Censorship / Featured Blogs

Take Down Order by California Court Raises Issues of Censorship and Free Speech

The internet is abuzz with commentary about a recent case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California concerning the web site wikileaks.org, a "website dedicated to leaking documents that are "anonymous, untraceable, uncensorable." Time Magazine allegedly described the site by stating that it "could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act." The case certainly raises important issues concerning First Amendment Rights, censorship and freedom of speech. The case involves the alleged posting of private internal documents of Bank Julius Baer & Co and its bank customers... 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»

A Packet of Lies

I've been reading the kerfuffle around Comcast's blocking of various random network protocols with interest. Whilst I remain convinced that blanket "network neutrality" legislation remains just a form of digital gripe water (cures colic for cybernauts), there's clearly a problem. As I previously alluded there's a definite consumer protection issue over what you buy when it says 'Internet' on the tin. So here's tuppence worth of additional input... more»

ICANN: Keep the Core Neutral, Stupid

ICANN's travelling circus is meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico this week. One of the main subjects of discussion has been the introduction of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), after a GNSO Report [PDF] proposed 19 "Recommendations" for criteria these new domain strings should meet -- including morality tests and "infringement" oppositions. ...It's important to keep ICANN from being a censor, or from straying beyond its narrow technical mandate. The thick process described in the GNSO report would be expensive, open to "hecklers' vetos," and deeply political... ICANN should aim for a "stupid core"... more»

The New Hong Kong Anti-Spam Law, and a Small Fly in the Ointment

Well, it has been quite a while since first the Hong Kong OFTA (in 2004) and then CITB (in 2006) issued requests for public comment about a proposed UEM (Unsolicited Electronic Messaging) bill to be introduced in Hong Kong, for the purpose of regulating unsolicited email, telephone and fax solicitations. We're a large (worldwide) provider of email and spam filtering - but we're based in Hong Kong, and any regulation there naturally gets tracked by us rather more actively than laws elsewhere. We sent in our responses to both these agencies... The bill is becoming law now - and most of it looks good... There's one major fly in the ointment though... 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»

Please, Keep the Core Neutral

Many in the technical community attribute the rapid growth and spread of the Internet to innovation that took place at the "edge" of the network, while its "core" was left largely application neutral to provide a universal and predictable building block for innovation. It is this core neutrality that provides a basis for the security and stability of the Internet as a whole. And it is this same core neutrality that is critical to the continued spread of the Internet across the Digital Divide. Unfortunately, when the politics of censorship rather than solely technical concerns drive the coordination of these "core" Internet resources, it threatens the future security and stability of the Internet. This paper proposes a paradigm upon which all the governments of the world have equal access to these core Internet resources to empower them and their citizens with the rights acknowledged in the WSIS Declaration of Principles. more»

The Real Problem with dot-XXX

Shakespeare has Marcellus say in Act 1 of Hamlet, "Something's rotten in the state of Denmark." ...Milton Mueller, in his recent post to this site, would have us believe that since ICANN's Board long ago agreed that ICM's application for dot-xxx registry satisfied its own criteria for a sponsored TLD, then the only explanation for all the delay is, "I'm beginning to think that ICANN's approach to TLD approval was cooked up by a demented sergeant from Abu Ghraib." Milton goes on to assert that ICM's claim on dot-xxx is protected by the 1st Amendment. If this is so, then why after more than six years of discussion, is dot-xxx still raising such a fuss? more»

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»