
economic and social power of the Internet. Examples of such frameworks
are the Safe Harbor provisions, and agreements on the safe exchange of
airline passenger, financial transaction, and law enforcement data.
Proponents of the open multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance
such as the U.S. are now reasonably open to criticism for having
subverted the current global model, for single-country self-interest.
This poses a real threat to Internet governance, as it gives
ammunition to those who are inclined to challenge that model.
The disclosures reveal an attack on the Internet at a core technical
level, with security-related standards, products, and services being
contaminated in the course of reaching the market. The serious nature
of this attack cannot be overstated.
The Internet Society's view is that the open, inclusive standardization
and governance approach remains the model least susceptible to abuse. As
we await the President's response, we assert that all stakeholders need
to contribute to the development and implementation of
internationally-recognized data ethics practices.
Kathy Brown (News - Alert), President and CEO of the Internet Society, commented, "The
chain of trust has been broken and the decisions we all make in response
will be critical to the Internet's continued development. The Internet
Society is committed to continuing its leadership across the Internet
community to ensure the Internet is a trusted, global, and open platform
for all participants."
About the Internet Society
The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet
information and thought leadership from around the world. With its
principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet
Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and
future development among users, companies, governments, and other
organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world,
the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the
Internet for everyone. For more information, visit www.internetsociety.org.
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