Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

Privacy Getting a Reboot

Anyone old enough to remember when cross-border data flows were limited to what could be put in a DHL box in New York and sent directly to Milan for the next day? Or when MIPS were so costly and centralized that batch processing was the norm? The world has changed, but the rules governing data protection and privacy haven't (much). Today technology allows and users demand that data flow without the drag of political boundaries or national borders, yet we still want assurances that our information will be protected and respected.  more»

Keeping Cyberspace a Public Space

I recently had an opportunity to re-read a pamphlet I wrote in 2000 for a series on new thinking about mutualism published by the Co-operative Party. In 'e-Mutualism, or the tragedy of the dot.commons' I talked at length about the co-operative basis of the Internet, the need for online public spaces which are not controlled or dominated by commercial interests, and the opportunities that the network offers for mutual organisations of all sizes, from small co-operatives to retailers like John Lewis... Re-reading it now I wasn't too embarrassed by my ten-year old analysis. more»

IPv6 Medics Without Borders

At its November 5th plenary, the Canadian ICT Standards Advisory Committee approved the recommendations of the Canadian IPv6 Task Group set up by isacc in april. The 50 members of the Task Group were invited to individually produce a list of seven recommendations. Received inputs were collated, debated, ranked and ultimately distilled down to a pair of quite straightforward recommendations for immediate action. more»

EU Telecom Overhaul One Step Closer

Europe's electronic communications sector is currently governed by directives adopted in 2002. These stipulated that the directives and regulatory framework should be reviewed, a processed initialised in November 2007. Both the European Council and the European Parliament need to adopt the proposed changes, and none of the initial consultations conducted by the EC indicated that a major overhaul was on the cards, or even required. Yet this is what has transpired. more»

ISP Owners Could Face Jail Under Proposed Canadian Child Porn Bill

Canadian government has introduced legislation requiring ISPs to notify authorities of any reports of child pornography or face fines and possible imprisonment. If enacted, the bill would require ISPs to notify police of tips they receive regarding websites where child pornography may be available, and to safeguard evidence if they suspect a child pornography offence has been committed using an internet service that they provide. more»

Berkman Broadband Study: Mixing Passion and Scholarship

Last week, comments were filed with the FCC in response to the Berkman study of international broadband comparisons... Many of the comments were not supportive of the Harvard Berkman study. In an earlier blog posting, we had observed that there appeared to be statistical problems in the Berkman study that would not hold up to peer review. Our comments may have understated the extent of the problems. more»

Congress and Peer-to-Peer Filesharing

Some members of Congress have gotten extremely upset about peer-to-peer filesharing. Even the New York Times has editorialized about the issue. The problem of files leaking out is a real one, but the bills are misguided. Fundamentally, the real issue is that files are being shared without the user intending that result... more»

SnapNames Faces Lawsuit; Attorney Says Domain Industry Is the Wild West Because It Is Unregulated

A class action lawsuit was filed today in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on behalf of lead Plaintiff Carlos A. Cueto and others who participated in online auctions for domain names. In the lawsuit, Mr. Cueto alleges that an executive of the company conducting the auctions acted as a shill bidder to manipulate bids. The domain names were auctioned online by Oversee.Net, Inc. subsidiary SnapNames.Com, Inc. "The domain name industry is the wild west of intellectual property because it remains unregulated. The online community has been up in arms over what they feel has been an opaque system that just begs for transparency. It is impossible to know whether you are bidding against someone that isn't working or affiliated with the company conducting the auction," said attorney Santiago A. Cueto. more»

Video: Engineers in Washington Discuss How Pending US Regulations Could Impact the Internet

"What Will the Internet of the Future Look Like?," was the subject of a panel discussion held this week in Washington, DC, organized by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). The discussion was aimed at examining pending Internet regulations in the U.S. and their impact on packet discrimination, traffic shaping, network management, and carrier business models. The panel, moderated by Robert Atkinson, included: Richard Bennett; Dr. David Farber; Charles Jackson; and Jon Peha. more»

European Lawmakers Agreed on New Protections for Internet Users

Kevin J. O'Brien reporting in the New York Times: "European lawmakers on Thursday agreed on new protections for Internet users, striking a compromise between national governments seeking to impose tough anti-piracy laws and consumer organizations that wanted to enshrine Internet access as an unassailable right. The agreement removes the last hurdle to passage of sweeping changes to European telecommunications law, which had been held hostage for six months by the standoff over Internet access..." more»

Why WIPO's Proposed Fast-Track UDRP Process is Flawed

In the midst of ICANN's decision to ask the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) to create proposals on trademark protection mechanisms, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced that it will launch a fast-track UDRP process... The WIPO move is flawed and creates various problems. Here is an account. more»

Privacy Polls v. Real-World Trade-Offs

A recent telephone poll conducted by professors at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania concluded, "Contrary to what many marketers claim, most adult Americans (66%) do not want marketers to tailor advertisements to their interest." The study's authors claim that their poll is the "the first nationally representative telephone (wireline and cell phone) survey to explore Americans' opinions about behavioral targeting by marketers." ... But what is most surprising about this poll is not that 66% of users said they do not want tailored online ads, but that 34% of users said they did! more»

C-27 Canada's Electronic Commerce Protection Act passes Committee Review

Bill C-27 passed an important milestone on Monday October 26, at 17:30 when it passed clause-by-clause committee review and was referred back to the Canadian House of Commons materially intact and without controversial amendments that would have significantly altered the bill. more»

Net Neutrality Alternative: Effective Interpretation, Oversight and Enforcement of Existing Rules

The US government is proposing broad new regulations for telecommunications and cable internet service providers. The new proposals appear to target specific providers for regulation and government oversight. Specifically, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey has proposed the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009, or the "Net Neutrality" bill, outlining government policies to impose new governance and restrictions targeting telecommunications and cable providers AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner and Comcast. more»

Net Neutrality, Slippery Slopes & High-Tech Mutually Assured Destruction

Ten years ago, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman lamented the "Business Community's Suicidal Impulse:" the persistent propensity to persecute one's competitors through regulation or the threat thereof. Friedman asked: "Is it really in the self-interest of Silicon Valley to set the government on Microsoft?" After yesterday's FCC vote's to open a formal "Net Neutrality" rule-making, we must ask whether the high-tech industry -- or consumers -- will benefit from inviting government regulation of the Internet under the mantra of "neutrality." more»