Law

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Holding Trump Accountable Under Public International Law

Trump and his enablers are well known to disrespect if not disdain legal systems, including public international law. He has effectively abrogated every treaty instrument relating to international communications at the whim of a tweet. His behavior has dishonoured the USA in a way that will take years to remedy. Trump's actions to ban access to Android Operating System updates on Chinese products have significantly harmed cybersecurity worldwide. more

Is Booking.com a Generic Term?

A fundamental rule of trademarks is that they have to be distinctive, and that nobody can register a trademark on a generic term like "wine" or "plastic." In a case decided today by the U.S. Supreme Court, the court decided 8-1 that online travel agent Booking.com could register its domain name as a trademark. In this case, I think the majority got it wrong, and Justice Breyer's lone dissent is correct. more

Article 22 of the GDPR Should Not Preclude Contemplated Automation

There is an ongoing disagreement among various members and groups in the ICANN community regarding automation -- namely, whether and to what extent automation can be used to disclose registrant data in response to legitimate data disclosure requests. A major contributing factor to the complications around automation has been confusion about how to interpret and apply Article 22 of the GDPR. more

Surveillance Capitalist in Chief

Surveillance capitalism monetizes private data that it collects without consent of the individuals concerned, data to analyze and sell to advertisers and opinion-makers. There was always an intricate relationship between governments and surveillance capitalists. Governments have the duty to protect their citizens from the excesses of surveillance capitalism. On the other hand, governments use that data, and surveillance capitalism's services and techniques. more

Preserving ICANN's Independence Through Bold Action – Not Inaction

This week, the ICANN Board will vote on whether to approve the transfer of control of the .ORG domain to a private equity firm called Ethos Capital. This is a weighty decision for ICANN, since in order to approve the sale, it will have to convince itself that this is the right choice in the face of tremendous and widespread opposition, including from those who will be most affected by the sale. more

Why Are Internet Security Standards Badly Deployed and What to Do About It?

In 2019 under the aegis of the Internet Governance Forum, a pilot project was conducted into the causes of and solutions for the, in general, slow deployment of internet security standards. Standards that on mass deployment make the Internet and all its users safer, indiscriminately, immediately... Recently the report 'Setting the standard. For a more Secure and Trustworthy Internet. The Identification of Pressure Points in Society to Speed up Internet Standards Deployment', was published on the IGF website. more

Technology Vendors Must Be Proactive in Dealing With COVID-19 Problems

Early action now on possible performance issues will "flatten the curve" of customer problems in the coming weeks and months. Here are three things technology and software vendors can do right now to get ahead of problems that may appear (if they are not already) with services such as development, implementation and support... Check your contracts to see whether there are any "material assumptions" that have failed or will fail - perhaps because of some governmental action or unavailability of personnel... more

Notice, Takedown, Borders, and Scale

I was on the front lines of the SOPA wars, because SOPA touched on two matters of strong personal and professional importance for me: protecting the Internet infrastructure, and protecting the economy from Internet related crime. I've continued to study this field and advise industry participants in the years since then. The 2017-02-20 paper by Annemarie Bridy entitled Notice and Takedown in the Domain Name System: ICANN's Ambivalent Drift into Online Content Regulation deserves an answer, which I shall attempt here. more

Domain Enforcement in a Post-GDPR World

The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and ICANN's conservative temporary policy, which favors privacy and limits registrar liability, has made domain enforcement against cybersquatters, cyber criminals and infringement more difficult, expensive and slow. With heightened concerns over privacy following high-profile breaches of consumer data and its subsequent illicit use and distribution, there is no question that consumer data protection practices would come under scrutiny. more

ICANN at a Crossroads: GDPR and Human Rights

The European Data Protection Board certainly has been keeping its records straight. Its 27 May statement starts with the following: "WP29 has been offering guidance to ICANN on how to bring WHOIS in compliance with European data protection law since 2003." All internet users have dealings with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, yet the vast majority have never heard of ICANN. more

Portrait of a Single-Character Domain Name

Let's take some crayons and draw a picture of the current state of affairs regarding single-character domain names (SCDNs), and specifically O.COM. During the public comment period for the current O.COM RSEP, ICANN's own Intellectual Property and Business constituencies recommended implementation of rights protections mechanisms (RPMs) for intellectual property, including Sunrise and Priority Access periods. It is curious that such hard-won protections are being so easily set aside by Verisign and ICANN. more

The Hidden Perils of Filing a Baseless UDRP Complaint

When properly used, the UDRP enables trademark owners to take control of abusive domain names. Yet sometimes the UDRP itself is misused by trademark owners to try to seize desirable domain names to which they have no legal entitlement. Is there a downside to misusing the UDRP to attempt a domain name hijacking? Unscrupulous companies at times misuse the UDRP by improperly invoking its power to compel a transfer of ownership in order to seize inherently valuable, non-infringing domain names that the companies desire for their own use. more

Has President Macron Thrown Multistakeholderism Under the Bus at UN IGF 2018 Paris?

Today, President Macron threw down the gauntlet to President Trump and the US administration on Multistakeholderism. In his welcome address to IGF 2018 Paris a few hours ago, President Macron challenged IGF to become more relevant by reinventing itself in factoring in multilateralism into IGF's non-decision-making body and to move beyond the mere talk-ship lip service it has been for the last 13 years. more

Good Faith and Abusive Registration of Domain Names

Not all domain names identical or confusingly similar to trademarks are actionable. Exhibit 1 are complainants whose trademarks postdate domain name registration. The latest example of this is Insight Energy Ventures LLC v. Alois Muehlberger, L.M.Berger Co.Ltd., D2016-2010 (WIPO December 12, 2016) (<powerly.com>) but there are other, more esoteric examples such as loss by genericide, Shop Vac Corporation v. Md Oliul Alam / Quick Rank, FA1611001701026 (Forum December 10, 2016). more

Law Enforcement Agencies Will Have Authority on Registries and Registrars

Accessing Whois information and acting on a litigious domain name is becoming a nightmare for law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies must have an access to the information provided by registrants in the Whois database and, in specific cases, have authority to act FAST on a domain name. The EU has a solution for this and it's coming in 2020. more