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Facebook's "Supreme Court" Has Implications for International Law

Last year, Facebook created its widely dubbed "Supreme Court" (officially the Oversight Board) in an effort to outsource some of the platform's most difficult content decisions. By all accounts, Facebook hoped the Board would have global legitimacy to make the toughest content decisions and help avoid reputational damage for being biased, arbitrary, tone-deaf, or worse. more

The Insult and Injury of the U.S. Government's Failure to Enforce ICANN's Contractual Obligation

Someone recently observed that many stakeholders have fallen victim to a "chilling effect" resulting from fear of retaliation by the rich and powerful bullies currently infecting the multistakeholder community, ICANN, and Internet governance. I related to what I was hearing because I've been personally targeted and libelously attacked and it is deeply dismaying enough having to worry about threats to revenue and reputation along with other harmful effects of such thuggery. more

The Supreme Court Decides that Compatible Software is Still Legal

Back in the 1980s, everyone used the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet on their PCs. In 1989, Borland released a competitor, Quattro Pro. It used the same menu commands as 1-2-3 so that users could import their 1-2-3 spreadsheets with keyboard macros. Lotus sued Borland, and after a loss in the district court, Borland won on appeal, arguing that the keyboard commands are a "method of operation" and not subject to copyright. Lotus appealed to the Supreme Court... more

An Anti-Competitive .com Fait Accompli?

In a recent article, Is ICANN Staff Misleading the Board Into Violating Obligations to the U.S. Government, I wrote: The referenced Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the vehicle by which the U.S. government delegates to ICANN the responsibilities for overseeing the technical management of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS)... This is important for many reasons, and much remains to be analyzed for additional context that can help expose the rot at the Internet's root. more

Time of Registration in Determining Cybersquatting

While Panels under the UDRP and judges under the ACPA draw upon a similar body of principles in determining infringement -- both mechanisms, after all, are crafted to combat cybersquatting -- and though arbitration panels and judges undoubtedly view alleged tortious wrongdoing by abusive registrations of domain names through similar lenses and apply laws that may be outwardly similar, each protective mechanism has developed its own distinct and separate jurisprudence. more

Is ICANN Staff Misleading the Board Into Violating Contractual Obligations to the U.S. Government?

Recently, I had time to reflect on various matters after the alternator in my vehicle decided that the middle of a mountain pass was the appropriate time and place to go to that great big pick-and-pull scrapyard in the sky while leaving me stranded with no cell signal on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Until that point, I had been seriously considering applying to ICANN's Nominating Committee for one of the three open seats on ICANN's Board of Directors. more

ICANN Must Release the Single-Character .com Hostages from the IANA Impostor's Warehouse

Most of the single-character .com labels were initially registered in 1993 by Dr. Jon Postel while performing work pursuant to a contract with, and funded by, the U.S. government and are currently assigned to a "shell registrar" created and controlled by ICANN. This shell - which is the 376th entry on ICANN's list of accredited registrars - is misleadingly identified as the IANA registrar while being engaged in the illicit warehousing of domain names for speculative purposes. more

Is ICANN Running a Racket?

On March 13, 2019, I published an article on CircleID, Portrait of a Single-Character Domain Name, that explored the proposed release and auction of o.com, a single-character .com domain name that was registered in 1993 and assigned to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) by Dr. Jon Postel. Although the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has since raised serious objections... more

Ending U.S. Government Amnesia About Its Legacy Internet Registries is in the Public Interest

On July 2, 2002, Damien Cave published an interview on Salon.com with John Gilmore, "original 'cypherpunk' and all-around Internet supergeek," titled "It's time for ICANN to go." In this wide-ranging interview, Gilmore -- an early employee of Sun Microsystems who also co-founded Cygnus Software (acquired by Red Hat) and was an early supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Internet Society (ISOC) -- offered blunt insight and eye-opening historical detail... more

Multistakeholderism Is Working: A Short Series of Articles

I was in a conversation with a close friend the other day, you know the kind where you have been friends for so long that you have endured each other experimenting with changed politics, evolving religion, and if you are unlucky, flirtations with multilevel marketing. We were discussing politics that day, which is not unusual given our ancient friendship and the recent change at the helm of the United States. more

