Improving Technical Security Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS)

Network Operators in Latin America and the Caribbean Take Steps to Strengthen Routing Security

2019 has been a very good year for the Internet in Latin America and the Caribbean. In May, during the 31st meeting of LACNIC, several operators pledged to take steps to make routing security, and the Internet itself, stronger. They joined the MANRS initiative, which includes four simple and concrete steps to improve the Internet’s security and reliability. In August, NIC Mexico convened the second meeting of network operators in the country, during which routing security stood out as one of the main issues on the agenda.

The Internet Society also made progress on collaboration with National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and higher education institutions. During the TICAL 2019 meeting, we offered a workshop on MANRS in collaboration with RedClara, LACNIC, the University of Guadalajara, ANUIES, and the Autonomous University of Yucatán. This workshop was part of a series of virtual sessions started in April, which ended on October 2 during the ANUIES-TIC meeting with a long-term practical workshop.

As we head to the final stretch of the year, the 32nd meeting of LACNIC will be a new opportunity to work with network operators to improve the security of the Internet. From Panama we will advise anyone interested in implementing the four actions of MANRS and offer advice to make the most of the recently launched MANRS Observatory.

As neighbors in this worldwide network called the Internet, we must work together to make it as strong and resilient as we can.

Community Networks Growing the Internet

In Colombia: Latin American Summit on Community Networks

The University of Cundinamarca will host the Second Latin American Summit of Community Networks September 24-28. The event is organized by the Community Networks Special Interest Group, the Fusa Libre Collective, and the Colombia Chapter, with backing from the Internet Society.

The Summit, which will include representatives of 24 organizations that operate community networks in different countries, is meant to be a resource for the region. On the first day there will be 12 presentations that will share experiences from projects developed in countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico.

During the rest of the Summit, attendees will explore topics that will help strengthen their projects and enhance their development. The topics addressed in these working sessions have been defined collaboratively: gender-related issues, regulatory frameworks, local content, methodological strategies for community work, and actions for the promotion and deployment of new community networks. It could not be otherwise in a community where collaboration has stood out. In addition, attendees can share their experiences and best practices.

Although many people are familiar with the term “community networks,” their collaborative nature can be a surprise to those who are learning about how they function. Seeing people working together to plan, deploy, and operate community networks is usually a pleasant surprise – and this great work is a reflection of the collaboration that characterizes the Internet.

The Internet is for everyone, and community networks can play a key role in closing the global digital divide. They are a global movement – “for the community, by the community” – and can increase the diversity and plurality of the Internet, put its power in the hands of people, and empower these builders to invite others to join this global-scale task.

Join the movement! Attend one of the Community Networks Summits taking place around the world.

Improving Technical Security Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS)

Network Operators in Mexico Strengthen Their Collaboration

Collaboration is a basic element for Internet development. Without it, connections among networks would be non-existent and the Internet wouldn’t have its global reach. Without it, the Internet wouldn’t exist as we know it. Fortunately, there are many groups that use collaboration and other elements of the Internet networking model.

On August 14, NIC Mexico convened the second meeting of network operators in the country. After a first successful meeting held in 2018, this year’s event exceeded the expectations of the organizers. Edmundo Cázarez, Internet Resource Manager at NIC Mexico, said the organization placed greater emphasis on promoting the meeting among network operators, which led to increased participation.

MEXNOG, as the group of operators is also known, has capitalized on the enthusiasm of the participants through their meetings, but also through a mailing list. In the style of other Internet development groups, the mailing list has served as a meeting point and as a space for exchanging information and best practices among participants.

Therefore, the next step for the group is to strengthen participation in this space, as Edmundo points out: “We want the mailing list to be the contact point of the group. It has been used to consult topics of different kinds, but we hope it will increase participation. Currently, communication among network operators already exists in other ways, but the ideal is to be taken to the list.”

This year’s meeting program was formed taking into account the suggestions of the local community. The topics had a strong emphasis on strengthening routing security. From the Internet Society, Christian O’Flaherty, Senior Development Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, contributed with a presentation about the MANRS Observatory, which had been presented globally the day before the meeting.

At the close of the event, Ernesto Bojórquez, Commercial Director of NIC Mexico and Chairperson of the LACTLD Board of Directors, highlighted the role that network operators play in the development of the Internet. In addition, he invited attendees to point out in their agendas that the group’s third meeting is already dated: August 14, 2020.

