from Net Politics and Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Cyber Week in Review: July 21, 2017

Christopher Painter Sardari/Council on Foreign Relations

July 21, 2017

Christopher Painter Sardari/Council on Foreign Relations
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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:

1. What am I going to do with all this diet coke now? Christopher Painter, the State Department’s coordinator for cyber issues, will resign his post by the end of July. Without its top cyber diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided that Painter’s office will become a part of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, according to Bloomberg. By shutting down the office, CFR Senior Fellow Robert K. Knake argues that it takes an “issue that’s preeminent and putting it inside a backwater within the State Department.” This move aligns with Secretary Tillerson’s broader plan to restructure and cut the State Department's budget. No word yet on whether the secretary will appoint a new coordinator for cyber issues after the reorganization. Approximately twenty foreign ministries have appointed cyber coordinators as a result of Painter's outreach efforts. Those foreign ministries also made sure to have diet coke on hand, Painter's drink of choice.

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2. ICANN rumble in the Amazon jungle. Amazon might own the top level domain name .amazon after all. An independent review has determined that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) improperly blocked Amazon from owning the .amazon domain. ICANN blocked Amazon following a recommendation from the Governmental Advisory Committee, a stakeholder group within the ICANN system that represents the interests of governments. Brazil and Peru objected to the registration on the grounds that geographical names should not be top-level domains and that it would negatively impact the people in the area. ICANN will be forced to reevaluate its decision, which is likely to rankle countries in the Amazon basin and the Governmental Advisory Committee. Kieren McCarthy at the Register explains.

3. Let the NAFTA negotiations begin! The Trump administration released its priorities as it prepares to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Despite having withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the first multilateral trade deal to include provisions on digital trade, the U.S. ecommerce priorities for its renegotiation of NAFTA are surprisingly similar.  Specifically, the Trump administration seeks to "secure commitments not to impose customs duties on digital products," prohibit forced data localization, and ban governments from mandating the review of source code. That is likely to set up a fight with Canada given that some provincial governments have privacy laws that require certain data be held in the country. Although NAFTA countries are likely to agree to prohibit source code reviews, they will probably undermine that commitment by agreeing to a huge carve-out for national security purposes, which is when most source code reviews are required.

4. Who wants this hot potato? France’s Conseil d’Etat failed to reach a decision on the “right to be forgotten” case before it, and punted the matter up to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The Conseil d'Etat was unable to determine whether search results should be removed from Google’s website in just France, throughout the European Union, or worldwide. In 2014, the CJEU ruled Google must remove links that has “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” data if a public user requests it. Google offered to remove links only in Europe to comply with the European court decision, but France's data protection authority pushed back, stating that links could still be reached by using circumvention technologies. Last month, in a similar case, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Google must comply with an order to remove links from its global search results despite Google’s argument that it would amount to an extraterritorial application of Canadian law, and potentially have a chilling effect on speech.

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