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Closed Generics Debate Rages On

The new gTLD program continues to throw up last-minute debates on what is acceptable as a TLDs and what is not. The latest such verbal joust centers around closed generics. These are generic terms being applied for by applicants whom, should they be successful, will not open the TLD up to everyone on an equal access basis. As an example, think .book being run by Amazon and only available to Amazon customers. 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»

The Internet Society on the Wikileaks Issue

Recently, we have witnessed the effective disappearance from the Internet of a website made infamous through international press coverage and political intrigue. The Internet Society is founded upon key principles of free expression and non discrimination that are essential to preserve the openness and utility of the Internet. We believe that this incident dramatically illustrates that those principles are currently at risk. more»

ICANN - Dispenser of Internet Justice

The following is a paper presented as a keynote speech at Studienkreis 2013 in Pisa, Italy last week. ICANN is beginning to look more and more like a government. It assesses taxes, it has amassed an enormous treasury, it passes laws with international effect, and it has developed an ad hoc judiciary system to enforce its laws. This paper will take a look at that judiciary system and ICANN as dispenser of Internet justice. 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»


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»

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»

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»

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»

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»

EFF: Government Domain Name Seizures Violate First Amendment

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has urged a federal court to return two domain names seized in what the organization calls U.S. government's fundamentally flawed anti-infringement campaign. "This misguided intellectual property enforcement effort is causing serious collateral damage to free speech rights," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "These domain seizures should cease unless and until the government can fix the First Amendment flaws inherent in the program." more»

Say 'Yes to New Top-Level Domains' at ICANN Singapore

The time for new Top-Level Domains is now! Read the open letter to the ICANN Board and sign the petition calling for the approval of the program... There is less than one week to go until the much anticipated ICANN Singapore meeting where the global Internet community expects the ICANN Board to approve the New gTLD Program and finalise plans for launch. more»

We Have a Paradigm for Surveillance That's Broken, Fit Only for the Analogue Past

As each day brings new revelations about surveillance online, we are starting to see increasing activity in national legislatures intended either to establish more control over what the security services can do to their nationals (in countries like the US), or to limit access by foreign secret services to the personal information of their citizens (countries like Brazil). Unfortunately, neither of these approaches address the underlying problem: we have a paradigm for surveillance that's fit for the analogue past, not the digital present, let alone the future. 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»

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»