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.vla TLD: Not So Fast, Says Flemish Government

As reported last July, there is a proposal from some Flemish politicians to create a .vla top level domain under the new gTLD process launched by ICANN. The proposal further elaborated that the Flemish government would have to cover the costs. Not so fast, says the Flemish government... more»

Stumbling Forward Means Promoting IDNs

A couple of weeks ago during the 40th ICANN meeting in San Francisco I got up to talk at the microphone. I spoke about the needs of developing markets on the web, about the importance of focusing on the 56% of the world that doesn't use Latin character scripts and about the struggles they still face as they go about their everyday lives - chatting, shopping or when pushed, promoting regime change - all using the internet... more»

Green Dam is Breached… Now What?

As a number of China hands predicted, the Chinese government has postponed its mandate requiring that all computers sold in China must include the Green Dam -Youth Escort censorware by today. Yesterday after the news broke I told the Financial Times: "There's been this impression in the internet industry that when the Chinese government makes a demand, they have to roll over and play dead. The lesson here is that's not necessarily the case." more»

China and the United States Agree on Forming Joint Cybersecurity Working Group

China and the United States will set up a working group on cybersecurity, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday, as the two sides moved to ease months of tensions and mutual accusations of hacking and Internet theft. Speaking to reporters in Beijing during a visit to China, Kerry said the United States and China had agreed on the need to speed up action on cyber security, an area that Washington says is its top national security concern. more»

Is the UN Assailing Internet Governance?

The coven of UN bodies with a hand in internet governance keeps getting bigger: not only is the General Assembly intending soon to decide the fate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), but if the decision coming out of New York does not give them enough of a role, the UN has a back-up plan. In May of 2011, no less than four specialized UN agencies, UNESCO, UNCTAD, UNDP and (perhaps most legitimately) the ITU, are planning a Conference what will allow them to insert themselves still further into the matter. more»

Still Missing in Action

After wading through the various IANA Notice of Inquiry (NOI) submissions I thought I would take a break and do a secondary review of the recently concluded ICANN regional meeting in San Francisco. In doing this review there were three things that kind of jumped out at me as still missing in action. more»

Collecting Cybercrime Data: Can Signal Spam Be a Piece of the Puzzle?

The gathering of coherent data on cybercrime is a problem most countries haven't found a solution for. So far. In 2011 it is a well known fact that spam, cybercrime and botnets are all interrelated. The French database Signal Spam may be a significant part of the solution to gather, analyse and distribute data on spam, phishing, cybercrimes and botnets, but also be a forum in which commercial mass e-mail senders and ISPs can work on trust. more»

To Tax or Not to Tax

Well it is not new that the US has always maintained that the Internet should be a tax free zone as per the US Congress's Tax Freedom Act 1998 which following expiry continued to be reauthorized and its most recent re-authorization (legal speak for extension) was in October 2007 where this has been extended till 2014. It is unclear whether there will be another extension post 2014. There is a moratorium on new taxes on e-commerce, and the taxing of internet access via the Tax Freedom Act. more»

IP Addresses and Privacy Sensitive Data - A Level Playing Field Needed

Reading Peter Olthoorn's book on Google (a link is found here), I ran into a passage on IP addresses. Where Google states that it does not see an IP address as privacy sensitive. An IP address could be used by more than one person, it claims. The Article 29 Working Party, the EU privacy commissioners, states that it is privacy sensitive as a unique identifier of a private person. It got me wondering whether it is this simple. Here is a blog post meant to give some food for thought and debate. I invite you to think about the question 'how private is an IP address'? more»

Internet Governance Forum Opens in Hyderabad, India

The third meeting of the Internet Governance Forum officially opened today in Hyderabad, India, focusing on the overall issue of "Internet for all." Participants from government, the private sector, civil society and the Internet community are gathering for the next four days to share information, experiences and best practices and to explore how the Internet can be used to its full potential for the benefit of all while combating its use for harmful purposes.The meeting will address five main themes: reaching the next billion; promoting cyber-security and trust; managing critical Internet resources; taking stock and the way forward; and emerging issues -- the Internet of tomorrow. more»

Debugging Legislation: PROTECT IP

There's more than a hint of theatrics in the draft PROTECT IP bill that has emerged as son-of-COICA, starting with the ungainly acronym of a name. Given its roots in the entertainment industry, that low drama comes as no surprise. Each section name is worse than the last: "Eliminating the Financial Incentive to Steal Intellectual Property Online" (Sec. 4) gives way to "Voluntary action for Taking Action Against Websites Stealing American Intellectual Property". more»

Is WCIT Failure the Start of a Digital Cold War?

This was never part of the plan. Going into the Dubai World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) two weeks ago, there was optimism aplenty. After weeks of online and media campaigning, proponents of a free Internet had managed to scare everyone into thinking that WCIT was tantamount to digital Armageddon. This had the effect of defusing the conference before it even started, or so it seemed... more»

Domain Name Registration: Not a Technology Service Any More?

It didn't seem to make any headlines, but it is an interesting sign of the Internet times that, effective January 1, 2009 , the United State Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") changed the International Classification of "domain name registration services" to Class 45 (defined below). The reason that the move is interesting is that it is just one more indication that the world of the Internet is becoming less and less about technology and more and more about law and policy. more»

The Senate Should Take the DOTCOM Act Off Cruz Control

Recently we speculated on the question "Will 2016 Politics Trump Bipartisan Support for the MSM and DOTCOM Act?" That article discussed the possibility that the Obama Administration's decision to relinquish ICANN stewardship via the periodic re-awarding of the IANA functions contract might arise in the ongoing U.S. Presidential sweepstakes, most likely from a Republican entrenched in the far right wing of that Party. We also discussed whether its introduction might erode the currently broad and bipartisan Congressional acceptance of the transition... more»

Schmidt: Handing over Control of Internet, DNS to the UN a Disaster, Will Divide the Internet

During the Mobile World Congress 2012, Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt, today warned against United Nations' treaty aimed at bringing more Internet regulation. "That would be a disaster... To some, the openness and interoperability is one of the greatest achievements of mankind in our lifetime. Do not give that up easily. You will regret it. You will hate it, because all of a sudden all that freedom, all that flexibility, you'll find it shipped away for one good reason after another." more»