viernes, diciembre 21, 2012

University rankings' homogeneizing metrics - institutions in India and Latin America

The following is an exchange with Ben Sowter from Quacquarelli and Simonds (QS) motivated by his statement that university rankings provide a single standard for academic institutions.

The discussion has been taking place in a group in LinkedIn motivated by a news article titled "India snubs all major university rankings - no clear rationale" by a member of the group.

The article informs about Indian Higher Education officials opinion contrary to the suitability of ranking systems to the structure and function of universities in India.

Ben's statement:

"Interesting. HE in India faces a lot of tough challenges with a demographic bubble about to pass through the system and an urgent need for increased undergrad capacity. In general the best schools are over-subscribed with genius-level applicants and can afford to be complacent, but the requirement for increased strength in depth is clear. Overall the rankings may not be perfect for India, but they do all feature meaningful indicators and could be used as inputs to a more sophisticated performance management algorithm. For all their collective and individual shortfalls these rankings remain one of the only sources of data for cross-border comparison."

My response:

Ben, no, the real challenge is to admit that "all major [global] university rankings", for some values of "all" and "global", inevitably measure universities against a single model. This may be a pure Humboldtian, Napoleonic, Anglo, Sino-Russian, Indian, whichever, or a not-necessarily-linear combination. it still is a single yardstick and it still is an artifice of the poll designer's mind.

Even "internationally attractive" is ill defined. Not necessarily do the same characteristics of a university attract students from across developed countries with strong academic systems, badly under-developed countries, and emerging economies some of which have a small core of good university education.

The rankings also do not consider what I call "riesgo país" or "country risk", a factor affecting all institutions in a given country. To simplify and to explain by way of illustration, if Latin American students leave their country it is far more likely that they will decide to go all the way to a "northern" institution (mostly in the US) than stay in the region, even considering the step of learning a different language. The cross-cultural experience is highly valued, perceptions of security and quality of life are strong drivers, the degrees are more prestigious at equal quality levels, and the countries are springboards for staying in academia which the "southern" institutions are not (we all know and I hope you, Ben, don't ignore or underestimate, the difficulty of publishing the same paper from a "southern" institution vis a vis doing it with a "northern" affiliation.)

Further, as Andrey Kitashov, Hillol Nag, and Lakshmi Iyer indicate almost explicitly, the entities that don't grade high against the yardstick may not be only individual ones, but whole subsystems or even national systems. That is the case in India, as described aptly by the previous participants in this discussion, in Latin America, as I have discussed extensively in previous years with you and other rankologists, and surely elsewhere. Even in the US and Europe you find friction for this reason.

More should be said about the different disciplinary foci of the institutions and the measures of performance associated with them and with the institutions' own choices and what their public and country authorities demand from them. A non-trivial thought must be given to the serious deformations induced in some cases (countries, subsystems, institutions) by the use and abuse of rankings, as shown incontrovertibly already years ago by Ellen Hazelkorn and have only gotten worse.)

All this is not to say that universities in India may have room for improvement or that those in Latin America are not flawed. But I do emphatically say that being "more like Ben Sowter thinks you should be" is not "being better."

Please refer to entries in my blog of many previous years for more precedent and discussion.

martes, diciembre 11, 2012

ISOC México on WCIT: draft ITRs, document 51-E

ISOC Mexico text on the pre-final WCIT document 51-E. My responsibility, thankful to ISOC Mexico members who contributed generously and in a very short time.

Presento a continuación el texto que ISOC México, a través mío, ha remitido a la delegación mexicana ante la Conferencia Mundial sobre las Telecomunicaciones Internacionales - WCIT o CMTI - de la Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones, UIT

El texto es resultado de un esfuerzo colaborativo. Agradezco a los miembros de ISOC México que aportaron su esfuerzo y sabiduría, y asumo desde luego la responsabilidad sobre el texto. Comentarios bienvenidos.

ISOC Mexico
Comments on ITU WCIT Document 51-E

December 11, 2012

1. General comment: the draft ITR in this version goes way beyond the limits that the ITU Secretary General had publicly expressed in the process previous to WCIT and several times during the Conference and evidently out of the scope of such regulations. It does so by including explicitly significant issues of Internet Governance and by including provisions with potential deleterious effects on the freedoms of speech, of association, and of access to knowledge, which are clearly a matter of content and not infrastructure.

Mixing in the ITR infrastructure and content issues may lead to unwanted outcomes. Most of the present delegations have a limited mandate to deal only with infrastructure issues. Delegations were not prepared to discuss content issues in this conference. At the international level there are other venues to deal with Internet related issues.

(Most of the comments on this document recommend avoiding including concepts that are out of the scope of the ITR. This does not mean such subjects are not important nor does it infer there should not be a discussion around these. However, given the complexity of the issues involved, they deserve to be treated as agreed by the International Community at WSIS. Excluding Internet issues from the ITR is not only desirable but also respectful of other organizations -including many of the UN family- and agreements. This should also help to gain consensus and achieve the main goal of the conference).

2. The provision on “unsolicited commercial communications” is ill advised, not enoughly well thought out, and misleading. It should be deleted.

In its present form it could be interpreted as a provision against all telemarketing and many business models of telephony call centers. This is consistent with being caused by the attempt to avoid the words “spam”, “e-mail”, “Internet”, and other related ones.

Should the resolution be rewritten to include these terms, we would still see its deletion necessary. Dealing with spam and related uses of the Internet is an issue of Internet Governance and does not belong in WCIT; it must follow the WSIS principles and be dealt within multistakeholder fora with the participation of all relevant stakeholders.

Further, the problem of spam is known to be very difficult to solve. Relevant multistakeholder organizations like the MAAWG, and in related work the APWG, have been able to make a dent on the problem by creating mechanisms and standards like DKIM and SPF, by recommended practices such as the closing of port 25 at ISPs, and others which only work in a multistakeholder models.

If the negotiators are irreducible in their position of including a provision in this field, it may read: “Member States agree to support multistakeholder mechanisms, initiatives, and organizations, compliant with the WSIS principles, in their continuing work against unsolicited communications; to cooperate with these organizations and among themselves in standards, technology, and practice; to frame such cooperation rigorously avoiding opportunities for anti-spam operations to curtail free speech be it by design or misuse; and to instill capacity building at all levels in order to curtail the driving force of spam, which is the lack of understanding by many users that leads them to make spam profitable.”

Also, one of the serious problems associated with spam is that wrongly implemented anti-spam measures stop legitimate communications from reaching their intended recipients. States can help reduce this problem by capacity building and by carefully setting high standards in their selection of providers and in the consumer-oriented evaluation of software and Operating Agencies.

3. The provisions for cybersecurity and security of telecommunications should be deleted. The role of Member States can be articulated as follows: “Promote cooperation of all parties in multistakeholder and specialized mechanisms and organizations, such as CERTs and CSIRTs, SDOs, and expert professional organizations and academic institutions, to create a culture of cooperative risk management in telecommunications. Such cooperation will firmly avoid risks by design or misuse of security-related provisions to curtail the rights of free speech, free association, and access to knowledge.”

Other functions that States must address urgently, such as provisions for creating baseline standards for network security for private and public operations, are not appropriate ITR matter.

3Bis About 31C. [Member States shall refrain from taking [unilateral and/or] discriminatory actions that could impede another Member State’s access to public [international telecommunications networks and services] [Internet sites and using resources].]

Although in principle it is adequate to state the desire of ruling out discriminatory behaviour, the ITR should confine to telecommunications and not the Internet.

4. About 31D 3.8 [Member states shall, if they so elect, be able to manage the naming, numbering, addressing and identification resources used within their territories for international telecommunications.]

This provision is likely to be dysfunctional, and outside the ITR capacity to rule. Naming, numbering, addressing and identification resources in modern networks, including the Internet, are globally coordinated within proper bodies that allow state participation among other relevant stakeholders in a context of multiple and equal participation. Furthermore, given the global nature of these networks, managing these resources on a local-national level may prove insufficient and may hamper the potential of a truly global network.

In this manner, according to the reasons stated before, it is recommended that this provision should be eliminated. In the case the ITR establish a provision in this field, it should encourage States to participate in the global decision-making mechanisms in a role according to WSIS.

5. Articles related to emergency and other privileged telecommunications should not be used as a way to step into the “quality” of services and differentiated cost provisions, discussed separately.

5Bis. Article 5B para 41C. The addition of this article is a good example of how the introduction of new concepts may generate confusion. There is not a definition of electronic communications in the ITR and as mentioned previously the ITR do not appear to be the appropriate mechanism to deal with this issue.

