Susan Crawford

Susan Crawford

Professor, Cardozo Law School in New York City
Joined on November 19, 2003 – United States
Total Post Views: 483,553

About

Susan Crawford is a professor at Cardozo Law School in New York City and a Visiting Research Collaborator at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy.

She was a full professor at the University of Michigan Law School between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2010. She was on leave from Michigan to co-lead the FCC Agency Review team for the Obama-Biden transition (11/08-1/09), and served as Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (2009). As an academic, she teaches internet law and communications law. She is a member of the boards of Public Knowledge and TPRC. She was a member of the board of directors of ICANN from 2005-2008 and is the founder of OneWebDay, a global Earth Day for the internet that takes place each Sept. 22. One of Fast Company's Most Influential Women in Technology (2009); IP3 Awardee (2010).

Ms. Crawford received her B.A. (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and J.D. from Yale University. She served as a clerk for Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and was a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (Washington, D.C.) until the end of 2002, when she left that firm to enter the legal academy. Susan, a violist, lives in New York City.

Featured Blogs

Biggest Deal in Telecom Policy Since the AT&T Divestiture

The biggest communications policy moment since the AT&T divestiture has just happened: The $100 million-dollar-march (or more -- what Comcast spent to make sure this happened) has ponderously, self-evidently reached its conclusion with the FCC's approval of the merger between Comcast and NBCU. It wasn't the subtlest campaign; it didn't need to be; it was effective in its discipline and heavy persistence. The tweets are flying and the journalists are already weighing in. more»

Bad Timing: Comcast, Netflix, NN, Cable Modems, and NBCU

Comcast, the largest broadband provider, largest pay-TV company, and third-largest telephone company in the country, distributes communications services to more than a third of the country. Today Comcast's existing overwhelming market power was on display in major public battles with (1) Level 3 and (2) cable modem manufacturer Zoom. The takeaway from today: No market forces are constraining Comcast -- or any of the other major cable distributors, none of which compete with each other. more»

Trust Us

Here's the question: is it meaningful or important for a federal agency to have regulatory authority over high-speed Internet access connectivity? Right now, the FCC (which is supposed to oversee "communication over wire and radio") has no clear authority to make policy about high-speed Internet connectivity. (Transport is different than content - this post is not about applications or uses of this connectivity. Be careful when you talk about the Internet "ecosystem," because transport has been historically and remains different from everything else. I'm talking about the capacity to send packets from Point A to Point B, whether provided by wired or wireless providers.) more»

The Militarization of the Internet

Someone needs to take a good hard look at those Internet surveillance stories being strategically placed on the front page of the New York Times. There's a trail here, I believe, that's worth following. Here are some data points... there appears to be a deep interest in the ability to declare war online, as evidenced by cybersecurity research and public speeches by Herbert Lin, a key player who has worked on several cybersecurity reports for the National Research Council.
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Nothing to See Here

Three parallel events in US communications policy today, all reported on widely - but with a common thread. ... Law enforcement and national security officials want to make sure that they have the same ability to execute warrants and surveillance orders online that they had in the switched-telephone-circuit age -- which will mean substantial government design mandates for new software, hardware, and communications facilities. more»

The Broadband Adoption Rate

Yesterday's FCC report estimates that at least 80 million Americans don't have high-speed Internet access - defined as download speeds of at least 4 Mbps and upload 1 Mbps - at home. (Soon the Commission will release another report comparing these results to those in other countries.) This service is completely unavailable to at least 14 million Americans - the FCC estimates that "1,024 out of 3,230 counties in the United States and its territories are unserved by broadband[, and t]hese unserved areas are home to 24 million Americans living in 8.9 million households." more»

Take That Down Right Now - and Give Me That Too

Google has released a government requests tool. It's highly illuminating and may end up being quite disruptive. That's what surprising data visualizations can do for us. ... The tool allows us to see the number of requests from different countries that Google received during the last six months of 2009. More than 3600 data requests from Brazil during those six months and more than 3500 from the US. But just 40 or so from Canada and 30 from Israel. more»

