Internet Governance

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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»

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»

And Then There Was the Issue of Time

Anyone who has been part of the community during its soon-to-be 12-years of existence will be the first to tell you that while ICANN's intentions are good, its execution, time and again, has been lacking. Unfortunately, the global business world does not and cannot accept only good intentions. Businesses require surety, consistency and clear evidence of stability before they can establish the foundation for their enterprises. 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»

Caring About Cybersecurity or Preparing the Ground for an I-Patriot Act?

Few months ago in a talk given at the Institution of Engineering and Technology organised here in London by the Society for Computers and Law, Professor Lessig recounted a conversation he had with former US Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke, where Larry asked the question that many had in mind... how the US Government managed to conceptualize, design and draft a piece of legislation as vast and complex as the USA PATRIOT Act in such a short period of time (a month and 15 days after 9/11), and the answer was what many people had imagined... more»

Urgent Need to Revisit Internet Governance (WCIT-12)

Developments over the past few months - and especially the revelations about the spying work of the NSA on friendly governments and their people and businesses - show how important it is to try and establish some high-level strategies relating to managing the governance of the internet. While companies like Google have been lobbying hard against WCIT-12 - basically because they are opposed to any government interference in the internet - the reality is that, clearly without their knowledge, their own American government through the NSA is already directly interfering in their network. more»

Understanding the Brazilian Court Decision to Arrest Google's Representative

Brazil has been on the news lately, and not for good reasons: an electoral judge order the arrest of Google's Director in Brazil for not complying with a court decision that ordered the removal a YouTube video with allegedly defamatory content. A lot has been said about this, but it seems that many people got it wrong, so let's recap some of the misinterpretations that circulated, specially those at the EFF website. 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»

Alleged Power Grab: Is Internet Governance Hanging by a Thread?

The Internet Governance Forum in Bali is not without excitement as usual. There is a rumour about a power grab by the technical community. If the "power grab" is true, then I am assuming that this is a response to threats of institutional frameworks governing or interfering with the current status quo. Personally, I feel that this is anti thesis to "enhanced cooperation". If for some reason, ICANN or the US Government is behind the scenes in instigating this move, then I would suggest that it is very bad strategy and will cause more damage than harm to the current status quo. 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»

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»

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»

Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms

The Internet is at a crossroads. And while high-profile events like the introduction of new gTLDs and revelations about governments and online surveillance may be a catalyst for recent Internet governance reform initiatives, their necessity isn't exactly new. After all, the current structures and processes in place were set up a decade and a half ago, an eternity in Internet years. A key step in reviewing and renewing these structures is the Panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation, announced at the recent ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires. more»

An Agreement in Geneva

For all the tranquility at the end of last week's World Technology/ICT Policy Forum (WTPF), E.B. White's words come to mind: "there is nothing more likely to start disagreement among people or countries than an agreement." One also has to wonder though what a literary stylist like White would think of the linguistic gyrations demanded by the compromises reached at the WTPF in Geneva, and what they portend. more»

Commerce Department: Headed Toward ICANN 3.0?

The NTIA has published a Notice of Inquiry, Assessment of the Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet's Domain Name and Addressing System, in advance of the expiration of the Joint Project Agreement in September 2009. The document outlines the history and evolution of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Commerce (DoC) and ICANN, and the questions posed cover fairly standard territory. However, the following might be worth paying attention to... more»