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LINX Welcome CNCI as 1st New Member to Connect in London from Japanese IXP Partner, JPIX

By | International, LINX News, News

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) and the Japan Internet Exchange (JPIX) recently entered into a new partnership agreement, a collaboration which stems from the knowledge that an increasing number of Asian networks are looking to peer in Europe, and in London in particular.

Community Network Center (CNCI) is the first member to join LINX in London from JPIX’s Tokyo PoP. CNCI, a large customer for JPIX, is the second-largest cable MSO in Japan, providing internet connectivity to businesses and consumers across central Japan. Reaching Europe from Asia was high on CNCI’s agenda in order to reduce latency and improve speed to European-based gaming content and streaming.

Takanori Furushio, VP-Strategy for JPIX says;

“We are pleased to be able to connect one of our largest customers, CNCI, with our new partners LINX in London. They wanted to be the first network to join LINX through this new partnership and lead the way for other networks to follow.”

CNCI’s port is now live and peering traffic and LINX are looking forward to welcoming more networks from the APAC region to peer in London.

Kurtis Lindqvist, CMO for LINX says;

With transport costs to the UK falling and London maintaining its position as a global hub for interconnection, there’s simply no better time to join LINX. We are pleased to be working alongside our partners in Japan and together ‘working for the good of the Internet.”

Ends

LINX JPIX Partnership

Online harms White Paper

By | Content Issues

The UK government has today published its much anticipated policy paper “Online Harms“. This proposes a regulator for Internet content (whether
a new regulator, or repurposing an existing one), to introduce sweeping new regulation of Internet companies and against a broad range of Internet content. The centre-piece obligation for companies is a new “duty of care” to protect their users from broadly-described “harm”, the meaning of which will be set out in a series of Codes of Practice developed by the new regulator.

The government describes this as “novel and ambitious” and “world-leading”.

Introducing the White Paper, Secretary of State for Digital Jeremy Wright said

The era of self-regulation for online companies is over. Voluntary actions from industry to tackle online harms have not been applied consistently or gone far enough

Home Secretary Sajid Javid added

The tech giants and social media companies have a moral duty to protect the young people they profit from.

Despite our repeated calls to action, harmful and illegal content – including child abuse and terrorism – is still too readily available online.

That is why we are forcing these firms to clean up their act once and for all. I made it my mission to protect our young people – and we are now delivering on that promise.

A twelve-week consultation on the White Paper begins today. A synoposis of some of the stand-out elements follows.

Companies covered

Companies in scope will be those “that allow users to share or discover user-generated content or interact with each other online.”, regardless
of size.

“A wide variety of organisations provide these services to users. […] The scope will include companies from a range of sectors, including social media companies, public discussion forums, retailers that allow users to review products online, along with non-profit organisations, file sharing sites and cloud hosting providers.”

The regulator will adopt a “risk based approach” and “the regulator’s initial focus will be on those companies that pose the biggest and clearest risk of harm to users, either because of the scale of the platforms or because of known issues with serious harms”.

Funding

“The regulator will be funded by industry in the medium term, and the government is exploring options such as fees, charges or a levy to put
it on a sustainable footing.”

Harms covered

  • All illegal content; plus
  • Content without clear legal definition, including
    • cyberbullying and trolling
    • extremist content and activity
    • coercive behaviour and intimidation
    • promotion of self-harm and FGM
  • Children’s access
    • to pornography
    • to dating sites
    • to other inappropriate content
    • to social media (under 13)
  • A broad range of legal content including
    • disinformation
    • manipulation
    • abuse of public figures
  • Emerging challenges such as
    • Excessive screen time
    • “Designed in addiction”

The list is stated to be neither exhaustive nor static.

Out of scope: GDPR, hacking, “dark web”.

 

Private communications

The extent to which private communications will be included within the scope of the regulator’s ambit isn’t entirely clear. The White Paper suggests one-to-one communications will be out of scope, but “a WhatsApp group with hundreds of members” would be in scope. “Small private channels” used to groom children for sex, or or used to encourage terrorism, would be in scope.

There is a consultation question on the definition of private communications.

Technical measures

“Companies should invest in the development of safety technologies to reduce the burden on users to stay safe online.”