Comcast v. FCC - "Ancillary Jurisdiction" Has to Be Ancillary to Something

Big news today - Judge Tatel has written the D.C. Circuit's opinion in Comcast v. FCC, and Comcast wins. Bottom line: The FCC didn't have regulatory authority over Comcast's unreasonable network management practices because it failed to tie that authority to any express statutory delegation by Congress... more»

The Canoe Tipping Point

Google has successfully created a nationwide (worldwide) fine-grained, targeted ad market by using queries to its search engine. The cable industry would like to be able to use its cable and broadband subscriber data to create a nationwide, fine-grained, targeted ad market. This race has substantial implications for the future of online video -- and online activity generally. more»

Leadership and Persuasion: Internet Freedom

Secretary Clinton's major address on internet freedom made the connection between humanity and technology. We've been waiting a long time for our political leaders to have the courage to express thoughts like this, to have a vision about the role of the internet in human history, and yesterday the day arrived. The speech wasn't an isolated event, of course. more»

White Spaces: Timing

Last week's emergency petition by the broadcasters to delay the FCC's Nov. 4 vote is just part of the white spaces atmosphere right now. Ars Technica reports that the mud is really flying -- the broadcasters are accusing proponents of white space use of wanting to kill off television. It's a familiar argument -- "If you do Y, broadcast television as we know it will be destroyed." more»

White Spaces News… Interesting First Step

When the U.S. Digital Television Transition (DTV) transition happens in Feb. 2009, channels 2 through 51 will remain allocated for television transmission. Few of the nation's television markets actually use 49 channels. Indeed, most use less than half of that number... Today, with Congress in recess, leaving less room for last-minute-Lucy-with-the-football lobbying gambits, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears to be poised to release a report saying the white spaces can be used without necessarily causing interference to existing broadcasts. There are still many questions to be answered... more»

McCain Tech Plan: The Only Vision is Backward-Looking

So I've spent more time with the McCain tech plan today. At a time when this country is suffering economically and looking for fundamental change, it looks as if Sen. McCain is in the back office having lunch with a bunch of accountants. The heavy emphasis in the policy on tax cuts seems designed to appeal to people who equate lower taxes with progress. Haven't we already had years of that kind of approach? more»

Comcast and the Internet

Today the FCC is condemning Comcast's practices with respect to P2P transmissions.I'm happy for FreePress and Public Knowledge today, and I know they have achieved a substantial change in the wind. The basic idea that it's not okay for network access providers to discriminate unreasonably against particular applications is now part of the mainstream communications discourse. That has to be good news. I'm concerned on a couple of fronts. The FCC has taken the view that it can adjudicate, on a case-by-case basis, issues that have to do with "Federal Internet Policy." They used that phrase several times... more»

Deep Packet Inspection: When the Man-In-The-Middle Wants Money

Say you're walking down the sidewalk having a talk with your best friend about all kinds of things. What if you found out later that the sidewalk you were using wasn't really a sidewalk -- but instead a kind of false-front giant copying machine, unobstrusively vacuuming up what you were saying and adding to its database of information about you? Or, say you send a letter to a client of yours (to the extent you still do this), and it turns out later that your letter was intercepted, steamed open, and the contents were read... more»

BT and Ofcom

About 16 months ago, I heard Ed Richards of Ofcom speak at a CITI conference at Columbia, and blogged about it here. I remember thinking that Richards didn't seem to think that highspeed access to the internet was all that important. The market had to demand it, and the market wasn't being demanding. Also, he wasn't interested in government intervention to support highspeed access... more»

Battling Over Clouds

More than 40 years ago, the FCC was worried about telephone companies using their power over communications to control the then-nascent (and competitive) data processing marketplace. The Bell System at that point was already banned from providing services that weren't common carriage communications services (or "incidental to" those communications services)... In a 1999 article in the Texas Law Review, Steve Bickerstaff pointed out that Computer 1 meant that no one could provide a "computer utility" service... Today, we'd call the "computer utility" something different -- we'd use the term "cloud computing." more»

