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FCC and Comcast: Reasonably Vague

So, the FCC will recommend that Comcast be "punished" or receive "sanctions" for its peer-to-peer throttling practice. And the network neutrality debate goes on, as does its ambiguities and vagueness. Even if you hate Comcast and agree with the net neutrality argument and the FCC's decision, one thing Comcast is correct in saying is that "reasonable network management" specified by the FCC in network neutrality policy set in 2005 is vague. Actually, the term "network management" by itself is broad before you even try to interpret what is meant by "reasonable", and it is not exactly correct in its application here... more»

Anti-Phishing and Hong Kong

Planning for a short trip to Hong Kong tomorrow reminded me of Jonathan Shea, something I wanted to blog about but was waiting for the hype around the new generic Top-Level Domains (TLDs) to cool down. Jonathan Shea is an old friend who is in-charge of ".hk". I had the pleasure to catch up with him in Paris ICANN meeting. Before Jonathan, let me talk about something related that happened in Paris. At the Cross Constituency Meeting, there was a presentation by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). In summary, they were proposing working with registries to take down domain names that are suspected to be involved in phishing. more»

Is It Time to Create a Market for IPv4 Addresses?

It's fascinating to watch the Internet technical community grapple with policy economics as they face the problems creating by the growing scarcity of IPv4 addresses. The Internet Governance Project (IGP) is analyzing the innovative policies that ARIN, RIPE and APNIC are considering as a response to the depletion of IPv4 addresses. more»

No Fines for Comcast

Note: this is an update on my earlier story, which incorrectly said that the AP reported that Chairman Martin was seeking to impose "fines" on Comcast. In fact, the story used the word "punish" rather than "fine," and a headline writer at the New York Times added "penalty" to it "F.C.C. Chairman Favors Penalty on Comcast" (I won't quote the story because I'm a blogger and the AP is the AP, so click through.) Much of the initial reaction to the story was obviously colored by the headline. more»

Gartner on New Generic Top Level Domains

Gartner, the well known IT consulting company, has published a report on the new top level domains that will appear some time next year. The report totally misses the mark. In a pure US centric vision, it focuses on ".com" as the must-have TLD, totally overlooking the fact that a ".com" is mostly worthless e.g. in Germany, where ".de" is the TLD one must have to succeed locally... more»

In Which We Explore the Federal Laws that Apply to Cyberstalking

Tragedies frequently result in flurries of legal activity. Last years witnessed the Myspace tragedy in which a 13 year old girl committing suicide. Unfortunately stalking laws have been clumsy tools that are difficult if not impossible for law enforcement officials to wield. Where existing laws respond poorly to tragedies, the option behind Door Number One is to enact a new law, and the option behind Door Number Two is to argue for a reinterpretation of current law that would somehow miraculously shoehorn the tragedy into the law. Unlike game shows, legal contestants can pick both doors -- which is what happened in this case. more»

An Astonishing Collaboration

Wow. It's out. It's finally, finally out... So there's a bug in DNS, the name-to-address mapping system at the core of most Internet services. DNS goes bad, every website goes bad, and every email goes...somewhere. Not where it was supposed to... I'm pretty proud of what we accomplished here. We got Windows. We got Cisco IOS. We got Nominum. We got BIND 9, and when we couldn't get BIND 8, we got Yahoo, the biggest BIND 8 deployment we knew of, to publicly commit to abandoning it entirely. It was a good day... more»

Advertising Pays for a Lot of Things… What Happens When the Ad Budget Dries Up in a Recession?

Doing some research on the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, I started wondering what happened to advertising during that period. Although I haven't turned up any detailed studies, I took a look at the various archives of advertising that allow Internet access to their exhibits, and noted the general move to less expensive, more localized advertising, and fewer adverts for more expensive goods. It made me wonder what will happen to online advertising if the current credit crunch starts to drive a worldwide recession... more»

Consequences of Opt-in Better Than Best Efforts Internet Routing

While attending the International Telecommunications Society's 17th bi-annual conference I attended yet another network neutrality session. Economists predominated at this conference and their collective read on network neutrality emphasizes the need for ISPs to "extract value" from content providers primarily by converting zero cost peering with ISPs into specific payments from individual content sources. I have no problem with offers of non-neutral, "better than best efforts" routing options to content providers who voluntarily opt in, particularly if the offer is made transparently and anyone can opt in. What troubles me is the impact of opt-in on content providers that opt out... more»

Battling Over Clouds

More than 40 years ago, the FCC was worried about telephone companies using their power over communications to control the then-nascent (and competitive) data processing marketplace. The Bell System at that point was already banned from providing services that weren't common carriage communications services (or "incidental to" those communications services)... In a 1999 article in the Texas Law Review, Steve Bickerstaff pointed out that Computer 1 meant that no one could provide a "computer utility" service... Today, we'd call the "computer utility" something different -- we'd use the term "cloud computing." more»

The Patent That Justifies Microsoft's Interest in Yahoo!

I've watched coverage of Microsoft's bid for Yahoo! and the related maneuvering between Google and Yahoo!. The explanations are not very convincing. Microsoft doesn't need Yahoo's search technology or their morale-impacted work force. Yahoo's search market share continues to decline and there's little of strategic relevance in the rest of their business. What's the attraction? more»

Why New TLDs Don't Matter

Lost amid the furor about ICANN's rule change that may (or may not) lead to a flood of TLDs is the uncomfortable fact that almost without exception, the new TLDs created since 2000 have been utter failures. Other than perhaps .cat and .mobi, they've missed their estimates of the number of registrations by orders of magnitude, and they haven't gotten mindshare in the target community. So what went wrong? more»

New Generic Top-Level Domains and Internet Standards

The recent decision by ICANN to start a new round of applications for new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) is launching a round of questions on the IETF side about its consequences. One possible issue may be with vanity gTLDs like apple, ebay etc. Some expect that every Fortune 1,000,000 company will apply for its own TLD. My guess is rather the Fortune 1,000 for a start, but this does not change the nature of the issue, i.e. those companies may want to use email addresses like user@tld. more»

Vint Cerf Comments on Government's Role in Internet Broadband Access

Some offhand comments by Google's Vint Cerf at a recent event seem to have a triggered a panicky "Vint Cerf proposes nationalizing the Internet" buzz that's been ramping up fairly rapidly. Holy BitTorrent, Batman! Army paratroopers seen dropping into parking lots at AT&T and Comcast, while the Transportation Security Agency orders us all to remove our shoes before surfing the Web! Settle down, everyone. As usual with these kinds of stories, the truth is significantly different from the breathless buzzing. Here's how Vint described his thinking on this issue to me... more»

Google, Viacom, Privacy and Copyright Meet the Social Web

In all the recent uproar (New York Times, "Google Told to Turn Over User Data of YouTube," Michael Helft, 4 July 2008) about the fact that Google has been forced to turn over a large pile of personally-identifiable information to Viacom as part of a copyright dispute (Opinion), there is a really interesting angle pointed out by Dan Brickley (co-creator of FOAF and general Semantic Web troublemaker)... more»

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