6. 42L on exchange points: the article is written in such a way as to avoid mention of Internet Exchage Points (IXPs) and it does not belong rightfully in the ITR. States and mostly non-state actors are in a renewed cycle of building interconnection points. States should be in the obligation at most, of supporting such efforts, and making sure that equipment, software and operations of the exchange points do not interfere with the freedoms cited elsewhere in this document. The recent adoption of a DPI recommendation in the ITU makes this connection particularly worthy of attention.

7. 42T on “charging based on agreed quality of service” should be deleted. It is formulated in urgent language which is consistent with the know “ETNO proposal” and is not mature enough in the analysis of foreseeable and especially unforeseeable consequences of this provision, the most important of which may be undesirable forms of discrimination among technologies, sources, destinations, and contents. Giving to the operating agencies the power to charge over international communication applications and services could lead to limit innovation, entangle the development of new technologies and services and the natural growth of the internet ecosystem.

8. The new resolution on “enabling environment” should not be included in the ITR. Although it gives lip service to WSIS, its concluding statement is not consistent with a full multistakeholder collaboration as is needed for the avowed purposes of the resolution.

9. On Article 7: On the case of exercising the right of suspension of services: Even though it is a good provision that the States should be enforced to notify the execution of this right to the Secretary General, it should be recommended that better regulations on this right should be imposed. A thorough justification on the reasons and further consequences to the public opinion could serve as a good measure to prevent States abusing of this right.

lunes, diciembre 10, 2012

Carta a la delegación de México en la CMTI - WCIT de la UIT

Reproduzco aquí el texto que remití a la delegación mexicana ante la Conferencia Mundial sobre las Telecomunicaciones Internacionales o World Conference on International Telecommunications. Abierta a comentarios. Refleja exclusivamente opiniones personales. Agradezco a quienes han contribuido a formar mi opinión y los/las/les eximo de responsabilidad.

Estimados amigos en la delegación mexicana a WCIT:

escribo animado por la lectura de algunas de sus intervenciones en
WCIT, que he podido ver en las transcripciones. He tratado de
informarme por todos los medios posibles, incluido por supuesto el
comunicado de la COFETEL, del estado que guarda la conferencia,
especialmente en la temática que guardan los comentarios que hicimos
desde ISOC Mëxico, los expresados en reuniones de consulta en la SCT,
y la recomendación del Consejo Consultivo de la COFETEL.

Veo con preocupación que se presenta (sin versión oficial todavía, al
parecer) una supuesta propuesta "de compromiso" por parte de los
Emiratos Árabes Unidos y otros países. Diversos colegas presentes
señalan además que delegaciones como la de Rusia hacen un intenso
cabildeo por esta propuesta.

En lo que puedo observar, la propuesta no puede ser considerada "de
compromiso" por lo ya señalado, su carácter extremo. Ojalá sea posible
salir de esa trampa retórica o denunciarla.

Además, literalmente no tiene una palabra sana. Punto por punto es
inaceptable, y en paquete es peor que la suma de sus partes. Ni el
concepto de "Internet nacional" ni ninguno de sus temas deben pasar al

Observo también que la Conferencia discute temas como spam, que Uds.
señalaron se opondrán a que sea tema de la misma. Ojalá con
expresiones como la mía se fortalezcan Uds. para rechazar no sólo el
tema en la Conferencia, sino su remisión a eventos posteriores y a
grupos de trabajo, grupos de estudio, o comités de cualquier tipo.

También observo que el tema de seguridad sigue presente y que se le ha
tratado de reformular con términos como "resiliencia" o "robustez".
Como Uds. saben, tuve el honor de presidir el Grupo de Trabajo que
investigó el cumplimiento de las obligaciones de ICANN sobre la
estabilidad, seguridad y resiliencia/robustez del DNS, uno de los
subsistemas de Internet. Antes, pero sobre todo durante y después de
esa experiencia, he quedado convencido de que la comunidad de Internet
- innovadores, operadores, usuarios, etc. - cuenta con mecanismos
avanzados para proveer y mejorar constantemente estas variables.

Además dichos mecanismos cumplen con los requerimientos participativos
"multistakeholder" demandados por la Cumbre Mundial sobre la Sociedad
de la Información en materia de Gobernanza de Internet, como no es el
caso para la UIT y en especial la CMTI.

Por ello también apelo a que Uds. contribuyan a rechazar este tema -
más allá de la capa física - en el RTI y la CMTI. Añado que la capa
física es un elemento de fragilidad (lo opuesto de resiliencia) en
aquellos países que no cuentan con suficiente diversidad física,
geográfica, tecnológica e institucional en sus enlaces de
telecomunicaciones al extranjero. Los incidentes de grandes
interrupciones de comunicaciones internacionales, de naturaleza
accidental, se repiten con gran efecto en esas condiciones, trátese de
cortes por maquinaria o barcos, o bien de actividad humana más
discreta pero igualmente letal, como el reciente incidente ocasionado
por una anciana con una pala en la república de Georgia.

Me refiero finalmente a la transparencia, rendición de cuentas y
participación en la propia CMTI y en la UIT en general. Ojalá puedan
Uds. estudiar la carta que organizaciones de la sociedad civil han
enviado al Secretario General de la UIT y, en su caso, asociarse con
las posiciones allí expresadas. El mito o al menos media verdad de que
la Conferencia es participativa y está abierta debe ser dilucidado y

Quedo como siempre a sus órdenes.

Alejandro PIsanty

viernes, noviembre 30, 2012

#KillSwitch, Siria y México

Hoy estamos enterados de que en Siria el acceso a Internet, al menos con/desde el extranjero, está suspendido desde hace más de 24 horas. La operación sugiere una acción deliberada del gobierno, que controla a los proveedores. No parece tratarse de un corte físico en fibras ópticas sino de una operación en los ruteadores y otros equipos activos de la red, similar a la que se llevó a cabo en Egipto en un momento crucial de la "primavera árabe".

Algunos analistas como Zeynep Tufecki consideran que la aplicación del "Kill Switch" motivó una salida masiva a las calles e intensificó las protestas que pocos días más tarde condujeron a la caída del régimen de Mubarak.

ISOC global se ha manifestado al respecto en

El análisis mencionado aparece en el blog de la empresa CloudFlare con información técnica interesante y valiosa.

Ahora la pregunta que algunos se hacen es "¿podría pasar en tu país?" Un estudio que me indicó la artista y activista Gerry Juárez (nuestra amiga @SinkDeep), en y realizado por Renesys, clasifica a los países con base en la diversidad de conexiones a Internet internacionales de cada uno. Considera a México en la parte más sana de los de bajo riesgo (entre 10 y 40 conexiones diferentes en la frontera, en la parte alta de ese número) de desconexión total deliberada.

Para nuestro país queda por reflexionar si estos números se verifican desde adentro del país, investigar si hay dependencias ocultas (por ejemplo que algunos proveedores no sean independientes entre sí), y analizar el marco legal, regulatorio, de prácticas comerciales, y ético que impediría la aplicación del "Kill Switch" o apagado forzoso de conexiones a Internet para todo el país.

(este artículo es una adaptación de un mensaje enviado por el autor a los socios de ISOC México)

lunes, noviembre 12, 2012

Notes from the IGF session "Taking Stock and Looking Forward"

These are partial, informal notes I took in the "Taking Stock" session in the closing day of the Internet Governance Forum, in Baku, Azerbaijan. They do not substitute for official transcript, may contain unfinished content and rough references to third parties with no intent to offend, and may skip large parts of the session's content for no particular reason. And the no particular reasons may be different in each case. Meant for progress in parallel and in advance to official transcripts.


Notes by Alejandro Pisanty
Constance Bommelaer introduces session format.
Peter Major introduces facilitators.
Bertrand de la Chapelle. Asks rapporteurs to present reports.
Calls Jeanette Hofmann. Report from Main Session on Emerging Issues
1. Disaster recovery
a. Understand digital media for spreading information. Need to create local infrastructure to communicate vital information. Govts should prepare by digitizing information, providing it, and providing training. Emphasis on flow of information.
2. Intellectual property rights and free speech
a. Discussion around common principles. Regulation should be technologically neutral; this principle faces problems, like: each medium inherits different regulations, countries are different, regulation of hate speech is an example. Against convergence. There was no common view in panel.
Rohan Samarajiva, IG4D session:
3 clusters: gTLDs, enabling environment, infrastructure
gTLDs, expansion of domain name space: concerns are expansion of markets
On the other clusters there was agreement for multistakeholder processes. Differences refer to people who see infrastructure as more important (in developing countries.) Emphasis also on innovation.

