Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Recently Commented

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»

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»