Patrick Vande Walle

Patrick Vande Walle

All around Internet governance troublemaker
Joined on January 17, 2006 – Luxembourg
Total Post Views: 349,969

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Featured Blogs

New Top-Level Domains and Software Implications

Many software applications rely on validation routines to check the validity of domain names. By validation, I mean here to test the string submitted by the user and see if it matches a pre-defined pattern. A typical example are web forms that need to validate e-mail addresses. This is by new means a new issue. It first appeared with the introduction of the .info Top-Level Domain (TLD). more

IRT Final Report on Trademark Protection in New Top-Level Domains - Part 1: Uniform Rapid Suspension

The ICANN Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) working group has published its final report, which I decided to analyze a bit further. I already made a few comments last month, both in the At-Large Advisory Council framework and on my own. There are several issues raised by the recommendations of this report. The Uniform Rapid Suspension system (URS) is one. more

Belgian Incumbent ISP Not Dominant Operator Says Appeals Court

Picture this: the still state-owned (51% of shares) Belgian incumbent telecom and Internet operator, Belgacom, is not a dominant player on the ISP market, according to the Brussels appeals court... It is obvious to every inhabitant of Belgium that the incumbent is everywhere. It owns all the copper pairs to homes and a good deal of the fibre. No single Internet or telephony operator can get into the business without transiting through the Belgacom network at some stage. more

.vla TLD: Not So Fast, Says Flemish Government

As reported last July, there is a proposal from some Flemish politicians to create a .vla top level domain under the new gTLD process launched by ICANN. The proposal further elaborated that the Flemish government would have to cover the costs. Not so fast, says the Flemish government... more

The ICANN New Generic TLD Process (Las Vegas Edition)

I have not submitted any comments on ICANN's new gTLD process, mostly because many other people have said more diplomatically what I think, but I thought I could blog about it. My main concern from the beginning was that the process should allow any serious candidate to run with a reasonable chance to be able to actually start running a gTLD. This includes small and medium sized communities and startup companies with little seed money. This also includes registry models that may not favour mass registrations. For all these, the current model is flawed. more

European Commission on the Future of the Internet

The European Commission has just published a communication which describes the broad lines of its Internet policy in the coming years. Vint Cerf, on the Google Public Policy blog sees this as a very interesting vision. Indeed, it closely links the issue of openness of the Internet to several obvious and not-so-obvious factors. more

IGF Meeting Blacklisted

I got an e-mail from someone currently attending the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Geneva. The e-mail ended up in my spam folder because the IP address used for the wireless LAN at the meeting is on a spambot/virusbot blacklist, namely cbl.abuseat.org. Apparently some guy there has his computer infected by a spambot or a virusbot... more

Soon in a Mail Box Near You: Internationalized Email Addresses

The EAI working group of the IETF has finished (part of) its work on the interationalization of email addresses. This, together with Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) will make it possible to send email messages to non-7 bit ASCII addresses... There are 3 RFCs, covering changes to the SMTP protocol, e-mail message format and delivery Status Notifications. more

ICANN to Auction New Generic Top Level Domains

ICANN has just published a paper from its contractor PowerAuctions LLC, regarding the use of auctions to award new Top Level Domains (TLD) strings in case of contention. I can understand what ICANN wants to avoid. In the past, it has been criticized for using the "beauty contest" model with the redelegation of the .net TLD... However, the auction model is based on the idea that whoever wins the auction will be able to recoup its investment on the sale... more

IPv6 Considered a Problem by Some Users

I have a Google Blog Search Alert looking for posts over IPv6 in my RSS reader. What strikes me is the number of posts explaining how to disable IPv6 in Windows Vista, MacOSX, Ubuntu and other flavours of Linux. It looks like disabling IPv6 makes web browsing faster for a lot of people, independently of which operating system is being used. more

Gartner on New Generic Top Level Domains

Gartner, the well known IT consulting company, has published a report on the new top level domains that will appear some time next year. The report totally misses the mark. In a pure US centric vision, it focuses on ".com" as the must-have TLD, totally overlooking the fact that a ".com" is mostly worthless e.g. in Germany, where ".de" is the TLD one must have to succeed locally... more

New Generic Top-Level Domains and Internet Standards

The recent decision by ICANN to start a new round of applications for new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) is launching a round of questions on the IETF side about its consequences. One possible issue may be with vanity gTLDs like apple, ebay etc. Some expect that every Fortune 1,000,000 company will apply for its own TLD. My guess is rather the Fortune 1,000 for a start, but this does not change the nature of the issue, i.e. those companies may want to use email addresses like user@tld. more

Proposal for .sport, a New Top-Level Domain

OK. Now my lawyer has given me the green light, I can officially announce I am working on a proposal for a .sport TLD, to be submitted to ICANN for consideration as a new TLD next year. There is still a long way to go in terms of getting the proposal ready, but I this this one is a winner... more

Domain Names Users vs Domain Names Registrants

Antony Van Couvering from names@work writes that ICANN's constituencies are a "bad idea". While I am not sure to agree with him on the general principle, he makes some interesting remarks. Among others, he points out that the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) includes groups that seem to be redundant (the Business and Intellectual Property constituencies) and others like domainers which are not represented in the ICANN arena, yet are an integral part of the domain name business... more

European Commission Pushes IPv6 Forward

The European Commission has released a communication on IPv6, in time for the IPv6 Day in Brussels next 30th May. It goes in the same direction as the report presented at the OECD Ministerial meeting on "Future of the Internet Economy", that was held in Seoul, Korea earlier this month. At the same time, the Commission committed to make its own web services available on IPv6 by 2010. It is good to see that intergovermental organizations take the lead on this, after 10 years of failure of the private sector to actually deploy IPv6... more

Are Domain Name Registrars Ready for IPv6?