Karen Rose, on Access and Diversity

Infrastructure, mobile and innovation.
Meta-level takeaways:
Go beyond rolling out connectivity. It is a key prerequisite, but to be meaningful we need to talk of Internet as value proposition. Turn users into creators and innovators to fuel development.
Driving demand for the Internet by being more relevant and developing content. All stakeholders have mutually reinforcing roles.
Look at these issues as how to fuel the Internet economy.
Alejandro Pisanty, UNAM and ISOC, Mexico
The 7th meeting of the Internet Governance Forum held numerous discussions on the intertwined subjects of Security, Openness and Privacy. The subject was the theme of a Main Session and Workshops, and was also of interest in Dynamic Coalition, Open Forum, and other discussions.
The brunt of the attention was dedicated to the relationship between Security and Privacy, or more broadly this year, between Security and Rights among which privacy is present with its own weight, for its impact on other rights, and as a symbol or even shorthand for these.
As the 7th IGF included many more rights-related sessions than any previous year, statements about rights threatened by surveillance permeated a large part of the discussions. Continuing from previous years, the balance between opposing trends as well as views of cybersecurity serving instead of opposing privacy and liberties went on being the focus of many debates.
In some of these debates, clear-cut cases and figures for state-driven surveillance were shown. Some of these are staggering, especially in view of the accelerated application of analytics and correlation that allow the deanonymization of data captured as anonymous. In many cases shown in the Forum, the justification for the scale of data capture and retention cannot be readily found. The impact of surveillance as a chilling effect on the rights of free expression and free association was underlined as well.
Identity management, a key element of online security and privacy, was discussed. Among the most forward-looking contributions is the view of evolution from top-down, owned identity, authentication and authorization frameworks towards identity management based on multiple sources which only require a low level of trust in each.
Openness was not intensely discussed in this intertwining. However, it was the subject of many discussions in which libraries and librarians play an increasing role in the Internet Governance Forum, and of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Core Values.
The communities concerned with rights and with security have not been communicating enough. A call is made for further multistakeholder dialog open to many diverse needs and points of view.

Bill Drake. Report on session on Critical Internet Resources.
gTLDs process; emphasis on broadly generic terms, role of the GAC which generated robust disagreement among some parties.
Secondary markets for IPv4 addresses. Using markets to reallocate scarce resource could serve some purposes, or could be inconsistent with global public interest.
WCIT and ITRs were discussed for potential impact on Internet, esp. proposals from some parties for interconnection and “sender pays” kind of approach. Boundaries between telecommunications and Internet are of interest as they shift. Consensus that the regulations should not extend deeply into the Internet realm and stay closer to the traditional realm of telecommunications.
Vladimir Radunovic. Report from remote participation, “the cloud”. 3,000 tweets previous to meeting, 1,500 more during the last 24 hours reaching 2.8 million followers; almost a parallel IGF.
Concerns on rights.
Heated discussions on enhanced cooperation, of which IGF is considered a model.
Debates on “right to Internet”
Intense interest in WCIT and ITU SecGen’s speech.
Other topics included questions about women and children rights, and disaster relief.

Qusai al-Shatti facilitator now. Open to participants.

Subi Chaturvedi. India. Professor and NGO from Delhi. Thanks people who facilitated her presence; it is a life-changing moment. IGF is one of the most transparent, accessible platforms.
Makes a submission: national IGFs are not fast enough. Need to have numerous events. We need an Internet Governance Movement; what is at stake is freedom, Internet and freedom.
Institutionalize best practices from national and regional experiences, sharing learning, creating bridges. Facilitate dissemination of information.

Parminder Jeet Singh. Recommendations from WG on IGF improvements. Complains. Extends the complaint. Insists on complaint. Asks why grounds for his complaint arose.

Jonas Makinnen. Progress in youth participation. More intense discussion and acknowledgement of youth’s contribution. IGF suffers from youth showcasing. Remarks on absence of local youth.
Youth want attribution and access. Young people need to be able to learn the positives and the negatives.

Peter Major. Response to Parminder on implementation of CSTD recommendations. They have not yet been accepted by the UN GA and the MAG was not mandated to follow them. Next year will be different.

Subi Chaturvedi. On youth: India IGF dedicated a day to related issues but still left out youth. We have to create events that engage youth, we must go to them.

Bertrand. Enhanced cooperation discussion more accepted. Transnational effect of laws, neutrality in Marco Civil. WCIT a big issue, discussion is in mission of IGF as monitor of whether processes comply with WSIS principles.
Qusai. In a nutshell eg disaster response, technical neutrality in regulation; IG4D importance to develop domain-name industry at ccTLD level and developing infrastructure (mostly IXPs), enabling environment.

Carblanc: will discuss statements of principles. There are at least 15 statements of principles which exist mostly in English. There are differences: in the mode of development (unilateral to multistakeholder); source (IGOs, govts, civil society, business, etc.); approach (economic, human rights, etc.); focus (constitution-type, sectoral, etc.)
Commonalities: reference to international founding instruments, similar rights, commonality in principles.
Kleinwächter. Over 25 sets of principles identified. There should be a single one that covers them all, counts with the agreement of all governements and all stakeholders, and be elaborated by the MAG.
Pisanty: attempt to find common principles upwards will only conclude on the commonalities in the lowest layers, i.e. openness, interoperability, end-do-end. Wolfgang’s proposal would also ask for the MAG to become the constitutional assembly of cyberspace; not equipped for that.

Elvana Thaci: one characteristic of the EU Principles are open; they don’t try to develop in isolation and try to express core values of the Internet in policy guidance. They see it as the CoE’s contribution to an ongoing global process in which all stakeholders must take their own responsibilities. See also CoE governance principles for 2012-2015.

Parminder Jeet Singh. Will not talk about DC on IRP. OECD and others are developing principles and they should not oppose UN-level development. Horrible people oppose these.
On Wolfgang: agree with Pisanty on MAG role, not right.

Jeremy Malcolm. Outcome from BestBits, civil society meeting of 50 experts. Only way to legitimacy is multistakeholder development of undisputed principles.

Franklin Netto (Brazil govt).
IGF would have important role in drafting principles.
Marco Civil has not been approved in Congress, it is an initiative of the Executive listening to society
Happy to hear that enhanced cooperation concept is not a taboo
Need a platform to operationalize the concept. Enhanced cooperation must be multistakeholder process, to result in public policies.
First time at IGF, likes very much to work in open space, BUT we need to find ways to systematize the results and take them to governmental realm and others.

Ayesha Hassan. The private sector welcomes the IGF and thinks there is room for further exploration of sets of principles.

Now Nermine El-Sadawy moderates. How could principles be compiled and how the IGF platform be used for that.
Carlos Affonso. Report from workshop.
Johan Hallenborg from same source. IGF should create a prize. Work more on intermediaries following Frank LaRue. Study interaction with technical design. Link to human rights fora, maybe through workshops next year. Continue to hold Human Rights Roundtable.

Nermine: do people agree with Wolfgang or Alejandro?

Peter Major: he understands that Wolfgang’s proposal is only to compile and find commonalities among sets of principles, sees no harm.
WG on IGF improvement.

Constance Bommelaer. Agrees with Anne Carblanc on compilation of principles; it needs to be done in a multistakeholder environment.

Anne Carblanc: surprised that no-one is taking the floor. If the IGF is not the platform, then what is? Human rights are not the only perspective; social wellbeing, economics, etc. also count, and the OECD would be glad to participate.

Bertrand. The issue of proliferation of principles was already present in the Nairobi IGF. There was general agreement on comparing these sets of principles. Need to decide how to do it. Compendium seems to represent at least the first step. There are milestones and natural timeframes to structure that discussion (like meetings in 2013.) Some compilations are already being made. One compilation could be done by February.

Parminder. Will make a suggestion for process. There should be a round table in the next IGF. Offers to help organize on behalf of CD on IRP.

Theresa Swinehart. Good dialog, good opportunity. As MAG member looks forward to continuing this in the MAG now.
Nermine: would agree with Theresa. Maturity point in time to take next steps.

Peter Major. Next phase of the session: Way Forward. Facilitators Avri Doria and Vint Cerf.

