Center for Global Communication Studies

Internet Policy Observatory

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
  • Publication
    Internet Policy Formation in Latin America: Understanding the Links Between the National, the Regional, and the Global
    (2015-06-01) Aguerre, Carolina; Galperin, Hernan
    Until recently, internet governance was a relatively obscure topic in most technology policy agendas in Latin America. But in mid-2013, revelations about widespread surveillance of internet communications dramatically transformed conversations about the issue. The work addresses the institutional consolidation of emerging experiences in national contexts to address internet governance and policy as well as their effectiveness in shaping regional and global processes. This paper takes a comparative approach, by looking at several national cases; the experience of Argentine Commission for Internet Policy (CAPI) created in 2014; Costa Rica with the Internet Consulting Committee (in 2012) and Mexico with the Initiative Group (2012). These cases were examined against the backdrop of the well documented Brazilian experience and its Internet Steering Committee (CGI)( 2005). The research analysed the national internet governance mechanisms in the early stages of the institutionalization process, looking at the main developments that have shaped actors’ strategies as well as the evolution of internet regulations in these countries. The three cases differ in both the degree of formality, working mechanisms and stakeholder representation in these new bodies. In each national context, it is clear that governments are now working to formalize policymaking arrangements, as the original informal coordination mechanisms that gave rise to the internet in these countries are no longer sufficient. The bridges between the international and the domestic field will tend to rely on more formally institutionalized spaces as states become more involved with the issue.
  • Publication
    Benchmarking Demand: Pakistan and the Internet Users’ Perspective
    (2016-05-01) Khan, Arzak; Nisbet, Erik C
    This report is the third in a series that examines public attitudes and preferences about Internet censorship and regulation in states in which media and Internet use are subject to increasing restrictions. In the context of Pakistan, where rapid increases in internet access and usage are accompanied by a propensity to regulate this new cyber-territory, the goal of this report is to uncover the views of Pakistani Internet users with respect to the regulation and control of online spaces. In each of these reports, we seek to provide insight into who uses the Internet in each country and the most used and trusted sources of online and offline information. But more than that, the surveys seek to add to a process: learning how to plumb general views about the influence of the Internet on politics and society and chart attitudes concerning censorship on various political, religious and social grounds. The reports test an approach to determining who, among competing institutions, people trust to regulate the Internet, what constitutes their policy preferences about Internet regulation, and the extent to which Internet regulation issues might figure in political mobilization efforts in furtherance of Internet freedom.
  • Publication
    The Rise of the Global South on the World Wide Web: Bridging Internet Policies and Web User Behavior
    (2014-08-01) Taneja, Harsh; Wu, Angela Xiao
    Scholars of internet governance have traditionally focused on how institutions such as sovereign nation states and multilateral organizations establish public policy. In doing so, experts and policy makers often presume the impact of Internet policies on Internet usage, but rarely do they examine usage aggregated from the behavior of individual web users. In this study, authors Harsh Taneja and Angela Xiao Wu examine the relationship between internet governance and internet user behavior, empirically investigating web user behavior on a global scale. The authors utilize web use data from ComScore to construct a network for the 1,000 most visited websites globally in September 2009, 2011 and 2013. Analysis of these networks revealed a number of “clusters” of websites, whereby sites within the cluster had more users in common than they did with sites outside the cluster. In each of the three years, the most salient means upon which websites clustered together were both language and geography (and not content type). Thus, the authors interpret such clusters as online expressions of place-based cultures, or “regional cultures”, with data suggesting a de-Americanization and rise of the Global South on the WWW since 2009.
  • Publication
    Digitalizing Myanmar: Connectivity Developments in Political Transitions
    (2014-12-01) Calderaro, Andrea
    In the midst of rapid socio-political transition, Myanmar is building its telecommunications infrastructure by opening its market to international mobile companies and engaging in national regulatory reform. With one of the lowest internet and mobile subscriber rates in the world, Myanmar faces multiple challenges in building connectivity from both an infrastructural and a policy perspective. Telecom developments could play a significant role in modernizing the country as it emerges from decades of political repression, and although the domestic connectivity plan is moving forward, several challenges need to be dealt with quickly in order to ensure a safe and accessible digital environment. This paper explores connectivity developments in Myanmar, paying particular attention to the opening of the mobile market to international companies, the launch of the new national telecom law, and the development of policies securing digital rights.
  • Publication
    Benchmarking Public Demand: Russia’s Appetite for Internet Control
    (2015-02-01) Nisbet, Erik C
    This report explores the Russian public demand for internet freedom. Produced by Erik Nisbet with the Center for Global Communication Studies and the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, the study seeks to uncover attitudes and opinions about internet regulation, censorship of online content, and the potential for citizen mobilization and protest. Key findings from the report include: Almost half (49%) of all Russians believe that information on the Internet needs to be censored; A plurality (42%) of Russians believe foreign countries are using the Internet against Russia and its interests. About one-quarter of Russians think the Internet threatens political stability (24%); About four out of five Russians (81%) stated a negative feeling toward calls to protest against the government and change political leadership; The Russian government and the Russian security service were virtually tied in the percentage of Russians (42% and 41% respectively) that cited these organizations as trusted regulators of the Internet; 51% of Russian believe the primary motivation of government legislation creating a blacklist of websites is the maintenance of political stability versus 13% who believe the primarily motivation was limiting democratic freedoms; 39% of Russian believe personal blogs should be regulated the same as mass media websites.
  • Publication
    Security v Access: The Impact of Mobile Network Shutdowns, Case Study Telenor Pakistan
    (2015-09-01) Purdon, Lucy; Ashraf, Arsalan; Wagner, Ben