 

Regulation

  •  “The government will establish a new statutory duty of care to make companies take more responsibility for the safety of their users and
    tackle harm caused by content or activity on their services.”
  • “Companies must fulfil their new legal duties. The regulator will set out how to do this in codes of practice.”
  • “Companies will still need to be compliant with the overarching duty of care even where a specific code does not exist, for example assessing and responding to the risk associated with emerging harms or technology.”
  • There will be
    • a complaints mechanism for users to complain about content
    • (as a consultation option) a right for organisations that aim to protect users to make “supercomplaints”
    • strict timelimits for companies to act
    • redress mechanisms for users
  • “The scope to use the regulator’s findings in any claim against a company in the courts on grounds of negligence or breach of contract. And, if the regulator has found a breach of the statutory duty of care, that decision and the evidence that has led to it will be available to the individual to use in any private legal action.”
  • “To inform its reports and to guide its regulatory action, the regulator will have the power to require annual reports from companies” covering a broad and detailed range of aspects of what they do in this area, as well as a power for the regulator to make specific enquiries and compel the disclosure of research about harms.

The regulator will be required to follow the some regulatory principles:

  • A Duty for regulator to pay “due regard” to innovation and to protect users rights online, including fundamental rights to freedom of expression.
  • A Duty for regulator to respect proportionality
  • “A risk based approach”

Enforcement and sanctions

  • “Substantial fines” for non-compliance
  • ISP blocking could be used to prevent user access to foreign online services that decline to obey the new UK regulation
  • Another option for enforcement against non-compliant foreign entities would be disruption of their business activities (e.g. by getting payment
    services providers to withhold service, removing from search engines, preventing links on social media)
  • The White Paper includes a consultation question on personal liability for senior managers of businesses that fail to discharge their duty of care, including possibly civil fines or even personal criminal liability
  • The government is also consulting on imposing a requirement on companies that offer online services to nominate a representative person who is
    within the UK or the EEA, and so reachable for enforcement action and personal liability

Fulfilling a duty of care

Essentially, the actions a company would have to undertake in order to be considered to have discharged its duty of care are to be left to be determined through Codes of Practice established by the regulator.The White Paper sets out a range of topics a Code of Practice should cover, broken out by type of harm (terrorism, CSAM, disinformation, harassment etc)

LINX NoVA Celebrate’s 5th Birthday

By | International, LINX News, News

Our regional Internet exchange in Northern Virginia, LINX NoVA is celebrating it’s 5th birthday this week!

Until LINX NoVA launched in 2014, the Ashburn metro area, one of the largest interconnect locations in the world, was a single point of failure. Today our members can enjoy platform diversity as well as a choice of colocation providers in the region, which in turn has improved the Internet in general in the region.

LINX NoVA is located at three sites: Digital Realty in Ashburn, Coresite in Reston and EvoSwitch in Manassas and 5 years ago this week, member traffic started to pass across the exchange!

It’s been quite a year of success for LINX NoVA so far as they welcomed new member network, Charter Communications to the exchange at the start of the year followed by hitting their traffic high in March, peaking at 32.39GB, an increase of over 70% compared to March 2018.

As you can see the future is looking bright for LINX NoVA as it turns 5 years old… Watch this space!

Find out more about LINX NoVA here.

LINX Member take first 100GE port at JEDIX

By | LINX News, News

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and the London Internet Exchange (LINX) have announced that Limelight has provided a Letter of Intent (loi) that they will take the first 100GE port at JEDIX.

JEDIX, the KSA Internet Exchange powered by LINX, is situated in Jeddah. The agreement, which is subject to finalising a commercial agreement, will also see Limelight deploy its first KSA node in STC’s datacentre MG1 (MENA Gateway) as part of forming a new partnership with STC.

“With the creation of JEDIX we believe this will help increase the flow of internet traffic within the KSA and the surrounding region. Therefore a new CDN PoP will help improve the delivery of Internet content,” said Limelight.

STC and LINX stated that they are very much looking forward to working with Limelight in support of their new node and the betterment of the KSA internet experience.

Photograph courtesy of Capacity Media

Enquiries about connecting at JEDIX are being taken now. To find out more about the exchange click here.

Global Subsea Resurgence: Virginia Beach 0 – 4 in 18 Months

By | International, LINX News, News

Subsea Cables have been growing at an astounding rate of 40% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate). Last couple of years have seen a major resurgence in the subsea projects globally. These cables are so crucial to the digital economy, that close to $10 Trillion in transactions takes place each day on these cables globally. There are approximately 448 submarine cables in service globally (as of Sep 2018), representing about 1.2 Million kms of trans-oceanic cable deployed under water around the world. The astronomical growth in demand for capacity on these cables is driven by the growth in – data generation by all of us as users, the appetite for data consumption and ‘digital everything’ phenomena taking place around us.