Avri: The IGF is evolving. Way forward has two dimensions: the IGF itself and the substance, what we’ll be talking about.
CSTD was talking about IGF of two years ago.
Wants MAG to be more than program committee, dynamic coalitions to be dynamic along the year. Look at some statements made in this IGF in defense of freedoms, esp. freedom of speech and freedom after speech.

Vint Cerf. The MAG should belong to the IGF, not to the CSTD. WE should be in charge.
7th IGF UNDESA staff, secretariat, hosts have achieved a lot with little resources. These must become more reliably. Commits to get more engagement for the IGF.
IGF meetings are rich in content and diversity and thought provoking debate. A project to curate the archives is called for. Calls for participation, offers data mining. Some work is already being done so the point is providing platforms.
More can and should be done to draw attention to problems that surface. Task and staff the MAG or a MAG-like Working Party to analyze the issues and assess whether progress is being made. Do the issues deserve attention by other bodies?
Need to involve more participants from Latin Americ, Asia and Africa.
IGF should self-assess.
There is value to loose coupling and informality. We should keep it, avoiding overly rigid regulations.

From Vint textually:
“1. The UNDESA staff and IGF secretariat, with great assistance from the Azerbaijani hosts, have done wonders with little resource. We must find a way forward to increase reliably the resources available for future IGF meetings. I am committed to finding ways to increase private sector engagement and support.
2. The IGF meetings are rich in content and diversity, vigorous in thought-provoking debate. This one was no different. But we are not leveraging the accumulated wisdom of the observations of participants as well as we should. A project to catalog, archive and curate the cumulative documents (including transcripts) of all IGFs is called for. I am committed to working with like-minded participants to achieve a sustainable archive and data-mining capacity to inform future IGFs and to assess historical trends.
3. It seems clear that more can and should be done to draw attention to problems that are surfaced in the IGF discussions between IGF meetings. To this end, we should consider tasking and staffing the MAG or a MAG-like working party to analyze the issues raised and to assess whether progress is being made. This work could include specific observations derived from the IGF deliberations and speculative suggestions for their further consideration in appropriate fora. At the beginning of each IGF, one could look forward to a report on progress made in areas identified as ripe for resolution.
4. It seems important to test the idea of dynamic coalition efforts that continue between annual IGF meetings. Perhaps some of the Dynamic Coalitions formed during this IGF can attempt to engage during 2013 in remote or even face/face interaction making use of online tools to further their work.
5. This IGF, as have its predecessors, has reaffirmed the vital utility of multi-stakeholder exchanges that benefit from candor without forced attempts to reach consensus. The IGF process should draw upon a broader range of participants from all stakeholder sectors, especially from Latin and Central America, Africa and Asia/Pac. Incentives and facilitating steps are needed to achieve this objective.”.

Avri. Calls on facilitators of last two sections then will call for open participation, focused on progress, not evaluation.

Organizational matters. Some lead to drafting of texts and declaration.
There are too many workshops.

Qusai on ways forward.
The Internet is user-centric. Innovation doesn’t have borders. Future IGFs should discuss more Internet as tool for change.
Would like to see more interaction with regional and national IGFs.

Nermine El-Saadawy.
Need to aggregate and study principles.
Need intersessional meetings and other forms of continuity.
Create a think-tank group on Internet Governance policy issues.

Pisanty. Caveat re declarations or even types of summaries that need negotiated text.
Malcolm. On permissions needed to distribute materials.
Carl (N) how to contribute
Vint Cerf: we can and might use computer based tools already proven.
Carolina Aguerre. Agrees with Vint, Avri, Bertrand re legitimacy of IGF. Place for discussions, need to develop a very good website, tool with archives (very difficult to find out what has been discussed before)

Netto. Coincides with need to ensure sustainability of the IGF.
On how to compile the knowledge that has been generated in the IGF.

Heather Dryden.
Compilation of principles would be useful. Must be multistakeholder effort.

Ian Fish, UK, chartered institute for IT.
Besides geography there are sectoral and language considerations. (referring to Vint’s proposals.)

Andrea Beccali from IFLA. Many events till 2015.
UNESCO and UNDP progressively more absent. Failure of multistakeholder commitment of them.

Cedric from UNESCO: not true, tells of UNESCO presence.

Farghan Abdullayeva from Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences IT Institute. Interesting as host nation, multiple and diverse points of view. Thanks to organizers and participants.
Participant from Indonesia (el que intervino en una mesa de seguridad), will be host country.

Wout de Natris. Reports from workshop on international cybersecurity cooperations. Almost no regulatory body or law enforcement attended this conference. Summarizes conclusions: too many laws and treaties. Reach out and communicate. Capacity building. Set priorities through national security

viernes, noviembre 09, 2012

Cybersecurity in the Internet Governance Forum, Baku, 2012 - some session notes

Notes from cybersecurity related sessions in the Internet Governance Forum 2012 (Bakú, Azerbaijan)

These are (admittedly incomplete and potentially inaccurate) notes I took in some sessions related to cybersecurity in the Internet Governance Forum

Cybersecurity that achieves privacy and civil liberties.

Questions from audience, now panelists:
Robert Guerra. It is difficult to get intelligence agencies into a public conversation. Data retention needs special care. Religious speech now important; sometimes used to stifle speech, censor. In some cases governments use it as cover for stifling political speech.

Jimmy. You can send letters or use public phones without identifying yourself; these are essential rights in the offline world. On the Internet you can register but you don’t have to do everything you can do.
Speakers “in Egypt they torture criminals because police can’t do their job right. There is always a reason like this for retaining amazing amount of data. Surveillance out of precaution.”
Concerning religion: it is dangerous to bring the discourse of religious and human rights to online. Private companies are being blackmailed for this; example of Google and “inflammatory videos”, now having showed that they do have the ability to block.
Lots of issues rehashed. Research needed.

Workshop on Identity

EU, US creating official, governmental, national digital identity frameworks.
Bill Smith. Identity space is natural for governments. Models like Liberty Alliance, circle of trust. Learning from private sector like credit cards.
Emerging model with multiple, low-level-of-trust sources of authentication. Moving to adaptive, behavior based authentication.
India national identity system. Black market in peer authentication for identity. Biometric deployment In unprecedented scale. Problems appearing, like cataracts not letting iris measurement work. Lack of privacy framework and data protection law is causing protests, long run may lead to improvement.


Moderator Jonathan Charles, ex-BBC.

Session very sparsely attended.
Christopher Painter (US). US national strategy for cyberspace is a cybersecurity strategy.
The same rights (human rights) apply in cyberspace as elsewhere, including war regulations. Need to build a consensus globally.
Kristy Hughes. Huge concern about mass surveillance by data collection. Security and privacy go together online. Surveillance is not only a transgression of privacy but an unjustifiable threat to freedom of expression. The need for massive collection and retention of data has not been justified.
Security and free expression should not be opposed, therefore balanced. They are most often complementary. Regulating speech for incitement to violence should be exceptional, not a result of balance.

Carlton Samuels. (to question “what bothers you?”). In my part of the world access is important. The ability to participate is necessary. It is true that people will come to the Internet with hearts and minds laced with larceny. It is indeed for us to protect the public from such persons. Privacy is important. There will be times when these principles chafe.


Eleonora Rabinovitch. The three issues are intertwined. Will talk from perspective of human-rights organization in Latin America. Problematic legislation and decisions.
Problems too in legislation that criminalizes spreading false rooms. Use of free-trade agreements to approve changes in national legislation favoring intellectual-property protection which becomes a threat to the flow of information and free expression.
We have to be very cautious with new policies and legislation, even in good faith, to protect rights online.

Sherif Hashem (Egypt). We are seeing new attacks and viruses, possibly from state actors, moving forward. Very concerned that security and rights communities are not talking together enough. Need multistakeholder approach to whole set of problems. Need to be innovative. Apply known principles like proportionality.

Marietje Shcaake. Key priorities: people come first. Empower people, give them a free voice. Decisions in one country can have impact all over the world. Technologies can be used as weapons. No witch hunt of powerful corporations or of repressive countries; instead, find incentives, move away from zero-sum game.

Jonathan Zuck (for industry) stands up, shouts “give me liberty or give me death” “it felt good to say that, I’m not sure what it meant.” Then speaks against rhetoric.

Zaid Jamil. Need to act against cybercrime bringing people onto a single platform.
Christopher Painter (to question) If you have a security regime that stifles freedom you’re under the wrong approach.
Eleonora: puts Zuck in his place explaining to him the foundations of universal human rights principles.

