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North Dakota Judge Gets it Wrong

Ever been prosecuted for tracking spam? Running a traceroute? Doing a zone transfer? Asking a public internet server for public information that it is configured to provide upon demand? No? Well, David Ritz has. And amazingly, he lost the case. Here are just a few of the gems that the court has the audacity to call "conclusions of law." Read them while you go donate to David's legal defense fund... more»

Network Solutions Responds to Front Running Accusations

Following a post on the DomainState forum today, a number news and blogs have criticized Network Solutions for front running domain names that customers try to register. (See for instance today's report on DomainNameNews). Jonathon Nevett, Vice President of Policy at Network Solutions, has offered the following in response to the news break... more»

Help! My Domain Name Has Been Hijacked!

They are out there. In Internet Cafes and dark rooms from New York to Hong Kong to Iran, the domain name hijackers are plotting to steal your domain names. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself against losing your domain names. ...Registrars are often skeptical of claims of domain hijacking, and the hijackers often "launder" the domain names to look as if they have sold them to third parties... By the time you discover that your domain name has been stolen, it may be at its third or fourth different registrar in the name of a completely different party... more»

Whois Privacy vs. Anonymity

The Internet is often a lawless place. Everyone knows that there are many tricks and traps lurking on the Internet, just waiting to prey on unsuspecting and innocent users. Some of these traps will trash your computer while others will turn your PC into a zombie that will broadcast messages at the virus writer's command. ...The list of annoyances and downright criminal activities seem endless. ...To make the Internet a safer place both legislators and law enforcement are now focusing on the Internet. In the crossfire that's taking place there are many ideas that are being offered up. Some of them are good and some are not. One bad decision that was recently forced upon the Internet community (without hearings -- more on this later) was to eliminate private domain name registrations for .US domain names. ...It's important to understand the difference between privacy and anonymity. more»

An Alternative to .XXX: IANA Adult Port Assignments

As an alternative to the creation of the .XXX TLD, ICANN/IANA can assign special port numbers that can be used to label adult content. IANA assigns port numbers as part of its duties. For example, port 80 is reserved for the HTTP protocol (i.e. the World Wide Web). Port 443 is reserved for the HTTPS protocol (SSL-secure version of HTTP). Port 23 is for Telnet, port 25 is for SMTP, and so on. One can see the full list at here... In a real sense, the IANA port assignments are just suggestions to the world as to what to expect on certain ports, whether it be a mail server, WHOIS, FTP, POP email or any other service/protocol. more»

The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008

Last week Sen. Snowe filed bill S.2661, the Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008, or APCPA. While its goals are laudable, I have my doubts about some of the details. The first substantive section of the bill, Section 3, makes various phishy activities more illegal than they are now in its first two subsections. It makes it specifically illegal to solicit identifying information from a computer under false pretenses, and to use a domain name that is deceptively similar to someone else's brand or name on the web in e-mail or IM to mislead people... more»

Domain Aftermarket Overdue for an "Asset Repricing"

For the last couple years the domain aftermarket has been hot again, we're seeing valuations not seen since bubble1.0, which saw valuations like 7 million dollars for business.com and 4 million for drugs.com. The TechWreck was induced by the NASDAQ crash of 2000 and the fun was over for awhile. What differentiates this bubble in the domain aftermarket from Bubble 1.0 is domain parking and monetization... The interesting thing is since then, the multiples on domain names have outstripped the multiples on developed websites. To me, this is the equivalent of the "inverted yield curve" that portends economic recessions. more»

Domain Registry Models: Thin or Thick?

The domain registrars discussion -- despite the occasional bizarrity -- mostly demonstrates that there is no unanimity among registrars on this issue. So, what arguments can be made in favor of either model, from a registrant's point of view? The thick domain registry model -- under the assumption that registries are more diligent with registrant data than some registrars may be -- helps take care of escrow concerns... more»

Wall Street Journal Article on Whois Privacy

Today's Wall Street Journal discusses the fight over Whois privacy. The article on the front page of the Marketplace section starts by discussing how the American Red Cross and eBay use the Whois database to track down scammers: "Last fall, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the American Red Cross used an Internet database called "Whois" that lists names and numbers of Web-site owners to shut down dozens of unauthorized Web sites that were soliciting money under the Red Cross logo. Online marketplace eBay Inc. says its investigators use Whois hundreds of times a day..." more»

Domain Front Running by Registrars Continues to Draw Attention

In response to accusations lodged yesterday in a post on the DomainState forum, NSI has issued a statement which essentially admits that it engages in a form of domain front running. No one has challenged domain Front Running by registrars in the courts, likely because the practice is new and since the loss of a single domain would not typically generate a level of damages to support litigation. But litigation over this arguably fraudulent domain practice by registrars is both viable and likely inevitable... more»

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part III

For a book project I decided to extend my interview with Milton Mueller from November 2003 (Part I | Part II). Exclusively for CircleID readers, here's part III that deals with WSIS, WGIG, US-American bias and the Internet Governance Project. "...One good result of the WGIG process is that the involved international community has already moved beyond those cliches. No one is proposing that the UN control the Internet. There is growing consensus that control of the DNS root needs to be internationalized..." more»

DNS WHOIS: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

As the Internet has grown and matured, it has become obvious to everyone involved that the DNS Whois system, as it currently exists, is not a sustainable way to share contact information for resolving network problems. ICANN, in an attempt to save DNS Whois, has plunged head long into the process of developing new policies aimed at fixing it. While I respect all of the hard work that has gone into this process, the results thus far have only made it clearer that this system faces intractable problems. more»

Invalid WHOIS Data: Who Is Responsible?

Suppose you wanted to know who operates a website at a given domain name. Perhaps you suspect that the domain name is pointing to a website that offers illegal content, or you may just want to send a comment to its authors. Conveniently, the Internet provides a so-called "WHOIS" system that ordinarily provides contact information for each registered domain. But in the case of many hundreds of thousands of domains, the WHOIS data just isn't accurate.  more»

She Gave Me a Fake Phone Number!

The Intellectual Property Constituency, meeting at the ICANN conference in Vancouver, was interested in increasing ICANN's budget not because they thought they deserved it, but because they wanted ICANN to actually enforce the rules on the books about fake registrations. Now there's some evidence about how prevalent that is. If there's any surprise here, it's that the numbers are so low. more»

Domain Name Registrar Allows Completely Blank WHOIS

In a very casual and low-key footnote over the weekend, ICANN announced it would be further bypassing the Affirmation of Commitments and ignoring the WHOIS Review Team Report. There will be no enhanced validation or verification of WHOIS because unidentified people citing unknown statistics have said it would be too expensive... As a topic which has burned untold hours of community debate and development, the vague minimalist statement dismisses every ounce of work put in by stakeholders. more»