Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Recently Commented

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»

FCC Expected to Propose Regulation of Internet as Utility

Sources are reporting that Tom Wheeler, the Federal Communications Commission chairman, is widely expected this week to propose regulating Internet service similar to a public utility -- a move certain to unleash another round of intense debate and lobbying about how to ensure so-called net neutrality, or an open Internet. more»

ICANN: Our Top 3 Policy Priorities for 2015

2014 was a big year for us and for our clients. The new gTLD program forced us to rethink, reprioritize and implement new and different strategies to protect our brands online. The uncertainty largely behind us, and with more information at our fingertips about just how well (or not) brands are faring in the new environment, it's time to look forward to what we can do in 2015 to fix what's broken, throw away what's useless, fight for what's important... more»

Software Insecurity: The Problem with the White House Cybersecurity Proposals

The White House has announced a new proposal to fix cybersecurity. Unfortunately, the positive effects will be minor at best; the real issue is not addressed. This is a serious missed opportunity by the Obama adminstration; it will expend a lot of political capital, to no real effect... The proposals focus on two things: improvements to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and provisions intended to encourage information sharing. At most, these will help at the margins; they'll do little to fix the underlying problems. more»

Where We're Going: Leviathan or Golem?

The Internet never ceases to fascinate. I am referring not to its content, but to its governance. The IANA transition is the latest example in a world of interesting possibilities. At the core, we find ICANN, and that is why we need a Human Rights Advisory Committee. Any future model, with or without the NTIA, needs to seriously consider this option. But I prefer the hard truth over my own ideals. Maybe this idea will be dismissed, simply because human rights are discussed as some kind of inconvenience. more»

Wait and See Approach on Abuse

Wait and see approach on abuse attracts ICANN Stakeholder attention: A few weeks ago I made a detailed argument as to why product safety applies to domains, just like it does to cars and high chairs. I also argued that good products equal good business or "economically advantaged" in the long run. Then I really made a strong statement, I said if we don't actively engage other Internet stakeholders -- those that interact with our products, we would eventually lose the opportunity to self-regulate. more»

Breaking: U.S. Government Funding Bill Delays IANA Transition

On the evening of Tuesday, September 9th, Congressional leaders unveiled a 1,603 page, $1.01 trillion FY 2015 appropriations bill to fund the U.S. government through the end of September 2015. One provision of the omnibus bill would delay the IANA transition until after the September 30, 2015 expiration of the current contract between the NTIA and ICANN. more»

Section 3.18 of the 2013 RAA: Reasonable Investigations, Appropriate Responses

Section 3.18 of the ICANN 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) contains language requiring registrars to investigate and respond to abuse complaints. Nearly one year into the new RAA's effective period, what do we know about Section 3.18? If a person or entity wants to submit a complaint, what should they keep in mind? This article reviews the meaning of Section 3.18, how to leverage it, offers a list of do's and don'ts for complainants, and offers a few recommendations for registrars. more»

Beyond NETmundial: Initiative or Inertia?

The April NETmundial meeting was a seminal event in the history of Internet Governance. Fears that the meeting might fail to reach consensus were not realized. Instead, the participants achieved a high degree of harmony -- the "Spirit of NETmundial" -- that resulted in issuance of a consensus Statement that, while lacking in precise detail, was effused with positive energy. Since that meeting there has been considerable discussion within the Internet Governance (IG) community as to what lessons have been learned from NETmundial, and how its work might best be carried into the future. more»

Beyond Neutrality - Enabling a World of Connected Things

The growing interest in the "Internet of Things" is forcing us to think beyond the web to a much larger world of connected devices. We can tolerate the many barriers to connectivity because we expect that someone can provide the necessary credentials to log in to the providers' services and to adjust Wi-Fi access keys whenever the access point changes or simply to click "agree" at a hotspot. This doesn't work for "things" which can't recognize a sign-on or "agree screen". more»

Enhanced Confusion: The European Council and the Governance of the Internet

On November 1, 2014, the new European Commission started its work. One of the priorities of its new president, Jean Claude Juncker, is the digital agenda. The European Union wants to be a leader in the Internet world of tomorrow. Vice President Andrus Ansip from Estonia (some people spell the country name "e-stonia") and Commissioner Günter Oettinger from Germany will have special responsibilities to implement the big plans. Juncker was elected by the European Parliament, although the green light for his nomination came from the European Council. more»

Stopping Illegal Activity Online - It's More Complicated Than It Seems

There was a compelling article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) the other day about ICANN and illegal online pharmacies. The result of a six-month investigation, the reporter, Jeff Elder, calls into question ICANN's effectiveness in investigating complaints of suspected illegal activity on domain names it has a contractual relationship with. Elder cites a recent incident where Interpol and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tried to have 1,300 websites shut down because they were suspected of selling drugs without a prescription. more»

Where Is Cyberspace?

In my first CircleID post, I compared the cyberspace to a farmland, which has to be cultivated and developed. I ended by asking: Where is cyberspace? I have asked this same question from many people, many of whom are internet experts. They all said the cyberspace is in the computers, networks, or servers, or the Internet itself. I agree with these cyberspace ideas. In addition, my opinion is a bit different. more»