Alejandro Pisanty, UNAM and ISOC, Mexico
The 7th meeting of the Internet Governance Forum held numerous discussions on the intertwined subjects of Security, Openness and Privacy. The subject was the theme of a Main Session and Workshops, and was also of interest in Dynamic Coalition, Open Forum, and other discussions.
The brunt of the attention was dedicated to the relationship between Security and Privacy, or more broadly this year, between Security and Rights among which privacy is present with its own weight, for its impact on other rights, and as a symbol or even shorthand for these.
As the 7th IGF included many more rights-related sessions than any previous year, statements about rights threatened by surveillance permeated a large part of the discussions. Continuing from previous years, the balance between opposing trends as well as views of cybersecurity serving instead of opposing privacy and liberties went on being the focus of many debates.
In some of these debates, clear-cut cases and figures for state-driven surveillance were shown. Some of these are staggering, especially in view of the accelerated application of analytics and correlation that allow the deanonymization of data captured as anonymous. In many cases shown in the Forum, the justification for the scale of data capture and retention cannot be readily found. The impact of surveillance as a chilling effect on the rights of free expression and free association was underlined as well.
Identity management, a key element of online security and privacy, was discussed. Among the most forward-looking contributions is the view of evolution from top-down, owned identity, authentication and authorization frameworks towards identity management based on multiple sources which only require a low level of trust in each.
Openness was not intensely discussed in this intertwining. However, it was the subject of many discussions in which libraries and librarians play an increasing role in the Internet Governance Forum, and of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Core Values.
The communities concerned with rights and with security have not been communicating enough. A call is made for further multistakeholder dialog open to many diverse needs and points of view.

lunes, noviembre 05, 2012

Mis notas del IGF 2012 - sesión sobre "enhanced cooperation" / My notes from the "Enhanced Cooperation" session IGF 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan

Raw notes taken in the first part of the meeting i.e. before the lunch break.


Enhanced cooperation sesión.

Notable: large presence of Brazilian group

Janis – precedent but gives NO explanation
Claudia Scelli – private sector appreciates multistakeholder, not static model to adapt to change.
Carlos Afonso – not here to discuss the linguistics, but to find HOW TO do this enhanced cooperation; problem since WSIS. ICANN has examples of efforts and ICANN itself is an example (difficult, imperfect, reinventing itself) of enhanced cooperation. Maybe we should create a WG like WGIG about enhanced cooperation. Example of WHOIS. Some people want too ready access without due process; this creates a multistakeholder process. Solutions seem impossible. Is it either “in their respective roles” or “on an equal basis”? Fadi Chehade calls for this in an ideal combination; only practice will tell us. Not being only a representative of our community or constituency but also a participant in the process. Calls for multi-equal-stakeholder basis.

Ambassador Fonseca Filho (Brazil) Dept. of Sci & Tech Affairs, BR Foreign Office. From the POV of the Brazilian govt. there is a gap in Internet Governance and believe that the IGF is not enough. Need a specific forum for all matters related to the Internet; all organizations including IGF do their job but it’s not enough; it does not perform the role needed to issue recommendations. The way they propose: establish a working group to collect views on how to implement the concept of enhanced cooperation; worked in CSTD and are frustrated that it didn’t happen there (further understanding ToR for such a group). The proposal is now being submitted to the General Assembly of the UN (this week, 2nd Committee). The appropriate thing would be for the GA to send it back to the CSTD. Extrapolating from WGIG. Think that the wisdom of the process that established the IGF gives hope that they can establish an organization. IGF is one track but need the enhanced cooperation in the context of the UN. The idea attracts fear from many.

Bill Woodcock. Packet ClearingHouse. From the perspective of the technical community, the cooperation process has been very successful. Two examples, exchange points (IXPs) and domain names. Number of IXPs has grown, mostly in developing countries, moving the means for decentralization thanks to outreach; not the tech community’s achievement on its own but also not something that govts can make happen by themselves. Tools for govts to regulate lightly and in an enlightened way. After each IGF new IXPs rise. OECD has helped get consistent statistics and make them public for use of policy makers. In the domain name system there has been a 10x growth in domain name servers worldwide, gone from zero to serious DNSSEC. We now have resilience and robustness which we didn’t have 5 years ago.

COMMENT BY AP. IG has been problem-solving in specific fields, and the BR proposal is too close to the illusion of a single universal global government.

We don’t mean to substitute for the processes that are working. We need a platform for discussion, not a new organization. Also need to discuss how to create multistakholder cooperation. There is no organization that allow governments to discuss and solve their problems, form the perspective of governments.

Carlos Afonso: agrees emphatically with the BR govt position.

Erika Mann: it is right to try to fix problems in government cooperation but a new tool is only an illusion. Need to bring operational understanding of what every party does. Then need to analyze the gaps and see how to fix them among/between mechanisms. Then there may be a third thing which is the missing part. What you need there are Chatham House meetings so govts can profit from the expertise of others.

Fonseca Filho. What Erika says is what he wants to hear. We need a platform. We are not prejudging and maybe we should resort to the existing institutions. But that is not the view of my govt now. And we think we need a platform. Both processes should go hand-in-hand. Need the group to make it work better. In Brazil we do practice multistakeholder governance and we have the endorsement from home. And we should further discuss.

Janis Karklins. This discussion is a perfect example of how compromise formultations at the end of negotiations lead to confusing processes afterwards. We are futher in our understanding of enhanced cooperation. It is “on an equal footing among governments” separate from “all stakeholders in their roles and responsibilities”. Enhanced cooperation is for public policy – but there are no “pure” policy issues, they are intertwined with technical issues, intellectual property, etc. Indeed there is no one place to discuss. We can try to create a platform but there is one essential caution: AVOID UNINFORMED DEBATE. Informed debate is essential; by creating a unique platform we need to bring all full expertise, since for example experts in cybersecurity are not experts in freedom of expression.


Moderator Bill Drake. Enhanced cooperation has been a subject of great controversy because of vague formulation and the intergovernmental process in CSTD has been stuck.
Echeberría: cooperation in the Latin American and Caribbean region includes LACNIC’s “mini-GAC”, formalization of regional IGF.
Tarek Kamel – ICANN more than 100 govts in GAC, review process is an example of govt cooperation. Collaboration with UNESCO for IDNs, esp. for ccTLDs. IGF also one great example, ICANN supports it strongly. Also took part in CSTD process of IGF improvement. Enhanced cooperation also in national models like Brazil, Egypt, India.
Fiona Alexander – Affirmation of Commitments opened and internationalized a role that the USG had uniquely. Total change, doesn’t expire. Four reviews already conducted successfully. Accountability and Transparency verified if ICANN was living up to its own commitments, by international community. IDNs have only been put in place only after WSIS, after IETF had the standards, UNESCO had the language tables, then GAC and ccNSO working together. Now 32 countries have IDN ccTLDs. Now also doing multistakeholder inside the US.
Bill Drake – USG still has asymmetric role but does great job of opening participation. Asks for comment on the special role of the USG.
Fiona Alexander – evolving gradually from historical roots. For IANA USG took public consultation on ToR and bidding process was directed by adopting criteria from international community, deference to international community and users of IANA.
Jeff Brueggeman – “do no harm”; Internet policy making compared to other global processes is doing very well. One of the main areas of progress has been bridging technical and policy decisions, as Janis Karklins emphasized. Losing that would be harmful and damaging. Hard to understand how one platform would work. Moving away from binary choices is needed now.
Parminder Jeet Singh – I have the unpleasant task of saying what is not going well. Agree on what we are talking about. Appears that he wants to refer to governments’ public policy role. Wants to see more discussion of other public policy issues than Critical Internet Resources (CIR.) Issues about public oversight (then goes on to speak about ICANN.) There is another set of areas. Is it too early to be addressing them? Or aren’t there any? CSTD Computer etc. committee does Internet policy and if nothing is to be done why is that committee working? Why is OECD making it? Why do they oppose other countries doing it? “I want enhanced cooperation to focus on that:” rich countries making policies for the rest.
Narine (Egypt) – wants to address concerns also from Arab and emerging economies. Ecosystem of IG and EC, big puzzle that has to be built in harmony. We can see camps in UN, ITU, WSIS platform. We need to converge and move forward. We’d like to see new measures like GAC not being only advisory; why don’t governments have a stronger roles.
Joy Liddicoat – APC NZ – we should also talk about governments responsibilities, like the recent resolution within the UN supporting free expression online. Double values and repression cause trouble. Some try to stop packets because of their contents and some have different faces in GAC and the way the act re human rights. We should see more enhanced cooperation for improvement in this area. Internet-related public policy that is not made in multistakeholder way is perceived as illegitimate (see SOPA, PIPA; trade agreements.) We are in a process of evolution; APC is positive about developments.
Tarek Kamel: not one constituency is managing ICANN. GAC has some special rules. Compares processes in Egypt, India; not a closed club. Other fora are invited to speak and participate in cybersecurity, child protection, etc. and all those have enhanced cooperation. The wider perspective is open to these different fora.
Echeberría: Parminder wrong in saying that no-one has said before that the focus must be broader than CIR. Examples of enhanced cooperation by LACNIC in non-CIR issues.
Brueggeman: countries should abide by global policies they agree to – internally, follow through.
Drake reads the discussion as a shift of understanding enhanced cooperation from oversight of ICANN to platform for broader issues.
Parminder: the issue does not go away. OECD, two problems: OECD makes intergovernmental policies and tells UN not to. Preconize global policies.
Fiona: rationale behind OECD. Motivation was colleagues in Brazil – they showed the Marco Civil, so the other countries started working on principles. OECD focus is on economics, and has other stakeholders. Perplexed by Parminder’s interpretation.
Numerous participations.