Bit Caps, Consolidation, and Clearwire

The news that Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T are all considering capping use of their networks -- so that "overuse" would trigger a charge -- has prompted intense discussion of just why these network operators are moving in this direction. One camp suggests that these operators have to do *something* to manage congestion, and because any protocol-specific discrimination plan raises howls of protest from the Net Neutrality side of the fence adopting bit-usage discrimination schemes is inevitable. It's the least-bad approach, following this view. more»

Knowing Less

The announcement yesterday morning in the Times that New York State AG Andrew Cuomo had reached an agreement with three US network operators (Verizon, Sprint, and Time Warner) about blocking child pornography was both less and more important than it appeared. It's less important in that part of the agreement covers something ISPs already do... more»

The New Clearwire

The new Clearwire could be game-changing, but the rules of the game may not be quite as Clearwire presents them. I have been wondering since last July whether something significant would happen in the Google/Sprint world. The deal announcement earlier this weekseems to be that key development... In a nutshell, Sprint will contribute its substantial spectrum licenses in the 2.5 GHz range and its WiMAX-related assets and intellectual property. Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will invest a total of $3.2 billion. more»

700 MHz Update: Will VZ Comply with the Rules?

Last Friday (HT: IPDemocracy), Google filed a petition [PDF] asking that the Commission ensure that Verizon understands what those "open platform" requirements for the C Block really mean. Verizon has taken the position in the past that its own devices won't be subject to the "open applications" and "open handsets" requirements of the C Block rules, and Google says it is concerned that Verizon doesn't plan to follow those requirements in the future. This is big. Here's the background... more»

Retrograde Inversion of Telecommunications Policy

Going backwards upside down. That's what we're doing with telecommunications policy in the U.S. The Comcast affair should prompt a re-examination of many decisions the FCC, Congress, and the courts have made over the last few years. When the FCC reports on its reactions to Comcast's activities, the right response will be "You're asking the wrong question." "What is reasonable network management" isn't the question we should be asking... more»

Google and the White Spaces

The white spaces proceeding is the next big opportunity for experiments in alternative ways of providing wireless highspeed internet access... A key advantage of unlicensed spectrum is that experiments in new technology can be carried out without asking the permission of spectrum licensees. To date, we have made very little spectrum available for unlicensed use and experimentation. The FCC has the discretion to decide whether the digital television "white spaces" may be used on an unlicensed basis... more»

700 MHz Auction Winners: Why Block C Matters

Today the FCC announced the winners of the 700 MHz auction -- and you can see from pp. 62-63 of this document that Verizon won Block C. (Block C was set up in two nationwide paired blocks of 11 MHz each, which were auctioned off in very large geographic areas -- 12 licenses, each covering a "Regional Economic Area Grouping". Verizon won seven of the twelve licenses, covering all of the US except Alaska, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.) Why does this matter? more»

Why Regulate Cable Internet Access

The cable guys have their way of saying it: "What do you want to do, nationalize our businesses?" Another way of seeing this issue is: We have a very few very large providers of highspeed internet access in U.S. They have sufficient market power to decide how and when to prioritize internet communications. And all of these providers are competing with the internet in some way -- they are all (or are becoming) old media and old telecom companies that want to maintain control over their distribution channels. more»

More on 700 MHz Block C Hits Reserve Price

This is big... For the upper band C Block, the FCC mandated that any winning licensee have in place "no locking" and "no blocking" provisions conditioning its use of this spectrum: "Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee..." The no-locking, no-blocking requirements were hedged in by substantial limitations... But it's still important... Particularly if Google is the winning bidder, something we may not know for a month or so. more»

Internet Access and the Missing Institutional Design

It's Friday, a day to tie some threads together. There were three announcements/events this week that are connected in a non-obvious way... These three elements go together in creating a picture of US policy towards Internet access at the beginning of 2008. Rather than seeing the Internet as an engine for economic growth, creativity, innovation, and new jobs -- and as the converged communications medium for the next generation -- current policy is to wait for private companies to decide when investment in access makes sense for them. Those private companies have plenty of incentives to shape access to suit their own business plans. more»

