Internet Governance After Ukraine-Russia Conflict

Information

Date: April 22, 2022 14:00-16:00

Moderator

  • Kwo-Wei Wu, Chairman of Taiwan Internet Governance Forum (TWIGF)
  • Panelists:
  • Tsung Han Wu, Assistant Research Fellow, Institute for National Defense and Security Research
  • Xin-Xiong Shen, Senior Technical Specialist of National Communications Commission
  • Ken-Ying Tseng, Attorney-at-Law of LEE AND LI
  • Kenny Huang, CEO of Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC)

Session details

One week after Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine government representative sent letters to ICANN (Internet Organization for Assigned Names and Numbers) and RIPE NCC asking to introduce sanctions against Russian in the areas of DNS and Ipv4 and Ipv6 address. The requests include revoking the domains of “.ru”, “.рф” and “.su”, shutting down DNS root servers situated in the Russian and withdraw the right to use all IPv4 and IPv6 addresses by all Russian members.

RIPE NCC and ICANN have both rejected Ukraine’s requests as they do not change the Internet resources management by political factors.  The panel invited experts with rich internet policy making experiences to talk about how the Internet governance institutions respond to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, explore the possible changes of global Internet governance principles, and identify key factors Internet community in Taiwan may pay attention to in the future.

Hightlights

The Moderator Kwo-Wei Wu opened the session with a brief background introduction mentioning that the requests from Ukraine Government were rejected by the 2 international Internet resource organizations.  He invited the panelists to discuss issues from the perspectives of regulations, technology and Taiwan’s position. 

Dr. Kenny Huang was asked to explain about the fundamental TLDs (top-level domains) reference: RFC 1591 – Domain Name System Structure and Delegation.   “RFC 1591 is a reference guide for defining all types of TLDs, including generic TLDs (gTLDs), United States only generic domains as well as the two-letter country-code TLDs (ccTLDs).  The naming of ccTLDs is based on the ISO 3166-1 standard.   There is no specification in the RFC regarding who is eligible to apply for the ccTLDs, if the significantly interested parties (such as governments) of the domain name agree that the designated manager is the appropriate party.” However, Dr. Huang further indicated that, “RFC is not internationally mandatory standards, but adopted voluntarily.”

Ken-Ying Tseng, Attorney-at-Law of LEE AND LI, referred ICANN’s GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee) document titled “Principles and Guidelines for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains”.  She said, the GAC document, which was written based on RFC 1591, mainly describes the tripartite relationship among ICANN, the government or public authority and the ccTLD registry.   Tseng further stated that, “ccTLD is a national/local matter, when an abuse occurs, domestic/local law will be applied. ICANN will maintain a neutral and hands-off stance.”  As a result, ICANN is not in the position responding to the Ukrainian government’s request.  “However, this event bring to mind that we need to face up to the ccTLD governance matter.”, concluded by Kuo Wei Wu.

Xin-Xiong Shen, from the regulation body,  supports the decision of ICANN and RIPE NCC not to revoke Russia’s ccTLDs and IP addresses.  “Taiwan stands difficult position internationally, any decision made based on political factors is not good for the country.”

Dr. Tsung Han Wu, a research fellow from the defense think tank, believes that Ukraine’s request to ICANN is just one of the country’s strategic IT operations.  Dr. Wu deliberated that, rather than blocking Russia from the Internet, the true purpose is to impose more international pressures to Russia.  “What we can learn from Ukraine in this matter is the application of multiple approaches to impose pressures on the aggressors.”

Dr. Kenny Huang further explained that it is technically feasible for ICANN or any government to block another country’s ccTLD, while the issue lies in the legal applicability.  The economic sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union, the United States and its allies are legally bind. It is notable that some countries consider Domain Name and IP Address as virtual assets and they are applicable to the economic sanctions.  As a result, IP addresses referring to more than 700 individuals and entities in Russia, including the country’s top three telecom operators, were blocked as the implementation of economic sanction.  If the scope of the sanction extends in the future, it is possible that RPKI (Resource Public Key Infrastructure) be invalidated and dis-function the Internet routing in Russia.  In addition, although ICANN rejected Ukraine’s request, chairman of ICANN Board announced future removal of .SU ccTLD for the reason of the code is no longer listed in ISO 3166.  Possibly for supporting the Ukraine government’s request?

