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The Resurgence of Voice

One of the most interesting outcomes of the COVID-19 crisis has been a huge resurgence of telephone calls. While broadband usage is up 40% or more in some markets, the volumes of traditional voice calls have skyrocketed. Verizon says it's now seeing an average of 800 million calls per day, which is double the number of calls made on the last Mother's Day. Verizon also says the average length of calls has increased by one-third over recent averages. more

Measuring Abuse: How Much COVID-Related Abuse Is There, Really?

Like measuring COVID's impact, so too measuring the impact of COVID-related abuse on the Internet is difficult, there are those that would foolishly dismiss the danger entirely, others over-state the problem, perhaps to prompt sales of tools and services. The amount and type of abuse varies from network to network, and to declare everything is fine based on one world-view you believe to be ubiquitous, or that the sky is falling based upon another, extrapolated to 'everybody else' is simply poor analysis. more

3 Reasons It's Crucial to Review Your Domain Lock Portfolio Now

Just as we started the new year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA) issued an alert. On January 6, 2020 , they warned of domain name system (DNS) hijacking and other cyber threats that may be used by nation-state threat actors to disrupt business activity and take control of vital internet assets. A familiar refrain heard in 2019 now repeating in 2020. more

Even a Pandemic Isn't Enough

The most incredible thing about the dot-org sale is no longer the billion-dollar price tag. It's not surprise fait-accompli announcement. It's not the republican billionaires. It's that the proponents have continued to advocate for it in the midst of the worst crisis the world has faced since the second world war. The biggest crisis in almost a hundred years. One that will reverberate for generations. more

The Price of Lack of Clarity

As anyone reading this blog, assuredly knows, the world is in the grip of a deadly pandemic. One way to contain it is contact-tracing: finding those who have been near infected people and getting them to self-quarantine. Some experts think that because of how rapidly newly infected individuals themselves become contagious, we need some sort of automated scheme. That is, traditional contact tracing is labor-intensive and time-consuming - a time we don't have. more

Preserving ICANN's Independence Through Bold Action – Not Inaction

This week, the ICANN Board will vote on whether to approve the transfer of control of the .ORG domain to a private equity firm called Ethos Capital. This is a weighty decision for ICANN, since in order to approve the sale, it will have to convince itself that this is the right choice in the face of tremendous and widespread opposition, including from those who will be most affected by the sale. more

ICANN Independence and Non-Profits on the Net – Get it Right and Go Forward

Later this week, ICANN is finally going to vote on the proposed sale of .ORG to Ethos Capital. It will decide the future owner of .ORG, but the decision will also provide a window into whether ICANN will remain independent of the U.S. government. It's a big decision, one that can strengthen both ICANN and the NGO community on the web, if we get it right. For nearly a decade, the ICANN community fought hard to untether itself from the U.S. Department of Commerce. more

Your Data or Your Life? Towards the Acceptance of Digital Technologies and Data in Medicine

There is currently a heated discussion going on in Europe, and particularly here in Germany, about the use of COVID-19 digital tracing apps, a discussion that shows us how much the Internet has become a matter of life and death. The uses for such apps are undeniable, but the idea of deployment still meets with popular resistance. Sensitized by countless leaks and hacks, and chafing under restrictions in their freedom of movement, people are concerned that even the last zones of privacy are to be monitored, and that the personal data collected could be misused. more

ICANN and Attorneys General: Ends, Means and Unintended Ends

In a move, unprecedented in scale, ISOC moved to sell PIR, the registry for .ORG, to a for-profit entity which intends, in turn, to convert PIR into a for-profit entity itself. This move has, understandably, raised concerns from around the Internet community and cast a bright light on ICANN, the nature of its contracts with Registries and the responsibilities of the ICANN Board... As the Vice Chair for Policy of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), I've tried to navigate a consensus involving ALL of those parties because of our diverse membership. more

.ORG and Change

The .ORG domain is at a crossroads: What will it be? A simple registry offering domain names for organizations, individuals and others? Or something bigger, as Ethos Capital and the Public Internet Registry propose? Will proposed changes make .ORG better? Or worse? There are valid points on both sides, but as an Internet safety advocate who for two decades has worked to teach children how to be safe online, stop the next young girl from being sex trafficked, and... more

Coronavirus Online Threats Going Viral, Part 5: Social Media

For our final blog in this series, looking at the online risks associated with COVID-19, we focus on social media. The popularity of social media channels means that they are extremely susceptible to exploitation by cybercriminals and other infringers, particularly during the coronavirus crisis. In an earlier post in this series, we discussed the use of social media for the distribution of phishing-related content, but CSC has also noted marked activity relating to the creation of fake accounts. more

Reflections on the .ORG Domain Registry Sale

For all the many reasons raised by thousands of petitioners by prominent members of the U.S. Congress, and the California Attorney General's office, this "sale" plainly should not be occurring. However, in a very real way, it is déjà vu. For me, as one of the handful of people who were members of the original InterNIC public advisory committee which oversaw the spinout of the registry activity from its DARPA government instantiation to a private enterprise business... more

Cross-Pollination in Cyberspace and the Internet Governance "Spaghetti-Ball"

In mid-May 2020, UN-Secretary General Antonio Guterres will present a "Roadmap for Digital Cooperation". This will be another milestone in the discussion on the future of cyberspace, pushed further forward by the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLP), co-chaired by Jack Ma (AliBaba) und Melinda Gates (Microsoft Foundation) The HLP Final Report presented five groups of recommendations. Discussion started during the 14th IGF in Berlin... more

SpaceX Applies for a Constellation Re-Design and Announces Beta Test Dates

This week SpaceX petitioned the FCC to reconfigure their Starlink constellation and Elon Musk outlined their beta testing plan. As shown below, the most significant configuration change is reducing the altitude of four of the five groups of orbital planes by around 50%. The total number of satellites and the number orbiting at a 53-degree inclination, which gives good coverage over relatively affluent regions, are not changed very much. more

A Bad Year for the Cable Industry

The traditional cable TV industry had a miserable 2019. Collectively the biggest cable TV providers in U.S. lost over 5.9 million subscribers during the year, almost 7% of the total customer base. The impacts of COVID-19, along with the already existing trends in the industry, spell bad news for the industry in 2020. I expect that customer losses will accelerate over 2019 levels. more

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