"The Broadband Revolution"

The International Telecommunications Union recently issued a press release announcing with joy the release of "the first set of global standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)." A key sentence: "A combination of voice, Internet and video services over a single broadband link and from a single provider is foreseen as the ultimate goal of the broadband revolution." Those of you who lived through 'What Is Broadband Good For?' with me last summer, know that the word "broadband" is a pet bugaboo of mine. It's a word that answers a lot of policy questions in a particular way. more»

Unbridled Discretion and Prior Restraint: The Verizon and Comcast Stories

Let's say that providing communications infrastructure is an inherent function of a state. Most people think of the internet as a telephone system, and most people think the telephone companies aren't supposed to choose which calls will go through based on their content. People think that because they think internet access, like telephone access, is a utility -- like electricity conduit, water pipes, etc. -- that has something to do with the government, and the government isn't supposed to discriminate. more»

Making the Wireless World More Web-Friendly

Your wireless carrier (in the U.S., probably AT&T or Verizon Wireless) has a lot of control over the handset you can use and the applications that can run on that device. In fact, wireless carriers routinely ask for (and get) an enormous slice of the revenue from applications that work on their networks, and they force handset manufacturers to jump through all kinds of hoops in order to be allowed to sell devices that can connect to these networks... This has had bad effects on the ecosystem of the wireless world. more»

A Possible Missing Piece of Net Neutrality Puzzle: Backbones and Peering?

I remember being told three years ago that, in general, internet backbone issues weren't really a subject for regulatory involvement, and didn't need to be. Although the last mile was a problem, the upstream fat-pipe relationships weren't - they were all competitive and thriving. Or at least that's what people thought. Over the last couple of days I've been looking around trying to figure out what the facts are about backbones and peering. It seems that we don't even know what we don't know... more»

This Week in the White Spaces

Every once in a while I look in on the white spaces, to see how things are going. You'll recall that the white spaces are unused, non-contiguous ("swiss cheese" ) frequencies between broadcast stations around the county. Commr. McDowell of the FCC has said that initial rules for the white spaces will be released sometime this fall. If the white spaces are made available on an unlicensed basis for use by opportunistic, "smart," low-power mobile devices, entrepreneurial engineers will think of ways to use this wealth of spectrum (300 MHz wide, if fractured) to provide mobile connections to whatever fiber installations are nearest. more»

CALEA Roundup: 2005-2007

The wrangling around the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) is one of those issues that creeps inexorably forward and is hard to follow unless you're really focusing. So here is a quick, if longish, overview: CALEA is a 1994 statute that requires telephone companies to design their services so that they are easily tappable by law enforcement in need of "call-identifying information." Back in August 2005, following a request from the Dept. of Justice, the Commission moved swiftly to impose CALEA obligations on providers of broadband access services and "interconnected VoIP" services... more»

Two Things Happened at the FCC Today

Paul Kaputska has the best wrap-up of the 700 MHz press releases and statements online, with comments from major players. Rick Whitt is polite and welcoming, noting the progress that's been made (who would have thought any move towards unlocking devices from networks was possible?) while saying it would have been better to have included wholesale requirements. But while even mainstream media was (finally) focusing on the moderate, incremental, and possibly hopelessly unenforceable (and ultimately meaningless) steps taken by the FCC today in announcing its auction rules, something else happened. more»

Other Plans: WiMAX, Google, Sprint and Clearwire

Someone asked me a question today about Google's new partnership with Sprint. Sprint/Nextel is the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., falling far behind Verizon and AT&T -- who together control 51% of the wireless market. (Sprint services are also resold by Comcast and Time Warner as part of their packages.) Sprint has announced it won't bid in the 700 MHz auction. Sprint has other plans... more»