Now that ICANN has added IPv6 name servers for the root zone, and that many registries have enabled IPv6 on their DNS servers, I thought it would have been easy to update the DNS records pointing to my domain to mention a IPv6-only DNS server. This way, we could have native name resolution end-to-end in IPv6. We are not there yet, it seems. more

Luxembourg to Offer Investor-friendly Legal Environment for Domain Names

EuroDNS, the Luxembourg registrar, used its well attended New Year party last Wednesday to invite the Minister of Telecoms, Jean-louis Schiltz to talk about a law voted at the end of December 2007. According to the Finance and Budget Commission Report on Draft Law 5801, Revenues generated from use of, or license to use, a Domain Name are exempted from Luxembourg corporate taxes up to 80%. more

Whois: If You Want Privacy, Pay For It

Netchoice, a lobbying group for the e-commerce industry had a strange reaction on the failure of the GNSO working group on Whois to reach a consensus. After all, they say, "Privacy concerns with Whois that were identified years ago have already been addressed by in the marketplace"... more

Developing Internet Standards: How Can the Engineering Community and the Users Meet?

There is currently a discussion going on between Milton Mueller and Patrik Fältström over the deployment of DNSSEC on the root servers. I think the discussion exemplifies the difficult relation between those who develop standards and those who use them. On the one hand, Milton points out that the way the signing of the root zone will be done will have a great influence on the subjective trust people and nation states will have towards the system. On the other hand, Patrik states that "DNSSEC is just digital signatures on records in this database". Both are right, of course, but they do not speak the same language... more

The Inextricable Issue of Internationalized Domain Names

ICANN has embarked on the IDN boat at the same time it wants to introduce DNSSEC and new gTLDs. This promises lots of fun. Or grey hair, depending how you look at it. First is the issue of country code IDNs. The ISO-3166 table, based on two letter codes, is a western convention. Some cultures do not use abbreviations or acronyms. Some do not use a character-based alphabet, but a syllabic one. Hence, the next logical step would be to represent the full country name in local script, rather than a transliteration of the ISO string... Imagine the case of India, where there are 1.652 languages, of which 24 are spoken by more than one million people... more

What Prevents IPv6 Deployment in Europe

ZDNet UK has an article on IPv6 and what may slow down its deployment. Jay Daley, from Nominet points out to the fact that the current IPv6 allocation policy used by RIPE NCC is geared towards ISPs. This is a complaint I have heard time and time again. Under the current policy, you have to show to RIPE NCC that you are going to allocate 200 address blocks to your customers before you are allocated a /32 block. Obviously, a large corporate network cannot afford to renumber every time it switches ISPs... more

IPv6 for the Rest of Us

IPv6 deployment is in a chicken and egg situation. On the one hand, there is no willingness from ISPs and commodity DNS router manufacturers to include IPv6 support in their infrastructure or equipment because "there is no demand". On the other hand, there is no demand because the average Joe Blow could not care less if he accesses a web site under IPv4 or IPv6. It should just work. The equipment and infrastructure should adapt transparently... What we users can do is to stop waiting for the industry to get its act together and work around its limitations... more

.XXX is Back on the Radar Screen

The DoC seems to have finally realized it went too far by using ICANN to serve the interests of some conservative groups, as mentioned in a previous post. The new story is now that the ICANN board did not reject the .XXX application as such, but only the agreement negotiated between ICM Registry and the ICANN staff at that time. How subtle these things are... more

Vint in International Herald Tribune on IDNs

According to this article in IHT , those who want deployment of IDNs now are "political gambits". Cerf said that the technical side is not yet ready and thus the deployment of IDNs should be done very carefully. I agree to the technical aspects. However, the next question is of course: "when will it be ready for deployment?"... more

The Blurr-Cade Proposal on Root Zone Oversight

Becky Burr (former NTIA official) and lobbyist Marilyn Cade has made a proposal to create a multilateral working group to oversee the root zone file updates. I would characterize the Burr-Cade proposal as a "small step for mankind and a giant step for the US" to paraphrase Neil Armstrong. The main merit of the proposal is that it looks like something the USG might want to follow. Sevaral people suggested there should be no governmental oversight at all but that does not look realistic, in the sense that there can be huge economic and political interests behind ICANN decisions. more

.XXX and Conservative Groups

By now, you should have read elsewhere that the ICANN board has rejected the ICM application to create a .XXX TLD. It still comes as a surprise to some. Frankly, this was the prognosis I made to Stuart Lawley two years ago, for the very reasons mentioned by the European Commission. I mentioned in a previous blog entry that 6000 complaints from US citizens would have more weight on the conservative US administration than any other consideration... more