Strengthening the Internet's infrastructure against all threats

Topic factors (explanation)

Importance: Medium
Interest: Medium
Agreement: High
Resolution: Medium

The main driving force behind /1net's creation - as well the Brazil meeting and Montevideo Statement - was fallout from a series of revelations over the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) online surveillance.

Most striking were:

  • Tapping the data centers of key Internet companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo ("Prism")
  • Tapping fibre-optic cables to access Internet traffic ("Tempora")
  • Breaking and undermining encryption protocols
  • Intercepting huge quantities of web traffic in Latin America, including the emails of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico
  • Monitoring the online habits of individuals it considered a threat

There have been a large number of impacts as a result of the revelations:

  • A loss of trust in Internet governance structures, especially those
    with United States government involvement
  • A drive by some governments to pull Internet issues under a
    government-only or government-led mandate
  • A group of the largest Internet companies calling for reform
  • Focus on the role of NSA employees within Internet technical bodies
  • Focus on the need to add data encryption as a matter of course

Posters on /1net recognize the need for the broader Internet community - and the multistakeholder model - to be a key part in efforts to limit online surveillance, even though this was not an area of expertise for most.

Broader issues of Internet security were raised, such as the injection of fake BGP or DNS data, and the technical responses to them (DNSSEC, RPKI).

It will require significant and thoughtful policy discussions at both the technical and political level, and across organizations, to arrive at effective solutions. /1net could play a useful role in that exchange.