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Why Are the EU Data Protection Authorities Taking Away Our Fundamental Right to be Safe?

What if we created a rule that gave everyone - good or bad - the right to hide their license plate, where they live, who they are, and just go incognito? What if we made it a right to walk into any building in the world, and simply say "No, thank you" when the security guards asked for one's identification? The criminals would celebrate, and we'd all be utterly alarmed. We would immediately be afraid for our personal safety. more

Why You Must Learn to Love DNSSEC

It's been nearly two months since the high profile BGP hijack attack against MyEtherwallet, where crypto thieves used BGP leaks to hijack MEW's name servers, which were on Amazon's Route53, and inserted their own fake name servers which directed victims to their own fake wallet site, thereby draining some people's wallets. It generated a lot of discussion at the time... What isn't fully appreciated is that attack has, in fact, changed the game somewhat... more

Blockchain's Two-Flavored Appeal

A recent story in Medium describes yet again quite well why blockchains don't solve any real problems: Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future. So what is their irresistible appeal? Bitcoins remind me of a story from the late chair of the Princeton University astronomy department. In 1950 Immanuel Velikovsky published Worlds in Collision, a controversial best-selling book that claimed that 3500 years ago Venus and Mars swooped near the earth... more

Security, Standards, and IoT: Will Connected Devices Flourish Under Prescriptive Regimes?

Security for Internet-connected devices, the "Internet of Things" (IoT), is critically important. Now, more than ever, it is top of mind for device manufacturers, network operators, consumer advocates, lawmakers, and government regulators -- domestically and internationally. In the face of recent attacks, government authorities and consumer advocates have proposed legislation, frameworks, certifications, and labeling schemes. more

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today we remember that the Nazis rounded up Jews, Roma, political dissidents, and other "undesirables" using the best data and technology of the day and sent them off to concentration camps. We don't normally deal with this type of political reality in ICANN, but now is the time to do so. In 1995, the recently formed European Union passed the EU Data Protection Directive. more

ICANN Cannot Expect the DPAs to Re-Design WHOIS, but Asking for a Reprieve Makes Sense

We are on the brink of the most serious threat to the open and public Internet for decades. ICANN, under pressure from domain name registrars and EU data protection authorities, has proposed an "interim" plan that will hide critical information in WHOIS. Security, threat intelligence, and anti-abuse professionals rely on WHOIS to track down bad guys and keep the Internet as safe and secure as possible. more

Should Domain Names be Considered 'Contracts for Service' or 'Property Rights'?

The legal status of domain names is one of the most hotly debated topics with regards to evolving property rights and how they should be applied to technological and intellectual property 'innovations' in cyberspace. At present, there are two opposing factions on this topic: On one hand, there are those who maintain that domain names should be considered as contracts for services, which originate from the contractual agreement between the registrant and the registrar. more

Blockchain, Cryptocurrency Channels Considered by European Interests to Bypass U.S. Sanctions

Bitcoin's unreal hype has obscured that it is mostly used to facilitate drug deals, ransomware, tax evasion, and even the occasional murder for hire. After the 60% price drop, demand for bitcoin mining gear has fallen so much TSMC has to lower sales estimates for 2018... Now, Austrian Ambassador in Tehran Stefan Scholz has suggested it could be a powerful boost to the European intent to bypass the U.S. economic blockade. That could provide demand for $billions of bitcoins. more

Simulation of OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's Proposed Global Broadband Constellations

Inigo del Portillo and his colleagues at MIT have run a simulation comparing OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's proposed low-Earth orbit Internet service constellations. The models are based on the initial FCC filings by the companies and demand and data-rate estimates by the authors. I will mention subsequent amendments to the filings below later in the post. more

WHOIS Users Facing Serious Challenges Caused by Post-GDPR Fragmentation

On May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, meaning that European data protection authorities (DPAs) can begin enforcing the regulation against non-compliant parties. In preparation, the ICANN Board passed a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data - essentially a temporary policy amendment to its registrar and registry contracts to facilitate GDPR compliance while also preserving certain aspects of the WHOIS system of domain name registration data. more

The Hidden Perils of Filing a Baseless UDRP Complaint

When properly used, the UDRP enables trademark owners to take control of abusive domain names. Yet sometimes the UDRP itself is misused by trademark owners to try to seize desirable domain names to which they have no legal entitlement. Is there a downside to misusing the UDRP to attempt a domain name hijacking? Unscrupulous companies at times misuse the UDRP by improperly invoking its power to compel a transfer of ownership in order to seize inherently valuable, non-infringing domain names that the companies desire for their own use. more

The Fight Is on to Save Access to WHOIS: A Call to Action for Brand Owners

Late last week, ICANN published the guidance from the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) that we have been waiting for. Predictably, WP29 took a privacy maximalist approach to the question of how Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to WHOIS, a tool widely used by cybersecurity professionals, businesses, intellectual property owners, consumer protection agencies and others to facilitate a safer and more secure internet.  more

GDPR and WHOIS - Winners and Losers

I think we are all hoping that when ICANN meets with the DPAs (Digital Protection Authorities) a clear path forward will be illuminated. We are all hoping that the DPAs will provide definitive guidance regarding ICANN's interim model and that some special allowance will be made so that registrars and registries are provided with additional time to implement a GDPR-compliant WHOIS solution. more

What Happens If Two Applications for a New gTLD Are a City and a Family Name?

When applying for a new gTLD, what happens if two applications for the same extension are a city and a family name? Which one wins? Let's imagine that a person whose family name is "Marseille" applied for the .MARSEILLE new gTLD in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program. What if there was a .MARSEILLE new gTLD too but as the name of the French city? more

Is Blockchain Causing More Cybersecurity Attacks in the Financial Industry?

There's a lot of misunderstanding about blockchain. A recent study by HSBC, for example, found that 59 percent of customers around the world had never heard of it. Yet, while that alone is quite telling, it's probably more alarming to consider the fact that very same poll revealed that 80 percent of people who had hard of blockchain did not understand what it is. This level of confusion isn't confined to the general population either. more

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