Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Featured Blogs

A Closer Look at the Katie.com Domain Name Controversy

Every time an individual logs on to the Internet a pornographer is able to copy the stream of digital bits created by the computer user's Internet connection. The data bits are used to compile a database of information about Internet user buying habits and sexual tastes. These pornographers use the information secretly collected from logged in computers to alter the category or type of pornographic images uploaded onto various websites. Pornographers, for example, know that as a result the pornography in Cyberspace is of an extremely disturbing sort when compared to porn found in "real-space." Internet users are primarily known fans of sexual images of incest, bestiality, and torture. Cyber porn -- as it is often called -- is bigger, badder, and more extreme.  more

Averting the Internet Meltdown

A call to action went out: a small, California-based organization called People for Internet Responsibility (PFIR) posted an announcement for an urgent conference - "Preventing the Internet Meltdown." The meltdown that PFIR envisioned was not an impending technical malfunction or enemy attack. Instead, conference organizers foresaw "risks of imminent disruption" to the Internet that would come from an unlikely sector: government officials and bureaucrats working on the unglamorous-sounding problems of Internet Governance. more

Open Ends: Civil Society and Internet Governance - Part II

This is the second part of a three-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Jeanette Hofmann, policy expert from Germany, where she talks about her experiences as a member of the ICANN's Nominating Committee and her current involvement as a civil society member of the German delegation for the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS). "So much in the current debates over global governance seems to go back to the issue what place governments and individual nation states have within global governance. What has been your ICANN experience? Ideally, what would be the place of the state? Do you believe in a federal structure? Should, for instance, bigger countries, in terms of its population, have a great say?..." more

Interview with United Nations Head Secretariat of WGIG

Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator, Secretariat of the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance, is a career diplomat, who has served as eEnvoy of the Swiss Foreign Ministry in Bern since April 2002. His main tasks include foreign policy coordination in the area of information and communication technologies, in general, and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in particular. He chaired the negotiating group that developed an agreed text on Internet governance for the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action in December 2003... Mr Kummer says: "The time-frame is very short indeed. And the task ahead of us is daunting." more

Sender Address Verification: Solving the Spam Crisis

There are many companies in the spam-fighting business and most, if not all, claim to be hugely successful. Yet spam is exponentially more prevalent today than it was just 2 years ago. How can one conclude that today's anti spam solutions are working? This year spammers will use machine-generated programs to send trillions of unsolicited email. Thankfully, a new anti-spam technology has made its way into the market. more

DNS WHOIS: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

As the Internet has grown and matured, it has become obvious to everyone involved that the DNS Whois system, as it currently exists, is not a sustainable way to share contact information for resolving network problems. ICANN, in an attempt to save DNS Whois, has plunged head long into the process of developing new policies aimed at fixing it. While I respect all of the hard work that has gone into this process, the results thus far have only made it clearer that this system faces intractable problems. more

Internet Meltdown?

Is the internet on the verge of a meltdown? A non-profit organization, People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR), is concerned that there is the risk of "imminent disruption, degradation, unfair manipulation, and other negative impacts on critical Internet services..." PFIR believes that the "red flag" warning signs of a potential meltdown include "attempts to manipulate key network infrastructures such as the domain name system; lawsuits over Internet regulatory issues... ever-increasing spam, virus, and related problems..." more

An Economic Analysis of Domain Name Policy - Part II

"Comparisons with Telecommunications Policy" is the focus of part two of a three-part series based on a study prepared by Karl M. Manheim, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and Lawrence B. Solum, Professor of Law at University of San Diego. Special thanks and credit to Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 25, p. 317, 2004. ...In the United States, an independent federal agency, under the direction of Congress, is charged with developing and implementing policies governing the major telecommunications industries. These include broadcast radio and television, wireline and wireless telephony, and video distribution via cable, wireless, and satellite. One might wonder why the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") does not likewise have jurisdiction, at least in the US, over perhaps the most significant telecommunications industry -- the Internet. more

An Economic Analysis of Domain Name Policy - Part I

"The Root Server is a Scarce Resource" is the focus of part one of a three-part series based on a study prepared by Karl M. Manheim, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and Lawrence B. Solum, Professor of Law at University of San Diego. Special thanks and credit to Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 25, p. 317, 2004. ...We begin our analysis of domain name policy with a brief excursion into economics. Economics cannot answer all of the questions raised by domain name policy. First, domain name policy must answer to the discipline of network engineering. A useful domain name system must work, and the functionality, scalability, reliability, and stability of the system are determined by the soundness of its engineering. Second, domain name policy must answer to public policy. The Internet is a global network of networks, and Internet policy is answerable to a variety of constituencies, including national governments, the operators of the ccTLDs, Internet Service Providers, information providers, end users of the Internet, and many others. more

Can Technology Can Spam?

It seems to be impossible to implement a law against spam - unsolicited bulk email - without making a hash of it. At best, anti-spam laws are ineffective; at worst, they cause more problems than spam itself. Can technology fare any better? ...But despite this flurry of initiatives, we are yet to see a definitive answer to the spam problem. An Anti-Spam Technical Alliance has been formed by Microsoft, America Online, Yahoo! and EarthLink, but these companies continue to proffer competing solutions. Meanwhile, the technology being deployed in the spam wars is causing collateral damage, in the form of 'false positives' - email that is incorrectly categorised as spam, and so never reaches its intended recipient. more