Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Featured Blogs

Verisign vs. ICANN: More at Stake than Sitefinder

It's easy to dismiss Verisign's antitrust suit as a ploy to push through Sitefinder. But whether one loves Sitefinder or hates Sitefinder, the complaint raises a much more significant issue that won't go away even if ICANN lets Verisign roll out Sitefinder. At the heart of Verisign's complaint is the lack of any definable process for decisionmaking, and its a complaint shared by others. A settlement between Verisign and ICANN that does not create a clear process for decisionmaking at ICANN that includes trustworthy independent review will merely delay the inevitable. Eventually, some other party will become just as frustrated and again challenge ICANN -- either in U.S. court or by enlisting the help of the U.S. Commerce Department, non-U.S. governements, or multinational treaty organizations. ICANN must recognize that the days of ad hoc decision making based on realpolitick must end and give way to stable processes that ICANN staff cannot control. more

It's About Connectivity Not The Internet!

I've been trying to avoid writing about the Internet as such. With as "At the Edge" I'm looking at larger issues but can't escape writing more directly about the Internet. It seems as if everyone wants a say in Internet policy without distinguishing between technical and social issues. Today the term "The Internet" or, for many simply "Internet" is more of brand than a term for a specific technology and its implications. It has become too easy to talk about the Internet in lieu of understanding. We also see the converse -- a failure to recognize "Internet" issues. more

Report on Reaction to FOISA

On February 4, 2004, United States Congress held a hearing on a new proposed bill called the Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act (FOISA). This bill will increase prison sentences by up to seven years in criminal cases if a domain owner provides "material and misleading false contact information to a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority." What follows is a collection of commentaries made in response to this proposed bill. more

The Small, But Limitless World of .kids.us

Erica Wass is the editor and contributing author of the recently published book, "Addressing the World: National Identity and Internet Country Code Domains", (Rowman & Littlefield, October 2003). This book is an edited collection of original essays by domain name administrators, academics, journalists and lawyers that examine the connections between various cultures and the use and regulation of their country code domain names. This is the second part of a three-part series. "Congress and the President of the United States believed so much in the idea that the Internet needed a "safe zone" for children that they passed a law designating such a space. One year after its passage I sought to examine the development of the .kids.us name space. I found an initiative that has yet to live up to its potential, but has a limitless, albeit difficult future ahead." more

ALAC on WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Actions

The At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) has released this statement about the results of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS). It is circulated for public comment, in view of subsequent statements to be released in the next months. At the World Summit on the Information Society held on December 10 to 12 in Geneva, the member states of the United Nations adopted the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action that include specific language on the issue of "Internet Governance". ICANN's At Large Advisory Committee welcomes the fact that these statements clearly recognize the role of civil society as a full participant in the international management of the Internet, and bring attention to the need for a deep involvement of individual users into its governance. more

Security and Fort N.O.C.'s

In an article by MSNBC called "Fort N.O.C.'s" [Network Operating Center] Brock N. Meeks reports: "The unassuming building that houses the "A" root sits in a cluster of three others; the architecture looks as if it were lifted directly from a free clip art library. No signs or markers give a hint that the Internet's most precious computer is inside humming happily away in a hermetically sealed room. This building complex could be any of a 100,000 mini office parks littering middle class America." ...It is hardly the "most precious computer"!!!  more

CENTR Replies to ITU Study on ccTLD Governance

The Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR) announced today their response to Professor Michael Geist's draft survey report "Government and country-code top level Domains: A global survey", which was conducted on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in December 2003. "In the last decade the general trend has been to de-regulate markets in the Communications Industry, which continues to stimulate economic growth and innovation, and it seems perverse that this ITU supported report is seeking to go against the proven successful trend," said Paul Kane, chairman of CENTR. more

Nations at WSIS Better Off with an ICANN-Like Structure

There is much talk currently about the WSIS meeting taking place in Geneva this week which means some needed attention is being paid to Internet governance. While some may view the term "Internet governance" as an oxymoron and my natural reaction is something along the lines of "I hope that they continue to view regulation as too complicated so that we Internet-folks can just keep doing what we are doing" I confess to knowing deep down that we would all be better off with a simple, effective policy framework than with the current anarchic state. more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part II

This is the second part of a two-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Milton Mueller discussing ICANN, World Summit on the Information Society, and the escalating debates over Internet Governance. Read the first part of this Interview here. Geert Lovink: "Confronted with Internet governance many cyber activists find themselves in a catch 22 situation. On the one hand they do not trust government bureaucrats to run the Internet, out of a justified fear that regulation through multilateral negotiations might lead to censorship and stifle innovation. On the other hand they criticize the corporate agendas of the engineering class that is anything but representative. What models should activists propose in the light of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)? There seems to be no way back to a nation state 'federalist' solution. Should they buy into the 'global civil society' solution?" more

Market Forces Should Control Registry Services?

Sonia Arrison, a director of the Center for Technology Studies at the California-based non-profit Pacific Research Institute, writes an interesting op-ed piece in the Internet news publication CNET News.com. She argues that the job of privatizing the domain name system should be completed and that market forces should control registry services such as SiteFinder deployed by VeriSign for about three weeks in September...While not a position I would agree with, as I would prefer more government control and additional regulation, it is definitely insightful and well written. She makes some interesting quotes... more

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