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The Next ICANN CEO

Internet public policy -- and the technical ecosystem -- is at a crossroads and the choice of CEO that ICANN's board makes now is probably the most important such choice it has ever made. Since I work in Internet policy across the Geneva institutions where more than 50% of all international Internet-related policy meetings take place, and have worked at ICANN in senior positions in the past, I thought I would suggest some qualities the next CEO should have. more»

Rx for Dublin Progress: Board Transparency, Specificity, and Community Acknowledgement

In just a few days the ICANN 54 meeting will be up and running in Dublin, and schedule revisions are being implemented to devote even more time to discussion of accountability measures to accompany the transition of IANA stewardship. These developments come in the wake of the ICANN's Board pronouncement that it will not support either the "sole member" model (SMM) devise by the CCWG-ACCT (CCWG) after ten months of intensive labor, or even the "designator" model that it was considering as a possible fallback. more»

Who is Wagging Who? Same Dog, New Tale.

Today, my company AusRegistry International signed an open letter to the United States House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet as a show of support for ICANN and its new Top-Level Domain program. I'm disappointed by the nature of the oversight hearing the Subcommittee has called and I believe it will only be a distraction. Let's not kid ourselves; the reason for this hearing is to beat up ICANN over the new TLD program. I think this is unfair and unjustified... more»

ISOC Issues Statement in Response to Increasing Internet Access Restrictions by Governments

The Internet Society (ISOC) has addressed human rights issues related to Internet access stating "[t]he increasing pressure to limit access to the Internet has escalated the sense of urgency in addressing this situation." ISOC, in the announcement, reaffirmed its policy area and its work to bring attention to the impact of Internet freedom on other aspects of human rights. 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»

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»

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»

World Economic Forum Announces Plans for Multilateral Architecture to Govern the Internet

The upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF), taking place 21-24 January, 2015 in Switzerland, is dubbed "The New Global Context". The theme aims at reflecting "the period of profound political, economic, social and technological change that the world has entered, which has the potential to end the era of economic integration and international partnership that began in 1989, says WEF's recent announcement." 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»

Changes in the ICANN Board's Operational Activities

One of the more interesting developments in this new year is the proposed changes in how, or perhaps more accurately, when the ICANN Board will undertake its activities. Historically, the ICANN Board has held monthly teleconferences (Special Board Meetings), with the exception of those months when the ICANN Board meet in person as part of a regional meeting (Regular Board Meeting). Approximately five years ago, the ICANN Board also began holding bi-annual retreats as part of their regular business activities. Interestingly, the proposed 2010 agenda for the ICANN Board has only four proposed Special Meetings... more»

Careful What You Wish For: Why ICANN "Independence" is a Bad Idea

ICANN controls the "root" of the naming hierarchy, designating the operators and managers of the top-level domains, like ".com" and ".net" and ".uk." Since its founding in 1998, ICANN has operated under a "Joint Partnership Agreement" (JPA) with the U.S. Department of Commerce. The current extension of this agreement is set to expire on September 30 of this year. Some advocates say it's now time for the U.S. government to cut its ties and let ICANN stand on its own. That's not a good idea. more»

Threats to Internet Oversight Mount as Key Protection Expires

Before the US Government abdicates its oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) it should take a long, hard look at the mounting efforts by world governments to assume greater power over the Internet's addressing system. If those efforts meet no further resistance, the once-theoretical threat of "capture" could become a reality. At the end of September, the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) between ICANN and the US Government is set to expire. The JPA is part of a decade-long agreement where the US transitions control of Internet addressing to ICANN. more»

The Disadvantages of Digital Inclusion and the Perils of Non-Universal Access

Many of us are familiar with network effects within telecommunications. Fundamentally, the notion is that as the number of participants in a network increases, the value of that network increases superlinearly. Though many different theories exist about how best to value these networks, the general idea is that the more people on a network, the more benefits accrue to everyone on the network... more»

ICANN Documentary Information Disclosure Policy Request

Listed below is correspondence that I have submitted to ICANN's general counsel in connection with the organization's stated documentary information disclosure policy. more»

India, Brazil and South Africa Call for New Global Body to Control the Internet

Milton Mueller reports in IGP: "On the 1st and 2nd of September in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian foreign relations ministry, the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) and the Center for Technology & Society (CTS/FGV) held what they called a 'Seminar' on Global Internet Governance. But while 'seminar' has an educational, even academic ring to it, this event was more than that. It was actually a preparatory conference for a major political initiative regarding Internet control." more»