US government asks for public comment on international Internet policy issues

In a Notice of inquiry on International Internet Policy Priorities, published in the US Federal Registry on 5 June 2018, the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) invites public comment on four broad digital policy issues. Under the heading ‘The free flow of information and jurisdiction’, the NTIA inquires about the main challenges to the free flow of information and freedom of expression online, and the role of stakeholders (including the NTIA) in ensuring free expression online. Under ‘Privacy and Security’, the public is invited to indicate ways in which cybersecurity threats are harming international commerce and to suggest the international venues that are the most appropriate for addressing online privacy issues. A section on the ‘Emerging Technologies and Trends’ asks which emerging technologies should be in focus in international policy discussions, and where they should be discussed. The section that seems to have attracted the most attention is entitled ‘Multistakeholder Approach to Internet Governance‘, and tackles issues related to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). On the one hand, the NTIA asks the public whether (and why) the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) stewardship transition should be unwound. On the other hand, suggestions are sought on how to lower the barriers to engagement at the IGF and how the IGF can be improved.