Censorship

Censorship / Featured Blogs

The Fragile Network

One of the more persistent founding myths around the internet is that it was designed to be able to withstand a nuclear war, built by the US military to ensure that even after the bombs had fallen there would still be communications between surviving military bases. It isn't true, of course. The early days of the ARPANET, the research network that predated today's internet, were dominated by the desire of computer scientists to find ways to share time on expensive mainframe computers rather than visions of Armageddon. Yet the story survives... more»

Domain Tasting in the Spotlight

An article in BusinessWeek discusses "domain tasting" and its affects on major brands. The article, titled "The Great Internet Brand Rip-Off", discusses so-called "domain tasting" and how major brands are being exploited through domain tasting combined with typosquatting... It's important to distinguish between the two types of domain tasting... more»

Assault on State Censorship at the IGF

Knee-jerk UN haters in the US are fond of pointing horrified fingers at the presence of China, Syria and other authoritarian states whenever global governance is mentioned. See for example Declan McCullough's slanted piece in CNET. They might be surprised to learn that the UN Internet Governance Forum has opened the opportunity for a major assault on Internet blocking and filtering, and put repressive governments on the defensive by heightening awareness of the practice and pressuring them to justify it or change it... more»

OpenDNS: It's Not SiteFinder for Obvious Reasons

The first salvo on NANOG this morning in response to the launch of OpenDNS was a predictable lambasting along the lines of "here comes SiteFinder II". Fortunately the follow-ups were quick to point out that OpenDNS was a far cry from SiteFinder for the obvious reason that people have the choice to use it, nobody had a choice with SiteFinder. ...the real magic here can come from it's use in phishing mitigation. more»

Net Neutrality Is As Silly As So-Called Internet Governance

From the perspective of Internet security operations, here is what Net Neutrality means to me. I am not saying these issues aren't important, I am saying they are basically arguing over the colour of bits and self-marginalizing themselves. For a while now I tried not to comment on the Net Neutrality non-issue, much like I didn't comment much on the whole "owning the Internet by owning the Domain Name System" thingie. Here it goes anyway. Two years ago I strongly advocated that consumer ISP's should block some ports, either as incident response measures or as permanent security measures... more»

Put Free Expression on the Internet Governance Forum Agenda

The Internet Governance Project has joined free-expression advocacy organizations Reporters Without Borders and Article 19 to push for including Internet censorship and filtering problems on the agenda of the first meeting of the new Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a multistakeholder deliberation body created by the World Summit on the Information Society... more»

What is Anti-Spam?

There's a lot of argument as to which "anti-spam" techniques are legitimately so called. In this article, I'd like to consider what constitutes an anti-spam technique in an ideal sense, then consider the various practiced approaches to spam mitigation in that light, drawing conclusions as to how we should frame the "anti-spam" discussion. ...For the purposes of this discussion, let "spam" refer to "unsolicited bulk email". Not everyone agrees on this definition, but it's by far the most widely accepted, and without a working definition we won't be able to define "anti-spam"... more»

Hypertext Mail Protocol (a.k.a. Stub Email): A Proposal

Back in the days of dial-up modems and transfer speeds measured in hundreds of bits per second, unwanted email messages were actually felt as a significant dent in our personal pocketbooks. As increases in transfer speeds outpaced increases in spam traffic, the hundreds of unwanted emails we received per week became more of a nuisance than a serious financial threat. Today sophisticated spam filters offered by all major email providers keep us from seeing hundreds of unwanted emails on a daily basis, and relatively infrequently allow unwanted messages to reach our coveted Inboxes. So, to some degree, the spam problem has been mitigated. But this "mitigation" requires multiple layers of protection and enormous amounts of continually-applied effort. more»

Facing the Facts on Internet Governance

Having just arrived in Tunis for the WSIS, my weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, freely available version) focuses on the Internet governance issues that are likely to dominate discussions all week. I argue that claims about a "digital Munich" and a U.N. takeover are not helpful to arriving at an appropriate solution (though based on discussions this morning it does not appear that things are moving very far away from such claims). more»

Questioning the Illusion of Internet Governance

I confess, I don't get it. Much has been written about the apparent desire by the United Nations, spurred by China, Cuba, and other informationally repressive regimes, to "take control of the Internet." Oddly, the concrete focus of this battle -- now the topic of a Senate resolution! -- is a comparatively trivial if basic part of Net architecture: the domain name system. The spotlight on domain name management is largely a combination of historical accident and the unfortunate assignment of country code domains like .uk and .eu, geographically-grounded codes that give the illusion of government outposts and control in cyberspace. more»