Civil Society and Digital Free Trade: A Response

On October 6th a letter was circulated to the negotiators preparing for the World Trade Organization’s 11th Ministerial meeting (MC11), which will be held December 10-13, 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The letter purports to speak for all of “global civil society,” and singles out for attack the prospect of...

Digital Trade and NAFTA Renegotiation

The United States Trade Representative  recently issued a document describing its NAFTA negotiations  priorities. On 28 July 2017, The R Street Institute arranged a panel on NAFTA and Digital Trade. IGP’s Farzaneh Badiei was invited to take part in the panel. The panel discussed the policy and political issues surrounding...

International trade in IP address blocks

Here is more evidence of how the emergence of a private market for IPv4 addresses is creating concern at ARIN and driving policy change. Note that in my interview with private address broker Addrex, published here a week ago, its President Charles Lee noted that large ISPs in the Asia Pacific region were showing strong buyer interest in legacy address blocks currently sitting idle in North America. This poses a problem for the current RIR system. The RIRs are organized around exclusive territorial regions and their policies basically prohibit inter-regional sales of address blocks. A private broker dealing in legacy address space, however, is not subject to those constraints. Once again, an emergent market subtly disrupts the establish institutional regime.

ARIN is, evidently, scrambling to catch up. A new proposal was submitted to ARIN's policy development process just yesterday. Entitled “ARIN-prop-156 Update 8.3 to allow inter-RIR transfers” it would allow inter-regional market transfers.

Should countries' Internet censorship regimes be challenged in WTO?

The European think-tank ECIPE has released a provocative new report, Digital Authoritarianism: Human Rights, Geopolitics and Commerce, that explores the ties between Internet censorship and human rights, commerce, national security and foreign relations.  Looking at China in particular, it suggests generally that countries should be taken to the WTO for...

Could Google-China smackdown lead to WTO complaint?

Citing instances of espionage and surveillance of its customers, Google announced in coordinated fashion yesterday that they are no longer willing to continue censoring results on, and threatened that it might withdraw operations from China entirely. Some are wondering if Google would actually walk away from the China market. Frankly, China routinely leverages the size of its market and counts on the fact that no business dares to give up a market of that size. But when businesses are willing to play rough and threaten exit they are more likely to get positive results than when they kow-tow. That being said, you don't make the move Google did without a plan. And that makes me think we might be witnessing the precursor to a major development in the application of trade principles to Internet governance.