Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

U.S. Counterterrorism Data Mining Measures Questioned by New NRC Report

An extensive report released today by The National Research Council (NRC), titled "Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Assessment", examines the balance between security and privacy. According to the report, all U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or "mine" personal data -- such as phone, medical, and travel records or websites visited -- should be required to systematically evaluate the programs' effectiveness, lawfulness, and impacts on privacy. more

Broadband Data Improvement Act Passes Senate, House, A.K.A. Find Why U.S. is on Continuous Decline

In a major win for the public interest, the Broadband Data Improvement Act passed the Senate (on September 26th) and the House (on September 29th). Due to amendments, it now goes back to the Senate for final approval (should be pro-forma) before it lands on George Bush's desk. With the United States falling further and further behind a host of other countries, the question on many people's minds (including the folks over at Point-Topic who created this graphic) is, "Why is this happening?" more

It's Official: China Now Has More Broadband Lines than the United States

It was just last year that those of us raising alarms about the massive half-decade market failure in the United States to adequately provision broadband services were facing a misinformation campaign that raw numbers mattered more than percentage rankings. According to this argument, the U.S. broadband market was sound because we had more broadband lines than anyone else. The misinformation brigade got so much attention that public interest groups had to issue reports systematically refuting the PR are marketing hype. more

European Commission on the Future of the Internet

The European Commission has just published a communication which describes the broad lines of its Internet policy in the coming years. Vint Cerf, on the Google Public Policy blog sees this as a very interesting vision. Indeed, it closely links the issue of openness of the Internet to several obvious and not-so-obvious factors. more

U.S. Falls Behind China in Broadband, Light-Touch Regulation Blamed for the Decline

Recent reports indicate that China has now surpassed the U.S. and is becoming the number one broadband country in the world. According to data analysis by market research firm Point Topic, both the U.S. and China had about 78 million broadband lines at the end of August; however China is growing twice as fast. Point Topic says that when broadband use initially surged in China, some experts predicted the country would overtake the U.S. in 2006. However the U.S. speeded up in the number of broadband lines and growth in China leveled off. For 18 months the two countries were more or less even with similar numbers of lines added in each quarter until the first quarter of this year. more

Google's Larry Page Says Whitespace Tests Were Rigged

Google's Co-Founder Larry Page said today that recent tests conducted by the FCC that determined mobile devices in the so-called "white space" spectrum can cause interference with microphones and TV stations were rigged and shouldn't serve as the basis for government policy. Speaking at a Wireless Innovation Alliance event hosted by the New America Foundation here, Page said "I'm telling you the test was rigged" and urged the FCC to act on a proposal to free up the spectrum, slices of the airwaves set aside so that broadcast stations don't interfere with each other. more

Comcast Discloses Network Management Practices

Comcast has provided U.S. regulators details of how it plans to change the way it manages Web traffic over its high speed Internet network without blocking any applications or content. The move comes after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last month to uphold a complaint that Comcast had violated the regulator's open-Internet principles by hindering peer-to-peer traffic from applications such as BitTorrent. Comcast said on Friday that under the plan designed to give all users their "fair share" of bandwidth it would focus on managing the traffic of customers who are using most bandwidth when the network is congested. more

Will John McCain Help the NEXT Blackberry Creator?

Today a senior McCain advisor, Doug Holtz-Eakin, proudly held up a Blackberry and declared: "You're looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create." Bloggers on all sides of the partisan divide are having a field day with this -- suggest that the McCain campaign is out of touch, desperate, or trying to top the trouble VP Al Gore got into, when he was falsely accused of claiming to have invented the Internet... more

Cloud Computing: A Hot Debate Among Policy Makers

During a recent Google forum on the policy implications of hosted applications and services, experts anticipate great challenges facing policy makers in the next few years as cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular. Issues include: "Who owns the data that consumers store on the network? Should law enforcement agencies have easier access to personal information in the cloud than data on a personal computer? Do government procurement regulations need to change to allow agencies to embrace cloud computing?" more

Caring About Cybersecurity or Preparing the Ground for an I-Patriot Act?

Few months ago in a talk given at the Institution of Engineering and Technology organised here in London by the Society for Computers and Law, Professor Lessig recounted a conversation he had with former US Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke, where Larry asked the question that many had in mind... how the US Government managed to conceptualize, design and draft a piece of legislation as vast and complex as the USA PATRIOT Act in such a short period of time (a month and 15 days after 9/11), and the answer was what many people had imagined... more

Help Define ICANN's Future

Mention ICANN in Internet circles and you will always find a multitude of views of what the organization should do, needs to do, and should have done; how it has to change, and why; and what it needs to focus on. Well, the time has come to make those views known and to try to persuade the rest of the community that they represent the best step forward. more

Comcast Sues FCC, Says Net Neutrality Order Legally Inappropriate

Comcast has filed suit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today in order to block the agency's decision to sanction Comcast for blocking certain Internet traffic. Comcast has released the following statement attributed to David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation... more

New gTLDs Questions Not Answered: Which Kind of Auction?

I was expecting something that would discuss the unique properties, if any, of the domain name market, and the types of inventory theoretically available to allocate, and the expected outcomes for the various types of auctions, and some showing that for some desired policy goals, whether greatest gain to seller or lowest loss to buyer, or something entirely different, the expected outcomes. This would assist the better informed, bottom-up, stakeholder-driven, consensus policy making. Is the domain name market indistinguishable from the spectrum market? If name spaces are distinguishable from units of spectrum... more

ICANN Auctioning New Top-Level Domains: Serving Public Interest or Its Own?

ICANN has recently published a number of updates to the implementation program for new gTLDs. One of these updates is a paper by ICANN's "auction design consultant PowerAuctions LLC". The document makes a case for an auction to be held for the "resolution of contention among competing new gTLD applicants for identical or similar strings." In other words, two (or more) applicants for ".bank", or applicants for ".bank" and ".banks."... more

How Rise in Nationalism and Industry's Lack of Foresight Could Mean a Fragmented and Isolated Web

I have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of the free flow of information on the internet -- what kinds of tools are available now and in the future for governments (especially repressive ones) to control content, isolate their people and keep any contrary viewpoints censored. I had an interesting conversation with a Practice Lead from IFTF.org. The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is a California based independent, nonprofit research group with 40 years of experience in identifying emerging trends that will transform global society... Turns out they are quite concerned about the fragmentation and control of the Internet as well. But will it be an inevitability? more