Africa Moves Towards a Common Cyber Security Legal Framework

Ephraim Percy Kenyanito overviews the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at which stakeholders discussed Africa’s Cyber Security Convention. This piece was originally posted on the Access Blog and can be foundhere.

For several years, African states have been working towards common cyber security norms and regulations through the African Union (AU). From June 20-27, the AU Heads of State will meet and are expected to adopt a new Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection. While Access and other partners criticized an earlier draft of the Convention, the rewritten draft has yet to be released to the public, even as it races closer to adoption.

Background

Since 2009, the African Union (AU), has engaged in efforts to harmonize various information and communications technology (ICT) regimes, particularly around cyber security laws. Discussions about the establishment of a common framework have been ongoing since a 2009 directive, the Oliver Tambo Declaration. In 2013, a draft African Union Convention on the Confidence and Security in Cyberspace (AUCC) was made pursuant to the resolution of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union and was published on the African Union website for the African internet community to discuss.  Major concerns were voiced around this draft, and in May 2014 it was revised to a final version of the Convention, which is now set to be approved by African Heads of State at the end of…

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The GovLab Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance: Issue 28

The Selected Curation of Articles on Net-governance (the SCAN) is a weekly digest on internet governance news, reports, and events produced by the Governance Lab @NYU (the GovLab) as part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project. The SCAN is cross-posted weekly from the GovLab on the Internet Policy Observatory. The original posting of the GovLab SCAN- Issue  28, May 30, 2014 can be found here.

This week’s highlights:

  • Increasingly, international Internet technology companies face conflicting jurisdictional issues that can act as obstacles to the growth of the Internet and its potential to connect people. For example EU data protection regulations may contradict certain ICANN registrar/registry policies, creating legal challenges for companies that operate in both regions.
  • The global supply of IPv4 addresses is steadily declining and ICANN is therefore pushing for Internet companies to quickly coordinate the global transition to using IPv6 addresses.
  • The Stockholm Internet Forum –whose theme was “Internet – privacy, transparency, surveillance, and control” has just concluded. Archival information can be found here. The World Summit on the Information Society +10 High-Level Event (WSIS +10) takes place from June 10 – 13 in the International Telecommunications Union headquarters in…

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Cyberspace and Surveillance: Challenges to State Identity and Ontological Security in the Digital Age

Robert Ralston is one of the eight 2014 Milton Wolf Emerging Scholar Fellows, an accomplished group of doctoral and advanced MA candidates selected to attend the 2014 Milton Wolf Seminar. Their posts highlight the critical themes and on-going debates raised during the 2014 Seminar discussions.

Increasing state surveillance of the internet and a seeming lack of global accountability and best practices regarding foreign and domestic internet policies demands the attention of students, scholars, and practitioners of media and communication, political science, sociology, computer science, and the like. With these concerns in mind, the 2014 Milton Wolf Seminar highlighted themes of surveillance, visibility, disclosure, and espionage in the digital age. This essay seeks to touch upon some of these themes, and to present a case for the study of ontological security in international relations as a way to explain, in part, U.S. practices of surveillance following the leaks by former National Security Administration (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Politically, the stakes are high as cyberpolitics becomes an issue of “high politics” in the study of international relations; states and the agents who produce narratives about the state frame cyber discourse in ways that attempt to justify practices of surveillance, espionage, and censorship. States justify intrusion into cyberspace in the name of stability and an idealized self-image. This, can prove violent and costly, with parallels to justifying war on the basis of empire in offline venues. In cyber venues, the United States in particular has had to justify state intrusion into such venues. Void of routinized…

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Making Access Visible: Representations of the Internet

Willow Williamson is one of the eight 2014 Milton Wolf Emerging Scholar Fellows, an accomplished group of doctoral and advanced MA candidates selected to attend the 2014 Milton Wolf Seminar. Their posts highlight the critical themes and on-going debates raised during the 2014 Seminar discussions.

Marshall McLuhan’s often quoted “the Medium is the Message”[i] took on a new resonance for me as I absorbed the discussions from the 2014 Milton Wolf Seminar. What exactly is “the medium” of the internet; and who gets to define what it contains, decide where it is located, and make decisions about information and communication flows? These were some of the questions that participants discussed at this year’s Milton Wolf Seminar on “Foreign Policies of the Internet.” Panelists examined the layers of meaning contained within and represented by the internet, ranging from the physicality of its infrastructure and ownership, to what it represents as an idea, to how these layers affect international communications and relations. Underlying these conversations were the questions: What happens when international norms are in conflict? And, whose voices are heard and represented in determining and negotiating those norms?

Privacy Versus Security

Since 9/11 and the passage of the Patriot Act, ongoing conversation in the United States places privacy in opposition to security. These debates are not new, as evidenced by David Vincent’s historical account of the…

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