Net Neutrality Reflection

So this afternoon my charge is to lay out all the Net Neutrality (NN) issues to a bar association that doesn't have a telecom subcommittee... Cringely says that "In the end the ISPs [network providers] are going to win this [network neutrality] battle, you know. The only thing that will keep them from doing that is competition, something it is difficult to see coming along anytime soon..." more»

Ed Richards of Ofcom on Net Neutrality

Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom, was at Columbia today... NN (Net Neutrality) debate does give us insight into importance of disclosure to consumers -- consumers should be able to switch providers, and they should know which ISPs are making prioritization decisions. This should be an obligation of suppliers to communicate this information to consumers. In particular, he says that Ofcom is actively exploring whether network operators whose traffic shaping activities change materially should have to tell consumers -- and if these changes are significant consumers should be allowed to break their contracts with the provider without penalty... more»

Why I Voted for .XXX

The ICANN Board voted today 9-5, with Paul Twomey abstaining, to reject a proposal to open .xxx. This is my statement in connection with that vote. I found the resolution adopted by the Board (rejecting xxx) both weak and unprincipled... I am troubled by the path the Board has followed on this issue since I joined the Board in December of 2005. I would like to make two points. First, ICANN only creates problems for itself when it acts in an ad hoc fashion in response to political pressures. Second, ICANN should take itself seriously as a private governance institution with a limited mandate and should resist efforts by governments to veto what it does. more»

IP Address Intelligence Burdening Content Providers with Regional Laws?

I've been looking into IP address filtering by content providers. I understand that IP addresses can be attached with confidence to geographical locations (at the country level, at least) about 80% of the time. You have to make up the rest with heuristics. So there are companies that are in the business of packaging those geolocation heuristics for sites. ...How widely are these services used? ...does it now make sense to put content sites to the burden of complying with the laws applicable to the people/machines they know are visiting them? more»

ICANN and the DOC

ICANN today issued a press release and a series of documents about its relationship with the U.S. Department of Commerce. ...ICANN is no longer bound by the specific set of milestones that were in its prior MoU with DOC. With this freedom comes great responsibility. Without detailed government oversight, and without market competition for policymaking for domain names, ICANN (and the ICANN Board) has a great obligation to be accountable to its community. more»

The GNSO Review

The London School of Economics review of the GNSO was recently released by ICANN. ...The review is refreshing. But first, a pause: Do you know what the GNSO is or what it does? Do ICANN's processes seem difficult to understand? I bet (unless you've been going to ICANN meetings) you don't know much about this. And the focus of the report on the impenetrability of ICANN's work is refreshing and very useful. more»

Comparative Broadband Ideas

The primary reason that Japan and Korea do so much better than the U.S. on any measurement of broadband (availability, penetration, price, speed) is that there is fierce competition in the market for broadband internet access in these countries. ...How do you increase competition in the U.S. for broadband access? Right now, we have giants fighting with each other -- cable and telephone companies. Small numbers of these companies control 80%-90% of the market for broadband access... more»

Network Neutrality Upsetting Worldviews?

With everyone talking about network neutrality, with all the heat, it didn't feel good to have to be in NY today and miss the goings-on in Washington. I watched part of the late afternoon markup session online, with Rep. Barton sounding awfully effective as he marched steadily through Title III -- quickly taking votes, soothing congress people who were suggesting soon-to-be-rejected amendments, and sounding confident. The only substantive work I heard was the rejection of an amendment that would have left in place all state laws that regulate the subjects of the bill -- like mini wireless networks. But the real news had already happened... more»

Forward-Thinking Remedies

Just a year ago, I gave a talk at David Isenberg's 2005 Freedom to Connect conference. I said, essentially, that we should be careful in asking for regulation to protect the net, because the power to protect carries with it the power to constrain. This was a very troubling message for the audience, and the chatroom projected behind me went wild with disapproval. Since then, I've become very concerned about the concentration in broadband service provision in this country, and worried that there won't be any competition for unfettered internet access. more»

