At a glance.
- ITU election signals a win for the free Internet.
- White House hosts summit on cybercrime.
ITU election signals a win for the free Internet.
Wired examines the recent election of Doreen Bogdan-Martin as the head of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and what it means for the global state of the internet. Bogdan-Martin, an American, defeated Russian nominee Rashid Ismailov, and many see her win at the close of the ITU’s 2022 Plenipotentiary Conference as a victory for an open, decentralized internet free of authoritarian censorship. Bogdan-Martin stated at the conference, “The world is facing significant challenges—escalating conflicts, a climate crisis, food security, gender inequalities, and 2.7 billion people with no access to the internet. I believe we, the ITU and our members, have an opportunity to make a transformational contribution.” Some analysts agree that her win is signaling such a shift, but others feel it might just be a temporary respite from an inevitable battle. Mallory Knodel, chief technology officer at the Center for Democracy & Technology, states, “In all honesty, it was another PP where the ITU is in a holding pattern on its most important but divisive issues. This tactic has an expiration date.” What she’s likely referring to is a push from some states, including China and Russia, for the ITU to expand its powers in order to facilitate a more fragmented internet. Outgoing ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao was leading the Union in that direction, allowing increased influence of companies like Huawei and Intersputnik, and formal cooperation agreements with China’s Belt and Road initiative, and if Ismailov had won, he likely would have continued in that vein. Though Bogdan-Martin’s win, as well as the results of other down-ballot races, seem to indicate the majority of the ITU are against an expansion of its powers, open tech nonprofit the Internet Society expressed disappointment that the ITU failed to codify formal cooperation with organizations like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or push for more permanent changes.
White House hosts summit on cybercrime.
Reuters reports that representatives from thirty-seven countries and thirteen companies are gathering at the White House this week for the second annual summit focused on the growth of cybercrime across the globe. The goal, according to a Biden administration official, is for the attendees to "institute a set of cyber norms that are recognized across the globe to counter criminal ransomware threats and hold malicious actors accountable.” In particular, the rise of ransomware attacks will be on the agenda, and the meeting will begin with a briefing from US intelligence and security agencies detailing the four thousand cyberattacks that have occurred around the world in the past eighteen months. “We’re seeing the pace and the sophistication of the ransomware attacks increasing faster than our resilience and disruption efforts,” a senior US official told CNN. Canada, Singapore, Ukraine, and the UK will be among the attendees, while Russia – the country believed to be the origin of many of these attacks – will be absent, as it was last year. Seven more countries will be in attendance this year, along with a diverse group of industry experts from companies like Microsoft, Mandiant, and SAP. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo will address the visiting officials about ransomware. At the end of the meeting, a joint statement will be issued, including a pledge to increase pressure on Russia and other countries known to serve as a refuge for ransomware attackers.