Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Recently Commented

Asking a Better Question to Uncloak the Online Copyright Debate

The proverbial Pandora's box that is opened whenever the topic of online copyright infringement is raised throws into sharp relief a host of challenges that have confounded policy makers, internet service providers and consumers for many years. Chief amongst them is how to strike an appropriate balance between protecting the rights of content owners while continuing to promote the interests of the public and preserving the benefits of the internet, given its unprecedented ability to facilitate the rapid dissemination of copyrighted content. more»

$59M and Counting: ICANN Board Downgrades Community Say on Use of Last Resort Auction Proceeds

ICANN's new gTLD program provides for last resort auctions to settle contention sets where the competing applicants are unable to reach agreement by negotiation or private auction, with the proceeds going to a segregated ICANN account. With the recent $25 million bid of Google to secure control of the .App registry the total proceeds of those ICANN auctions has swelled to $58.8 million. The final sum by the end of the first round could go higher, perhaps to more than $100 million. That's serious money. more»

Active and Passive Internet of Things

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it." -Mark Weiser ...The Internet of Things is a step in this very direction. And like all things new and mysterious, it has its fair share of utopian and dystopian soothsayers; with an almost certain probability that neither of their deterministic predictions will completely come to fruition in the future. more»

ICANN and a Lot of Other People Outsmart Themselves With .SUCKS

Good taste has never been a criterion in ICANN's new domains program, and domains including .fail and the remarkably vulgar .wtf have become part of the DNS with little comment. Now we have .sucks, which is intended to empower consumers, but does so in a way so clumsy that ICANN is asking regulators in the U.S. and Canada for an excuse to shut it down. more»

ICANN Asks U.S. Federal Trade Commission Whether .SUCK is Violating Any Laws

Allen Grogan, ICANN's Chief Contract Compliance Officer, has written a blog post today concerning a formal letter it has received asking the agency to halt the rollout of .SUCKS, a new gTLD operated by Vox Populi Registry Inc. As it stands, a ruling against Vox Populi by ICANN could result in federal prosecution or other legal action, according to ICANN officials. more»

Freedom of Expression Chilled by ICANN's Addition of Speech Restrictions in DNS

Freedom of expression on the Internet is at risk from ICANN's recent decision to prohibit anyone but one specific type of doctor from using the word within the .doctor new gTLD space. Last month, ICANN's New GTLD Program Committee decided that only "medical practitioners" would be allowed to register a domain in the .doctor name space. ICANN's decision to exclude numerous lawful users of the word, including a broad range of individuals who are in fact doctors, comes at a time when the world is watching ICANN to see if it can adequately protect Internet users' rights in the absence of US Government supervision. more»

The .DOCTOR Quarantine

ICANN should reconsider its decision to quarantine .DOCTOR, given that it's not even sick. In an utterly surprising move, ICANN staff and the Board's New gTLD Program Committee ("NGPC") recently informed the applicants for .DOCTOR that it has singled out the gTLD as a test case for controlling content and limiting speech on the Internet. In the epitome of top-down policy making, ICANN issued an edict that it will implement nearly year-old advice from the Government Advisory Committee ("GAC") differently from all other similarly situated gTLDs and in contravention of subsequent GAC advice. more»

Estimating Trademark Claims Notice Suppression of Non-Infringing New gTLD Registrations

On February 2nd ICANN staff announced the release of a Draft Report: Rights Protection Mechanisms Review that is open for public comment until May 1st. This Draft Report is preliminary to an Issues Report requested by the GNSO Council that is due to be delivered by September 30th, and that may set the stage for a Policy Development Process (PDP) on Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) that could commence in 2016. Such a PDP could consider comprehensive reform of these RPMs as well as of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). more»

Your App Is Increasingly Paranoid

In Canada at the moment a fight has been engaged between Bell Canada, a major carrier, and a recent decision of its regulator, the CRTC, concerning whether the CRTC (the Commission) made the correct decision when it said that the underlying transport system was "telecommunications", while the "app" that was carried was "broadcasting". The decision appealed from (the Klass decision) is important because it marks the first time the CRTC has made a decision on the idea that lies at the core of Internet thinking: that an application floats on top of transport layers. more»

ICANN Should Not Ululate Over "Booking.com" IRP Outcome: Decision Exposes Failure of Accountability

The IRP Panel that was tasked with deciding the Booking.com vs. ICANN IRP that was filed regarding the application for the .hotels new gTLD name has made a decision that seems favorable to ICANN as the Defendant. However, this is not a victory for ICANN but an indictment of the ICANN procedures and accountability systems which are widely viewed as detrimental to new gTLD applicants. more»

A History of Disruptors: Or How the U.S. Government Saved the Internet from the Telcos

Kenji Kushida is a scholar at Stanford University, who has written a most explanatory overview of how America came to dominate cyberspace, through computer companies. He traces the evolution of the Internet to a series of actions taken by the US government to limit the power of the telephone companies. Kushida looks at the USA, Europe and Japan from the perspective of what happened when telephone monopolies were broken up and competition introduced in the 1990s. more»

Could Net Neutrality be to Investments in the Internet What AT&T's Regulation was to Bell Labs?

As the FCC moves forward with its plans to regulate the internet in the U.S., it's worth taking a look at what's happened when the government has regulated other innovative industries. As a facilitator of innovation, I've always been fascinated with the history of Bell Labs. Bell Labs was once thought of as the source of most modern innovations... The work done at Bell Labs built the foundation for modern invention leading to phones, space exploration, the internet, music distribution, cell phones, radio and television and more. more»

Title II Will Have Little Effect on Telecom Developments in The USA

We now know what direction the FCC will take in reorganising the American telecoms market. For many years I have mentioned the rather bizarre situation in that country wherein broadband is not seen as a telecoms service but rather as an internet service, which is itself classified as providing content. Thanks to extensive lobbying from among the telcos (who also refer to themselves as ISPs) in the early days of the internet, back in the 1990s, the FCC accepted their unbelievable proposals. As a result, over the last 20 years or so the USA's telecom market has changed from being one of the most competitive among developed economies to what it is now: a market with hardly any fixed telecoms competition at all. more»

What's Certain About the Regulatory Uncertainty Debate

Incumbent carriers, such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, have made countless "curtains for the Free World" assertions in the Network Neutrality debate. They claim that if the FCC reclassifies as common carriage aspects of Internet access, it will create "regulatory uncertainty" and "disincentive investment." Not one of the countless sponsored researchers funded by incumbents has provided a shred of empirical evidence to support these assertions. more»

Decision Time for the Open Internet

On February 26 of this year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States will vote on a proposed new ruling on the issue of "Network Neutrality" in the United States, bringing into force a new round of measures that are intended to prevent certain access providers from deliberately differentiating service responses on the carriage services that they provide. more»