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Where are DNS Root Servers? See them on Google Maps

DNS root servers function as part of the Internet backbone, as explained in Wikipedia, and have come under attack a number of times in the past -- although none of the attacks have ever been serious enough to severely hamper the performance of the Internet. In response to some of the common misconceptions about the physical location and total number of DNS root servers in the world, Patrik Faltstrom has put together a visual map on Google, pin-pointing the approximate location of each server around the world. more

China's New Domain Names: Lost in Translation

This morning I got a bunch of alarmist messages from friends asking about this English-language People's Daily article titled: China adds top-level domain names. The paragraph that's freaking people out is: "Under the new system, besides "CN", three Chinese TLD names "CN", "COM" and "NET" are temporarily set. It means Internet users don't have to surf the Web via the servers under the management of ICANN..." Not for the first time, it appears that the People's Daily's English translation is very misleading. more

How to Stop Spam

I got a letter the other day from AOL postmaster Carl Hutzler, about how the Internet community could get rid of spam, if it really wanted to. With his permission, here are some excerpts. "Spam is a completely solvable problem. And it does not take finding every Richter, Jaynes, Bridger, etc to do it (although it certainly is part of the solution). In fact it does not take email identity technologies either (although these are certainly needed and part of the solution)." more

To Fight Domain Name Theft: Sex.com Gives Birth to a New Property Right

For those who are Star Wars fans, the following scene from the prequel, Attack of the Clones, will be easy to recall: a young and misinformed Jedi, known as Obi-waan Kenobi, opines about how an army of clones had been able to snatch a victory from imminent defeat. Yoda, a Jedi Master and virtual fountain of wisdom, immediately gushes forth an important correction: "Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-waan, not victory." Yoda explains that winning a battle is not a victory, if the win merely signals that the war has just begun. Yoda's apparent perception seems particularly apt for the precedent setting federal court opinion involving the sex.com domain name. Notwithstanding that individual domain name registrants may seek comfort in the victory obtained from the Ninth Circuit's opinion in Kremen v. Cohen, that decision merely signals a beginning -- not an end -- to the controversy over the proper legal framework for resolving domain name theft.  more

Help! My Domain Name Has Been Hijacked!

They are out there. In Internet Cafes and dark rooms from New York to Hong Kong to Iran, the domain name hijackers are plotting to steal your domain names. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself against losing your domain names. ...Registrars are often skeptical of claims of domain hijacking, and the hijackers often "launder" the domain names to look as if they have sold them to third parties... By the time you discover that your domain name has been stolen, it may be at its third or fourth different registrar in the name of a completely different party... more

Sender Address Verification: Solving the Spam Crisis

There are many companies in the spam-fighting business and most, if not all, claim to be hugely successful. Yet spam is exponentially more prevalent today than it was just 2 years ago. How can one conclude that today's anti spam solutions are working? This year spammers will use machine-generated programs to send trillions of unsolicited email. Thankfully, a new anti-spam technology has made its way into the market. more

Do Not Enter - It's XXX

There soon will be a central place for Web surfers to dwell in a forbidden cyber land of adult fantasies, sex, dark rituals and total taboos. Finally, ICANN has given in to the pressure and has tossed a big rock across the turbulent e-commerce ocean. It has approved a new suffix, .xxx, for adult-only porn sites, creating ripples and debates in ever so confusing global cyber branding times when cyber global domain name challenges are being fought in the complex earthly trademark realities. Three things are bound to happen... more

ICANN Confirms: Tiered Pricing Not Forbidden in New .BIZ, .INFO and .ORG Contracts

I finally got the "official" word from Vint Cerf of ICANN, "on the record", who confirmed that my interpretation is correct, that differential/tiered pricing on a domain-by-domain basis would not be forbidden under the .biz/info/org proposed contracts. This means that the registries could charge $100,000/yr for sex.biz, $25,000/yr for movies.org, etc. if they wanted to -- it would not be forbidden the way the proposed contracts are currently written. This would represent a powerful pricing weapon for registries, and a fundamental shift in possible domain name pricing, that could lead them to emulate .tv-style price schedules. It doesn't mean they will necessarily do it, but it's not forbidden. When a contract doesn't forbid something bad, it implicitly allows it... more

Letting DNS Loose

RFID tags, UPC codes, International characters in email addresses and host names, and a variety of other identifiers could all go into DNS, and folks have occasionally proposed doing just that. Its really just a question of figuring out how to use the DNS -- its ready to carry arbitrary identifiers. And by the way, this isn't a new idea, see RFC 1101 for proof, although even earlier I designed the DNS in the early 1980s to allow it to be so, but it seemed too far fetched to document for a while. ...I was in Geneva for a WSIS meeting of CTOs, and was surprised that the various organizations (ITU, ICANN, ISOC) haven't figured out that they need each other to make this technology work, rather than asserting ownership. more

Domain Tasting Target of US Federal Cybersquatting Lawsuit

So Domain Tasting, where registrants (who may also be registrars) taste names and keep only those that have economic value, is now the target of a federal cybersquatting lawsuit, brought about by lawyers for major brand name retailers Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman against major domain name registrar Dotster. This Dotster lawsuit involves allegations of cybersquatting by registrars who use the Create Grace Period, which is mandated by ICANN for global registries... 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

.XXX Puzzle Pieces Start to Come Together: And the Picture is Ugly

Americans who worried about governments somehow "running" the Internet through the United Nations failed to see the Trojan Horses that were rolled into ICANN's structure in 1998: the Governmental "Advisory" Committee and the special US Government powers over ICANN. The attempt by the US Commerce Department to "recall" the delegation of .xxx to ICM Registry due to pressure from deluded right-wing groups in the US who think that it will add to pornography on the Internet is a major inflection point in the history of ICANN, and could represent the beginning of the end of its private sector/civil society based model of governance. more

.XXX as Proposed is Wrong for Families & Kids

On August 23rd, the Internet Governance Project posted a letter Opposing Political Intervention in the Internet's Core Technical Administrative Functions. I disagree. ICANN and Governments should get involved when it comes to protecting children online. Every effort should be made to make it SIMPLE for average parents to let their children run free online without the risk of running across pornography and adult material while doing so. Why continue to let pornographers run free and unchecked on the most exciting tool created in the history of mankind just because they got there first? more

IP Address Allocation vs. Internet Production I: Understanding the Relationship, and the Differences

It is sometimes said that: 'IP addresses are hoarded by "developed nations" - if only "underdeveloped" nations were given more IP addresses, the Internet would grow more/better...' Assertions like this mistakenly conflate the administrative process of requesting and receiving public IP addresses with the economic or commercial act of routing IP addresses - of engaging in what is sometimes called "Internet production." The former, administrative process involves relatively little in the way of overhead, and confers nothing more than the potential to develop public Internet resources -- i.e., to create new Internet users (provide access) and/or Internet uses (provide content and other online services). more

Whois Privacy vs. Anonymity

The Internet is often a lawless place. Everyone knows that there are many tricks and traps lurking on the Internet, just waiting to prey on unsuspecting and innocent users. Some of these traps will trash your computer while others will turn your PC into a zombie that will broadcast messages at the virus writer's command. ...The list of annoyances and downright criminal activities seem endless. ...To make the Internet a safer place both legislators and law enforcement are now focusing on the Internet. In the crossfire that's taking place there are many ideas that are being offered up. Some of them are good and some are not. One bad decision that was recently forced upon the Internet community (without hearings -- more on this later) was to eliminate private domain name registrations for .US domain names. ...It's important to understand the difference between privacy and anonymity. more

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