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A Further Look Into ORSN

Most commentators on Vixie's astounding message have gotten sidetracked. People don't seem to see the most important feature of his statement: Vixie's endorsement of Open Root Server Network (ORSN) is based on explicitly political criteria. As ORSN says on its web site: "The U.S.A (under the current or any future administration) are theoretically and practically able to control "our" accesses to contents of the Internet and are also able to limit them. A manipulation of the Root zone could cause that the whole name space .DE is not attainable any more for the remaining world - outside from Germany." So ORSN sees this as a "backup"... more

If It's About to Break, Fix It!

The UN's WSIS Prepcomm in Geneva has ended on a divided note. The US Government's Ambassador Gross pre-announced war-cry "The United Nations will not be in charge of the Internet. Period." had been met by a nearly unanimous global response from nations for some sort of government control of the Internet on a multilateral basis. A raft of proposals to alter the current situation are on the table -- most of them fairly benign, but none supportive of the indefinite continuance of unilateral US control of the root zone authorisation. more

Neustar and .GPRS

Ever since Neustar announced they signed a deal with GSMA to oversea global database for the mobile operators last week (see also Washington Post), there are many debates about the deal online. "Neustar, a company that should certainly know better, has announced that they're going to create a .gprs TLD to serve the mobile phone industry This, of course, requires creation of a private root zone, against the very strong warnings in RFC 2826" said Steven Bellovin. To the more supportive John Levine: "This isn't quite as stupid as it seems. The GSM industry needs some way to maintain its roaming user database, the database is getting considerably more complicated with 3G features, and it looks to me like they made a reasonable decision to use DNS over IP to implement it rather than inventing yet another proprietary distributed database." more

Why I Am Participating in the ORSN Project

As a long time supporter of the universal namespace operated by IANA, it may come as a surprise that I have joined the Open Root Server Network project (ORSN). I'll try to explain what's going on and what it all means. ...If one of my kids, or anybody anywhere, sits down in front of a web browser and keys in a URL, it ought to just work. They ought to see the same web page that anybody else would see, no matter what country they're in or what their ISP wants or what their local church or government wants. This universality of naming is one of the foundations on which the Internet was built, and it is how the Internet fosters economic growth and social freedoms. It's what makes the Internet different from old Compuserve, old AOL, old MSN, old Minitel, and everything else that has come -- and gone -- before... more

Should the Government Prepare a Preemptive Cyber-Attack?

The House Committee on Science recently held a hearing to "examine the extent of U.S. vulnerability to cyber attacks on critical infrastructure such as utility systems, and what the federal government and private sector are doing, and should be doing, to prevent and prepare for such attacks." Specific issues addressed at the hearing included whether: 1) the U.S. is able to detect, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure; and 2) is there a clear line of responsibility within the federal government to deal with cybersecurity... more

Oklahoma Man Wins $10 Million Judgment Against a Spammer

On Thursday the 22nd, Robert Braver, an Oklahoma ISP owner who is a long time activist against both spam and junk faxes, received a default judgment of over $10 million against high profile spammer Robert Soloway and his company Newport Internet Marketing. Soloway has frequently been cited as one of the ten largest spammers in the world. more

The Great Internet Transformation? A First Stab

Is it just a coincidence that some of the leading Internet-based application companies are pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content? Or are we witnessing the end of the Internet as we know it? Think back to the online world fifteen years ago. There was AOL, there was Compuserve, there was Prodigy, and there was Apple's eWorld. Sure, there were researchers and students posting to Usenet newsgroups and navigating through Gopher sites, but the Internet was a sideshow for individuals and business users. ...the online world of those days was fragmented and small. Every online service was an island. Are we going back to those days? more

WIPO Panel Splits on Descriptiveness of bocaresorts.com

An arbitration panel of the World Intellectual Property Organization has decided 2-1 in favor of Complainant Boca Raton Resort & Club in an action under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy over the domain name bocaresorts.com. ...The Presiding Panelist, Dennis Foster, disagreed with the majority's conclusion, and issued a dissent that addressed the issue of bad faith. Foster asserted that the Respondent was "entitled to believe that the phrase 'Boca Resorts' is geographically descriptive and means resorts in the city of Boca Raton, Florida... more

The Non-Parity of the UDRP

The UDRP is obviously not working. Two websites, fundamentally the same (criticism at trademark.tld), two opposite decisions, both within weeks of each other! A Complainant (Biocryst Pharmaceuticals Inc) initiated a complaint to WIPO about one of my criticism websites (biocrystpharmaceuticals.com). The Panel found in my favour. Another Complainant (Eastman Chemical Inc) meanwhile made a complaint to NAF regarding another of my criticism websites (eastman-chemical.com). The Panel found against me. The two websites are fundamentally the same, both websites in criticism of the practices of the individual companies concerned... more

Public Policy Questions for Internet

There is little doubt that the Internet has formed part of the impetus for a revolutionary change in the nature of the global communications industry. "Revolutionary" in the sense that the past decade has seen fundamental and highly disruptive changes in the nature of the underlying technologies used by the industry, changes in the composition, ownership and role of industry players, changes in the nature of services offered to the end consumer, changes in the associated financial models used by the industry, and changes in the regulatory environments in which this industry operates. Considering that this industry was, in the latter half of the twentieth century, one of the largest and most influential industry sectors on a global basis, these revolutionary changes will doubtless have consequences that will echo onward for some time yet. more

To Meow or not to Meow: .CAT TLD approved by ICANN

The Sponsored TLD .CAT got the green light to move ahead from ICANN this week, another of the sTLD proposals in the second round of submissions to gain momentum toward being added to the root. When I shared the news today with folks, the most common response was a tongue in cheek response, 'Where is .DOG?'. ...Still, comedy aside, this is not a TLD for animal species, but rather for a language. more

Sitefinder Writ Small

You all remember Sitefinder don't you? According to The Register, CentralNic , owner of a number of popular domains including uk.com and us.com, has added wildcard A records to .uk.com. Cue the usual round of sniping about Internet stability (with which, as you will see, I agree). The question is, given the difference in scale (.com and .net are huge; .uk.com is quite small) will anyone notice? And does it matter? Certainly CentralNic seems to think the small scale of their domains excuses or at least mitigates the Internet stability side effects of their ploy. more

Whither DNS?

The Domain Name System is often though of as an integral part of the Internet. Without it, how can you ever locate anything? Well, quite easily, thank you very much. DNS is used implicitly for many services, such as web browsing. It also includes explicit extensions for a few applications such as e-mail. (I'm talking here about DNS the system, not DNS the technology that can be re-purposed to things like ENUM.) But the most notable thing about DNS is its receding importance... more

Ending Cyber-Hubris

Hurricane Katrina will lead the endless finger pointing about what should have been done to strengthen the levees before the storm. However, as a former senior FEMA official under the Clinton Administration explained, "There's only two kinds of levees. Ones that have failed and those that will fail." The same is true for cyber-levees.  more

A Global Dialogue around WSIS Prepcom 3

As a contribution to the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the Internet Governance Project, led by Professor Derrick L. Cogburn, is supporting a web-based Global Deliberative Dialogue on Internet Governance, from 19-30 September 2005. The purpose of this Global Dialogue is to raise awareness of Internet Governance, to broaden participation in the policy debate, and to provide concrete input into the final deliberations during the Third Preparatory Meeting for the WSIS, taking place concurrently with the Global Dialogue in Geneva. more

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