Testing IDNs

Internationalized (non-ascii) domain names (IDN) are a key issue for ICANN. Yesterday, the Board completed two days of workshop presentations about various matters (IANA, security, GAC relationships), and we were briefed on the IDN testing that is planned. I thought it might be useful to make clear the distinction between the tests (which are testing mechanisms for IDNs) and the very difficult policy questions that confront ICANN. As several people explained to me yesterday, they're different. more»

ICANN Meeting: The Road to Wellington

What would it take for this upcoming meeting to be a success? I am a big believer in ICANN's core principles, and in the forum it provides for private self-governance of domain names and numbers. I think the ICANN model continues to have great potential as a form of governance. For this meeting to be a success for me, personally, I'd like to see those core principles made more visibly operational -- or at least see a start made on this effort. I'm putting a stake in the ground with these posts, and we'll see whether progress happens or not. more»

WSIS Deal: Oversight

The UN Secretary-General has been invited to "convene a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue." Everyone can see his/her hearts' desires in the WSIS deal: ICANN can believe that it has survived for another day; governments can believe that they will have "an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance"; and there will be an enormous meeting in Greece by the second quarter of 2006 to start the Internet Governance Forum going. more»

Monetizing the Internet

What would duopoly providers of internet access really like to have? They'd really like to be paid for providing non-commodity services. They'd really like to be rewarded for running the network, top to bottom. "But that's not possible," you say. No provider can tell one packet from another. Providers can only block the ports used by applications they don't like, and that's a clumsy, unwinnable arms race. The applications can always switch to common and useful ports, and no provider wants to alienate its subscriber base. But what if providers could inspect the contents of packets, without using too much computational power, and discriminate among applications? "Naah," you say. "They can't possibly do that."... more»

The Net-Net on Dot Net

ICANN has posted its suggested .net agreement [PDF]. The new draft puts the ICANN Board and the Names Council firmly in control of the registry's future, and represents a substantial change to the existing registry contracts. No one gave ICANN the power to do this, and it is strange that no approval by anyone -- including the US Dept of Commerce -- is being sought to make this happen. ICANN is taking the occasion of the .net rebid to restructure its entire relationship to the world. more»

Whither WGIG?

Now, I don't like the word "whither" any more than you do. But this Reuters article was circulating yesterday and it seemed to call for a "whither." It's a short story, so let's do a close reading. "A U.N.-sponsored panel aims to settle a long-running tug of war for control of the Internet by July and propose solutions to problems such as cyber crime and email spam, panel leaders said on Monday." We're going to decide what "internet governance" is by July?  more»

Customer Service is Law: The Panix Story

The NANOG list yesterday was the virtual equivalent of a nearby nocturnal car alarm: "panix.com has been hijacked!" (whoo-WEE, whoo-WEE); "those jerks at VeriSign!" (duhhhhh-WHEEP, duhhhh-WHEEP); "no one's home at Melbourne IT!" (HANK, HANK, HANK, HANK). Finally, on Monday morning in Australia, the always-competent and helpful Bruce Tonkin calmly fixed the situation. So the rest of us can get some sleep now. But as we nod off in the quietness, let's consider just exactly what happened here. more»

WGIG Too Focused on Negative Side of the Internet?

The following is a report by Susan Crawford at the ICANN meeting in Cape Town where a workshop was held yesterday for increasing awareness and understanding of United Nation's World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and issues that directly impact ICANN. "WSIS" is defined as a process in which governments intend to address a broad range of international legal, regulatory, economic, and policy issues related to the Internet. Some governments have proposed that an intergovernmental organization be responsible for "Internet governance," a phrase that remains undefined and some consider to include and/or mean the administration and coordination of the domain name system (DNS). more»

ICANN, VeriSign, and the Swamp

ICANN has initiated arbitration (before the ICC's International Court of Arbitration) against VeriSign under the .net Registry Agreement, seeking declaratory judgments that many things VeriSign has done or attempted to do over the years (Sitefinder, ConsoliDate, IDN, WLS, and stemming the abusive actions of shell registrars when they destructively query the registry for secondary market purposes) violate that agreement. more»

