Censorship

Censorship / Most Commented

Potential Danger Ahead for Registrants: dot-info Abusive Domain Use Policy

ICANN has posted a request by Afilias for a new registry service in relation to "abusive" domains in dot-info. While in general the proposal is motivated by good intentions, the devil is in the details. While most folks (including myself) probably care very little about the .info TLD, my concern is that any bad implementation in .info might be copied or used as a precedent in other more important TLDs, in particular .com run by VeriSign. more

Don't Register Your Domain in the U.S. if it's Controversial

In the news lately have been a number of incidents where U.S. courts, or the U.S. government itself has ordered domain registrars to shut down free speech. First was the E360 vs Spamhaus case, in which accused spammer E360 Insight sued anti-spam organization Spamhaus for labeling them as spammers and won by default when Spamhaus insisted that U.S. courts did not have jurisdiction over them in England and didn't appear. Unfortunately, U.S. courts did have jurisdiction over Spamhaus' domain registrar, who was nearly ordered to shut Spamhaus down (a court order was under consideration). Fortunately, Spamhaus was able to move their registration overseas before any shutdown order could be issued... 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

Some Notes on the .XXX Top-Level Domain

Yesterday the ICANN board discussed and approved ICANN staff to enter into negotiations with ICM Registry, Inc. for the .XXX Top Level Domain (TLD). I'm sure there will be a longer more complete presentation from ICANN later about this, but as an individual board member I thought I'd post a quick note before people got carried away with speculation based on a lack of information. more

Breaking the Internet HOWTO: The Unintended Consequences of Governmental Actions

"Breaking the Internet" is really hard to do. The network of networks is decentralized, resilient and has no Single Point Of Failure. That was the paradigm of the first few decades of Internet history, and most people involved in Internet Governance still carry that model around in their heads. Unfortunately, that is changing and changing rapidly due to misguided government intervention. more

Saudi Arabia Objects to Certain Proposed New gTLD Strings Such as .Gay and .Wine

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has objected to a number of proposed new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) including .porn, .sexy, .wine, .bar and .bible, according to records of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). "Many societies and cultures consider homosexuality to be contrary to their culture, morality or religion. The creation of a gTLD string which promotes homosexuality will be offensive to these societies and cultures," says Saudi Arabia's Communication and Information Technology Commission. more

Ethiopia Shows That Congress Is Right to Be Worried About UN Control of the Internet

Today a key committee in the US Congress approved a resolution opposing United Nations "control over the Internet." While some in the Internet community have dismissed the bipartisan effort as mere political grandstanding, recent actions by some UN Member States show that lawmakers have good reason to be worried. Last month, UN voting member Ethiopia made it a crime -- punishable by 15 years in prison - to make calls over the Internet.  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

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

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

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

Underneath the Hood: Ownership vs. Stewardship of the Internet

As is well known to most CircleID readers - but importantly, not to most other Internet users - in March 2011, ICANN knowingly and purposefully embraced an unprecedented policy that will encourage filtering, blocking, and/or redirecting entire virtual neighborhoods, i.e., "top-level domains" (TLDs). Specifically, ICANN approved the creation of the ".XXX" suffix, intended for pornography websites. Although the owner of the new .XXX TLD deems a designated virtual enclave for morally controversial material to be socially beneficial for the Internet, this claim obfuscates the dangers such a policy creates under the hood. more

Alignment of Interests in DNS Blocking

I've written recently about a general purpose method called DNS Response Policy Zones (DNS RPZ) for publishing and consuming DNS reputation data to enable a market between security companies who can do the research necessary to find out where the Internet's bad stuff is and network operators who don't want their users to be victims of that bad stuff... During an extensive walking tour of the US Capitol last week to discuss a technical whitepaper with members of both parties and both houses of the legislature, I was asked several times why the DNS RPZ technology would not work for implementing something like PROTECT-IP. more

U.S. Uses Domain Names As New Way to Regulate the Net

Governments have long sought ways to regulate Internet activity, whether for the purposes of taxation, content regulation, or the application of national laws. Effective regulatory measures have often proven elusive, however, since, unlike the Internet, national laws typically end at the border. Earlier this month, the United States began to move aggressively toward a new way of confronting the Internet's jurisdictional limitations - the domain name system. more