Bill Drake reads the CIRP proposal espoused by Parminder and shows how it aims to create oversight and arbitration powers.
AP COMMENT: AGAIN, ILLUSION OF SINGLE WORLD GOVERNMENT. I did read the IBSA and CIRP proposals and find them deeply flawed.
Kummer – the IGF is the forum. IBSA deeply flawed, OECD much closer to appropriate.
Heather Dryden, GAC Chair – will talk about GAC in afternoon session. GAC has arrived at sets of principles. Increased participation is needed.
Drake –
Liddicoat – support the IGF. Glad to see more places for engagement.
Brueggeman – on “call for existing organizations to report” – it has not been regular enough but it has been done. Find ways to improve on the existing, not only mapping but really make rigorous analysis and get out of deadlock.
Parminder – CIRP vs OECD. Something about poor incompetent guys. Now he believes that CIRP should not have the oversight role.
Nermine – enhanced cooperation working, responsibility to try to fix the gaps and integrate into the ecosystem.

sábado, septiembre 08, 2012

Observaciones para el pre-IGF LAC, Foro Regional Preparatorio sobre Gobernanza de Internet para América Latina y el Caribe

LACNIC, ISOC, APC y NUPEF están preparando el evento anual que conocemos como pre-IGF LAC, Foro Regional Preparatorio sobre Gobernanza de Internet para América Latina y el Caribe. Éste se llevará a cabo en Bogotá, Colombia, del 24 al 26 de septiembre de 2012. Para conformar en detalle el orden del día (la agenda) del Foro, han convocado a los interesados a contestar una encuesta.

En esta encuesta se pide expresar en forma muy breve la respuesta a algunas preguntas, por ejemplo sobre las prioridades de distintos temas de gobernanza de Internet para la región de América Latina y el Caribe, o la conducción misma del Foro.

En ánimo de atraer interés al Foro y de adelantar algunos posibles debates, me permito hacer públicas aquí mis respuestas. Ojalá contribuyan en efecto a movilizar los temas de interés. Bienvenidos los comentarios.

Gobernanza de Internet para el desarrollo.

1. Definir de manera realista los temas en que la gobernanza de Internet puede tener impacto en el desarrollo.
2. Buscar un entrecruzamiento en todos los temas para encontrar su impacto en el desarrollo.
3. Investigar los principales obstáculos en la aplicación de Internet en el desarrollo y determinar cuáles tienen un aspecto de gobernanza de Internet. En caso contrario remitir a otros foros.

Temas emergentes de gobernanza de Internet en la región.

1. Neutralidad de la red, ante las propuestas de compañías de telecomunicaciones que la amenazan gravemente (sistemas de pago e interconexión como el propuesto por ETNO ante WCIT para cambio en los ITRs) y ante convergencia en empresas con capacidad de integración vertical y dominancia.
2. Iniciativas de ley en diversos países que amenazan el tejido mismo de Internet, enfocando erróneamente el locus de los problemas y de las soluciones.
3. Expansión del acceso por medio de redes aptas para dispositivos móviles adaptando contenidos para mantener su riqueza y eficacia.

Gestión y manejo de los recursos críticos de Internet.

1. Revisar propuestas y modelos de IXPs ante su resurgimiento por parte de nuevos actores como Data Centers, Proveedores de Servicios Online, CDNs, etc.
2. Seguridad, estabilidad y robustez de los recursos críticos en todas las escalas, desde ICANN hasta la periferia, con intervención inteligente y colaborativa de todos los actores.
3. Prevención de mercados negros y sistemas basados en diversos abusos ante el agotamiento de las direcciones IPv4 y la insuficiente implantación de IPv6.

Seguridad, apertura y privacidad.
1. Educación y capacitación ampliamente difundida, intensa y recurrente, desde usuarios finales hasta instancias centrales públicas y privadas.
2. Atención especial a seguridad de sistemas previamente aislados de Internet, como los de control industrial que han mostrado vulnerabilidades.
3. Replanteamiento de la gestión de riesgos entre seguridad de la información, seguridad de las redes, etc., seguridad de los usuarios, privacidad en tanto protección de datos, y privacidad en tanto protección de la intimidad, privilegiando la apertura en acceso a la información, estándares, y derechos.

Acceso y diversidad.

1. Expansión sistémica del acceso, buscando combinaciones de infraestructura, capacitación de usuarios, y estímulos a la utilización productiva para la población de más difícil acceso (geográfico, educativo, etc.)
2. Regulación de telecomunicaciones, radio y TV, y contenidos que permita la convergencia digital para facilitar acceso.
3. Exploración de modelos de acceso a niveles comunitarios que simultáneamente estimulen las expresiones de diversidad geográfica y de preferencias personales y profesionales.

Balance y perspectivas a futuro: ¿Ha contribuido el proceso regional preparatorio a avanzar en la construcción de una agenda de gobernanza de internet?

El proceso regional preparatorio ha permitido construir algunos temas en común y la aparición de algunos actores que sin este proceso no se hubieran manifestado. Contribuye de manera penosamente gradual a la difusión de los temas y controversias y al diálogo que en los foros relevantes permite a los actores alcanzar soluciones, hasta ahora parciales y limitadas. No tiene suficiente influencia en foros que avanzan de manera que no debiera ser tan limitada como lo es, como e-LAC.

Ha contribuido el proceso regional preparatorio a avanzar en el fortalecimiento del diálogo político multisectorial alrededor de la gobernanza de internet?

El proceso regional preparatorio del IGF ha contribuido a hacer avanzar el diálogo multisectorial pero presenta deficiencias importantes que requieren trabajo para remediarlas. El más importante es la ausencia de actores clave, principalmente del sector privado lucrativo, y la insuficiente participación de representantes de gobiernos con una adecuada combinación de conocimiento especializado y nivel de representación y toma de decisiones.

¿Cómo debería el proceso regional preparatorio continuar y de qué manera debe ser organizado?

El proceso debe seguir siendo abierto y participativo, y ser organizado con atención al debate detallado de ideas y propuestas en grupos de trabajo y al debate amplio en pleno. El multilingüismo de la región seguirá siendo un problema, que pone en desventaja especialmente a los participantes del Caribe.

lunes, abril 16, 2012

Neutralidad de la Red - Carta al Senador Juan Bueno Torio

Hago pública la correspondencia que dirigí ayer al Senador Juan Bueno Torio, relativa a la legislación promovida en el Senado en materia de "neutralidad de la red".

Estimado Senador Juan Bueno Torio,

le tomo la palabra a lo expresado en su "timeline" de Twitter para
presentarle los argumentos que una parte de la sociedad informada y
metida en los fundamentos de Internet encuentra esenciales para
solicitar que la iniciativa relativa a "neutralidad de la red" sea

El texto completo de la argumentación que he elaborado se encuentra en
mi blog,
y aquí hago únicamente un resumen brevísimo de los argumentos
específicos a la iniciativa, ya que de sobra Ud. escuchó los
argumentos generales acerca de la neutralidad de la red en la sesión
que copresidió en el Senado.

Los autores del texto de la iniciativa (entre quienes se ha
manifestado el Dr. Ramiro Tovar) tomaron solamente el argumento de
mercado, entre los muchos que presentamos para explicar cómo se ha
legislado la neutralidad de la red en aquellos países en que ya se
presenta regulación al respecto. Se cita especialmente el caso de la
OFCOM (regulador) en el Reino Unido.

