Katie Watson

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Senegal Kicks Off Enhancing IoT Security Project

On April 4, 2018, the Canadian Multistakeholder Process: Enhancing Internet of Things (IoT) Security held its first convening in partnership with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)CANARIEInnovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada; and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPIC). Over 80 participants from government, academia, public interest, industry, and other organizations attended the first meeting and many have continued to engage at in-person and virtual meetings ever since. Over the past eight months, this group has experienced significant success in the areas of consumer education, labeling, and network resiliency. And these achievements have been well-noted on a global scale.

A delegation from Senegal came to Canada in July to meet with members of the Enhancing IoT Security oversight committee. The group was comprised of government officials, Senegal Chapter members, and staff from the Internet Society’s African Bureau. The delegation met with Canadian government officials, technologists, public interest groups, and North American Bureau staff to learn more about how and why the IoT security project was initiated, and what the group had accomplished to date. The group discussed the significant successes the Canadian multistakeholder group had already achieved, the challenges it faced, Continue reading

Innovative Approaches to Connecting Indigenous Communities

In November 2017, the Internet Society hosted its first Indigenous Connectivity Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This event brought together over 200 Indigenous community members to talk about Internet access solutions, and the importance of connectivity for socioeconomic, health, community empowerment, education, and cultural and language preservation.

It was an incredible two days that resulted in new, meaningful relationships, partnerships, and opportunities for all those present. But the work isn’t done yet.

Connectivity in Indigenous communities continues to lag far behind non-Indigenous areas. Low speeds or non-existent service, high costs, and data caps plague many communities. In some Arctic communities in Canada, it is often cheaper and faster to mail a USB drive south, upload data, and mail it back North than it is to download the content on the slow and expensive services available.

To continue the conversation that was started in Santa Fe, the Internet Society will hold the second Indigenous Connectivity Summit in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada on October 11-12. This event will bring together Indigenous community leaders, technical experts, researchers, policy makers, and service providers to address the unique connectivity issues Alaska Native, American Indian, Inuit, First Nation, and Métis communities face and how they Continue reading

Enhancing IoT Security Project Continues with Second Successful Multistakeholder Event in Ottawa

The Enhancing IoT Security project hosted its second multistakeholder event on June 21, 2018. This meeting served as an opportunity for new participants to join the conversations and for participants of the first meeting to continue working toward consensus on IoT security norms that would empower consumers and ensure network resiliency. A group of 30 individuals met in Ottawa, with another 16 joining virtually, to prioritize the action items from the last meeting and establish working groups that will collaborate and conduct further research for each item. Participants included representatives from private sector companies, public interest groups, the technical community, academia, and government agencies, and each offered unique and valuable insights to the project. Andrew Sullivan, Fellow at Oracle/Dyn, facilitated this discussion and the creation of the working groups.

The meeting began with a discussion about the ten outputs from the first multistakeholder event. The group agreed that it should prioritize work on a few outputs to begin and then expand the projects scope as necessary. Participants decided to focus on the following three issue areas:

  1. Labeling
  2. Consumer education and awareness
  3. Network resiliency

Participants then identified what work would need to be accomplished for each action item and established working Continue reading

Considerations Regarding Encryption and Exceptional Access Briefing

On June 12, 2018, the Internet Society hosted a briefing for Congressional staff on encryption and lawful access. Considerations Regarding Encryption and Exceptional Access offered an opportunity for participants to learn more about the technical aspects of encryption, risks associated with creating back doors, and other technical means for lawful access.

Before beginning the conversation, participants were given a primer on encryption, which offered high-level explanation of different kinds of encryption and exceptional access, and shown a video on end-to-end encryption, which used colors to explain how encryption keys are exchanged. Encryption experts, including Christine Runnegar (Senior Director, Internet Trust, Internet Society), Robyn Greene (Policy Counsel and Government Affairs Lead, Open Technology Institute), and Maurice Turner (Senior Technologist, Center for Democracy and Technology), then engaged in a two-hour, in-depth conversation with participants, answering questions and discussing global norms and policies.

The panelists emphasized that encryption is currently the most robust security tool in existence, but just as it gets more sophisticated, so too do hackers. Sooner or later this security tool will likely be bypassed and new tools will need to be created. Weakening encryption by creating keys for “backdoor” access that can evade its security measures makes any Continue reading

Canadian Youth Advocates Participate in Enhancing IoT Project

On May 14, a group of young people who are currently working on or are studying tech, politics, computer science, and the Internet of Things (IoT) met for a two-hour Youth Advocates for IoT Security round table. This event was a part of the Internet Society’s year-long initiative, the Canadian Multistakeholder Process – Enhancing IoT Security in partnership with Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Canadian Internet Registration AuthorityCANARIE, and CIPPIC. It serves as just one of several workshops that will be held during the process to develop recommendations for a set of norms and policies to secure the IoT in Canada.

The round table offered an opportunity for young people in school or their early careers to voice their opinions and provide unique inputs for consideration on the following aspects of IoT security:

  • How young people currently use IoT devices;
  • How they anticipate these devices will be used in the future; and
  • Effective ways of educating young consumers about IoT security.

