A Network For All of San Francisco

In “A Network for All of San Francisco” panelists on the Subcommittee for Privacy & Governance outline the unique opportunity available to the City and County of San Francisco to use its municipal, open-access network to guarantee its residents access to a free and open internet.

This report recommends policies and technical practices to protect deeply held values of San Francisco residents.

San Francisco deserves an open access network that requires private operators to provide residents equal access to all lawful content; enforces mandates for privacy and consent; and ensures robust procedures to protect residents from overreaching, extra-legal requests.

Report Link (PDF)

Panel Chair Mayor Mark Farrell, City and County of San Francisco

Subcommittee Members: Lisa Ho, Chief Privacy Officer UC Berkeley, Chair, Subcommittee on Privacy & Governance

Kevin Bankston, Director of New America’s Open Technology Institute

Kit Walsh, Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Professor Catherine Sandoval, Santa Clara University School of Law

Assistant Professor Hao Yue, San Francisco State University

Relevant Publications:

In “San Francisco: Building Community Broadband to Protect Net Neutrality and Online Privacy,” (link) the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Katharine Trendacosta highlights the Blue Ribbon Panel’s report and emphasizes that “San Francisco’s community broadband looks to be doing as much as possible to provide choices while also ensuring that all their options lead to safe and secure connection to a free and open Internet.”

In “Fed Up With the Feds,” (link) Policy Counsel Eric Null of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute details the report’s findings and lauds the panel’s work, urging the City to ensure “that all San Franciscans can access a network that was built for them, with local values taking center stage in the effort.”

In “Getting Internet Companies To Do The Right Thing” (link) New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) Director Kevin Bankston and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society published an extensive research survey of the current best practices around transparency reporting on government data requests.

In a blog post (link) by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF’s Legal Director Corynne McSherry and EFF Staff Attorneys Kit Walsh and Mitch Stoltz argue that Net Neutrality has been a pillar of the Open Internet, and identify the legal and policy rationales for challenging the December 2017 repeal of federal net neutrality protections.

In “At the Privacy Vanguard: California’s Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA)” (available in draft form at this link), Professor Susan Freiwald of the University of San Francisco School of Law provides the first detailed assessment of California’s groundbreaking electronic communications privacy legislation.

In regulatory comments to the FCC (pdf), Open Technology Institute’s Policy Counsel Eric G Null and Director of Open Internet Policy Sarah Morris outline recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission explain that it is good public policy to establish strong consumer privacy protections for broadband Internet access customers.

In “Fourth Amendment Protection for Stored E-Mail” (link), Professor Freiwald explains stored e-mail surveillance and argues that users retain a reasonable expectation of privacy in the e-mails stored on their ISPs’ computers.

In “DataClouds: Enabling Data-Centric Services over Internet of Things,” Professor Hao Yue of the San Francisco State University proposes a new architecture for future Internet and identifies security and privacy challenges for the Internet under this architecture. [See Hao Yue, Linke Guo, Ruidong Li, Hitoshi Asaeda, and Yuguang Fang, “DataClouds: Enabling Data-Centric Services over Internet of Things,” (Invited paper), IEEE Internet of Things Journal, vol. 1, no. 5, pp. 472-482, October 2014.]

[See also Kaiping Xue, Yingjie Xue, Jianan Hong, Wei Li, Hao Yue, David S. L. Wei, and Peilin Hong, “RAAC: Robust and Auditable Access Control with Multiple Attribute Authorities for Public Cloud Storage,” IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security (TIFS), vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 953-967, April 2017]

In “The American People Broadly Support Net Neutrality” (link) OTI publishes a collection of the surveys conducted by consumer groups, the cable industry, and nonpartisan polling agencies that show the broad, overwhelming support for Net Neutrality.

In “Net Neutrality Powers Energy and Forestalls Climate Change” (PDF), Professor Catherine Sandoval of the Santa Clara University School of Law shares a presentation about the role of net neutrality in protecting critical infrastructure and energy reliability.

In “Local Communities Can Inject Desperately Needed Competition in the ISP Market,” (link) EFF Policy Counsel Ernesto Falcon underscores the important role of municipal broadband in ensuring local competition in San Francisco for high speed home internet.

In a white paper (link), OTI collaborated with Upturn to urge that the FCC plays an important role in protecting online privacy.

In a blog post (link) featured the OTI website, Policy Counsel Eric G. Null outlines the concrete risks of repealing FCC privacy protections, including harms to American consumers and the broader internet economy.

In a report card (link), OTI tracks concerning trends in oversight of internet provider practices over the past year: in particular, the repeal of federal consumer protections.

Panelists will continue to update this page with recent publications on this important issue.

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Should Fiber-Based Internet Access Be A Utility?

In the second report released by the Blue Ribbon Panel, panelists from the Subcommittee on Technology & Infrastructure seek to explain why fiber-optic internet should be treated as a public utility, fundamental to the economic and social life of the entire City. The panel explores international examples of success stories and addresses the risk inherent in maintaining the status quo.

Report Link (PDF)

Panel Co-Chairs: Professor Susan Crawford and Supervisor Mark Farrell

Subcommittee Members: Professor Allen S. Hammond, Chair, Subcommittee on Technology & Infrastructure

Professor Catherine Sandoval, Julie Kim, Dr. Rajiv Sharma, Assistant Professor Hao Yue

Relevant Publications from Panelists:

In Wired, Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford backs San Francisco’s plan to treat internet access as a utility: “Fiber is, or should be, a utility available to all Americans. All of our advanced-wireless dreams, all the Internet of Things amazingness, depends on having a solid, dependable, ubiquitous fiber infrastructure reaching everyone at a reasonable cost. San Francisco, after years of study, has finally gotten to the point of readiness to take this step.”

 

Why Fiber: Should San Francisco Deploy a Fiber Broadband Network

In “Why Fiber?” our panelists establish why the City and County of San Francisco should, first, consider playing a greater role in the delivery of internet access to its residents, and second, if it decides to take that step, why it should choose to build out a fiber-optic network to every home and business across the entire City.

Report Link (PDF)

Panel Co-Chairs: Professor Susan Crawford and Supervisor Mark Farrell

Subcommittee Members: Professor Allen S. Hammond, Chair, Subcommittee on Technology & Infrastructure

Professor Catherine Sandoval, Kit Walsh, Julie Kim, Dr. Rajiv Sharma, Assistant Professor Hao Yue

Relevant Publications from Panelists:

In the New York Times, Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford voices support for strengthening the “power of local authorities to encourage the construction of the communications equivalent of a street grid: fiber-optic networks running to every home and business. Hundreds of local governments, fed up with the existing network providers, have done exactly that.”

In “Protect the Open Internet,” (PDF Link) Professor Catherine Sandoval of the Santa Clara University Law School states in the Daily Journal “The internet is essential to our economy, services and security, and is increasingly the town square of democracy.  It enables health care information and monitoring to extend from the doctor’s office to the home, making open internet access at home crucial to health, safety and controlling health care costs.”

In formal regulatory comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, Professor Allen Hammond on behalf of the Santa Clara University Law School Broadband Institute asserts: “An increasingly limited number of ISPs control access to and by U.S. consumers and hence the economy.  In 2010 the FCC is reported to have estimated that roughly 78% of American subscribers had access to two ISPs.  It has been reported that many of these duopolies engage in very little competition on price.”

Panelists will continue to update this page with recent publications on this important issue.