Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

The Cost of Walled-Garden Designs

The Swedish morning daily Svenska Dagbladet on their editorial page yesterday writes about the EU threat to intervene at mobile roaming costs for voice, SMS and data. The editorial is pushing the point that it's wrong for the EU to try and price regulate the market, but instead the free market will prevail. They even seem to be indicating that the current pricing is fair and that an EU price regulation would hamper investments. In very general terms I would agree with the editorial... more

BT and Ofcom

About 16 months ago, I heard Ed Richards of Ofcom speak at a CITI conference at Columbia, and blogged about it here. I remember thinking that Richards didn't seem to think that highspeed access to the internet was all that important. The market had to demand it, and the market wasn't being demanding. Also, he wasn't interested in government intervention to support highspeed access... more

FCC Calls for Sanctions Against Comcast for Blocking Internet Traffic

The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Kevin Martin, intends to recommend that Comcast, U.S.'s largest cable company, be punished for violating agency principles that guarantee customers open access to the Internet. Martin said Comcast has "arbitrarily" blocked Internet access, regardless of the level of traffic, and failed to disclose to consumers that it was doing so. more

In Which We Explore the Federal Laws that Apply to Cyberstalking

Tragedies frequently result in flurries of legal activity. Last years witnessed the Myspace tragedy in which a 13 year old girl committing suicide. Unfortunately stalking laws have been clumsy tools that are difficult if not impossible for law enforcement officials to wield. Where existing laws respond poorly to tragedies, the option behind Door Number One is to enact a new law, and the option behind Door Number Two is to argue for a reinterpretation of current law that would somehow miraculously shoehorn the tragedy into the law. Unlike game shows, legal contestants can pick both doors -- which is what happened in this case. more

FCC Has 4 Months to Justify Rule on Payments for Dial-Up Internet Access

Dial-up Internet connections often require larger phone companies to transfer the connections to smaller competitors who contract with ISPs. In a non-Internet context, the original carrier of a phone call is required to pay the second carrier for use of its facilities. A federal appeals court on Tuesday has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 4 months to explain its rule governing how phone companies are compensated when people use dial-up Internet connections. If the FCC does not comply with that deadline, the rule will be invalidated, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said. more

ICANN Takes First Step to Becoming a Global Content Regulator

There has been wide coverage of ICANN's decision this week to adopt a new process for creating new global Top Level Domains (gTLDs). Publishing a clear, transparent and objective process is thought likely to result in a considerable expansion of gTLDs -- although nobody really knows whether this means "quite a lot" or "many thousands"... Less attention has been given to one of the new tests ICANN will use when considering whether to approve a new gTLD, contained in GNSO's sixth recommendation... more

The FCC Stumbles Into Internet Filtering

What could be bad about free wireless Internet access? How about censorship by federally mandated filters that make it no longer "Internet." That's the effect of the FCC's proposed service rules for Advanced Wireless Service spectrum in the 2155-2180 MHz band, as set out in a July 20 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Acting on a request of M2Z Networks, which wants to provide "free, family-friendly wireless broadband," the FCC proposes to require licensees of this spectrum band to offer free two-way wireless broadband Internet service to the public, with least 25% of their network capacity. So far so good, but on the next page, the agency guts the meaning of "broadband Internet" with a content filtering requirement. more

New Coalition Pushes for High-Speed Internet Access for All

U.S. Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein and several high-profile technology executives and industry advocates on Tuesday launched an initiative to make broadband access a national priority in the U.S., report Elizabeth Montalbano or IDG news service. At the Personal Democracy Forum in New York, Adelstein and others unveiled InternetforEveryone.org, a movement aimed at fostering a public dialogue among U.S. citizens to advise the government on how to set a national policy. more

The Future of the Internet: A Political View

Lets face it, gathering a collection of ministerial delegations to laboriously recite prepared speeches to each other sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry. And observing meetings where the major outcome appears to be limited to the scheduling of the next meeting can become somewhat tedious after a while. It should not be surprising that the level of expectation of tangible outcomes for such governmental meetings is invariably abysmally low. So what's the value of adding yet another meeting to governments' schedule? What makes the OECD-hosted ministerial meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy so unique in the context of the Internet's current political landscape and its political future? Why would a meeting about the dismal science of economics hold any interest at all? more

Experts Concerned Over U.S. Spyware Legislation Being Overly Broad

U.S. Senate bill aims at limiting spyware by seemingly allowing broadband providers, computer hardware and software vendors, financial institutions and other businesses to scan users' computers without authorization. "We think this language is overly broad and could protect activities which could be harmful to computer users," Butler told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. "It would, in effect, allow a software vendor to truly monitor everything that's on a user's computer, essentially setting [vendors] up as an ad hoc police force." more

Swedish National Defense Radio Agency to Wiretap All Internet Traffic

Several people abroad have started mailing me and others asking if rumors of new legislation to be passed in Sweden on the 17th of June is for real. There are also reports in international forums starting to pop up. This is fairly old news, and I think that most of us are surprised that this has not generated more press both inside and outside Sweden earlier. This legislation will allow for the Swedish National Defense Radio Agency (FRA) to wiretap Internet traffic leaving the country... more

ISOC-Bulgaria Asks Worldwide Internet Community to Bring Top Priorities During the Coming IGF

The IGF has a tendency of slowly shifting from a place of a discussion about the way the world accesses information resources, into a place where only topics that make the headlines are being highlighted, with many of the same players being among the loudest speakers. We believe that due to cross-cultural reasons, these people are mainly coming from North America and Western Europe. We urge the IGF to allocate equal time for people from regions outside of those two. more

Storm Warning for Cloud Computing: More Like a Miasma

The approach is growing in popularity, and Google, Microsoft and Amazon are among the many large companies working on ways to attract users to their offerings, with Google Apps, Microsoft's Live Mesh and Amazon S3 all signing up customers as they try to figure out what works and what can turn a profit... In the real world national borders, commercial rivalries and political imperatives all come into play... The issue was recently highlighted by reports that the Canadian government has a policy of not allowing public sector IT projects to use US-based hosting services because of concerns over data protection. more

Does Bell Really Have a P2P Bandwidth Problem?

Bell filed its response to the Canadian Association Of Internet Providers (CAIP) submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on its throttling practices yesterday, unsurprisingly arguing that its actions are justified and that there is no need to deal with the issue on an emergency basis. Several points stand out from the submission including its non-response to the privacy concerns with deep-packet inspection... and its inference that P2P usage could be deemed using a connection as a "server" and therefore outside the boundaries of "fair and proportionate use" under typical ISP terms of use. more

Locking Out Competing Providers is Bad

Today one of the headlines in Computer Sweden was that there is a dispute between Telia and the regulator PTS in Sweden. PTS requires Telia to stop locking out competing TV-distribution companies for IP-TV in the access network (DSL) that Telia runs. Specifically, they lean towards the fact Telia is dominant provider of the copper, and require Telia to competitors give access to the larger frequency band in the copper that they claim is needed for TV distribution. more