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Internet Policies for Web Hosts to Watch in 2016

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It can be difficult to keep up with the policies and legislation that impact your business as an Internet infrastructure provider or service provider, so we’ve asked the i2Coalition to give us a run-down of the top issues for hosting providers to be aware of as we enter 2016. i2Coalition breaks it down into 7 main issues, including backdoor encryption, the Trans Pacific Partnership and IANA transition. Here are the details.

ECPA Reform

Issues related to warrantless access to data have been core to the i2Coaliton’s policy strategy since the beginning. Reform of the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), enacted in 1986 is critical to that strategy. In 2015, we were successful in including a provision in the Omnibus budget restricting the IRS, SEC, FTC, GSA and OMB from using their funds to compel Internet infrastructure providers from disclosing information “in a manner that [would violate] the Fourth Amendment.”

In 2016 we will continue our strong support for reform of this woefully outdated law. The i2Coalition believes ECPA reform must establish consistent privacy protections across all platforms. This includes enacting a warrant requirement for government searches of emails and other electronic communications, as is required for access to traditional communications and assurances that traditional Fourth Amendment constitutional guarantees of due process are upheld. By changing our law to harmonize it across all communications platforms, the US will show the rest of the world that it is serious about protecting the privacy of global citizens who use our communications networks and increase consumer confidence in the Internet infrastructure industry, both in the United States and globally.

Judicial Redress Act

Passage of the Judical Redress Act (JRA) is a precondition to implementation of the “Umbrella” privacy agreement between the US and the EU. The will extend US judicial recourse to the citizens of designated US allies, most notably to European Union member states, when the US government uses their data in a way that contravenes US Privacy Act. Under the US Privacy Act, American citizens can contest the misuse of personal data collected by US law enforcement agencies in court. Allowing EU citizens to contest such a use, makes them feel more comfortable sharing their information. In addition, the Umbrella agreement enhances US and EU security by providing a framework to allow law enforcement agencies to share data. We believe that the JRA is a no-nonsense, and simple, law that will both enhance the digital economy, and strengthen the ability of law enforcement to provide security.

TPP/Trade

The I2Coalition is committed to a trade process that solicits, facilitates and incorporates input from everyone. We believe that policymakers should learn from the debates about negotiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership. In particular, policymakers should learn that those not connected to channels of influence believe that their views have not been heard. We will work with our members, and those businesses not normally heard by trade negotiators, to provide their input on agreements currently in negotiation, particularly TISA and TTIP.

Our businesses facilitate global trade, creating unparalleled access to goods, information and services. Our ability to provide infrastructure services across the globe is critical to the world’s economy. Trade agreement play a key role in facilitating the transformative nature of the global Internet. The governance structure of the Internet, in which all stakeholders are provided a seat at the table in negotiations about its operation can provide a useful guide for trade negotiators as they consider the lessons of the TPP negotiations.

IANA Transition

For the Internet ecosystem as a whole to grow and thrive, it must remain open, stable, secure and resilient. To that end, the i2Coalition supports NTIA’s planned transition of ICANN oversight from the US government to a multi-stakeholder approach that allows members of different communities, countries and businesses to collaboratively manage the Internet as a common resource. But any transition must maintain a high standard for oversight, accountability and increased transparency. We believe the DOTCOM Act is a measured approach to do just that and we will continue to work closely with the US Department of Commerce and key US legislators to help ensure that these goals will be met in the transition.

United Kingdom Snooper’s Charter

The i2Coalition opposes the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill (also known as the Snooper’s Charter), which would give legal license to security and law enforcement agencies in the UK to employ vast surveillance technologies across nearly every form of electronic communication, including web history, phone communications, and social media accounts. We believe that this proposal would introduce intrusive government surveillance into the core of businesses’ day-to-day operations, making business for our member companies in the UK nearly impossible.

Digital Single Market

The i2Coalition supports adoption of the Digital Single Market (DSM) proposal, which will improve access to the online marketplace, facilitate the expansion of new digital business ventures, stimulate economic growth, and move the European Union (EU) one step closer to becoming a borderless digital economy. The EU estimates that a fully functional DSM could add €415 billion annually to the economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. This initiative is the first step toward digitally unifying the 28 member states of the EU, eradicating trade barriers, and developing uniform copyright and data protection laws across the EU, which will help strengthen investment and innovation.

Encryption Backdoors and Cyber Security Legislation

The i2Coalition supports the ability of businesses and individuals to have access and use encryption to secure their data. Encryption not only plays an essential role in maintaining secure vital communications between consumers and Internet businesses, but it also creates safety measures that ensure consumers’ privacy when making online transactions and sharing personal information. We have worked with members of congress and standards setting organizations to help develop an understanding of the place of encryption in the Internet environment. The current legislative environment requires great attention to important debates about encryption. We have been, and will continue to be, engaged in these debates.

Government agencies are currently pressuring Internet companies to weaken the encryption they apply to consumers’ communications, which fails to take into account the tremendous safety benefits that encryption provides. “Backdoors” into encrypted communications undermine an individual’s ability to protect communications, negatively affecting trust in Internet infrastructure businesses, and compelling companies to take their products and services to countries that lack burdensome government overreach.

About the Author

i2cThe Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition) supports those at the center of the Internet. We believe the continued growth of the Internet is vital for growing an environment of innovation and seek to engage in ways to foster success of the Internet and Internet infrastructure industry. We seek to influence decision makers to weigh decisions on whether they are good or bad for the Internet economy and its foundational industries. In short, we seek to foster growth within the Internet infrastructure industry by driving others to harness the Internet’s full potential. To learn more about i2Coalition, visit http://www.i2Coalition.com.

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