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Email, Privacy, and Engagement

After they finished the tenth installment of their enormous multi-volume history, The Story of Civilization, Will and Ariel Durant wrote a set of thirteen essays entitled The Lessons of History. I happened to pick up this volume yesterday; it's both slim and sweeping. The Durants loved history, and wanted to show their readership what waves and tensions and trends they perceived. It's not a great book, but it's an undeniably forceful one. One essay discusses the essential moral characteristics of individuals, listing six traits and providing "positive" and "negative" descriptions of ways in which people act. more

Governments and Governance

A United Nations task force recently held a two-day workshop on the question of who governs the Internet. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan challenged those of us present to ensure that the Internet and the World Wide Web support "the cause of human development."
Following in the long-standing tradition of skepticism about governments in the Internet community, some in the technical community and the Internet's chattering classes view the concerns expressed by the United Nations and countries such as Brazil, India and others, as a threat to the operation of the Internet itself. This article was originally published at CNET News.Com on April 6, 2004. more

Survey of Global Internet Jurisdiction

The American Bar Association/International Chamber of Commerce (ABA/ICC) recently released a survey on global Internet jurisdiction. The survey, co-chaired by Professor Michael Geist, involved nearly 300 companies in 45 different countries. It found that U.S. companies were far more concerned and pessimistic about Internet jurisdiction risk than European and Asian companies. The study has also found that an "Internet jurisdiction risk toolkit" is emerging where companies target low risk jurisdictions and take steps to avoid doing business in perceived high risk jurisdictions. more

ICANN Explains Why Judge Should Dismiss VeriSign's Lawsuit

In a 33-page motion filed on Monday, April 5, 2004, ICANN has asked a federal judge in Los Angeles to dismiss VeriSign's recent lawsuit filed against the non-profit organization. More specifically, the filed motion has asked the court to "dismiss VeriSign's first six claims for relief with prejudice," which are... more

ICANN's First Official Report on Whois Data Problems

ICANN has submitted the first report of what will be a series of annual reports summarizing its "expierince" with the Whois Data problems and inaccuracies. While emphasizing that "ICANN-accredited registrars are obligated by the terms of their accreditation agreements to investigate and correct any reported inaccuracies," the report provides the following conclusions: more

UN Global Forum on Internet Governance

More than 200 leaders from government, business and civil society attended the Global Forum on Internet Governance, held on 25 and 26 March 2004 and organized by the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force. The forum, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, was intended, according to a UN press release, "to contribute to worldwide consultations to prepare the ground to a future Working Group on Internet Governance to be established by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which is to report to the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 2005)". more

Top-Level Domains for Addressing by Physical Context

This article proposes the reservation of a special use TLD to allow a more convenient addressing of devices by general physical location or context. ...As wireless networking and devices become more common there may be a need for a convenient way to address hosts by physical location or context, especially when the users themselves are using mobile or wearable devices. more

Did ICANN Over Regulate VeriSign?

CircleID recently interviewed Jonathan Weinberg, Professor of Law at Wayne State University to discuss legal and regulatory issues that have been raised against Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). VeriSign, the registry operator of the two most popular top-level domains .com and .net, filed a lawsuit against ICANN on February 26, 2004 complaining that the Internet regulatory body has extended "its authority beyond the scope of its contracts". Did ICANN cross its contractual boundaries? To what extent does ICANN's contract limit its technical coordination functions and how much of a threat does VeriSign's lawsuit impose? Jonathan Weinberg explains... more

NTIA Committed to ICANN Reform

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has made a long term commitment to taking the actions necessary to reform ICANN. Specifically, the Department of Commerce's Strategic Plan for FY 2004-2009 discusses the need for NTIA to take action to reform ICANN. The Strategic Plan details three Strategic Goals for the Department to achieve over the next five years. The second goal is to "Foster science and technological leadership by protecting intellectual property, enhancing technical standards, and advancing measurement science."  more

ICANN and Iraq: Suffering Along

I thought of ICANN yesterday when reading about the devolution of the Iraqi Governing Council, which managed to unite for just a moment to approve a constitution with about the half-life of lutetium. ICANN and the IGC: two institutions put in charge of ill-behaved constituencies and stuck in chronic failure mode. Could anything be learned by examining them at arm's length? Indeed, different as they are, their histories contain several common elements... more

Adult-Related TLDs Considered Dangerous

In an RFC prepared by Donald E. Eastlake 3rd and Declan McCullagh, an analysis is offered for proposals to mandate the use of a special top level name or an IP address bit to flag "adult" or "unsafe" material or the like. This document explains why these ideas are ill considered from legal, philosophical, and technical points of view: "Besides technical impossibility, such a mandate would be an illegal forcing of speech in some jurisdictions, as well as cause severe linguistic problems for domain or other character string names." more

TLD for Online Communities and Social Networking?

A company called PW Registry Corporation makes the following announcement regarding the .PW ccTLD originally designated for the country of Palau: "The PW Registry Corporation announced today plans for the activation of the PW top- level domain (TLD), the Internet's first and only domain extension devoted to "Communities of Shared Interests". Unlike other domain extensions, such as .com, .biz, and .info, PW is aimed at providing individuals and consumer/affinity organizations a highly-personalized, permanent and portable e-mail address and a managed platform for community and social networking." more

New Mobile Domain Another Bad Idea

You may have seen a new proposal for a "mobile" top-level domain name for use by something called "mobile users" whatever they are. (The domain will not actually be named .mobile, rumours are they are hoping for a coveted one-letter TLD like .m "to make it easier to type on a mobile phone.) Centuries ago, as trademark law began its evolution, we learned one pretty strong rule about building rules for a name system for commerce, and even for non-commerce.
Nobody should be given ownership of generic terms. Nobody should have ownership rights in a generic word like "apple" -- not Apple Computer, not Apple Records, not the Washington State Apple Growers, not a man named John Apple. more

Another Good Decision on Internet "Gripe Sites"

I want to call your attention to another court decision that upholds the right of a consumer to create a non-commercial web site criticizing a company, using the company's name as the domain name. Lucas Nursery and Landscaping v. Grosse, 2004 WL 403213 (6th Circuit March 5, 2004). This case involves Lucas Nursery, a landscaping company in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, which apparently botched work done for Michelle Gross - or at least that was her opinion. But, when she established a web site to tell her story, Lucas sued her under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA")... more

ICANN and the Data Quality Act: Part VI

This is the sixth part of a multi-part series reported by ICANNfocus. This part focuses on ICANN's Strategic Plan. Read previous parts: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V. "The requirement that ICANN develop a Strategic Plan offers an important opportunity for achieving meaningful reform of the organization. The Strategic Plan is one of the key new ICANN duties contained in the most recent amendment to their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Commerce. The MOU specifies in considerable detail the elements that ICANN is to include in the Plan including issues ranging from executive compensation to mechanisms for ICANN accountability..." more

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