This resurgence in the subsea industry, has led to the formation of many successful new subsea companies, that we like to refer to as the ‘New Age Subsea Companies’ such as – Aqua Comms, Crosslake Fiber, Deep Blue Cable, Indian Ocean Xchange (IOX), Seaborn Networks, South Atlantic Express (SAEx) to name a few. There are multiple subsea projects underway by these companies in various stages of development spanning the globe and connecting various continents together.

The content providers and over-the-top (OTT) companies have also been investing significantly in the subsea cable systems. The number of cable systems that content providers and OTTs have invested in are – Amazon (3), Facebook (10), Google (14), Microsoft (4). This represents a major paradigm shift in the industry wherein earlier a large number of [international] consortiums (at times 15-20 companies) were formed to fund and implement a subsea cable system. Compare that to the present time, when you have much smaller consortiums (typically 2-3 companies), and at times one single company owning, funding and operating the entire system end-to-end. It costs anywhere from $300-$500M to design and build one subsea cable system. Various complex steps are involved in the lifecycle including – marine survey, desktop study, feasibility analysis, permitting, licensing and various other international legal matters. The lifespan of a subsea cable is ~25 years. Several subsea systems across the Atlantic are nearing their EOL, and this coupled with the exploding demand for capacity together have been the macro driving forces behind the resurgence taking place around us in the subsea industry.

The Virginia Beach Success Story
Virginia Beach has experienced unprecedented success in attracting new subsea fiber cable landings on its shores. In the last ~18-20 months or so the City of Virginia Beach has gone from having 0 subsea cables to 4. These 4 subsea cables are in various stages of development as we speak and will provide a direct and fast connection to different countries and continents of the world. This is a significant development for the state of Virginia, which is the #1 data center market in the world and has ~70% of the world’s Internet traffic passing through the state.

These subsea fiber cables that connect Virginia shoreline to various parts of the world, are extremely crucial to the digital economy and our ever-so-digital lives. By virtue of these cables spanning thousands of kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean, the State of Virginia will have direct, low-latency and high-capacity connectivity to various parts of the world including:

  1. Bilbao, Spain                         MAREA             8 fiber pairs      6600 kms          Operational
  2. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil            BRUSA             6 fiber pairs      4000 kms          Operational
    (with BUs to Puerto Rico, San Juan & Fortaleza, Brazil)
  3. Cape Town, South Africa        SAEx1              6 fiber pairs      13,300 kms       Development
    (with BUs to Fortaleza, Brazil, Ascension, St. Helena)Singapore (from Cape Town)      SAEx2           6 fiber pairs      11,800 kms       Development
    (with BUs to Mtunzini, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Chennai, India)
  4. French Atlantic Coast, France DUNANT           4 fiber pairs      5000 kms          Development

MAREA is co-owned by Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius, and BRUSA is fully owned by Telxius. These two cables are operational and land at Telxius CLS in Virginia Beach. The SAEx system, comprises of two segments SAEx1 and SAEx2. SAEx1 or South Atlantic Express1 will connect from Virginia Beach to Cape Town, South Africa with Branching Units to Fortaleza, Brazil, Ascension and Saint Helena. SAEx2 or South Asia Express2 will head eastward from Cape Town, South Africa to Singapore with Branching Units to Mtunzini, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius and Chennai, India. In essence, SAEx (comprising of SAEx1 and SAEx2) will provide a diverse new route connecting four continents together – North America, South America, Africa and Asia. The system will avoid existing choke points, avoid seismic hazards and ultimately reduce the latency between Asia and Americas and between Asia and Africa.  The fourth system announced in DUNANT, which is owned by Google, and will be connecting to the French Atlantic Coast with a partnership with Orange.

The two operational cables – MAREA and BRUSA, both land at Camp Pendelton, a US military reserve facility in Virginia Beach. The City of Virginia Beach along with the Virginia Beach Development Authority (VBDA) is evaluating a second alternative and diverse landing point for subsea cables at Sandbridge Beach. These cables when fully built and operational, will collectively be interconnecting four continents – North America, South America, Africa and Europe – thereby making Virginia Beach at the Confluence of four Continents. Additionally, there are a few other subsea projects that are under various stages of consideration in the subsea industry to land in Virginia Beach.

