On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Internet Governance Lab Faculty Fellow and Director of AU’s Communication Studies Division Dr. Kathryn Montgomery will discuss the wide-ranging implications of Internet-connected health wearables at a conference organized by the Department of Health and Human Services. The presentation, titled “Health Wearables: Ensuring Privacy, Security, and Equity in an Emerging Internet-of-Things Environment,” draws on Dr. Montgomery’s research at the intersection of the Internet of Things and privacy, including an AU and Center for Digital Democracy study (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), looking at the privacy and consumer protection concerns raised by the proliferation of health and fitness wearables, which consumers are increasingly using to track everything from their heart rates to sleep patterns and stress levels.
“Many of these devices are already being integrated into a growing Big Data digital health and marketing ecosystem, which is focused on gathering and monetizing personal and health data in order to influence consumer behavior,” the report explains. As the use of these devices becomes more widespread, and as their functionalities become increasingly sophisticated, “the extent and nature of data collection will be unprecedented.”
As Dr. Montgomery explains, “the connected-health system is still in an early, fluid stage of development,” adding, “there is an urgent need to build meaningful, effective, and enforceable safeguards into its foundation.”
On Friday, October 27th the Internet Governance Lab Roundtable Speaker Series will host Dr. Eric Novotny of American University’s School of International Service for a discussion on emerging information communication technologies designed to circumvent censorship and their impacts on freedom of expression and privacy online.
The event will take place from 2:30-4pm in SOC MCK 305.
As Dr. Novotny explains:
Censorship on the world wide web by governments continues to be a barrier and a threat to freedom of speech, ideas, and information. Regimes use various techniques such as IP blocking, DNS poisoning, and DPI to interfere with traffic among clients and servers. Almost all contemporary, operational circumvention technologies rely on network access and routing through proxies or bridges to obfuscate traffic between their client and an intended host. Increasing capabilities are surfacing that will challenge the utility of such end-to-end proxy techniques. Refraction routing is an emerging technique that takes an end-to-middle approach to the problem by building anti-censorship into the core of the Internet architecture. This discussion introduces the general problem of circumvention technology and compares various ways that refraction routing can be implemented on the world wide web. These techniques may provide significantly stronger resistance to common forms of blocking by repressive governments and also provide collateral cybersecurity benefits. One method for implementing refraction routing has already been successfully field tested to overcome blocking and will be discussed.
All are welcome and we look forward to a lively discussion of the topic following Dr. Novotny’s presentation.
The Internet Governance Lab is pleased to announce that Dr. Andrew Rens will be joining us as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. In this capacity, he will be running a research program focused on technology governance of the Internet of Things. As Dr. Rens explains:
The Internet of Things raises complex issues of ownership and control, privacy, and surveillance, ubiquity, and fragility. Some press accounts narrate these issues as consumers versus corporations in which consent is key. But the Internet of Things is mostly the Internet of Other People’s Things, we interact with these Internet-connected objects as employees, students, tenants, and citizens. The things are not simply data input devices, however intrusive but technologies with immediate physical effects such as networked 3D printers. Questions around the governance of the Internet of Things (IoT) exhibit the same super complexity as Internet governance generally; with multiple sites of governance and actors operating across legal borders.
The IoT is promising for the developing world and digital inclusion. Through cheap sensors and the ability to fabricate equipment, the IoT may dramatically lower barriers to scientific experimentation. Every classroom could potentially be a laboratory. But will the Internet of Things be configured to optimize these possibilities? How will development and human rights be taken into account when governance is neither state nor corporate but takes place through technical standards, protocols and engineering organizations.
Who will control the “things” in the IoT and what will determine this control? Will it be intellectual property law or standards? Open source offers one way in which the people most affected by a technology can exercise some control over it. Open source software and its associated governance structures have proven resistant to control through intellectual property laws. Will a combination of open source software and open hardware prove similarly robust? Even if open source methods best enables innovation will it control the potentially pernicious uses such as printing guns with a 3D printer?