Sin embargo dicha cita es torcida, ya que omite citar también las
condiciones del mercado del Reino Unido y las expectativas de los
consumidores y ciudadanos, así como del regulador y el gobierno: la
hipótesis base es que se ofrece acceso irrestricto (no es lo mismo que
ilimitado) a Internet, con tal certeza que el regulador no intervendrá
en este momento pero observará la evolución de la oferta y las
operaciones, y se ha reservado todas las opciones para intervenir en
caso de encontrar desviaciones.

La iniciativa que Ud. y el Senador Castro Trenti han presentado no
asume el "piso" de obligaotiedad del acceso a Internet bajo un
principio de neutralidad, sino que simplemente otorga una patente de
corso a los proveedores de servicios en las redes. Éstos pueden
auto-otorgarse un sello de buena conducta con sólo avisar a sus
clientes que modifican las condiciones de contrato para restringir
determinadas aplicaciones, puertos, contenidos, protocolos, orígenes o

La Ley les otorgaría entonces a los proveedores del sistema nervioso
de la sociedad mexicana del Siglo 21 la libertad de manejar las redes
a su antojo y conveniencia, y reforzaría los ya excesivos incentivos a
favor de la colusión y la discriminación que con detalle expusimos
ante Ud. en el Senado.

En este momento no debe ni pensarse en un "texto alternativo" en tanto
que mejoras apenas arriba de cosméticas al texto de la iniciativa. La
base de la discusión sólo puede ser la obligatoriedad de proveer
acceso sin las restricciones mencionadas, salvo casos excepcionales,
temporales y transparentes de ingeniería de tráfico, o bien, la
apertura del debate para abordar este problema de forma integral. Una
aproximación legislativa ya existe, en la iniciativa presentada en su
oportunidad por el Senador Francisco Javier Castellón.

Hoy, Senador, hoy, este 15 de abril, detenga la iniciativa, por el
bien de los mexicanos.

Alejandro Pisanty

sábado, abril 14, 2012

El Senado vuelve urgente la discusión sobre Neutralidad de la Red

Neutralidad de la Red
Documento de discusión ante iniciativas de ley en el Senado

Alejandro Pisanty

Resumen. “Neutralidad de la Red” describe condiciones de operación de las redes de telecomunicaciones, específicamente en los servicios de acceso a Internet, en que no se permite que los proveedores de conectividad y acceso a Internet privilegien tráfico de algunos participantes a expensas del de otros por relaciones comerciales o de otra índole no técnica. Este documento presenta los principales aspectos del análisis y esboza algunas de las recomendaciones posibles.


1. Introducción

El tema conocido como Neutralidad de la Red, o “Network Neutrality” por su nombre original en inglés, se refiere al principio de que en Internet, la red pública de telecomunicaciones, es decir, la infraestructura física, el equipo activo, el software y los operadores, no deben tomar partido preferencial por ningún tipo de tráfico independientemente de cuáles sean sus puntos de origen y destino, su emisor o destinatario, el protocolo técnico que utilicen, el puerto o los puertos a través de los cuales definan la comunicación, el formato del contenido, y el contenido mismo.

Este principio, si bien está sujeto a debate en la actualidad, es un reflejo del principio de diseño de Internet conocido como “end-to-end” (“e2e”) o “de punta a punta”, el cual es uno de los principios fundamentales de diseño de Internet y está asociado a otros como el de “inteligencia en la orilla” y el de “best effort” o “mejor esfuerzo”.

El conflicto ya existente en algunos países y regiones alrededor de la Neutralidad de la Red se origina como una controversia entre algunos proveedores del servicio de la red (telefónicas, “carriers”, proveedores de servicios de Internet (ISPs), etc., que pueden tener diversos grados de integración entre sí) y algunos proveedores de contenido y servicios por Internet como buscadores, repositorios de archivos generados por los usuarios, proveedores de correo electrónico, proveedores de alojamiento de páginas Web y otros servicios, proveedores y distribuidores de contenidos de video y audio, redes de distribución de contenidos (CDN), etc.

Los términos extremos de esta controversia pueden entenderse como una propuesta de los proveedores de red de cobrar más por los servicios que venden a los proveedores lucrativos, y el riesgo – que se ha materializado – de que la administración y operación de las redes favorezca a algunos clientes sobre otros, llegando a la marginación o exclusión de algunos de ellos, o a que favorezca a aliados de negocio o miembros del mismo conglomerado en casos de integración vertical.

Por otra parte no siempre resulta práctica una operación de las redes que sea enteramente ciega a las características y volúmenes de algunos tipos de tráfico, que exigen prácticas razonables de ingeniería de tráfico. Entre éstas se pueden encontrar el bloqueo o la dosificación de algunos tipos de tráfico por características como número de puerto, origen o destino determinados por dirección IP, nombre de dominio o URL completo, protocolo, y otros.

Debido al número y diversidad de actores (“stakeholders”) que se relacionan directa e indirectamente con la Neutralidad de la Red, está abierta la discusión acerca de si es conveniente que la COFETEL ingrese en el tema. Los actores regulados por la COFETEL son sólo una pequeña parte del conjunto; en cambio, entidades cuyos intereses sociales o empresariales son afectados por la forma en que se trate la Neutralidad de la Red, de manera vital, no están en el ámbito de las telecomunicaciones siquiera. Además, algunos aspectos y tratamientos de la Neutralidad de la Red pueden corresponder a otros ámbitos regulatorios, como el de competencia (involucrando a la COFECO) o de derechos del consumidor (requiriendo la intervención de la PROFECO).

El nombre “Neutralidad de la Red” ha sido abandonado en algunos espacios, por sus implicaciones, posible falta de cobertura de aspectos importantes, y la propia evolución del debate internacional. Lo seguiremos utilizando en el presente documento en ese entendido. En algunos espacios el debate sobre Neutralidad de la Red se ha precisado bajo el título de Open Internet, entendiendo bajo éste el acceso irrestricto (salvo por las consideraciones ya hechas) a Internet. Se añade también en algunos espacios la restricción de acceso a contenidos debida a mandatos legales que sea posible implementar técnicamente.

El debate sobre Neutralidad de la Red (NN por sus siglas en inglés) se centra en las condiciones en las cuales un proveedor de acceso a Internet puede entregar selectivamente el tráfico que cursa sus redes. Si bien es necesaria la ingeniería de tráfico para asegurar condiciones de servicio razonables, evitar congestión especialmente la que afecte al usuario final, e incluso eliminar por completo tráfico no deseado como el spam o los ataques de negación de servicio. También es necesario considerar que desde el punto de vista técnico en el protocolo IP no hay distinción por contenido de las comunicaciones. El protocolo IP está diseñado para entregar paquetes de información de la forma más eficiente posible, en un modelo de “mejor esfuerzo”, sin analizar ni tomar decisiones en función de sus contenidos.
No se puede dejar de enfatizar este punto: la capacidad generativa de Internet (como la llama por ejemplo Jonathan Zittrain) está basada en que su tecnología fundamental no está optimizada para ningún tipo de aplicación como podrían ser voz, video, interactividad, etc. Las aplicaciones se construyen en la orilla de la red, en el equipo del usuario. Esto permite la “innovación sin pedir permiso” que ha producido el impacto explosivo, y generalmente positivo, de Internet, como lo han explicado en forma brillante Vinton Cerf y Scott Bradner.

Al crecer explosivamente aplicaciones como video en línea (en modelos de distribución basados en “streaming” y en descargas, como extremos), redes sociales, etc. y expandirse el uso de Internet a dispositivos móviles, se crean nuevos desafíos para la gestión de redes y la administración de sus recursos más sensibles, como el espectro y las celdas disponibles en la última milla de las comunicaciones móviles. En estas últimas el debate se complica por la escasez de algunos recursos como anchura de banda, espectro y antenas.
Esta situación y la diversidad de tráfico (incluyendo el malicioso) en Internet da lugar a incentivos para economizar anchura de banda, especialmente cerca del enlace al usuario final. Como respuesta, la ingeniería de tráfico puede tratar de dar prioridad a los procesos en tiempo real, bidireccionales y sensibles a la latencia, y reducir la prioridad de los unidireccionales y asíncronos. En el primer caso se encontrarían las videollamadas o teleconferencias y en el segundo el correo electrónico.
Esta ingeniería de tráfico se realiza con técnicas complejas y puede requerir equipos, software y personal costosos. En un caso extremo puede requerir la inspección detallada del contenido mediante técnicas de DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) que no están contempladas en la visión fundamental original de Internet.
La ingeniería de tráfico y la disponibilidad de sus instrumentos se suman a otras variables para generar un incentivo perverso, siguiendo el cual los operadores de redes pueden monetizar selectivamente el tráfico para distintos clientes y privilegiar el de los que mejor pagan, los socios de la empresa especialmente en condiciones de integración vertical, y otros.