The City of Virginia Beach has been proactively and diligently working with the industry to make it easy, cost-effective and faster to bring new subsea cables to the port city also now known as the “Digital Port”. Some key initiatives underway by the City of Virginia Beach include –

  • Reducing the tax rate for data center equipment to $0.40 per $100 of assessed value with a depreciation schedule of 40 percent of original cost for the first three years. The depreciation rate for year four is 30 percent and for year five and forward is 15 percent
  • Streamlining the permitting process for cable landings
  • Pursuing establishment of cable protection zones
  • Identifying alternative landing point at Sandbridge to Corporate Landing
  • Improving city’s conduit infrastructure in Corporate Landing
  • Available Dominion Energy-certified data center sites – Owned by the City of Virginia Beach Development Authority, Corporate Landing Business Park consists of 325 acres of land, of which 160 acres are “shovel ready” and available for development

Summary

The Subsea cables provide the vital backbone of the global Digital Economy. Global Subsea Resurgence will continue for at least the next 3-5 years. Diverse landing points and new business models will continue to take the center stage in this growth driving additional bandwidth capacity under the oceans. The subsea industry will be working more and more closer with the terrestrial fiber industry and the data center industry thus enabling the natural convergence of subsea fiber, terrestrial fiber and data centers.

Vinay Nagpal, President of InterGlobix joined us at LINX102, watch his presentation in full here;

Thanks to our guest authors:

Vinay Nagpal

President, InterGlobix

vinay@interglobix.com

Rob Hudome

Senior Project Development Mgr., City of Virginia Beach

rhudome@vbgov.com

European Parliament passes controversial Copyright Directive

By | EU Legislation, Europe, News

The European parliament has voted in favour of controversial proposals to reform online copyright. The two most controversial articles in the proposed copyright directive, article 11 and article 13, had been amended after being rejected by MEPs when they voted on the draft legislation in July.

Article 11, which has been dubbed the “link tax” by critics, would require news aggregation and search sites such as Google to pay publishers for showing news snippets or linking to news stories on other sites. Article 11 has now been amended to allow links to contain individual words from the linked to publishers’ content in a bid to address criticism that it would criminalise the use of hyperlinks.

Article 13 would require companies to automatically filter copyrighted material uploaded on their platforms, unless it has been specifically licensed. The amended proposals have reduced the scope of article 13 to platforms that both host “significant” amounts of content and also “promote” that content, and an exemption is made for small businesses.

A large number of musicians, including Paul McCartney, backed the proposals in article 13 arguing that they would ensure artists were appropriately compensated for their work. However, an open letter signed by 70 technology leaders, including Tim Berners-Lee, warned that the proposals were an “imminent threat” to the future of the internet as we know it, and could effectively ban things like memes and remixes which use some copyrighted material.

While recorded entertainment industries welcomed the vote,  critics say that the two articles have only been subject to cosmetic changes, which have done nothing to mitigate their concerns.

The legislation will now be subject to trialogue negotiations with the European commission and Member States through the European Council. It will then return for a final vote in the European parliament in January.

LINX Join the MANRS IXP Programme

By | Internet Governance, LINX Governance, LINX News, News

Today the London Internet Exchange announced that it has joined the MANRS IXP Programme and will be supporting the MANRS initiative.

MANRS (Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security) was created by members of the network operator community as an initiative to promote good practices in routing security. Weaknesses in routing security can lead to route leaks, IP address spoofing and even route hijacks, facilitating DDoS, traffic inspection and other security breaches. MANRS provides crucial fixes to reduce the most common routing threats.

MANRS Actions outline simple but concrete actions network operators should take. Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) are important partners in the MANRS community. The MANRS Actions were initially designed for network operators, but IXPs can serve as a collaborative focal point to discuss and promote routing security. To address the unique needs and concerns of IXPs, the community created a related but separate set of MANRS actions for participating IXPs.

Malcolm Hutty, Head of Public Affairs at LINX says;

“MANRS is an important initiative for promoting best practices for routing security. LINX is pleased to support it, and to encourage others to follow its guidance, for all our protection”

Andrei Robachevsky from ISOC, which provides organisational support for the MANRS programme, will be presenting at the forthcoming LINX102 member event in Manchester next week.

For more information, please refer to the MANRS website www.manrs.org or contact publicaffairs@linx.net

DCMS publishes consultation on NIS Directive for Digital Service Providers

By | News, Security

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a targeted consultation to seek views on how the Government intends to implement the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive in relation to Digital Service Providers (DSPs) in the UK. This follows the publication of the Implementing Act for DSPs by the European Commission in January 2018.

The Government states that the UK will define DSPs in the same way as set out in the Directive, which means that DSPs will encompass “online marketplaces”, “online search engines”, and “cloud computing services”.

