Internet Governance

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ICANN Accountability: Beware the Bridge Too Far

Yesterday I had the privilege of delivering the keynote address at the inaugural Internet Society (Canada) Symposium. In my remarks, I took the opportunity to talk about my thoughts on the current status of the IANA stewardship transition and enhancing ICANN accountability processes. Fact is I'm getting increasingly concerned. As we head into what will be a critical meeting of the CCWG-Accountability in Los Angeles today, I fear that the Internet governance community is headed for a showdown, the consequences of which could prove detrimental. more

Can Energetic Leadership Inspire ICANN?

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé was already 2 hours into his flight from Singapore to Paris when the pilot's voice interrupted the in-flight entertainment. A tech problem meant turning back, landing in Singapore, waiting for another plane and starting the long haul again! Half a day later, Chehadé landed in Paris. He'd already missed a lunch appointment but was still in time to make a reception organised at French ICANN board member Sébastien Bachollet's initiative. more

The Cock and the Goat: ICANN in the Age of Horrorism

Like everyone else, former ICANN board members have been preoccupied by the horrific November 13th, 2015 attacks on Paris, France, by a bunch of cold-blooded mass murderers. Our email list discussion of the Paris attacks covered a number of issues, including the inevitable question: what, if anything, should ICANN do in response? Some list subscribers concluded that the events had nothing to do with ICANN's mission, and that we should just sigh and move on. Others, on the other hand, said: not so fast, it would serve ICANN well to take a closer look at the matter, and its ramifications on wider world of ICANN.  more

ICANN's Economic Study - It Depends

Economists aren't very good at predicting things, as any one with money in the stock market can attest. The most powerful economist in the United States, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, is on record predicting a continuing climb in housing prices -- just prior to their precipitous decline. And yet their crystal balls still hold some allure for those who need to present "evidence" about the future. Such is the case with ICANN and the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) program. more

Business in the Hotseat over Net Censorship

My weekly technology law column focuses on the growth of Internet censorship and the accompanying pressure on the business community to do something about it... China's censorship system may be the most extensive, but it is not alone. The University of Toronto's OpenNet Initiative, a world leader in tracking state-sponsored Internet censorship, recently co-published Access Denied, a book that highlights its pervasive growth. The book notes that some countries control all public Internet services, thereby creating an easy pipeline to implementing filtering technologies. Countries such as Syria have sought to chill access to the Internet by requiring cybercafe owners to record the names and identification cards of clients... more

Accidentally Importing Censorship

With advancements in hardware and software, sophisticated filtering technologies are increasingly being applied to restrict access to the Internet. This happens at the level of both governments and corporations. .. given the open nature of the trust-based Internet, one country's restrictions, if not handled very carefully, can easily foul the global Internet nest we all live in. This blog is about one such story of Internet restrictions in China becoming visible (seemingly at random) from other parts of the world and going undetected for 3 weeks. more

Some Thoughts on the ICANN EWG Recommended Registration Directory Service (RDS)

It has been my distinct pleasure to serve on ICANN's Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG). We put in many long months and what seemed like countless hours of research, discussion, meetings, and deliberations on how to tackle a clean-slate approach to gTLD directory services, popularly known as "WHOIS". In our Final Report, the Expert Working Group (EWG) recommended a Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace today's WHOIS, providing a next-generation system to better meet the needs of the evolving global Internet with greater accuracy, privacy, and accountability. more

U.S. Court Overrules Attempt to Seize Iran's, Syria's and North Korea's Domains

In a landmark ruling, a U.S. federal court has agreed with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that the country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) are not property subject to attachment and thus overruled an attempt to seize Iran's, Syria's and North Korea's domains as part of a lawsuit against those countries' governments. more

Important Progress on Accountability and Transparency

The ICANN Board made a couple of important decisions regarding accountability and transparency at its 8 December meeting. Specifically, it approved compensating Directors and also enhanced ICANN's conflicts of interest rules. These are positive developments for the organization, and come at a critical juncture as the Internet governance debate heats up in 2012. more

Independent Objector (IO) Launches Objection on New Applied-for gTLDs

Independent Objector (IO) has lodged objections on 24 new Applied-for gTLD (name scripts) before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on 12th March 2013. IO has exercised his important role and functionality in favor of Public interests on the grounds of Limited Public Interest and Community. New gTLD name scripts .Med, .Health, .Hospital, .Amazon, .Indians are included in the list of objections filed. more

ICANN, NTIA, Verisign and ANA Weighing In on 'Name Collisions' and the Readiness of New gTLD Program

Gregory S. Shatan of Reed Smith writes: "Last week, ICANN (the organization that oversees the domain name system of the Internet) was busy with nothing less than the security and stability of the Internet. At ICANN's recent meeting in Durban, those of us attending heard a drumbeat of studies, presentations and concerns regarding "name collisions": the conflicts that will arise when new gTLDs go live and conflict with existing top-level extensions in private networks..." more

In Support of ICANN's New Trademark Protection Rules (Mostly)

Yesterday, I sent ICANN my comments about the draft recommendations from ICANN’s Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT), which has been tasked with coming up with a trademark protection scheme for new top-level domains. For the most part, I think they did an excellent job... more

Questionable Impact for US House Hearing on New gTLDs

This morning, the US House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet led by Representative Goodlatte (R - VA) conducted a hearing on New gTLDs. Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President from ICANN did his best to alleviate concerns about the risks posed to intellectual property rights and consumers as the result of the New gTLD Program and reiterated that the process to launch new gTLDs has been underway for 7 years. more

TPP IP Chapter Leaks Reveal New U.S. Proposed Regulations for Country-Code Domain Names

The leaked Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property chapter has revealed a number of U.S. proposals including U.S. demands for Internet provider liability that could lead to subscriber termination, content blocking, and ISP monitoring, copyright term extension and anti-counterfeiting provisions. This post discusses Article QQ.C.12 on domain names. more

Supporting Organizations Marginalized in ICANN Accountability Proposal

The Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) make a number of helpful recommendations to improve organizational accountability at ICANN, however one aspect of the plan is deeply flawed: changing the role of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) from purely an "advisory" role to a "decision making" role over fundamental matters at ICANN, including its governance. more