Internet Governance

Internet Governance / Featured Blogs

Aging the Internet Prematurely, One PDP at a Time

After blogging about ICANN's new gTLD policy or lack thereof [also featured on CircleID], I've had several people ask me why I care so much about ICANN and new top-level domains. Domain names barely matter in a world of search and hyperlinks, I'm told, and new domains would amount to little more than a cash transfer to new registries from those trying to protect their names and brands. While I agree that type-in site-location is less and less relevant, and we haven't yet seen much end-user focused innovation in the use of domain names, I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I think ICANN is still in a position to do affirmative harm to Internet innovation. more

TLDs or No TLDs for Cities? Berlin Senate Wants Out

A fight has begun over the virtual existence of Germany's capital: Does a .berlin address space have a right to exist beside the old standby berlin.de? The outcome of the fight could have a broader effect on the future of city names on the Internet. After a recent hearing at Berlin's City Parliament, Michael Donnermeyer, speaker of the Berlin Senate, said the right to the name Berlin belonged to the city and has to be protected. For the young company dotBerlin GmbH that is applying for a new city top level domain (TLD) with the ICANN, the Senate's blockade could kill a long-nurtured project and could set a bad example for other initiatives like .london, .paris or .nyc, sources said. 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

Discussion at the Internet Governance Forum in Geneva

While travelling home from Geneva, I was thinking quite a lot on the relationship between a ccTLD (registry) and a Country. This is because many countries are starting to talk louder and louder about the responsibilities Countries have on critical infrastructure, or (possibly more important) the management of the critical infrastructure. Will for example any (none?) of ccTLD operators (servers) sustain a denial of service attack of a scale similar to the attack on the root servers? What can ccTLD operators do to resist the malicious attacks? Should this be discussed? more

IGF Preparatory Meeting: A Score Draw in Geneva

Wednesday was the open public consultation preparing for the second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, which will take place in Rio de Janaeiro on 12th-15th November. Although the inaugural Athens meeting was widely deemed a success, having largely stayed off the dread topics of wresting control of DNS from ICANN and IP addressing from the RIRs, the usual suspects were back demanding that these topics be added to the agenda. more

ICANN's At-Large Process: Exit, Without Voice

ICANN seems to be out to re-prove Hirschman's theories of exit, voice, and loyalty by driving all of its good people to exit rather than giving them meaningful voices. Thomas Roessler, a long-time advocate of individual users' interests on the interim ALAC now suggests it's Time to Reconsider the structure of ICANN's At-Large, as he feels compelled to promise himself not to get involved with ICANN again... more

Infrastructure ENUM

After much initial fanfare a couple of years ago ENUM has matured to a state where it is currently yet another under-achiever in the technology deployment stakes. ENUM initially presented itself as a very provocative response to the legacy telco position of monopolising public voice services through their exclusive control over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the associated controlling position over the telephone number space... The perception was that ENUM was going to dismantle these levers of control and open up the voice market to a new wave of competitive carriers. If the address plan was the key to the PSTN, then ENUM was intended unlock this network and position the new wave of Voice Over IP (VOIP) carriers to take over any residual treasures of the traditional voice market. Events have not played out according to these expectations... more

Put Security Alongside .XXX

Isn't security as important to discuss as .XSS? The DNS has become an abuse infrastructure, it is no longer just a functional infrastructure. It is not being used by malware, phishing and other Bad Things [TM], it facilitates them. Operational needs require the policy and governance folks to start taking notice. It's high time security got where it needs to be on the agenda, not just because it is important to consider security, but rather because lack of security controls made it a necessity. 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