Dado lo anterior, resumimos:
I. Principios de Diseño de Internet (Arquitectura)
a) Interoperabilidad
b) “Inteligencia en la orilla”
c) Principio “end-to-end” o “punta a punta”
Por acceso a Internet se entiende ( la conexión de un punto de red o una red a la Internet global, mediante el protocolo IP, con un enrutamiento de paquetes de datos no discriminatorio y de mejor esfuerzo. La Internet global es el sistema de redes interconectadas que usan los protocolos y prácticas recomendadas (BCP) de la IETF, incluyendo el protocol IP, para comunicación con recursos o puntos finales alcanzables a través de una dirección de Internet globalmente única.
II. Esto significa que el usuario espera en principio acceso a:
1. Todo puerto
2. Todo protocolo
3. Todo origen
4. Todo destino
5. Todo contenido

Un servicio que restrinja cualquiera de estas características debe anunciarlas y no puede ser comercializado como acceso a Internet, salvo las excepciones que a continuación se consignan.
III. Excepciones: la ingeniería de tráfico necesaria para la gestión de las redes puede obligar a los proveedores a introducir restricciones parciales y temporales en algunas de las características anteriores. Éstas serán informadas de manera transparente al usuario.
– NO SE PUEDE ARGUMENTAR Excepción - solo por ingeniería de tráfico y para los siguientes casos
- control de SPAM identificado y aquél que viola leyes internacionales
- pornografía infantil definida legalmente
IV. Las excepciones se deben dar bajo el criterio de transparencia – el usuario antes de contratar debe conocer las limitaciones que pueden existir al adquirir alguna de las opciones de acceso a Internet; en caso de que sea un plan de más de un servicio (doble, triple, cuadruple play) se debe definir claramente el ancho de banda que se está reservando para acceso a Internet.

Las opciones que tiene ante sí el Poder Legislativo son:

1. Legislativo: promover la regulación ex-ante, modificando los instrumentos legales necesarios, Esto puede darse en la Ley, como la adopción de un principio general (i.e. “las redes públicas de telecomunicaciones deben garantizar la neutralidad de red”), en NOM (se pueden establecer las definiciones y las métricas que incluyen los criterios de cumplimiento). La legislación debe garantizar la prestación de servicios de Internet irrestrictos (salvo las excepciones aceptables ya enunciadas). Chile, Bélgica y los Países Bajos han optado por legislar. En el caso de los Países Bajos es especialmente notorio que la legislación se volvió una necesidad urgente ante las flagrantes y severas violaciones contra la neutralidad cometidas por los principales proveedores; se puede decir que el abuso atrajo el castigo.
Ventajas: certeza jurídica
se vigilan los derechos del consumidor
se vigilan los derechos humanos
Riesgos: sobrerregulación
dilación en aprobar las normas
resistencia de los actores del mercado
inflexibilidad ante cambios de condiciones técnicas, sociales y de mercado
intervención de cabildeo y negociaciones políticas que sirvan a intereses específicos, consgrando en Ley inamovible intereses puntuales y coyunturales

2. De mercado: confiar en la “mano invisible” del mercado para que éste asegure que siempre haya al menos un proveedor que garantice servicios basados en la Neutralidad de la Red.
no se crean nuevos instrumentos legales
agilidad y flexibilidad para los actores del mercado

Consagrar la violación al principio de Neutralidad de la Red y otros asociados, al no ser ésta obligatoria para los proveedores
colusión de los actores que lleve a que ningún proveedor ofrezca, de manera confiable, o incluso en absoluto, servicio de acceso irrestricto a Internet
afectaciones a derechos de los consumidores
afectaciones a derechos humanos
En esta opción, parecida a la adoptada por el regulador de telecomunicaciones en el Reino Unido (OFCOM), se debe asegurar la disponibilidad de servicios de acceso a Internet irrestricto (salvo excepciones aceptadas, muy bien definidas, y reversibles). Una opción para esto, que opera en Finlandia, es la definición del acceso a Internet al menos como una Obligación de Servicio Universal (en el caso finlandés esta obligación no sólo es para el acceso sino que especifica un mínimo de anchura de banda exigido).
3. Regulatorio: establecer registros y criterios de observancia para los servicios de valor agregado
Ventajas: combinación de agilidad y certeza
Opción a introducir esquemas auto- y co-regulatorios

Riesgos: colusión

En todos los casos de regulación, autorregulación y corregulación, la autoridad promoverá proactivamente la aplicación de los criterios para la Gobernanza de Internet emanados de la Cumbre Mundial sobre la Sociedad de la Información: democrática, con la participación efectiva de todos los sectores, orientada al desarrollo, etc.
En cualquiera de estos casos, además, se debe considerar el marco normativo existente, por un lado, y la proyección de las necesidades de la Sociedad de la Información y el Conocimiento en México.
Del marco legal existente deben extraerse las obligaciones de neutralidad ya existentes en las redes de telecomunicaciones y de radiodifusión. Recientemente se han observado deficiencias en éstas – inexistencia de una obligación de “must carry”, por ejemplo – que deben ser subsanadas.
De las necesidades de la sociedad mexicana para transitar hacia la Sociedad de la Información y el Conocimiento debe extraerse ante todo que el paradigma de Internet es el único compatible con ese tránsito, como lo ha dicho muy bien Manuel Castells. La apertura, la comunicación horizontal, la expresión creativa y productiva de todos los actores de la sociedad, la “innovación sin pedir permiso”, la descentralización, que no son incompatibles con la legalidad, son principios fundamentales que no sólo deben ser protegidos sino impulsados proactivamente.
La autoridad procederá mediante consulta pública abierta y transparente, apegada a las mejores prácticas internacionales de participación y diversidad, y máxima publicidad y obligación de contestar a todas las participaciones de manera razonada.
La consulta realizada por comisiones del Senado en 2012 fue apenas un inicio de presentación de planteamientos.

La iniciativa de ley presentad en marzo y abril de 2012 por los Senadores Fernando Castro Trenti y Juan Bueno Torio es un travestismo carnavalesco de la ley, de la consulta pública, y del diálogo con expertos y con la sociedad. No garantiza la Neutralidad de la Red y crea todos los incentivos para que sea violada. Reduce la legalidad a un juego en el que los proveedores que debieran asegurar el acceso a las redes de banda ancha e Internet, creadoras de futuro para México, pueden obtener un sello de buena conducta, otorgado por ellos mismos, con sólo avisar al consumidor las violaciones cometidas y por cometer.
Esta iniciativa de ley está basada en principios de mercado libre, pero libre de escrúpulos. Legislar para la sociedad es muy diferente. Convoco a los Senadores a reconsiderar a fondo la iniciativa y detenerla en este momento.

Agradecimiento: este texto se benefició enormemente de discusiones con Salma Jalife y Salomón Padilla, y con socios de ISOC México. La responsabilidad del texto, especialmente sus defectos, es mía solamente.

miércoles, enero 18, 2012

Fade to black por #SOPA

Este blog aparece en color negro como llamada de atención contra iniciativas de ley en diversos países que en mi opinión representan riesgos desproporcionados para el buen funcionamiento de Internet en una defensa de derechos comerciales relacionados con propiedad intelectual. Conocidas como SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) y Protect-IP Act o PIPA en el Congreso de Estados Unidos, o familiarmente como #LeyDoring (presentada por el Senador Federico Döring en México), son motivo de una protesta global en esta fecha, 18 de enero de 2012.

Me sumo a los llamados a hacer una reflexión amplia y encontrar mejores rutas para el avance de la Sociedad de la Información que privilegien los principios de diseño de Internet que, en diversa medida, se han convertido en normas de alcance social y global.

lunes, enero 09, 2012

Nuevo blog - Fundamentos de Espectroscopía

Inicio en un nuevo blog, dirigido a quienes estudian la asignatura Fundamentos de Espectroscopía en la Facultad de Química de la UNAM y otros interesados en el tema.

Agradezco infinitamente a quienes fueron mis alumnos en esa materia en septiembre-noviembre de 2011 sus aportaciones y su estímulo.