As the Government has previously stated, the Information Commissioner’s Office (the ICO) will be responsible for regulating DSPs in the UK in the context of the NIS Directive. As part of this role, the ICO will produce guidance to help DSPs establish whether they are in scope of the Directive. The consultation states that the ICO will also, after 10 May 2018 when the Directive comes into force, “establish a system in order for UK DSPs to register themselves with the ICO.” The Government states that this system “is necessary in order for the ICO to know who is required to meet the requirements of the Directive and who they need to regulate”, and that it is considering making registration mandatory.

The ICO will also publish guidance to ensure that DSPs understand their obligations under the Directive. This guidance will take into account the Technical Guidelines for the implementation of minimum security measures for Digital Service Providers published by the European Network and Information Systems Agency (ENISA) in 2017. This, according to the Government, will ensure that there is a consistent approach across Europe.

The ICO, along with the other relevant regulatory authorities, will have the power to recover the costs of regulating the NIS Directive. In this context, the Government expects that the ICO, in line with common practice in other regulations such as the GDPR, will levy an annual fee on DSPs, in addition to recovering direct costs involved in any regulatory investigations. The consultation states that the amount of this fee has not yet been determined and will be published by the ICO in due course.

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 29 April 2018.

Malaysian penalty for “fake news”: 10 years in jail

By | Content Issues, International, News

The Malaysian government has brought forward a bill in Parliament that sets the penalty for publishing so-called “fake news” online with up to ten years in jail plus a fine of 500,000 MYR (about £90,000), Reuters reports.

Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia

“The proposed Act seeks to safeguard the public against the proliferation of fake news whilst ensuring the right to freedom of speech and expression under the Federal Constitution is respected,” the government said in the bill.

The bill gives a broad definition to fake news, covering  “news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false”. It seeks to apply the law extra-territorially, to anything published on the Internet provided Malaysia or Malaysians are affected by the article.

“Fake news” has become an increasingly popular target of political attack since Donald Trump popularised the term in his battles with CNN and other major broadcasters. In the UK, a Parliamentary Select Committee recently held their first ever hearings in Washington DC on the subject, summoning social media platforms to be lambasted for failing to suppress allegedly “fake news”. The Prime Minister’s office established a new unit to counter fake news in January.

So far, however, no UK government Minister has suggested jailing people for writing something on the Internet that isn’t right.

Council of Europe publishes guidlelines for Internet intermediaries

By | International, News

The Council of Europe has published a Recommendation to Member States on the roles and responsibilities of Internet intermediaries. The Recommendation declares that access to the Internet is a precondition for the ability effectively to exercise fundamental human rights, and seeks to protect users by calling for greater transparency, fairness and due process when interfering with content. The Recommendation also calls for greater respect for user privacy.

The Recommendations’ key provisions aimed at governments include:

  • Public authorities should only make “requests, demands or other actions
    addressed to internet intermediaries that  interferes with human rights and fundamental freedoms” when prescribed by law. This means they should therefore avoid asking intermediaries to remove content under their terms of service or to make their terms of service more restrictive.
  • Legislation giving powers to public authorities to interfere with Internet content should clearly define the scope of those powers and available discretion, to protect against arbitrary application.
  • When internet intermediaries restrict access to third-party content based on a State order, State  authorities should ensure that effective redress mechanisms are made available and adhere to applicable  procedural safeguards.
  • When intermediaries remove content based on their own terms and conditions of  service, this should not be considered a form of control that makes them liable for the third-party content for  which they provide access. 
  • Member States should consider introducing laws to prevent vexatious lawsuits designed to suppress users free expression, whether by targeting the user or the intermediary. In the US, these are known as “anti-SLAPP laws“.

The Recomendations’ provisions aimed at service providers include:

  • A “plain language” requirement for terms of service.
  • A call to include outside stakeholders in the process of drafting terms of service.
  • Transparency on how restrictions on content are applied, when, and detailed information on how algorithmic and automated means are used.
  • Transparency reporting
  • Effective remedies and complaints mechanisms for users who wish to dispute restriction of their service or content. “all remedies should allow for an impartial and independent  review of the alleged violation [of users’ rights to expression]. These should – depending on the violation in question – result in inquiry, explanation, reply, correction, apology, deletion, reconnection or compensation”.

The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental body entirely separate from the European Union. With 47 member states, it seeks to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, including by monitoring adherence to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. Its Recommendations are not legally binding on Member States, but are very influential in the development of national policy and of the policy and law of the European Union.