Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Featured Blogs

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

Rent vs. Buy: The Driver of Economics

We the people like to own stuff and not pay rent to use it (BTW, rent includes taxes but that's another story). They the oligarchs like to own the stuff and charge us rent to use it. The rise of a middle class has historically meant the rise of a property-owning class. The underclass pays exorbitant rents. The telecommunications world -- or at least the US part of it -- is a battle of rent vs. buy. Economics says that ownership or rentership is all based on access to capital. Certainly capital is a huge part of the equation -- can you spell "home loan"?; but it's not the whole story... more

More on WHOIS Privacy

Last week I wrote a note the ICANN WHOIS privacy battle, and why nothing's likely to change any time soon. Like many of my articles, it is mirrored at CircleID, where some of the commenters missed the point. One person noted that info about car registrations, to which I roughly likened WHOIS, are usually available only to law enforcement, and that corporations can often be registered in the name of a proxy, so why can't WHOIS do the same thing? more

iREIT Drops TM-Typo Domains?

As faithful CircleID readers will know, iREIT (Internet REIT, Inc.), a Texas domain name portfolio investment corporation, has been sued by Verizon and by Vulcan Golf for cybersquatting. It appears iREIT is taking steps to clean up its portfolio by deleting obvious typos of famous trademarks... more

If WHOIS Privacy is a Good Idea, Why is it Going Nowhere?

ICANN has been wrangling about WHOIS privacy for years. Last week, yet another WHOIS working group ended without making any progress. What's the problem? Actually, there are two: one is that WHOIS privacy is not necessarily all it's cracked up to be, and the other is that so far, nothing in the debate has given any of the parties any incentive to come to agreement. The current ICANN rules for WHOIS say, approximately, that each time you register a domain in a gTLD (the domains that ICANN manages), you are supposed to provide contact information... WHOIS data is public, and despite unenforceable rules to the contrary, it is routinely scraped... more

Another Whois-Privacy Stalemate

The report of the Whois Working Group was published today. The Working Group could not achieve agreement on how to reconcile privacy and data protection rights with the interests of intellectual property holders and law enforcement agencies. So the Working Group Chair redefined the meaning of "agreement." See the full story at the Internet Governance Project site. more

P2P: Boon, Boondoggle, or Bandwidth Hog? (The Dark Side)

Yesterday's post explained how peer-to-peer (P2P) applications use the processing power, bandwidth, and storage capacity of participants in a service rather than centralized resources. This makes such applications generally less subject to catastrophic failure, much less subject to running out of resources (since each new user brings new capacity as well as new demand), and much cheaper FOR THE PROVIDER of the application in terms of hardware and bandwidth required. It's the FOR THE PROVIDER part that's the rub. Let's consider the case of BBC's iPlayer service... more

CALEA Roundup: 2005-2007

The wrangling around the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) is one of those issues that creeps inexorably forward and is hard to follow unless you're really focusing. So here is a quick, if longish, overview: CALEA is a 1994 statute that requires telephone companies to design their services so that they are easily tappable by law enforcement in need of "call-identifying information." Back in August 2005, following a request from the Dept. of Justice, the Commission moved swiftly to impose CALEA obligations on providers of broadband access services and "interconnected VoIP" services... more