Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Featured Blogs

How the Internet On Cable Became the Internet As Cable

When Rogers Communications began promoting its Rogers@Home high-speed Internet service nearly a decade ago, the company branded it "the Internet on Cable." Years later, their service, as well as those of their competitors, is gradually morphing into "the Internet as Cable" as broadcasters, Internet service providers, and cultural groups steadily move toward the delivery of content online that bears a striking resemblance to the conventional cable model. more

NANOGGING

There are many network operator group meetings being held these days. Even in the backwater of the South Pacific where I live there is now AUSNOG, and NZNOG is just next door in New Zealand. We now have MENOG in the Middle East and AFNOG in Africa. The original NOG was the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG), and they have the T-Shirts to prove it! NANOG meets three times a year, and I attended NANOG 41 in October 2007. NANOG meetings cover a broad variety of topics, from operational tools, measurement, and peering practices through to a commentary on the state of the Internet industry. Here are my impressions of the meeting. more

A Packet of Lies

I've been reading the kerfuffle around Comcast's blocking of various random network protocols with interest. Whilst I remain convinced that blanket "network neutrality" legislation remains just a form of digital gripe water (cures colic for cybernauts), there's clearly a problem. As I previously alluded there's a definite consumer protection issue over what you buy when it says 'Internet' on the tin. So here's tuppence worth of additional input... more

Why a Net Neutrality Law is Not Enough

Once we decide that Network Neutrality is a good thing to (re)enshrine in law, then we need to ask how to do that effectively. One way would be to pass a law saying, "Thou shalt not discriminate." That's the current approach. But network operators will say that they must manage their network, and if, in the course of network management, they were to disadvantage some source, destination, application, service or content, they might be accused of violating the law. So any Network Neutrality law must have a Network Management Exception... more

What Did the Bush Admin Promise the Telco's in Early 2001?

I have a hypothesis: The Bush administration came to power in December 2000. American telcos were on the precipice about to go into Free fall. We have seen how Bush politicized the Justice Department and are much more aware thanks to John Dean's Broken Government and Charlie Savage's Take Over of the intense desire to aggregate executive power to feed the Addingtons belief in the Unitary Executive. We now know that Cheney was meeting with the energy industry in early 2001 promising them whatever they wanted. We may begin to ask what the domestic telecoms industry was being promised? more

The "Internet of Things," the Internet and Internet Governance

As the second Internet Governance Forum approaches, it is an appropriate moment to take stock of how the Internet Governance dialogue has evolved since the conclusion of the WSIS Summit in 2005. One year after the first IGF in Athens, it is clear that government, industry and civil society stakeholders are still grappling over the direction and focus of the IGF... There is little doubt that some governments will choose to borrow concepts from the IGF when developing law and policy and will ultimately apply them to the Internet within their respective jurisdictions. Given the global nature of the Internet, this should be a fundamental concern. While this important dialogue about the Internet continues at the IGF in Brazil next month, another no less important debate is emerging with regard to RFID technology and the so-called "Internet of Things." The Internet of Things is a term coined to describe a future ubiquitous sensor network that collects commercial and personal data in public and private settings created, in part, through the rollout of RFID technology... more

The Third Stage of the VoIP Rocket Never Fired

Ten years ago was the dawn of Voice over IP (VoIP). The pioneering Israeli company VocalTec had just released its VoIP software for PCs (it was named iPhone, BTW). Industry guru Jeff Pulver (whom I now partner with in FWD) had begun to hold his Voice on the Net (VON) shows. As the founder of VoIP startup ITXC, I was invited to give a keynote at VON in Boston. The evolution of VoIP, I opined with the requisite PowerPoint slides, will be like a three stage rocket. I was right about the first two stages and dead wrong about the third... more

A Consociational Bureau for the Internet Governance Forum

The principle that Internet governance "is a joint effort which requires cooperation and partnership among all stakeholders" (Geneva Declaration of Principles, para 20) has become axiomatic since it was first agreed at WSIS, and is fundamental to the IGF as a "new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue" (Tunis Agenda, para 72). However at the same time as this principle has been universally embraced, some of its implications, that would require the four stakeholder groups identified in the Tunis Agenda to collaborate on the development of joint policy recommendations (Tunis Agenda para 72(g)) have met with resistance. That the strongest resistance has come from those stakeholders with the greatest investment in the existing Internet governance regime... more

Developing Internet Standards: How Can the Engineering Community and the Users Meet?

There is currently a discussion going on between Milton Mueller and Patrik Fältström over the deployment of DNSSEC on the root servers. I think the discussion exemplifies the difficult relation between those who develop standards and those who use them. On the one hand, Milton points out that the way the signing of the root zone will be done will have a great influence on the subjective trust people and nation states will have towards the system. On the other hand, Patrik states that "DNSSEC is just digital signatures on records in this database". Both are right, of course, but they do not speak the same language... more

Radio Interview Discusses Domainers and Domaining

Damien Allen of VTalk Radio recently interviewed Professor Eric Goldman of the Santa Clara University School of Law on the topic of "Domaining". The interview covers the nature of domaining as a business and how it differs from cybersquatting. From the interview: "Often times the domainers are not particularly interested in profitable resale and, in fact, in my experience many times when domainers get complaints about domains, they'll just hand the domain name back, no questions asked and no money charged. They're not looking to make money from the resale of the domain names..." more