Law

Law / Featured Blogs

Does the Internet Need "Governance"?

It's remarkable to me that there are now two powerful agencies fighting to "govern" the Internet -- the ITU and the FCC. On any given day, it's hard to tell whether they are on the same side or different sides. The ITU process apparently began in earnest with the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) meetings, where the concept of "Internet Governance" became an urgent goal. The FCC process began when incumbent Internet Access Providers (IAPs) argued that "Net Neutrality" was a stalking horse for government control... more»

ccTLDs Might Be Property

The long-running saga of victims who are pursuing 'state sponsors of terrorism' via ICANN has taken yet another turn. Some time back the Plaintiffs in Rubin & ors -v- Islamic Republic of Iran & ors managed to obtain Writs of Attachment in the Federal court district in Washington (D.C.) courts ordering that the ccTLDs of those respective countries be seized in part-payment of the damages they are owed. ICANN, fairly predictably, became involved at this point. more»

Europe and Data Protection: We Need a Real Debate - Exactly What We Don't Have Now

Europe is at the forefront of the global debate about data protection and privacy. Unfortunately that debate is characterised more by hyberbole and scaremongering than real discussion. Europeans deserve better -- and so does the world, who rightly see Europe as a leader on this subject. The new Commission has a chance to truly lead in partnership with governments, like Brazil, that agree with us. more»

Stopping Illegal Activity Online - It's More Complicated Than It Seems

There was a compelling article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) the other day about ICANN and illegal online pharmacies. The result of a six-month investigation, the reporter, Jeff Elder, calls into question ICANN's effectiveness in investigating complaints of suspected illegal activity on domain names it has a contractual relationship with. Elder cites a recent incident where Interpol and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tried to have 1,300 websites shut down because they were suspected of selling drugs without a prescription. more»

Where Is Cyberspace?

In my first CircleID post, I compared the cyberspace to a farmland, which has to be cultivated and developed. I ended by asking: Where is cyberspace? I have asked this same question from many people, many of whom are internet experts. They all said the cyberspace is in the computers, networks, or servers, or the Internet itself. I agree with these cyberspace ideas. In addition, my opinion is a bit different. more»

Cigarette Smuggling and Cyber Security: Low-Tech Crimes Fund High-Tech Threats

You may not connect the cheap cigarettes sold under the counter (or out of a trunk, bodega or by a street vendor) with the mysterious charges on your credit card that you don't remember making or the cash that has, somehow, just disappeared from your bank account. You also may not connect that website selling cheap cigarettes made in second and third world countries with Shellshock or whatever the fashionably scary cyber-threat of the day is when you're reading this. more»

Patents and Standards, or: How a Court Case Will Affect Our Everyday Lives

Industry standards are indispensable for today's technology driven economies. Every time we use a mobile phone to place a call, or connect a computer to the Internet at a cafĂ©, we rely on standardized technology. Most standards are developed over years through the collaboration of numerous engineers from different companies -- the result is a technical document explaining how to make products that can 'interoperate' with one another. As EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes put it: 'Standards are the foundation of interoperability.' more»

Is ICANN's .IR Response at Odds with the ACPA and ICE Domain Seizures?

An initial review of ICANN's response to litigation seeking it to turn over control of the ccTLDs of Iran, Syria and North Korea led to the conclusion that it had opened a "legal can of worms". A few more just wriggled out, and they threaten the basic assumption that underlies the U.S. statute governing cybersquatting and the practices engaged in by Federal officials seizing domain names engaged in intellectual property infringement. more»

Inter Mundos: ICANN's Accountability is a Matter of Human Rights

The debate over the IANA Functions transitions has captivated the minds of all stakeholders. The U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has announced that they intend to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. Thus, we find ourselves in the midst of a transition between worlds. All stakeholders are pondering the following questions: what should be the appropriate transition? What should be our goal? more»

It's Time to Talk Solutions on Mass Surveillance

The public discussion of surveillance one year on from the Snowden revelations remains a search for the biggest sinner. New stories 'outing' countries and companies are great transparency and essential for healthy societies but they have a side effect that isn't so benign: they create an evergreen source of new justifications for security services to demand more money for a surveillance and counter-surveillance arms race. more»