    Network shutdowns impacting an entire country are now almost non-existent, but the practice of shutting down communications in certain cities or areas of a country, or suspending certain services continues globally. This has happened over the past decade or so for a variety of reasons, sometimes due to national security concerns but also to prevent the organisation of protests or the spread of civil unrest. Due to the extremely sensitive nature of the subject, most telecommunications operators rarely address publicly the issue of network shutdowns and associated policies. Therefore, relatively little is known about the reasons for shutdowns, the mechanism through which governments affect such shutdowns, or the economic and social impacts of shutdowns on telecommunications companies, users, and society at large. Without such information, there is little opportunity to understand the avenues for prevention, mitigation and redress for business, users, or civil society. To combat its own serious public security challenges, the Government of Pakistan has often instructed telecommunication operators to suspend mobile and/or Internet networks where intelligence indicates a threat to national security. The Government of Pakistan’s stated intention in blocking access to communication at such a time is primarily in order to protect the right to life as violent extremists use mobile phones to inform each other of their movements and in some cases, mobile phones have been used to detonate bombs. Due to the relatively frequent nature of network shutdowns and associated security considerations, Pakistan was selected as the focus for this study. This paper seeks to: Analyse the Pakistan context as an introduction to further research on the economic and social impacts of network shutdowns. Explore how requests for disconnection are made by authorised agencies to telecommunication operators. Conduct a preliminary study on the day-to-day impacts and the perception of Pakistani citizens of network shutdowns, with a view to developing more in-depth research in the future. Analyse instances of mobile and Internet shutdowns outside of Pakistan, which were followed by corporate and government campaigns to achieve positive change, such as an amendment in the law. Provide best practices and guidelines for telecommunication operators with regard to handling network shutdown requests. Explore short-term and long-term opportunities for government strategies that both safeguard human rights online and offline by working with companies and governments so that human rights (of expression, assembly, privacy, security, and others) are not undermined while governments pursue legitimate objectives such as protecting society from terrorism or violence.
  • Publication
    Stakeholders' Involvement and Participation in the Internet Governance Ecosystem: An African Perspective
    (2015-12-01) Calandro, Enrico
    From an African perspective, internet governance requires not only an understanding of the variability in access to and use of the internet across the continent, but also an understanding of the disparities between developed and developing countries’ abilities to effectively participate in global internet governance debates. Few developing countries participate in these debates, and even fewer are active in agenda-setting for global internet governance. This paper seeks to understand how these factors transect with the notion of multistakeholder participation as a form of governance for internet policymaking, which is often informed by assumptions from more mature markets and Western democracies. It does so by exploring the evolution of multistakeholder participation through mapping the main international and regional instruments of the internet governance ecosystem in Africa. It critically assesses the ability of current multistakeholder initiatives to provide Africans with a compass to guide them through the miasma of cybercrime, political surveillance, censorship and profiteering that threaten the openness of the internet. The paper also highlights the participatory and accountability gaps in the current status quo, ultimately asking what solutions can be devised to enhance the participation of African stakeholders in internet governance.
  • Publication
    Beyond NETmundial: The Roadmap for Institutional Improvements to the Global Internet Governance Ecosystem
    (2014-08-01) Drake, William J; Price, Monroe
    Beyond NETmundial: The Roadmap for Institutional Improvements to the Global Internet Governance Ecosystem explores options for the implementation of a key section of the “NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement” that was adopted at the Global Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETmundial) held on April 23rd and 24th 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil. The Roadmap section of the statement concisely sets out a series of proposed enhancements to existing mechanisms for global internet governance, as well as suggestions of possible new initiatives that the global community may wish to consider. The sixteen chapters by leading practitioners and scholars are grouped into six sections: The NETmundial Meeting; Strengthening the Internet Governance Forum; Filling the Gaps; Improving ICANN; Broader Analytical Perspectives; and Moving Forward.
  • Publication
    Benchmarking Demand: Turkey’s Contested Internet
    (2015-10-01) Nisbet, Erik C; Dal, Aysenur; Behrouzian, Golnoosh; Çarkoglu, Ali
    The role of the Internet as a fundamental tool for communication and empowerment is one that should not be inhibited as the limitless nature of the medium allows for a broader, unfiltered, and more democratic exchange of information. These features become increasingly important in conditions where the mainstream media are unwilling or unable to provide the public with the information necessary to function as democratic citizens and maintain political accountability. Though an open Internet tends to be valued by more democratic governments, the percentage of countries adhering to the standards of open and free media is dismally low. In a majority of countries, governments maintain a stringent level of control over many of the mainstream information outlets, making the Internet a vital source of alternative information for the people living within these environments. While media censorship is certainly not a new phenomenon, it becomes especially noteworthy when a country experiences a sudden setback in the realms of media independence and freedom of information. Such cases allow for a more nuanced observation of how much the public values media freedom and their expectations of media performance. Turkey is a striking example of how a sudden dip in media freedom may impact the social and political climate of a country. This survey report is a product of an ongoing research project by faculty and graduate students at the Ohio State University and Koç University with support from the Center for Global Communication Studies’ Internet Policy Observatory at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication. The data in this report was collected between December 20, 2014 and February 2, 2015 and represents the views of 1161 respondents from that time. The goal of the project is to understand how people in Turkey perceive and value the debate over Internet freedoms in Turkey and how they employ the Internet and social media as alternative information resources within a heavily censored mass media environment. This is an important question more broadly as 85% of the globe’s population live within censored media systems like Turkey.
  • Publication
    Network Neutrality Regulation Across South Asia: A Policy Brief Towards an Evidence Based Research Agenda
    (2016-02-01) Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication

