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ICANN Proposed Interim GDPR Compliance Model Would Kill Operational Transparency of the Internet

ICANN has consistently said its intention in complying with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to comply while at the same time maintaining access to the WHOIS domain name registration database "to greatest extent possible." On February 28, ICANN published its proposed model. Strangely, while ICANN acknowledges that some of the critical purposes for WHOIS include consumer protection, investigation of cybercrimes, mitigation of DNS abuse, and intellectual property protection, the model ICANN proposes provides no meaningful pathway to use WHOIS in those ways. more

Humming an Open Internet Demise in London?

In mid-March, the group dubbed by Wired Magazine 20 years ago as Crypto-Rebels and Anarchists - the IETF - is meeting in London. With what is likely some loud humming, the activists will likely seek to rain mayhem upon the world of network and societal security using extreme end-to-end encryption, and collaterally diminish some remaining vestiges of an "open internet." Ironically, the IETF uses what has become known as the "NRA defence": extreme encryption doesn't cause harm, criminals and terrorists do. more

Why Is It So Hard to Run a Bitcoin Exchange?

One of the chronic features of the Bitcoin landscape is that Bitcoin exchanges screw up and fail, starting with Mt. Gox. There's nothing conceptually very hard about running an exchange, so what's the problem? The first problem is that Bitcoin and other blockchains are by design completely unforgiving. If there is a bug in your software which lets people steal coins, too bad, nothing to be done. more

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

Changes to the Domain Name Marketplace

The new gTLD program and the introduction of 1200+ new domain name registries has significantly altered the marketplace dynamics. New domain name registries must navigate an environment that is, to an extent, stacked against them. This article recommends creation of some improvements and a general de-regulation of the marketplace to encourage innovation and promote its overall health. ICANN, or a combination of Registry Operators, should fund a brief, thorough study of the current marketplace because of the changes that have occurred from the original marketplace for which current regulations were developed. 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

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

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

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

What Do Bitcoin, Cloud Computing and the New gTLDs All Have in Common?

I am a student of life, learning one hard lesson at a time. In fact, I actually dropped out of my last year of college to start a tech company in a new space called the internet. I was an entrepreneur running an online service prior to the advent of the world wide web in 1992, back when Pine, Usenet, and Gopher ruled the information superhighway. Over the last 25 years, I have learned a great deal about technology adoption cycles by launching six internet companies, each at the forefront of a new technology wave. more

Accreditation & Access Model For Non-Public Whois Data

In the current debate over the balance between privacy and Internet safety and security, one of the unanswered questions is: "How will those responsible for protecting the public interest gain access to the non-public data in the WHOIS databases post General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?" In an attempt to prevent WHOIS data from going "dark," several community members have been working for the past weeks to create a model that could be used to accredit users and enable access to the non-public WHOIS data. 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

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