ICANN's Picture of Itself

ICANN has released its draft new budget. The document gives us a good look at how ICANN sees itself. It's arguably an internally inconsistent view. ...This budget calls for ICANN to have almost 60 staff members by the end of the next fiscal year. Expenses under this budget are predicted to be twice those of last year ($16 million v. $8 million). more»

Email, Privacy, and Engagement

After they finished the tenth installment of their enormous multi-volume history, The Story of Civilization, Will and Ariel Durant wrote a set of thirteen essays entitled The Lessons of History. I happened to pick up this volume yesterday; it's both slim and sweeping. The Durants loved history, and wanted to show their readership what waves and tensions and trends they perceived. It's not a great book, but it's an undeniably forceful one. One essay discusses the essential moral characteristics of individuals, listing six traits and providing "positive" and "negative" descriptions of ways in which people act. more»

Letter from Rome

I am at the ICANN meeting in Rome. The big story here is that ICANN is under attack for not sticking to its narrow mission -- technical coordination of the DNS and IP numbering system. People here are referring obliquely to the VeriSign lawsuit as "recent events" (as in "in light of recent events"). This euphemism reminds me of words used to reference the US Civil War ("the late unpleasantness"). more»

Privacy Alert: Watch Out For FOISA

This morning, at 10 am in 2141 Rayburn, the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property is holding a hearing on "Internet Domain Name Fraud -- New Criminal and Civil Enforcement Tools." At that hearing, the Subcommittee will be considering a new Whois bill creating new penalties for people who provide false data when registering a domain name. We need to raise our collective eyebrows at this bill (which was suddenly dropped the evening before this hearing). The title of the bill is the "Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act." (FOISA) more»

URLs, IP Numbers, and Speech

There's a great fight going on right now in Philadelphia...The case is about a Pennsylvania statute [PDF] that mandates that Pennsylvania ISPs remove access to sites that the AG believes contain child pornography. Now, child pornography is abhorrent and any ISP will cooperate in taking down such sites that it is hosting. But the problem is that in complying with the statute with respect to sites the ISPs don't themselves host, ISPs are (rationally) using either IP blocking ("null routing") or "domain poisoning" techniques, both of which (particularly the IP number blocking) result in rendering inaccessible millions of perfectly legal sites. more»

At the Moment, No One Governs the Internet

What's remarkable about this moment is that the hot potato of DNS standard-setting is still up in the air. The US government didn't want to appear to be in charge, and wanted to convince European governments that it wasn't in charge, and so it created (or called for the creation of) ICANN. ICANN was designed to keep other governments at bay. ICANN has, however, no particular delegated power beyond that accorded to it by the contracts it has signed with registries and registrars. In fact, it can't have more power than that, because if it pretends to be a regulatory agency it should be complying with the APA -- and if it pretends to be a regulator its private nature probably violates US law in a number of respects. more»

What is WSIS Getting At?

Attacks on ICANN are coming from several different directions, and the list of concerns includes "cybercrime and protection of intellectual property rights."... First, it's not apparent to me that any government can "control" the internet -- and it's even less likely that that control can happen through the DNS. The most that governments will do will be to build walls between nations, requiring their ISPs to point only to approved sites. (China is well on its way to doing this already.) That's not controlling the Internet, that's creating different, national Internets. more»

Topic Interests

DNSWhoisDomain NamesTop-Level DomainsP2PTelecomICANNInternet GovernanceIP AddressingPrivacySpamLawMultilinguismSecurityEmailRegional RegistriesRegistry ServicesIPv6Internet ProtocolBroadbandAccess ProvidersPolicy & RegulationNet NeutralityMobileCensorshipCybercrimeWirelessWhite SpaceVoIPWebIPTVData CenterCloud ComputingCyberattack

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Privacy Alert: Watch Out For FOISA

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ICANN and the DOC

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At the Moment, No One Governs the Internet