SIIA Files Comments on International Internet Policy Priorities

Share |

Today, SIIA filed these comments to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on international Internet policy priorities.  The comments are in response to this NTIA Notice of Inquiry (NOI) soliciting stakeholder input.  SIIA’s suggested priorities are summarized below.  The first three priorities are particularly important because they lay the foundation for good international Internet policy, broadly speaking.

1)     Cross-border data flow commitments, especially through trade agreements.

2)     Cross-border data flow interoperability mechanisms between different privacy systems, including risk-based systems such as the U.S. regime, e.g. Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Cross Border Privacy Rules.

3)     Continued collection of and access to WHOIS information.

4)     Privacy dialogues should distinguish between B2B and B2C obligations.

5)     Pursue common approach to Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and other emerging technologies.

6)     Oppose extra-territorial application of other countries’ privacy laws, for instance the right to be forgotten.

7)     Pursue law enforcement sharing treaties per the CLOUD Act.

8)     Support streamlining of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) processes. 

9)     Prioritize access to broadband at upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary.

10)  Send high-level Administration official to Internet Governance Forum (IGF).    

Cross-border data flows underpin everything our members do.  They are what will make it possible to advance technologies promoted by SIIA in White Papers or Issue Briefs on data-driven innovation, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and other emerging technologies such as blockchain.  It is the cross-border nature of data flows that makes it so important for trade agreements to include this reality.  This why SIIA strongly supported to Administration’s revised negotiating goals for the NAFTA.  We very much hope that a modernized NAFTA is concluded.  Moreover, as the Administration considers new bilateral trade deals with Japan, the UK, Vietnam, Malaysia and, possibly, some African countries, these digital trade priorities should form the basis for possible deals. 

Promoting inter-operability mechanisms that allow for cross-border data flows between countries with different (but often not inconsistent) laws and regulations, for instance (but not limited to), on privacy is essential.  This is why NTIA’s and the broader U.S. government’s work on promoting APEC’s Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system is so important.  This is challenging diplomatic work.  It means pushing back on the EU vision for data flows based on unilateral “adequacy” decisions.  It also means resisting the tide of data localization, for instance China’s Cybersecurity Law.   

Recently, a specific Internet governance problem as arisen, which, if not addressed, could undermine confidence in the multistakeholder model for Internet governance, at least the Internet functions managed by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  This problem has to do with the continued collection of and access to so-called WHOIS information.  This is the information needed so that it is possible to find out who the registered domain holder is of a generic domain.   The challenge is to find a solution that allows Registries and Registrars to continue to collect and provide this information in a way that is consistent with the General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) requirements.  SIIA has called on both the U.S. government in this submission and in comments to the EU to resolve this issue.  If it is not, important law enforcement and intellectual property interests could be irreparably compromised.

SIIA considers NTIA and the U.S. government as a whole to be pursuing the right international Internet policy priorities.  We stand ready to assist the U.S. government in meeting those goals as this filing demonstrates.

Carl Carl Schonander is Senior Vice President for Global Public Policy.