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Freedom of Expression Part 3: Child Pornography, Manga, Anime, Obscene Publication

At the 44th Session of the Human Rights Council, we heard how 1 billion children in 2019 who were subjected to various forms of violence and the need for more action to protect children according to the Special Rapporteur. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child released Guidelines on the implementation of the international treaty that bans child pornography, proposing to expand its interpretation to include bans on drawings and stories that sexually depict minors. more

Internet Governance Outlook 2020: The Next Generation of Players and Problems Is Coming

The beginning of a new decade is always an invitation to have a broader look into the future. What, in the next ten years, will happen in the Internet Governance Ecosystem? Will the 2020s see the usual swinging pendulum between more liberal and more restrictive Internet policies in an interconnected world? Or will we move towards a watershed? more

Marking the 30th Anniversary of the Internet and Cybersecurity Treaty

Next week on 1 July 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most significant treaty instruments in modern times. On 1 July 1990, the Melbourne Treaty came into force as the first and only global treaty that enabled worldwide internets and mobile networks to exist, together with the cybersecurity provisions designed to protect those infrastructures. The achievement remains as an enduring tribute to Richard Edmund Butler of Australia who was one of the most influential, and best-loved Secretaries-General of the ITU. more

Evolving the Internet Through COVID-19 and Beyond

As we approach four months since the WHO declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, and with lockdowns and other restrictions continuing in much of the world, it is worth reflecting on how the Internet has coped with the changes in its use, and on what lessons we can learn from these for the future of the network. The people and companies that build and operate the Internet are always planning for more growth in Internet traffic. more

If ICANN Won't Stand Up to EU in WHOIS Dispute, Then the U.S. Congress Should

The early designers of the Internet quickly realized that as the number of domain names flourished, there was a need for tracking domain name owners to resolve questions and conflicts that might arise. To that end, they created WHOIS, a public database with the names, phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses of registered domain owners and operators. more

Top-Level Domain Bias in Search Engine Indexing and Rankings

As a search engine optimization (SEO) and domain name consultant, one of the questions I get asked most often about domain names is whether or not the domain name or TLD (Top-Level Domain) matters. Will the domain name ending have an effect on SEO or search engine rankings. Are certain domain name endings preferred by the search engines over other domain name extensions? I decided to answer this question... more

Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Internet Service Developments for 2019

I posted reviews of important LEO-satellite Internet service developments during 2017 and 2018. I've been updating those posts during the years and have 16 new posts for 2019. In 2019 we saw four inciteful simulations, Leosat suspending operations and Amazon announcing the availability of a new ground station service and plans for a LEO constellation, progress in phased-array antennas but a lowering of expectations for inter-satellite laser links (ISLLs), new competition from China... more

Measuring Abuse: How Much COVID-Related Abuse Is There, Really?

Like measuring COVID's impact, so too measuring the impact of COVID-related abuse on the Internet is difficult, there are those that would foolishly dismiss the danger entirely, others over-state the problem, perhaps to prompt sales of tools and services. The amount and type of abuse varies from network to network, and to declare everything is fine based on one world-view you believe to be ubiquitous, or that the sky is falling based upon another, extrapolated to 'everybody else' is simply poor analysis. more

Freedom of Expression Part 1: Hate Speech, Linehan, Trans as a Protected Class in California

Graham Linehan was banned from Twitter last week. Graham Linehan is an Irish writer and creator of Father Ted and Black Books. Twitter closed Graham Linehan's account for tweeting "men aren't women though" which twitter perceived as "hate speech" and offensive to the Trans community. Context always shapes meaning, and so I thought it would be useful to explore how hate speech is interpreted in California and then to see how it is treated in Fiji. more

The .ORG Sale Is a Radical Departure That Puts the Internet at Risk

It can be hard to take a side. Especially when you are with a big organization. I know, I used to work for the United Nations and ICANN. Neutrality is a huge part of that work. Your role is not to take a stand; it's to create the space for other people to take stands. To create and protect a neutral platform. That's what we all thought the Internet Society (ISOC) was doing for us by running .ORG. more

Is There Such a Thing as Technical Internet Governance?

In ICANN's "President & CEO Goals for Fiscal Year 2021", Göran Marby went out to make a curious distinction in the document's second stated goal, according to which he intends to "Implement a common strategy for Internet governance (IG) and technical Internet governance (TIG)". Proceeding to state that "we will begin by identifying the most important issues we need to address, followed by an assessment of where and how we can intervene, the venues we should use, and the resources required to be effective". more

What's Behind the Secure DNS Controversy and What Should You Do About It?

Anyone that has attended a meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will know that the somewhat dry topic of internet protocols is often the source of passionate disagreement. But rarely does that debate extend beyond the confines of internet engineers. That has not been the case with a new protocol which aims to make the Internet's underlying domain name system more secure by default. more

Help Science Fight COVID-19

Many organizations and individuals are socially committed and voluntarily help the weak, the poor, and the sick. Others consider how they can contribute. Supporting organizations and individuals by starting an aid project, donating money, or providing human resources, can make a crucial difference. The corona crisis is a challenge for many, if not all. Scientists around the world are experimenting with cures and vaccines, and they need help. However, you don't have to be a virologist to help science fight COVID-19. more

Internet Reporting Hotlines Are Censoring Art as Child Sexual Abuse

This week United States Attorney-General William Barr cited the need to address child exploitation as one of the factors motivating a mooted review of law called CDA 230, which provides that Internet companies aren't responsible for what their users say or do online. There are many dimensions to the problem of child exploitation, ranging from inappropriate comments on Instagram photos to child grooming on Fortnite... more

What's Next for Dot-Org

When I began writing about the dot-org sale, it was out of concern for the loss of what I felt strongly was long understood to be a unique place in the Internet's landscape. Like a national park, dot-org deserved special protection. It turns out lots of people and organizations agreed. On April 30th, 2020, The ICANN Board upheld these values. They unanimously withheld consent for a change of control of the Public Interest Registry to a private equity firm. more

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