Rens earned a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) from Duke University Law School for research on using open copyright licenses in education. As a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship, he pioneered work on access to knowledge, IP law reform and open education in South Africa. Andrew Rens has been a fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, a research associate at the LINK Center at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and the University of Cape Town Intellectual Property Law Research Unit. As founding Legal Lead of Creative Commons South Africa, he ported the South African licensing suite to South African law. He earned a Master of Laws from the University of the Witwatersrand for research on Internet legal issues. He has taught Master’s courses in Intellectual Property, Telecommunications, Broadcasting, Space and Satellite, and Media and Information Technology Law at the Law School of the University of the Witwatersrand. He has also taught Telecommunications Law and Electronic Intellectual Property Law at the University of Cape Town Law School.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Rens to the Internet Governance Lab and AU and we look forward to hearing from him soon on the always evolving intersection of the IoT and Internet governance.
On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, Ukranian cyber expert Andrii Paziuk will discuss “Digital Policy, Civil Rights, and Security” as part of the Internet Governance Lab’s Roundtable Speaker Series. The event will take place at 2:30 pm in McKinley Room 305.
As a 2017-18 Humphrey Fellow at AU’s Washington College of Law, Mr. Paziuk’s work draws on his experience in government, industry, and academia to explore questions focused on the intersection of cybersecurity, privacy, and transborder data flows.
Prior to joining AU Mr. Paziuk worked for the Parliament of Ukraine as a legal adviser and an assistant to Members of Parliament. Since 2012, Mr. Paziuk has been a lecturer and LL.M. program moderator of International Cyber Law at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He completed his Ph.D. thesis on the protection of privacy and personal data trans-border flows in 2004 and his post-doctoral thesis on International Cyber Law in 2016. Paziuk is also an adviser to the State Special Telecommunications and Information Protection Service, a member of the Steering Committee of Ukrainian National Internet Governance Forum, and co-founder and chairman of the NGO Partners for Digital Rights Defenders and Vice-President to the Ukrainian Academy of Cyber Security. His current research is focused on ‘The Rule of Law and Internet Governance’ exploring recent trends in digital policy and law, civil rights, and security issues.
Joining the Internet Governance Lab as a Faculty Fellow, Dr. Eric Novotny is the Hurst Adjunct Professorial Lecturer in the School of International Service at American University. He is also Senior Advisor, Democracy, and Technology, at the U.S. Agency for International Development. In this position, Dr. Novotny designs and manages a large portfolio of programs that use advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs) to stimulate economic growth, improve democratic processes, and reform governance policies in developing countries. Some of these efforts are stand-alone technology and governance projects while others embed advanced ICTs in larger development projects in applied areas such as service delivery and critical infrastructure. USAID has assistance programs in 80 countries worldwide. He holds a B.A. in Political Science, and M.A. in Government, and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Georgetown University, as well as an M.Phil in Management Studies from Oxford.
Dr. Novotny also serves as a faculty coordinator and coach for the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge (along with Washington College of Law professor Melanie Teplinksi), a global competition designed to “encourage and educate the next generation of foreign policy leaders in cyber security issues.” Sponsored by the Atlantic Council, the annual event features teams of students from universities around the world competing to analyze, synthesize, and respond to the technical, legal, and policy issues involved in a fictional cyber security related scenario. In 2017 46 teams from 35 universities participated with AU teams winning awards three out of the past five years.
As the Program Director for the School of International Service Masters program in US Foreign Policy and Security Studies in the Fall, Dr. Novotny will teach courses in International Communication and Cyber Security Policy. In this capacity, Dr. Novotny will also continue his research, which focuses broadly on the intersection of Cyber Security and Internet Freedom, including projects titled, “Building Anti-Censorship into the Core Internet Architecture,” “Cyber Security Risk Management for Non-governmental Organizations,” and “Cyber Cabalities and Interference in the Electoral Process.”