Join MANRS and help strengthen Internet routing security!

Community Networks Growing the Internet

In Patagonia: A New Community Network in the Village of El Cuy

Patagonia, a region in Argentina made up of deserts, pampas, and grasslands, is known for its large areas of uninhabited territory. In the north sits the village of El Cuy, with just 400 residents. Far from the large urban centers, the people of El Cuy have adapted to the difficulties of accessing different services and technologies. The Internet is no exception, thanks to a new community network.

In several ways, the community network model represents the Internet model of networking come to life. Community networks are built and implemented by people, through collaboration – all stages of the process include the community working together. In the case of the El Cuy community network, support was also provided by the CABASE and the ENACOM.

For Christian O’Flaherty, the Internet Society’s senior development manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, Internet access has become a positive catalyst for community development. “The operation of this pilot program has motivated the residents to organize themselves into a cooperative. This step will allow inhabitants from El Cuy to have access to various fundings offered by actors such as ENACOM to increase the capacity of the Internet connection.”

Abel Martínez, a resident of El Cuy and a participant in the project, says that the community aims to maintain operation of the network and expand its capacity. This will be possible through the cooperative that is in the process of getting started: Coopesur.

The deployment of the network hasn’t been free of difficulties. From the transport of the supplies needed to install the antenna towers to the fulfillment of regulatory requirements, the inhabitants of El Cuy have mobilized to carry out these tasks. Simón Camú, member of Coopesur, points out that the group of people involved in the project has varied throughout the process, although the spirit has been kept alive since the first community network was connected to the Internet, in April of this year.

The benefits to the community have been obvious. Tamara Rodríguez and Rubén Pereira, residents of the town, point out the positive impact that connectivity offers them in terms of health, education, and access to information. Now it isn’t uncommon for the network to experience episodes of congestion, due to the high demand for use. Even the interviews I conducted with the community have occurred through instant messaging, something unimaginable before the network began to operate!

Learn more about community networks and how you can help close the digital divide!

Shaping the Internet's Future

Internet Society and UNESCO Offer a Capacity Building Program for Judges

Trust is vital to the future of the Internet. The best way to build it is to let a diverse group of people and interested organizations contribute their experience and knowledge. For this reason, the Internet Society and the UNESCO Regional Office has developed a capacity-building program for judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and other judicial operators in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This program shares our vision for an open, globally-connected, trustworthy, and secure Internet for everyone. We allied with UNESCO to incorporate a plan related to freedom of expression, privacy, encryption, and access to public information. In this way the program responds to the needs of judicial operators facing real cases related to the use of the Internet.

For Raquel Gatto, Senior Policy Advisor of the Internet Society, the program represents an unprecedented opportunity: “The technical foundations of the Internet show us that collaboration is a fundamental factor for the functioning of the network. The Internet is a network of networks that trust each other, allowing interconnection. The Internet can not exist without such collaboration”.

Guilherme Canela, Regional Councilor for Communication and Information of UNESCO, says, “For 5 years, UNESCO, in cooperation with the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Human Rights System, and many other international partners, has developed the Judges Initiative, which seeks to deepen the dialogue with Ibero-American judicial operators on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Security for Journalists. In this framework, more than 8,000 judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and other judicial operators have already gone through the training offered by the initiative. In the interaction with these operators, their interest in deepening knowledge about the broad Internet agenda is clear. That is why we are proud of this cooperation with the Internet Society, which will offer this opportunity for additional training for those who have already gone through the basic modules of the Judges Initiative”.

The program will be divided into two phases and will have a capacity for 1,000 people. During the first phase, participants will have access to topics related to the technical and policy principles of the Internet ecosystem, the foundations of the Internet Governance system, and the actors involved in the community. Participants who successfully complete the first phase of the program will access a second phase, consisting of a series of discussions led by experts on current issues of the Internet ecosystem, including privacy, freedom of expression, and encryption on the Internet.

Interested applicants can request registration through a simple form. The registration period is open from 21 March to 12 April. Those selected will receive a notification on 16 April to start the first phase of the course on the 22 April.

The Internet is a network of networks that interact with each other on a voluntary basis. Collaboration is part of the fundamental architecture of the Internet, which is why we promote this approach for security and trust. Together, as a community, we can contribute to trust in the ecosystem and continue working for an open, globally-connected, trustworthy, and secure Internet for everyone.

Read about the collaborative security approach to tackling Internet issues.