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At a recent workshop on cybersecurity at Ditchley House sponsored by the Ditchley Foundation in the U.K., a primary topic of consideration was how to preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet while protecting against the harmful behaviors that have emerged in this global medium. That this is a significant challenge cannot be overstated... That these harmful behaviors can and do cross international boundaries only makes it more difficult to fashion effective responses. more

New Zealand's Domain Name Commission Wins Injunction in a Lawsuit Against DomainTools

New Zealand's Domain Name Commission today won a motion for preliminary injunction in a US lawsuit against the company DomainTools. more

Why Foldering Adds Very Little Security

I keep hearing stories of people using "foldering" for covert communications. Foldering is the process of composing a message for another party, but instead of sending it as an email, you leave it in the Drafts folder. The other party then logs in to the same email account and reads the message; they can then reply via the same technique. Foldering has been used for a long time, most famously by then-CIA director David Petraeus and his biographer/lover Paula Broadwell. Why is foldering used? more

Special Interests Circulating Draft Legislation to Cut Short ICANN's Whois Policy Process

Special interests who oppose privacy are circulating draft legislation to cut short ICANN's Whois policy process, warns Milton Mueller in a post published today in Internet Governance Project. more

ICANN's ePDP - An Insider's Perspective

Amazingly enough, summer is rapidly ending as kids head back to school, the temperatures in the mornings are just slightly cooler, and soon enough jeans and sweatshirts will be upon us. It also means that the important work on ICANN's temporary specification regarding WHOIS relative to GDPR has already aged a few months. The ICANN Board adopted the temporary specification in May 2018 and it became effective on the 25th of the month. more

It's About Whois Display And Access

The need for an access model for non-public Whois data has been apparent since GDPR became a major issue before the community well over a year ago. Now is the time to address it seriously, and not with half measures. We urgently need a temporary model for access to non-public Whois data for legitimate uses, while the community undertakes longer-term policy development efforts. more

ICANN vs EPAG: ICANN Seeks Appeal Plus Pushes for ECJ Referral

As I predicted ICANN is pursuing its case against EPAG. They're now not only appealing the case to a higher court in Germany but are also trying to get the entire thing referred to the European Court of Justice. In an announcement late last night ICANN made it very clear what their intentions are. While they're pursuing the appeal in the higher court in the German region, which makes sense at some level, it's also very clear that they're not taking "no" for an answer. more

WHOIS Users Facing Serious Challenges Caused by Post-GDPR Fragmentation

On May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, meaning that European data protection authorities (DPAs) can begin enforcing the regulation against non-compliant parties. In preparation, the ICANN Board passed a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data - essentially a temporary policy amendment to its registrar and registry contracts to facilitate GDPR compliance while also preserving certain aspects of the WHOIS system of domain name registration data. more

ICANN vs Epag/Tucows: German Court Rules Against ICANN

German courts seem to be pretty fast, so instead of having to wait weeks or months to see how they'd rule, we've already got the answer. The German court in Bonn has ruled that EPAG (Tucows) is not obliged to collect extra contacts beyond the domain name registrant. The decision, naturally, is in German, but there is a translation into English that we can use to understand how the court arrived at this decision. more

ICANN vs EPAG/Tucows: Tucows Releases Statement on What They're Doing and Why

As I noted over the weekend, ICANN has instigated legal action against EPAG, an ICANN accredited registrar based in Germany that is part of the Tucows group. ICANN claims that the case is to "preserve WHOIS data", but Tucows asserts in their statement that the ICANN approach is flawed. It's not a frivolous statement, but one they've backed with fairly detailed rationale - and this is just their public statement and not a formal legal filing. more

GDPR PII Time-Bomb? Kill it With Fire!

Hi! My name is spamfighter. I investigate spam and phish in a post-GDPR dystopia. Recently, I invented Fire, to save you millions of €uros. One day, my Boss suggested I automate some of my processes. I, for one, welcome our Robot Overlords (and a happy boss), but I can be exacting about the tools I use. Perhaps not to the degree of the infamous Van Halen 'no brown M&M's' contractual clause but I have no patience for poorly-designed software, and truly dislike typing when... more

ICANN Files Legal Action Against Domain Registrar for Refusal to Collect WHOIS Data

Germany-based ICANN-accredited registrar EPAG owned by Tucows has informed ICANN that it plans to stop collecting Whois contact information from its customers as it violates the GDPR rules. more

Is It Time for a Data Sharing Clearinghouse for Internet Researchers?

Today's Senate hearing with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg will start a long discussion on data collection and privacy from Internet companies. Although the spotlight is currently on Facebook, we shouldn't forget that the picture is broader: companies from device manufacturers to ISPs collect network traffic and use it for a variety of purposes. more

Why Are the EU Data Protection Authorities Taking Away Our Fundamental Right to be Safe?

What if we created a rule that gave everyone - good or bad - the right to hide their license plate, where they live, who they are, and just go incognito? What if we made it a right to walk into any building in the world, and simply say "No, thank you" when the security guards asked for one's identification? The criminals would celebrate, and we'd all be utterly alarmed. We would immediately be afraid for our personal safety. more

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today we remember that the Nazis rounded up Jews, Roma, political dissidents, and other "undesirables" using the best data and technology of the day and sent them off to concentration camps. We don't normally deal with this type of political reality in ICANN, but now is the time to do so. In 1995, the recently formed European Union passed the EU Data Protection Directive. more