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Experts Urge Congress to Reject DNS Filtering from PROTECT IP Act, Serious Technical Concerns Raised

A group of leading DNS experts have released a paper detailing serious concerns over the proposed DNS filtering requirements included as part of the bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate named Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 ("PROTECT IP Act"). The group who is urging lawmakers to reconsider enacting such a mandate into law, includes leading DNS designers, operators, and researchers, responsible for numerous RFCs for DNS, publication of many peer-reviewed academic studies related to architecture and security of the DNS, and responsible for the operation of important DNS infrastructure on the Internet. more

Does the Internet Need to be Governed?

The term "Internet Governance" has become an area of particular attention in part as a consequence of widespread recognition that the Internet represents an important area of national interest for all countries seeking to participate in the benefits of global electronic commerce, distance learning, access to the encyclopedic wealth of information on the Internet, and in the social dimension that the Internet is creating. From the perspective of governments, the Internet is simultaneously a technology that promises high economic value for parties making use of it and a challenge in that it is unlike all other telecommunications media previously invented. more

Official: Rod Beckstrom Announced as the ICANN President and CEO

During its board meeting today in Sydney, the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced Rod Beckstrom, the former U.S. cybersecurity chief, as the new President and CEO. Beckstrom will be replacing Dr. Paul Twomey who had been serving this position since March 2003 and announced his resignation earlier this year. Dr Twomey has lately been reported as the primary candidate for heading Australian Government's proposed A$43 billion investment in a new National Broadband Network. more

Microsoft's Takedown of 3322.org - A Gigantic Self Goal?

I will first begin this post by emphasizing that this article is entirely my personal viewpoint and not to be considered as endorsed by or a viewpoint of my employer or any other organization that I am affiliated with. Neither is this to be considered an indictment of the sterling work (which I personally value very highly) that several people in Microsoft are doing against cybercrime. Microsoft's takedown of 3322.org to disrupt the Nitol botnet is partial and will, at best, have a temporary effect on the botnet itself... more

Permissionless Innovation: Why It Matters

We live in a world of information abundance and the proliferation of ideas. Through mobile devices, tablets, laptops and computers we can access and create any sort of data in a ubiquitous way. But, it was not always like that. Before the Internet information was limited and was travelling slow. Our ancestors depended on channels of information that were often subjected to various policy and regulatory restrictions. The Internet changed all that. more

Who Is Blocking WHOIS? Part 2

We have just returned from the Brussels, Belgium ICANN meeting where we released our Registrar audit, the Internet "Doomsday Book." There are many topics covered in the report, but we wanted to follow up specifically on the issue of WHOIS access and add data to our previous column Who Is Blocking WHOIS? which covered Registrar denial of their contracted obligation to support Port 43 WHOIS access. more

The Spurious Justifications for Eliminating Price Caps on .org and Other Legacy Domains

ICANN is about to do serious damage to its reputation by making a precipitous, ill-considered leap into the unknown should it follow through on removing price constraints on several legacy extensions, most notably .org. Doing so would expose a global community of non-profits to the risk of quickly-escalating exploitative pricing. The rationale for eliminating price caps relies on three points, all of which are incorrect. more

DNSSEC: Once More, With Feeling!

After looking at the state of DNSSEC in some detail a little over a year ago in 2006, I've been intending to come back to DNSSEC to see if anything has changed, for better or worse, in the intervening period... To recap, DNSSEC is an approach to adding some "security" into the DNS. The underlying motivation here is that the DNS represents a rather obvious gaping hole in the overall security picture of the Internet, although it is by no means the only rather significant vulnerability in the entire system. One of the more effective methods of a convert attack in this space is to attack at the level of the DNS by inserting fake responses in place of the actual DNS response. more

Noncommercial Users Ask ICANN Board to Review Decision to Expand Trademark Rights in New Domains

ICANN's Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group (NCSG) has filed a Request for Reconsideration with ICANN's Board of Directors regarding the staff's decision to expand the scope of the trademark claims service beyond that provided by community consensus policy and in contradiction to ICANN Bylaws. Specifically at issue is ICANN staff's unilateral decision to adopt the "trademark +50" proposal for new domains, which would provide trademark holders who have previously won a UDRP or court decision with rights to 50 additional derivations of their trademark in ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). more

Whither DNS?

The Domain Name System is often though of as an integral part of the Internet. Without it, how can you ever locate anything? Well, quite easily, thank you very much. DNS is used implicitly for many services, such as web browsing. It also includes explicit extensions for a few applications such as e-mail. (I'm talking here about DNS the system, not DNS the technology that can be re-purposed to things like ENUM.) But the most notable thing about DNS is its receding importance... more

All Quiet on the Virtual Front: Why Domain Investors' Fear of the Feds is Irrational

When a sniper ends the life of soldier Paul Bäumer in Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front," a laconic situation report from the frontlines recounts an unusually quiet day. In the grand scheme of things, nothing worth reporting has happened. Reading David Kravets' recent article in Wired brought this upsetting ending to mind. U.S. authorities taking down individual domains based on copyright infringement charges is the online equivalent of Remarque's allied snipers: picking off the occasional domain - for better or worse - has little effect on the overall situation. more

It's About Connectivity Not The Internet!

I've been trying to avoid writing about the Internet as such. With as "At the Edge" I'm looking at larger issues but can't escape writing more directly about the Internet. It seems as if everyone wants a say in Internet policy without distinguishing between technical and social issues. Today the term "The Internet" or, for many simply "Internet" is more of brand than a term for a specific technology and its implications. It has become too easy to talk about the Internet in lieu of understanding. We also see the converse -- a failure to recognize "Internet" issues. more

Violet Blue on .XXX

We seem to hear quite a bit from ICM about their .xxx TLD proposal. People who might be interested in the view from the porn community might be interested in Violet Blue's article on the proposal. As you might expect, she is against and sees no real support from the porn world. She does not consider 153K defensive domain registrations as proof of demand. more

When Registrars Look the Other Way, Drug-Dealers Get Paid

Since November of last year we have been discussing the problem of illicit and illegal online pharmacy support by ICANN-accredited Registrars. In several articles and direct contact with the Registrars we have tirelessly tried to convey the seriousness of this problem, many listened, some did not... With the background information already known, the case presented here is much more specific and concerns EvaPharmacy, which was until recently, the world's largest online criminal pharmacy network. more

ICANN Blows $4.6 Million In Stock Market

If you visit the new dashboard on ICANN's web site, you see some nice bar charts, including one rather large negative number of $4,462,000. If you click the little arrow at the top of the Financial Performance chart, a footnote window pops open where the last sentence is: "The large variance to budget is due to investment losses of $4.6 mil." Investment losses? Yup, ICANN's been speculating in the stock market... more