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Domain Name Theft, Fraud And Regulations

When it comes to domain name disputes, no domain name has captured more media attention than sex.com. Of course, disputes about sex often obtain a great deal of attention, and the sex.com domain name dispute can grab its share of headlines because the case involves sex, theft, declared bankruptcy, a once-thriving Internet porn business, and fraud, instead of the typical cybersquatting allegations. Indeed, this case is remarkable for its potential impact on the development of caselaw concerning whether there is a valid basis to assume that trademark interests should overwhelm all non-commercial interests in the use of domain names. The answer is no, but the caselaw to support that answer is in tension with cases that strongly imply a contrary conclusion. more

Report on Reaction to Zuccarini's Arrest

On September 3, 2003, United States federal law enforcement officers arrested the notorious John Zuccarini accused of allegedly creating misleading domain names to deceive children and direct them to pornographic websites. Zuccarini's arrest is the first to be made under the Truth in Domain Names Act, which took effect earlier this year prohibiting people from creating misleading domain names as a means to deceive children into viewing content that's harmful to minors, or tricking adults into clicking on obscene websites. What follows is a collection of commentaries made by experts in response to this event...
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A Question of DNS Protocols

One of the most prominent denial of service attacks in recent months was one that occurred in March 2013 between Cloudflare and Spamhaus... How did the attackers generate such massive volumes of attack traffic? The answer lies in the Domain Name System (DNS). The attackers asked about domain names, and the DNS system answered. Something we all do all of the time of the Internet. So how can a conventional activity of translating a domain name into an IP address be turned into a massive attack? more

Invalid WHOIS Data: Who Is Responsible?

Suppose you wanted to know who operates a website at a given domain name. Perhaps you suspect that the domain name is pointing to a website that offers illegal content, or you may just want to send a comment to its authors. Conveniently, the Internet provides a so-called "WHOIS" system that ordinarily provides contact information for each registered domain. But in the case of many hundreds of thousands of domains, the WHOIS data just isn't accurate.  more

MegaBust's MegaQuestions Cloud the Net's Future

Mid-January 2012 marked a major inflection point for digital copyright policy in the United States... Yet no one involved with Congressional interaction on either side of the issue believes it has been sidetracked for long, and "Hollywood" and "Silicon Valley" are both plotting their next moves in this high-stakes game to further define the responsibilities and potential liabilities... The resolution of this dispute will determine the ability of Internet services to move to "the cloud"... more

Where Is Cyberspace?

In my first CircleID post, I compared the cyberspace to a farmland, which has to be cultivated and developed. I ended by asking: Where is cyberspace? I have asked this same question from many people, many of whom are internet experts. They all said the cyberspace is in the computers, networks, or servers, or the Internet itself. I agree with these cyberspace ideas. In addition, my opinion is a bit different. more

Internet Attacks Against Georgian Websites

In the last days, news and government web sites in Georgia suffered DDoS attacks. While these attacks seem to affect the Georgian Internet, it is still there... Up to the Estonian war, such attacks would be called "hacker enthusiast attacks" or "cyber terrorism" (of the weak sort). Nowadays any attack with a political nature seems to get the "information warfare" tag. When 300 Lithuanian web sites were defaced last month, "cyber war" was the buzzword. Running security for the Israeli government Internet operation and later the Israeli government CERT such attacks were routine... more

Book Review: Sex.com by Kieren McCarthy

On the face of it, Kieren McCarthy's Sex.com was a book that could have written itself: a notorious, well-publicised feud over the most valuable domain name in existence, between two charismatic men -- one a serial entrepreneur with a weakness for hard drugs (Gary Kremen), the other a gifted con-man with delusions of grandeur (Stephen Cohen). It's a story replete with vicious acrimony, multi-million dollar lawsuits, and rumours of gunfights between bounty hunters in the streets of Tijuana. Thankfully, McCarthy wasn't content to just bundle together all the articles he's written about Sex.com over the years and slap a cover on the front... more

Internet Drug Traffic, Service Providers and Intellectual Property

You could call this Part Three in our series on Illicit Internet Pharmacy. Part One being What's Driving Spam and Domain Fraud? Illicit Drug Traffic, Part Two being Online Drug Traffic and Registrar Policy. There are a few facts I'd like to list briefly so everyone is up to speed. The largest chunk of online abuse at this time is related to illicit international drug traffic, mostly counterfeit and diverted pharmaceuticals. more

DNS Gets A Formal Coordination System

CircleID recently interview Paul Vixie, Founder & Chairman of Internet Software Consortium (ISC), to discuss ISC's newly formed Operations, Analysis, and Research Center (OARC). OARC is launched in response to DDoS attacks at the Internet's core infrastructure and the vital requirement for a formal coordination system. OARC is also a part of US homeland security initiatives, such as the formation of Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs).

"Registries and registrars, ccTLD operators, large corporate NOCs, ISPs and ecommerce companies that host many domain names are all likely candidates. This is also a natural for law enforcement groups that are worried about attacks on the Internet." more

Conflict of Opinion

If a UDRP panelist believes domainers are the same thing as cybersquatters, is he fit to arbitrate? I came across an editorial on CNET today by Doug Isenberg, an attorney in Atlanta and founder of GigaLaw.com, and a domain name panelist for the World Intellectual Property Organization. The guest editorial focuses on Whois privacy and why it's imperative to maintain open access to registrant data for intellectual property and legal purposes. That's a common opinion I've read a million times. Nothing groundbreaking there. But then I was shocked to read that Isenberg generalizes domainers as cybersquatters: "Today, cybersquatters have rebranded themselves as 'domainers.' Popular blogs and news sites track their activities..." more

Recent Bank Merger Names Already Cybersquatted

Domain names related to recent bank mergers are already being hoarded and sold online reports BBC News. "Domain names for the merged Bank of America/Merrill Lynch as well as for Lloyds TSB/HBOS have been snapped up. As reports of Lehman Brothers' intent to sell itself first surfaced last Friday, cybersquatters had already spotted Barclay's, HSBC and Bank of America as potential buyers... Accordingly, barclayslehman.com, hsbclehman.com, hsbclehmanbrothers.com and bofalehman.com had been acquired." more

Crime vs. Cybercrime: Is the Law Adequate?

In 2001, I published an article on "virtual crime." It analyzed the extent to which we needed to create a new vocabulary -- and a new law -- of "cybercrimes." The article consequently focused on whether there is a difference between "crime" and "cybercrime." It's been a long time, and cybercrime has come a long way, since I wrote that article. I thought I'd use this post to look at what I said then and see how it's held up, i.e., see if we have any additional perspective on the relationship between crime and cybercrime... more

Domain Name Dispute Cases Increased by 6.6% in 2004

In its February 18, 2005 press release, WIPO has reported filing an average of 3.4 UDRP and UDRP-based cases per calendar day in 2004, bringing the total number of cases received in 2004 to 1,179 -- an increase of 79 cases (or 6.6%) as compared to 2003. Also mentioned in the report is a 37 percent increase in ccTLDs cases over the previous year. Listed below are a number of additional facts and figures reported... more

Most Abusive Domain Registrations are Preventable

As the WHOIS debate rages and the Top-Level Domain (TLD) space prepares to scale up the problem of rogue domain registration persists. These are set to be topics of discussion in Costa Rica. While the ICANN contract requires verification, in practice this has been dismissed as impossible. However, in reviewing nearly one million spammed domain registrations from 2011 KnujOn has found upwards of 90% of the purely abusive registrations could have been blocked. more