Kuo-Wei Wu further reminded that, many countries block the Internet to a certain extent, especially China and Russia.  By restricting the inbound traffic while allowing their hackers launch cyberattacks or interfere major elections to the United States and Taiwan.  In the recent conflict, Russia also cyberattack Ukraine’s finance and telecommunications organizations, which can be considered as cyber war.  Wu commented, “when imposing a cyber sanction, we should not only consider it might interfere Russian people’s access to the true information.”

Xin-Xiong Shen also commented that, in the case of Taiwan’s Internet is under attack and the society functions are affected, he is in favor of blocking the attackers’ network.  “There are always other ways for truth dissemination,” Shen added.

China and Russia both claim their own Internet sovereignty, when cutting off Internet connection to Russia, Russia will take it as a justification to officially launch its independent national Internet: RuNet. Said Dr. Tsung Han Wu as respond to Kuo-Wei Wu’s reminder.

The panel went further to cover Taiwan’s other Internet connectivity issues, including submarine cables and communication satellites.  The moderator started the discussion by referring to The Wall Street Journal’s commentary article.  The article pointed out the war in Ukraine raised Taiwan’s concerns regarding the vulnerability of Internet connections.

Dr. Kenny Huang commented that, Ukraine is a land country and has no submarine cable problem. Although the communication facilities were destroyed in the early days of the war, they are immediately repaired.  Moreover, SpaceX also offered Starlink low-orbit satellite services.  In general, Ukraine’s Internet connection is good.  “Taiwan’s submarine cable is riskier”, said Dr. Hung, “although satellite Internet is in place, it will be insufficient in capacity.  As result, Taiwan should set up priorities for satellite development, such as for Internet access, for military-only purpose and so on.”

Dr. Tsung Han Wu shared the same view with Dr. Huang regarding the vulnerable submarine cable problem in Taiwan. He explained, not only because the cable repairing cost is high, but also very few suppliers globally.  Not mentioning Chinese suppliers are part of the very few. “Taiwan needs to think about the countermeasures.” Dr. Wu suggested.

Xin-Xiong Shen point out the lack of interests of foreign satellite Internet service providers to Taiwan’s market and the island has an extremely high Internet penetration in the world.  In addition, the national security concerns for foreign investment, requirements such as local landing and capital limitation may make our market less attractive.  Taiwan may also face a problem applying for satellite orbits and frequencies from the United Nations body – ITU (International Telecommunication Union).

Ukraine uses Starlink solution in the wartime for Internet, it is like handing over the whole country’s Internet traffic to an American company.  Kwo-Wei Wu suggested Taiwan’s satellite Internet regulation should seek balance between national security and communication needs.  

Dr. Huang reminded that “Peacetime” and “wartime” are two different scenarios: the “normal” regulatory requirements are for the purpose of protecting the consumers; while in the “wartime”, there will be other rules applied.  He further concluded that, the existing international legal system is very flexible. For example, the way countries expand the scope of economic sanctions to virtual assets is new attempt.  Internet governance is even more flexible, and even if the official response of the international institutions looks rigorous, various “inclined” measures as mentioned can be taken. In addition, an Internet sanction principle was proposed, suggesting having a blacklist of domain name and IP address used by the military and propaganda agencies of the aggressor country. It is believed that many countries have already started to develop this sanction list.

“In the past, domain names and IP address were considered as public goods, in the Ukrain-Russian war, they are for the first time to be considered as economic sanction targets. It is a giant change since Internet governance debate in 1998.  It also highlights the different approaches taken when facing the new Internet governance challenges.” Kwo-Wei Wu concluded the session.

Picture

烏俄衝突下的全球網路治理規則改變?

