Internet Governance

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Governments Should Promote Cultural Diversity on the Internet

The entire new gTLD applicant community is awaiting, patiently, the forthcoming Brussels meeting between the ICANN Board and the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to take place from February 28th. After years of delays to the new gTLD process, ICANN and the GAC will try to reach an agreement on how and when to launch the new Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) programme. The expectations for the outcome of the Brussels meeting is huge among potential new gTLD applicants. Despite this, the media attention will be negligible when compared to the news coverage that the next ICANN public meeting in March will receive. more»

It's Time for the New gTLD Delays to End

The next few short weeks in the run-up to ICANN's Cartagena meeting could prove the most important time yet for the organization to show that it is a credible and capable overseer of the domain name system. After over two years of delays, tens of thousands of email exchanges, weeks of heated face-to-face discussions, and many millions of accumulated frequent flier miles, the time has arrived for ICANN to finally draw a line under the new top-level domain policy-development process and name the date for the opening of the first-round application window. more»

The Third Wave of Internet Exceptionalism

From the beginning, the Internet has been viewed as something special and "unique." For example, in 1996, a judge called the Internet "a unique and wholly new medium of worldwide human communication." The Internet's perceived novelty has prompted regulators to engage in "Internet exceptionalism," crafting Internet-specific laws that diverge from regulatory precedents in other media. Internet exceptionalism has come in three distinct waves... more»

US Government Waves the Caution Flag at ICANN

This month, ICANN is driving hard to get two of its horses to the finish line. The first is barely a year old - it's the first formal review of ICANN's accountability and transparency. The second horse is going on 4 years old: ICANN's plan to introduce hundreds of new top-level domains (TLDs) for the Internet. Just as these horses have entered the home stretch, one of the racecourse officials is vigorously waving the yellow caution flag. And ICANN would do well to pull back on the reins. more»

A Modest Proposal for ICANN

When it comes to accountability, ICANN would rather be compared to other U.S. nonprofit companies than to the regulatory bodies it more closely resembles. If they truly wish to be treated like a nonprofit, rather than a regulator, there is a very simple solution: make all contributions strictly voluntary. more»

Call for Nominations: M3AAWG J. D. Falk Award Seeks Stewards of a Better Online World

Anyone seeking to honor a groundbreaking contribution toward a better online world should submit a nomination for the 2014 M3AAWG J. D. Falk Award. Presented to people whose work on specific projects made the Internet a safer, more collaborative, more inclusive place, the J. D. Falk Award has recognized leaders and pioneers who saw elements of the online experience that needed improvement and took action to fix them.  more»

ITU Staff Gone Wild

In virtually all governmental legislative bodies, the staff is there to provide secretariat services for the government representatives. The staff role does not include telling the representatives what decisions they should be making. The stricture is supposed to be the same at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for its treaty making activities. It is with some amazement that last week, the ITU secretariat staff showed up at a seminar in Bangkok they helped schedule... 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»

Parallels Between Our Oceans and Internet Governance #WorldOceanDay

Today is June 8th and World Ocean Day. As I ponder on the threats and challenges to the world's ocean with the enormous stresses such as overfishing, pollution, ocean acidification that threatens all global standards of living, I cannot help but think about the startling similarities that global internet governance faces with its respective stresses of increasing cyber security vulnerabilities, threats, breaches of trust, growing cyber crime, breaches of privacy and data protection, identity thefts, pedophilia and many other things that threaten global public interest and our safety within an internet ecosystem. more»

ICANN Has Opened Up Opportunities for Everyone Including Africa

The ICANN latest reveal of the applications pending batching has shown a number of very crucial details of what the new domains system is like. The new system before batching presents new applications with the North Americas having the highest applications amounting to 911, Europe follows with 675, Asia pacific which already has one continental domain .asia has three hundred and three domains, Latin America which shares the same ecological niche with Africa has 24 new applications 7 domains higher than Africa which has presented 17 new domains. more»

Did We Build the 'Right' Internet? (An Interview with Prof Andrew Russell)

The longer I have been in the tech industry, the more I have come to appreciate the hidden complexity and subtlety of its past. A book that caught my attention is 'Open Standards and the Digital Age' by Prof Andrew Russell of Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. This important work shines a fresh light on the process that resulted in today's Internet. For me, it places the standard 'triumphant' narrative of the rise of TCP/IP into a more nuanced context. more»

Fixing WHOIS (and Some Other Stuff Too)

ICANN is the only institution with responsibility for the functioning of DNS. And so it is natural that when there is a DNS problem for people to expect ICANN to come up with the solution. But having the responsibility to act is not the same as having the ability. Like the IETF, ICANN appears to have been designed with the objective of achieving institutional paralysis. And this is not surprising since the first law of the Internet is 'You are so not in charge (for all values of you). more»

Saying No to the ITRs

The afternoon of 13 December in Dubai is notable for one important deadline -- "declaration" if a Nation State is willing to accept the obligations of the resulting treaty instrument and if so, subject to what conditions. It is worth emphasizing that multilateral treaty instruments are serious constraints on a Sovereign's powers, and most nations even if they do sign, make general declarations that provide escape routes to the obligations. more»

.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»

Tight Control Over Domain Names Will Damage The Internet

BBC is running a commentary by Bill Thompson today arguing that the Internet's core architecture should be kept open both technically and in terms of freedom of expression -- such as the introduction of new top-level domains. Giving every interest group, lobbying organisation and corrupt government a veto is what ICANN needs to avoid, says Bill Thompson. From the story: "ICANN is currently making some decisions that will have a massive impact on the net over the next few years, and we need to make sure that it takes into account the wider feelings of the whole community instead of responding solely to pressure from established interest groups..." more»