Censorship / Most Commented

On Mandated Content Blocking in the Domain Name System

COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act) is a legislative bill introduced in the United States Senate during 2010 that has been the topic of considerable debate. After my name was mentioned during some testimony before a Senate committee last year I dug into the details and I am alarmed. I wrote recently about interactions between DNS blocking and Secure DNS and in this article I will expand on the reasons why COICA as proposed last year should not be pursued further in any similar form. more

Technical Comments on Mandated DNS Filtering Requirements of H. R. 3261 ("SOPA")

About two months ago, I got together with some fellow DNS engineers and sent a letter to the U. S. Senate explaining once again why the mandated DNS filtering requirements of S. 968 ("PIPA") were technically unworkable. This letter was an updated reminder of the issues we had previously covered... In the time since then, the U. S. House of Representatives has issued their companion bill, H. R. 3261 ("SOPA") and all indications are that they will begin "markup" on this bill some time next week. more

The Catalonian Matter: Law and Order, Democracy and Freedom of Speech, Censorship and Trust

I'm an engineer, and I firmly believe that Internet matters and, in general, Information Society, should be kept separate from politics, so usually, I'm very skeptical to talk about those and mix things. Let's start by saying that I'm Catalonian. Despite the dictatorial regime when I was born, forbidden teaching Catalonian, I learned it, even despite, initially for family reasons and now for work reasons, I live in Madrid. However, I keep saying everywhere I go, that I was born in Barcelona... more

PIR's Anti-Abuse Policy for .ORG Offers No Due Process for Innocent Domain Registrants

PIR, the registry operator for .org, has sent notices to registrars that it is implementing an anti-abuse policy that offers no due process for innocent domain registrants... While it's good intentioned, there is great potential for innocent domain registrants to suffer harm, given the lack of appropriate safeguards, the lack of precision and open-ended definition of "abuse", the sole discretion of the registry operator to delete domains, and the general lack of due process. 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

A Balkanized Internet Future?

Joi Ito has an important post [also featured on CircleID] on how the internet is in danger of becoming balkanized into separate "internets". He's not the only person who's concerned. Greg Walton worries about Regime Change on the Internet. My friend Tim Wu, a law professor specializing in international trade and intellectual property, has written an article for Slate: The Filtered Future: China's bid to divide the Internet... more

How SOPA Will Destroy The Internet

As you read this, please keep in mind that I say it all with a track record nearly 14 years of being proactive and having a zero-tolerance policy toward criminal activity and network abuse on our system. We have great relationships with Law Enforcement Agencies both here in Canada and abroad. We are always helpful and (usually) happy to answer questions, and help LEA understand the complexities and nuances of the internet. We've had the good fortune to meet some really intelligent and clued in cybercrime units. We participate in numerous communities in combating net.abuse and cybercrime. 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

Lessons from Egypt: We Need to Protect Our Connected Minds

We need to protect the power that allows us to connect our collective intelligence, as described a few weeks ago in my blog on connected minds. I argued that in order to address some of our global challenges we have to start looking at a radically new way to address them. The events in Egypt brought home the fact that if it comes to the crunch any government can disconnect us simply by bringing the Internet and other communications systems down at will... 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

You Paid to Join; You Can Leave Anytime

Once upon a time, around 1998-1999, three of us were hired by APEC-Tel to study "International Charging Arrangements for Internet Services". APEC-Tel is a regular meeting of Pacific-nation telecommunications ministers. The impetus of the study was their consternation that connection to the Internet was being charged (paid for) in an entirely new way. The template of the old telephone settlement scheme had been overthrown. Those wishing to connect to the Internet, which was centred in the United States, were being forced to lay lines across the Pacific, pay landing rights in the United States or Canada, and pay further to connect to the Internet at the nearest negotiated peering or transit point. 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

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

Will Blocking a TLD Fracture the Internet?

In his eloquent dissent against approving .XXX, ICANN Board member George Sadowsky talked about blocking and filtering top-level domains. It's a concise statement of a concern that has been identified by various people, including members of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), as an impediment to the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) program. It's a thorough defense of a common point of view about blocking TLDs, but while no-one can disagree about the fact of blocking, what is the actual effect? more

Proposed New IETF Standard Would Create a Nationally Partitioned "Internet"

For those worried about the threat of a state-based takeover of the Internet, there is no need to obsess over the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) exclusively. Three Chinese engineers are proposing a way to alter Internet standards to partition the Internet into autonomously administered national networks, using the domain name system (DNS). The idea was not proposed in the ITU; no, it was sent to a multi-stakeholder institution, the granddaddy of the Internet itself, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). more