The group discussed the ways in which IoT devices have become seemingly ubiquitous in youth’s lives. IoT devices have also become integral, and often required, parts of classroom learning and workplaces. Now, the lines Continue reading

US Senate Makes Moves to Reinstate Net Neutrality, But Sustainable Rules Are Still Necessary

On May 16, the Senate passed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Order. A CRA allows Congress to review regulations issued by government agencies and overrule them with a majority vote. This vote, led by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), is a step towards reinstating the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules.

The CRA will now move to the House, where it will require a majority vote in order to pass before heading to President Trump’s desk for his signature. If the CRA passes the House and gets the President’s signature, the 2015 Order will be reinstated.

Despite the CRA’s success in the Senate, it is unlikely that it will pass the House. In the Senate, every Democrat, two Independents, and three Republicans were needed to pass the CRA. In the House, Democrats hold just 193 of 435 seats and would need to be joined by 25 Republican or Independent Representatives to move the CRA to the President’s desk. Even then, the bill would face another major hurdle, as President Trump has previously expressed support for overturning the FCC’s Open Internet Order.

This is not to mention the court cases Continue reading

The Piikani Cultural and Digital Literacy Camp Program

The Piikani Nation in Southern Alberta, concerned they were in danger of losing their Blackfoot culture and traditions, sought out an innovative way to share it with younger generations. Elders and school officials in Piikani focused on how they could use technology to engage youth and preserve their knowledge and history. As a result, the Piikani First Nation, University of Alberta, First Nations Technical Service Advisory Group, and Piikani Board of Education created a youth-based project, the Piikani Cultural and Digital Literacy Camp Program, that combines digital technology and cultural and language studies for grade 9 students.

From the beginning, Piikani Elder Herman Many Guns and University of Alberta Assistant Professor Dr. Rob McMahon knew it was crucial to combine traditional Blackfoot and digital teaching styles in the program. To accomplish this, Herman reached out to community ceremonial Elders with transferred rights who could ensure the project followed traditional protocol. The partners decided to host a summer camp that would teach students about their culture, as well as gain digital skills, such as video production, editing, and data stewardship. Students apply these new digital skills to the preservation of the ancestral knowledge shared by the Elders at an outdoor Continue reading

The State of Broadband Connectivity in Canada’s Rural and Remote Regions

In April, the Canadian Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology presented the “Broadband Connectivity in Rural Canada: Overcoming the Digital Divide” to the House of Commons in order to make public their findings and recommendations from a study on broadband connectivity. (In May 2016, the committee adopted a motion to do a study on broadband connectivity, with the primary purpose of developing a plan to improve rural broadband and demonstrate the Internet’s effect on rural economies.) To create the report, the committee used information and conversations from seven meetings, as well as 50 oral and written submissions. Participants in this process represented businesses, small and large service providers, experts, and on-the-ground rural providers. The Internet Society applauds the committee’s use of a consultative process and its effort to provide concrete recommendations to the House of Commons to connect Canada’s rural and remote citizens.

In 2016, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC) declared Internet access an essential service and set the minimum performance standard at 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload. At the same time, it estimated that it will take between 10 and 15 years for the remaining 18% of Canadians to reach those Continue reading

CONSENT: Privacy Is Key to Reinforcing Trust

To address mounting US user concerns, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced the Consumer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions (CONSENT) Act. (They have also introduced legislation to increase transparency and consumer privacy protection, though the text is not yet public.) While the Internet Society is weary of a reactionary regulatory trend and would rather see proactive anticipatory movement towards stronger privacy protections, we are supportive of legislation, like the CLOUD Act, that puts more control over how data is used in consumers’ hands, and moves towards a more user-centric Internet.

Currently, US users often have to go through an extensive and complicated process to opt out of data usage practices. Some may not even be aware that those options exist. Opt-out processes make data collection the “default” setting and weaken consumers’ ability to really consent to data handling practices.

The CONSENT Act, however, would require “edge-providers” (defined by the Act as persons that provide a service over the Internet) to notify users when they subscribe, establish an account, purchase, or begin receiving service if their data will be collected. This would make significant gains for user trust, as it would increase transparency at Continue reading

“Enhancing IoT Security” Kicks off in Ottawa

While Internet-connected devices afford utility unseen in generations past, they may also create a host of security issues, ranging from insignificant to catastrophic in potential impact. In an effort to mitigate this risk, the Internet Society partnered with Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, CANARIE, and CIPPIC to host a multistakeholder meeting on the security of IoT devices. The event takes place in Ottawa, Canada on April 4, 2018.

This meeting will be the first in a year-long process to develop recommendations for a set of norms and/or policies to secure IoT in Canada. This event will serve as an opportunity to begin planning and implementing a bottom-up, organic process to remedy existing and potential security challenges in Canada’s national IoT ecosystem.

This session will focus on IoT as it relates to two specific themes: consumer protection and network resiliency. The event will begin with presentations from engaged stakeholders in order to lay the groundwork for group discussion. Participants will then work in small groups to develop consensus on key IoT issues and determine what can be done to meaningfully impact consumer protection and network resiliency. This will create the basis of discussion Continue reading