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How Rise in Nationalism and Industry's Lack of Foresight Could Mean a Fragmented and Isolated Web

I have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of the free flow of information on the internet -- what kinds of tools are available now and in the future for governments (especially repressive ones) to control content, isolate their people and keep any contrary viewpoints censored. I had an interesting conversation with a Practice Lead from IFTF.org. The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is a California based independent, nonprofit research group with 40 years of experience in identifying emerging trends that will transform global society... Turns out they are quite concerned about the fragmentation and control of the Internet as well. But will it be an inevitability? more»

Thoughts on the Best Western Compromise

The Sunday Herald reported on Sunday that Best Western was struck by a trojan attack that lead to the possible compromise of about 8 million victims. There is some debate as to the extent of the breach and not a small amount of rumor going around. I'm not entirely disposed to trust corporate press releases for the facts, nor am I going to blindly accept claims of security researchers whose first call is to the PR team when discovering a problem. That said, here is what seems to be the agreed upon facts... more»

New gTLDs: Comments on the Unsigned "The Economic Case for Auctions"

When Kurt Pritz briefed the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council (and observers) in Los Angeles April 10th and 11th, the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) process model flows transition through an "auction" state in two of the three paths where two or more applications existed for the same (or similar) strings. At that time Kurt, speaking for Staff, was clear that the existence of a well-defined community was not dispositive, which surprised the Council members from the Intellectual Property Constituency... more»

Spam Fighters: Revenge is a Dish Best Left in the Freezer and Forgotten

There's no denying that the fight against spam attracts a lot of crazies, both pro- and anti-spam. One of the common attributes of the anti-spam kooks is that they often think in terms of somehow taking revenge against the spammers -- regardless of who else gets hurt along the way. In 2005, that revenge came in the form of BlueFrog, a service which purported to launch what can only be called denial of service attacks against spammers' web sites... This week, a company called SpamZa was hurriedly making a similar mistake... more»

Lies, Damn Lies, and Anti-Spam Vendor Press Releases

There's a lot of chatter about a recent study purporting to show that 29.1% of internet users has bought something from spam. As ITWire reported, "Marshal were not only interested in how many people were purchasing from a spam source, but also what goods and services they were buying. Perhaps less surprisingly this revealed that sex and drugs sell well online." But at downloadsquad, Lee Mathews discovered the shocking truth: "the survey only involved 600 people." more»

Will .cn Become the New .com?

I recently came across a chart of the most popular top-level domains (TLDs), compiled by Stephane Van Gelder. Although I keep track of country code TLD registrations for the Country Codes of the World map (see also related CircleID post), Stephane tracks all domains, including .com, .net., etc. And when I saw it I got to thinking... more»

WiMAX Will Be Successful, as a Fringe Technology

A recent Infonetics press release says "WiMAX has gained such momentum across so many regions that it is no longer sensible to suggest that WiMAX growth will be flattened by the emergence of LTE [Long Term Evolution] in the next few years." Probably true, but it's also clear WiMAX will never reach the scale of either mainstream wireless family, i.e., WiFi or GSM/3GSM. By comparison with these giants, WiMAX will be a fringe operation. The critical issue is volume, and what counts is the wireless technology brand, not the technology itself. more»

The McCain Campaign's "Technology" Message

I look at this as the ideas of Mike Powell and Meg Whitman, and a lot of unimportant wordsmithing. Before the Dublin (Erie) IETF I wrote one for one of the top three DCCC targeted races. You, or One, or I (isn't voice fun) tries for ideas that matter, and then try to connect the dots, for the semi-literate staff of a candidate who needs clue, e.g., to make effective calls to the DNC's major contributor lists for area codes 415, 408, 650 and 831. I mention Dublin because ages ago Scott Bradner's plan for Harvard, decent bandwidth everywhere and location transparency was, in just a few pages, a revolutionary policy document then, and now, and I was happy to see Scott again and let him know that two decades later I still remembered seeing policy stated with confidence and clarity. more»

McCain's Technology Non-Plan

The McCain technology plan is finally out. As expected, it's light on what most of us understand as "technology policy." There are many platitudes about the glories of lower taxes and private investment, but little understanding of just how profoundly communications and information technologies are changing our world. The good news, I suppose, is that McCain is finally talking about technology issues which he resolutely ignored for most of the campaign, and which his advisors dismissed as not worthy of Presidential attention. more»

McCain Tech Plan: The Only Vision is Backward-Looking

So I've spent more time with the McCain tech plan today. At a time when this country is suffering economically and looking for fundamental change, it looks as if Sen. McCain is in the back office having lunch with a bunch of accountants. The heavy emphasis in the policy on tax cuts seems designed to appeal to people who equate lower taxes with progress. Haven't we already had years of that kind of approach? more»

McCain's Tech Policy

I was hoping that McCain's Tech Policy would emphasize and extend the two McCain pro-Internet initiatives -- the McCain Lautenberg Community Broadband Act and Spectrum Re-regulation, neither of which have yet seen the light of day -- but it doesn't. In the first case, it makes a vague nod in the direction of "market failure and other obstacles." In the second, it treats spectrum policy as a done deal; now that we can surf the Web in coffee shops, we're done. more»

ICANN's Allocation Method for New TLDs

ICANN recently commissioned a report from Power Auctions LLC to investigate the merits of auctioning new Top-Level Domains (TLDs). Below I outline some of the issues related to stakeholder interests and mechanism design... Successfully managing the design of an allocation mechanism for new TLDs will entail coordinating functions across various competencies. To rely on a standard auction mechanism for the allocations would be a historic setback for the domain name industry, as successful allocation design is all in the details. more»

76Service: Cybercrime as Service Going Mainstream

Disintermediating the intermediaries in the cybercrime ecosystem, ultimately results in more profitable operations. Controversial to the concept of outsourcing, some cybercriminals are in fact so self-sufficient, that the stereotype of a mysterious 76service server offered for rent could in fact easily cease to exist in an ecosystem so vibrant that literally everyone can portion their botnet and start offering access to it on a multi-user basis. Evil? Obviously. Extending the lifecycle of a proprietary malware tool? Definitely. more»

Mobilizing Russian Population Attacking Georgia: Similar to the Estonian Incident?

It seems like the online Russian population is getting mobilized. Like a meme spreading on the blogosphere, the mob is forming and starting to "riot", attacking Georgia. This seems very similar to the Estonian incident, only my current guess is natural evolution rather than grass-roots implanted -- but I am getting more and more convinced of the similarities as more information becomes available. Determining exactly when the use of scripts by regular users started, is key to this determination. more»

OneWebDay: More Important Than Ever

I first heard about OneWebDay in the summer of 2006, when Susan Crawford, whom I have the utmost respect for, talked to me about the importance of having an equivalent of Earth Day for the Internet. Her explanation of the project made absolute sense to me then -- and even more so today. And I couldn't think of a better and more passionate person to be leading this mission. Next month OneWebDay will be celebrated for the third time around the world and the level of participation is phenomenal! more»

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