活動資訊

時間:2022年4月22日14:00-16:00

地點:IEAT國際會議中心8樓綜合教室

主持人:

  • 吳國維 理事長(台灣網路治理論壇)

與談人:

  • 吳宗翰 博士(國防安全研究院)

  • 沈信雄 簡任技正(國家通訊傳播委員會)

  • 曾更瑩 合夥人 ( 理律法律事務所)

  • 黃勝雄 董事暨執行長(台灣網路資訊中心)

會議紀要

烏克蘭政府的網路制裁訴求和國際相關規範

吳國維理事長
此次烏俄戰爭,烏克蘭政府請求ICANN(網際網路名稱與號碼指配機構)制裁俄羅斯,關閉其ccTLD(國家頂級域名),也就是.ru、.рф及.su;另也請求歐洲IP位址管理機構 RIPE NCC,取消俄羅斯IPv4與IPv6位址的使用權。但這些訴求遭到拒絕。本次座談從法規面、技術面和台灣立場等角度,探討相關問題。


黃勝雄董事暨執行長
通信協定標準文件《RFC 1591 域名系統架構和授權》(Domain Name System Structure and Delegation)是規範TLD(頂級域名)要件的參考指引,內容包含列出.edu和.org等gTLD(通用頂級域名),並說明ccTLD(國家頂級域名)是參照國際標準組織ISO的3166-1清單制定,但沒有訂定誰可以申請ccTLD,只要是該域名的重大利害關係方(如政府)同意即可。惟RFC和ISO皆非國際強制性標準,而是自願採用性質。

曾更瑩合夥人
ICANN之GAC(政府諮詢委員會)《ccTLDs授權與管理之原則和指南》(Principles and Guidelines for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains)是基於RFC 1591制定的,主要是規範ICANN、政府或公權力當局、ccTLD註冊管理局,3個利害關係方之間的角色和關係,並載明ccTLD是各國/在地議題,如果發生爭議,是訴諸國內/在地法律,ICANN則維持中立且不介入的立場。

我國對於烏克蘭訴求和國際回應的看法

吳國維理事長
由上顯示,ICANN沒有被授權處理烏克蘭政府的訴求,但卻提醒我們要務實正視ccTLD的治理問題。

沈信雄簡任技正
以臺灣的國際立場和政府角度而言,應是支持ICANN和RIPE NCC沒有撤銷俄羅斯的ccTLD和IP位址,因為任何基於政治因素的撤銷措施都不利於臺灣,即使我們有.tw作為ccTLD,但ISO 3166-1仍加註是「中國省份」,因為ISO屬於聯合國組織。

吳宗翰博士
烏克蘭政府或許已預期其訴求不會成功,它是從戰略面思考,真正目的在於增加國際對俄羅斯施壓,而非阻斷俄羅斯連接Internet,因為封閉的環境反而導致俄羅斯境內的假訊息更加嚴重。我國可借鏡之處在於烏克蘭運用多元管道,對侵略者施壓。

域名和IP、經濟制裁,及其他援烏訴求措施

黃勝雄董事暨執行長
ICANN或各國政府如要屏蔽另一國的ccTLD,技術面並無太大困難,問題在於法律的適用性。目前有法律依據的國際禁制令,包括聯合國通過譴責俄羅斯及其相對應的約束措施,以及歐盟、美國及其盟友對俄羅斯的經濟制裁;尤其歐美陣營佔全球GDP的70%,制裁力量不容小覷。當中值得關注的網路治理議題,是域名和IP史無前例地被歐美擴大解釋為經濟制裁的項目。雖然ICANN和RIPE NCC檯面上婉拒烏克蘭的請求,但前者近期已以.su不在ISO 3166-1上為由,正考慮將其移除;後者也依歐盟的制裁清單,將和普丁政權相關的700多個個人或實體(包括俄羅斯前三大電信業者)的IP位址凍結,未來如再進一步擴大解釋,還可使IP上的RPKI(資源公鑰基礎建設)失效,讓俄羅斯的路由無法接通。

維持網路暢通以利真相傳播vs.屏蔽網路以阻斷惡意攻擊

吳國維理事長
許多國家對網路採取一定程度的封鎖,尤其中、俄兩國本來就限制國外資訊的流入,且其駭客更是經常發動惡意網路攻擊,並干擾美國和臺灣的大選。此次俄羅斯還透過網路破壞烏克蘭的金融和電信,已可稱為網路戰爭。因此,網路制裁不宜只考量俄羅斯人民獲取真相的重要性。