The Future of Europe's Fight Against Child Sexual Abuse

Like much of how the Internet is governed, the way we detect and remove child abuse material online began as an ad hoc set of private practices. In 1996, an early online child protection society posted to the Usenet newsgroup alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.children (yes, such a thing really existed) to try to discourage people from posting such "erotica" on the assumption that the Internet couldn't be censored. more

Facebook Stays, Everybody's Happy, but Nothing Has Changed

After some turmoil, Facebook won the war with the Australian Government as the necessary changes were made to the legislation that avoided them needing to change their business model. Those subtleties are lost in the general press. What counts for the popular media is that they were able to spin some great stories around the fact that Australia stood up to the giants. That brought international attention, which boosted the ego of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. more

Cybersecurity Tech Accord: 98% of Registrar Whois Requests Unrequited

When a brand goes so far as to ask a domain name registrar for Whois (the registration contact details) of a potentially abusive domain name, there's likely a lot at stake. Most often, the request is prompted by consumer safety concerns, such as the risk to consumers posed by a malicious site. Other times, the demand has a simple goal: to have a dialog with the registrant about the use of trademarks or other intellectual property in order to avoid extreme action. more

Emergence, Rise and Fall of Surveillance Capitalism, Part 2: Rise and Fall

One of the consequences of the Jan 6th events is a renewed attention towards Surveillance Capitalism as a key doctrine undermining democracy.2 This part 2 of the 2 part series of discusses the rise and fall of Surveillance Capitalism under the premise that the better we understand the danger at the door, the better we are able to confront it. more

EU Rulings on Geo-Blocking in Digital Storefronts Will Increase Piracy Rates in the Developing World

For the longest time, it was an insurmountable challenge for those in the developing world to be able to afford to legally consume multimedia products. Prices originally set in Dollars, Euros or Yen often received insufficient adjustments to compensate for lower incomes, something that was compounded by local import or manufacture taxes that did little to alleviate matters. more

News Briefs

The Government of Niue Launches Proceedings With ICANN to Reclaim Its .nu Top-Level Domain

New Digital Services Act Should Not Disrupt Internet's Technical Operations, Warn RIPE NCC, CENTR

Russia Bans Sale of Smartphones, Computers and Other Devices Not Pre-Installed With Russian Software

China to Require Face Scan for Internet Access and New Phone Numbers Starting December

US Court Upholds FCC's Net Neutrality Repeal But Says States Can't Be Barred from Passing Own Rules

51 CEOs Call on US Congress for Urgent Nationwide Data Privacy Law Overriding State-Level Laws

WIPO Becomes First Non-Chinese Entity to Provide Domain Dispute Resolution Services for China's .cn

New Zealand’s Domain Name Commission Wins Appeal in Lawsuit Against US DomainTools

EU Court of Justice Ruling Could Result in Cutting Off Data Flows to US

Huawei Files Motion in US Federal Court Calling Ban Unconstitutional, an Assault on Human Rights

Qualcomm’s Licensing Practices Are Illegal, U.S. Judge Rules

Microsoft Sees Serious Appetite for Revised Privacy Laws in US, Says It's Time to Match EU's GDPR

US Federal Trade Commission Says It Lacks Resources to Go After Privacy Violations Effectively

No GDPR Action Against Any Big Tech Firms Since Law Imposed Last Year, Doubts Escalate Over Enforcer

UK Government Planning on New Laws for IoT Devices Including a Mandatory Security Labelling Scheme

Canada Says Facebook Has Refused to Address Serious Privacy Deficiencies Concerning Its Local Laws

US House of Representatives Pass a Bill to Restore Net Neutrality Rules Repealed by Trump's FCC

Thailand Passes Law Giving Sweeping Powers to State Cyber Agencies

Canada Considering Right to Repair Legislation Tackling Repair Monopoly Over Brand-Name Devices

Government Officials, Academia, and Advocacy Groups Say Time for US to Get Its Own GDPR

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