    This policy brief examines key themes highlighted during a series of roundtable discussions exploring South Asian Perspectives on Net Neutrality, hosted by the Centre for Internet and Society in association with the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Observer Research Foundation and IT for Change and provides recommendations for future research agendas on net neutrality towards the development of evidence based policy and regulatory solutions.

    The first roundtable â South Asian Perspectives on Net Neutralityâ was held in New Delhi on 12th December, 2015, where the potential market effects of net neutrality regulation and zero-rated platforms were discussed, and the themes of competition and regulation within the market were analysed in detail. The second roundtable, â Network Neutrality Regulation across South Asia: A Roundtable on Aspects of Differential Pricingâ , was held in Bangalore on 22nd January, 2016 where the discussion revolved around differential pricing and viable regulatory
    frameworks for net neutrality that could be implemented in South Asian markets.

    The core objectives of these roundtables was to develop a research agenda around net neutrality, analyse the impact of net neutrality on the market, and also to consider viable regulatory frameworks for the South Asian ecosystem. The roundtables were attended by various members of the Indian telecom industry, former advisors to regulatory bodies, lawyers, civil society representatives and other stakeholders. The discussions from the roundtables emphasized the need for evidence-based empirical research to inform policy that enables a fair market with the objective of providing equal and affordable internet to all sectors.