沈信雄簡任技正
臺灣對於網路的價值觀有待各界討論並凝聚共識,但如果我國網路遭到攻擊並影響國家社會的運作,則應屏蔽攻擊者的網路。至於真相的傳播則另闢途徑。

吳宗翰博士
中、俄主張網路主權,一旦切斷俄羅斯和Internet連線,即正中其下懷,讓俄羅斯正式啟用獨立封閉的RuNet。至於俄羅斯發動網路戰爭,烏克蘭也號召全球駭客對俄羅斯進行反攻。

黃勝雄董事暨執行長
有關網路攻擊問題,由於難以辨識攻擊是由軍方或平民所發動,依據《塔琳手冊》第29條,一旦有平民加入即視為「交戰團體」,並喪失戰爭受保護的權利。又第13條賦予受攻擊國家自衛權,可採網攻或武力措施回應。因此,任何網攻都要謹慎,以免讓對方師出有名,發動更嚴重的攻擊行為。

臺灣的網路連接問題:海纜與衛星

吳國維理事長
《華爾街日報》報導烏克蘭戰爭引發臺灣對網路連接脆弱性的擔憂。臺灣海纜萬一遭到切斷所引發的對內和國際通訊問題,值得探討。

黃勝雄董事暨執行長
烏克蘭是陸路國家沒有海纜問題,雖然戰爭初期通訊設施也遭攻擊,但在電信公司立即搶修,加上美國 SpaceX 公司提供星鏈(Starlink)低軌衛星網路設備的援助下,烏克蘭的網路通訊狀況良好。而臺灣海纜的風險則較大,儘管也可使用衛星通訊,但有總乘載量不足的問題。所以,我國應從法規制度面和技術面,探討使用衛星通訊的優先項目、軍民共用或軍方單獨使用,及如何符合軍方嚴格的加密規定等問題。

吳宗翰博士
海纜原本就容易斷裂,不但修復成本很高,且全球具有修復能力者只有包含中國業者在內的極少數公司,因此,我國需有因應對策。

沈信雄簡任技正
臺灣的網路普及率很高,且偏鄉網路通訊亦領先全球,因此,對國外的衛星通訊業者而言,已無利可圖;加上基於國安考量,還有落地和資本額等限制,恐怕更難吸引外資投資。而如要自行發展,又會碰到衛星軌道和頻率由聯合國ITU(國際電信聯盟)核發的問題,最終可能會徒勞無功。

吳國維理事長
此次烏克蘭使用Starlink通訊,形同網路封包交由美國公司管理。我國的落地等相關規定太保守,應在國安和通訊需求之間尋求平衡點,否則問題沒有解決方案。

黃勝雄董事暨執行長
「平時」和「戰時」可分別而論。「平時」的法規要件以保護消費者的安全使用為主;而「戰時」我國亦有調用民用通訊設備的相關法規可援引,理論上可突破前述的落地和資本額等限制。

吳宗翰博士
Starlink每月費率為110美元,和國內的資費和消費市場有所區隔。另一方面,或許可透過國內電信業者和Starlink合作的方式,突破法規的外資限制。

沈信雄簡任技正
通傳會已公告「電信事業申請衛星固定通信用無線電頻率核配有關事項」草案,未來國外業者或許可透過和國內業者合作方式,於臺灣提供衛星通訊服務。

總結

黃勝雄董事暨執行長
既有的國際法規體系具有很大彈性,例如此次將經濟制裁的項目擴大至虛擬資產。而網路治理的彈性更大,即使國際機構的官方回應嚴謹,但仍可採取如前所述的多項「傾斜」措施。此外,還有一群專家提出網路治理的制裁原則,包括可將侵略國的軍事和宣傳機構的域名和IP,列為制裁目標,相信許多國家已著手研擬此制裁清單。

吳國維理事長
過去域名和IP被視為公共財,但此次烏俄戰爭下首度成為經濟制裁的項目,此為網路治理自1998年發展迄今的一大變動,且「傾斜」的做法也凸顯網路治理處理新挑戰的不同方式。此外,臺灣也應思考我國於域名、IP、海纜、衛星通訊可能面臨的問題,並從法規面和技術面提出積極的因應措施。

照片集錦