Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

The Web is Dead: What This Means to ICANN, New gTLD Program and the Domain Industry

While we are spending years figuring out how to create the perfect generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) launch and guidebook, the Internet is moving along at an extraordinary pace without any care about ICANN policy-making. The fact of the matter is ICANN is a ghost to the ordinary person or Internet company. You can not imagine how many times I had to explain what ICANN is, what ICANN does and why ICANN is important. more»

Network Neutrality is the Wrong Fight!

We shouldn't settle for network neutrality. It's a poor substitute for what we had and much less than what we need. Let me explain. There are two topics to discuss. The first is "common carriage," a centuries old legal concept that applied to the US telecom industry throughout most of the 20th century. The second involves communications protocols. Both topics are complex, so I will cover only what's needed to understand why we shouldn't accept network neutrality and why, at a minimum, we should fight for enforcement of existing common carriage rules. more»

Wired vs Wireless Debate Becomes a Core Policy Differentiator in National Election

I never thought I'd see the day when the difference in capability between a wireless and a wireline Internet would become a core policy differentiator in a national election, but this has now happened in Australia. ... It seems that everyone has an interest in a ubiquitous, fast and cheap internet. Now that interest has been taken up as a major policy differentiator by both sides of the political spectrum in the recent Australian election. What was this all about? more»

Australia's Gigabit: Cheapest Upgrade in History

Australian Minister Stephen Conroy announced the National Broadband Network would offer speeds of 1 gigabit without spending a penny more of capex. Sounds like the usual politician's promise. The NBN is a huge issue in the election in 8 days. The opposition wants to kill the $43B project as too expensive; the government warns that a vote against them will condemn Australians to a second rate Internet for a decade or more. Both are right. more»

Net Neutrality and Google/Verizon

What surprises me about the Google/Verizon deal is not that they have come to agreement, but that they have taken so long to do so. What they have agreed to is essentially what I proposed they do back in 2006. What Google want and what Comcast, Verizon and the carriers want is not and was not incompatible. more»

Google Responds to Criticisms Over Proposed Net Neutrality

Responding to recent controversies over Google-Verizon deal, Richard Whitt, Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel writes: "Over the past few days there's been a lot of discussion surrounding our announcement of a policy proposal on network neutrality we put together with Verizon. On balance, we believe this proposal represents real progress on what has become a very contentious issue, and we think it could help move the network neutrality debate forward constructively. We don't expect everyone to agree with every aspect of our proposal, but there has been a number of inaccuracies about it, and we do want to separate fact from fiction." more»

Do Not Track: Not as Simple as it Sounds

Over the past few weeks, regulators have rekindled their interest in an online Do Not Track proposal in hopes of better protecting consumer privacy. ... There are a variety of possible technical and regulatory approaches to the problem, each with its own difficulties and limitations, which I'll discuss in this post. more»

Google and Verizon Offer a Gift to Spammers

Earlier today, Google and Verizon offered a widely publicized "Proposal for an Open Internet." There's been extensive comment with lots of reasons not to like it, but one I haven't seen is that the proposal would make it much harder to filter so-called "mainsleaze" spam. ... The problem is that under the pitifully weak CAN-SPAM law, a lot of spam is entirely legal. more»

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the Google-Verizon Legislative Framework

Google and Verizon have developed a "Proposal" on Internet access which I am sure they expect to serve as a template, starting point and frame of reference going forward. In light of the FCC's judicial reversal in the Comcast case, the absence of substantive progress at the FCC and the unlikelihood of congressional action, two major stakeholder can and have taken the lead. It should come as no surprise that Verizon and Google have emphasized and begrudgingly compromised on their corporate interests. more»

Want a New gTLD? Some Items to Consider

Over three years ago ICANN boldly announced that the top level of the domain name system would be opened up to new registry operators. As we now approach a likely spring 2011 launch, a number of key issues remain unresolved including how trademarks will be protected. more»

Regulators Halt Internet Traffic Talks

John Poirier reporting in Reuters: "Regulators halted closed-door negotiations about net neutrality rules with phone, cable and Internet companies on Thursday after reports of a side deal between two participants, Verizon Communications Inc and Google Inc, surfaced. ... The collapse means Genachowski may have to decide how to regulate Internet access without further input from the industry. His decision will likely be challenged in court..." more»

About Those "Mission Critical" Bits

News that Google and Verizon are negotiating "better than best efforts" Internet routing probably comes across as a betrayal of sorts to network neutrality advocates. Bear in mind that Information Service Providers ("ISPs") do not file public contracts known as tariffs and have the freedom to negotiate deals with individual clients. On the other hand ISPs, regardless of their FCC regulatory classification, cannot engage in unfair trade practices that achieve anticompetitive goals such a tilting the competitive playing field in favor of a corporate affiliate, or special third party. more»

GlavMed Hacks U.S. Government Website

Garth Bruen writes: A report in LegitScript takes a look at Russian rogue Internet pharmacy hacking US government website. "As rogue Internet pharmacy networks become more sophisticated, even US government websites are at risk. Today, we're taking a look at how a rogue Internet pharmacy linked to a criminal network operating out of Russia and Eastern Europe has hacked into a US government website. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US foreign aid agency, utilizes a ".gov" top-level domain, which is assigned to the control of the US government. Domain names ending in .gov are typically administered by the General Services Administration." more»

Even if Do-Not-Track Were a Good Idea, Could It Ever Work?

In a recent article, I read about increasingly intrusive tracking of online users, which has lead to a proposal at the FTC, "FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said the system would be similar to the Do-Not-Call registry that enables consumers to shield their phone numbers from telemarketers." Maybe I'm dense, but even if this weren't a fundamentally bad idea for policy reasons, I don't see how it could work. more»

The Issue of License Proliferation

When I was on the ICANN board, we were dealing with the issue of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), an initiative to allow non-latin characters in domain names. Technically, it was difficult and even more difficult was the consensus process to decide exactly how to do it. Many communities like the Chinese and Arabic regions were anxious to get started and were getting very frustrated with the ICANN process around IDNs. ... When I joined the Open Source Initiative board of directors, we were also struggling with a similar, but slightly different problem. more»