Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

ICANN Takes First Step to Becoming a Global Content Regulator

There has been wide coverage of ICANN's decision this week to adopt a new process for creating new global Top Level Domains (gTLDs). Publishing a clear, transparent and objective process is thought likely to result in a considerable expansion of gTLDs -- although nobody really knows whether this means "quite a lot" or "many thousands"... Less attention has been given to one of the new tests ICANN will use when considering whether to approve a new gTLD, contained in GNSO's sixth recommendation... more

The FCC Stumbles Into Internet Filtering

What could be bad about free wireless Internet access? How about censorship by federally mandated filters that make it no longer "Internet." That's the effect of the FCC's proposed service rules for Advanced Wireless Service spectrum in the 2155-2180 MHz band, as set out in a July 20 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Acting on a request of M2Z Networks, which wants to provide "free, family-friendly wireless broadband," the FCC proposes to require licensees of this spectrum band to offer free two-way wireless broadband Internet service to the public, with least 25% of their network capacity. So far so good, but on the next page, the agency guts the meaning of "broadband Internet" with a content filtering requirement. more

New Coalition Pushes for High-Speed Internet Access for All

U.S. Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein and several high-profile technology executives and industry advocates on Tuesday launched an initiative to make broadband access a national priority in the U.S., report Elizabeth Montalbano or IDG news service. At the Personal Democracy Forum in New York, Adelstein and others unveiled InternetforEveryone.org, a movement aimed at fostering a public dialogue among U.S. citizens to advise the government on how to set a national policy. more

The Future of the Internet: A Political View

Lets face it, gathering a collection of ministerial delegations to laboriously recite prepared speeches to each other sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry. And observing meetings where the major outcome appears to be limited to the scheduling of the next meeting can become somewhat tedious after a while. It should not be surprising that the level of expectation of tangible outcomes for such governmental meetings is invariably abysmally low. So what's the value of adding yet another meeting to governments' schedule? What makes the OECD-hosted ministerial meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy so unique in the context of the Internet's current political landscape and its political future? Why would a meeting about the dismal science of economics hold any interest at all? more

Experts Concerned Over U.S. Spyware Legislation Being Overly Broad

U.S. Senate bill aims at limiting spyware by seemingly allowing broadband providers, computer hardware and software vendors, financial institutions and other businesses to scan users' computers without authorization. "We think this language is overly broad and could protect activities which could be harmful to computer users," Butler told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. "It would, in effect, allow a software vendor to truly monitor everything that's on a user's computer, essentially setting [vendors] up as an ad hoc police force." more

Swedish National Defense Radio Agency to Wiretap All Internet Traffic

Several people abroad have started mailing me and others asking if rumors of new legislation to be passed in Sweden on the 17th of June is for real. There are also reports in international forums starting to pop up. This is fairly old news, and I think that most of us are surprised that this has not generated more press both inside and outside Sweden earlier. This legislation will allow for the Swedish National Defense Radio Agency (FRA) to wiretap Internet traffic leaving the country... more

ISOC-Bulgaria Asks Worldwide Internet Community to Bring Top Priorities During the Coming IGF

The IGF has a tendency of slowly shifting from a place of a discussion about the way the world accesses information resources, into a place where only topics that make the headlines are being highlighted, with many of the same players being among the loudest speakers. We believe that due to cross-cultural reasons, these people are mainly coming from North America and Western Europe. We urge the IGF to allocate equal time for people from regions outside of those two. more

Storm Warning for Cloud Computing: More Like a Miasma

The approach is growing in popularity, and Google, Microsoft and Amazon are among the many large companies working on ways to attract users to their offerings, with Google Apps, Microsoft's Live Mesh and Amazon S3 all signing up customers as they try to figure out what works and what can turn a profit... In the real world national borders, commercial rivalries and political imperatives all come into play... The issue was recently highlighted by reports that the Canadian government has a policy of not allowing public sector IT projects to use US-based hosting services because of concerns over data protection. more

Does Bell Really Have a P2P Bandwidth Problem?

Bell filed its response to the Canadian Association Of Internet Providers (CAIP) submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on its throttling practices yesterday, unsurprisingly arguing that its actions are justified and that there is no need to deal with the issue on an emergency basis. Several points stand out from the submission including its non-response to the privacy concerns with deep-packet inspection... and its inference that P2P usage could be deemed using a connection as a "server" and therefore outside the boundaries of "fair and proportionate use" under typical ISP terms of use. more

Locking Out Competing Providers is Bad

Today one of the headlines in Computer Sweden was that there is a dispute between Telia and the regulator PTS in Sweden. PTS requires Telia to stop locking out competing TV-distribution companies for IP-TV in the access network (DSL) that Telia runs. Specifically, they lean towards the fact Telia is dominant provider of the copper, and require Telia to competitors give access to the larger frequency band in the copper that they claim is needed for TV distribution. more

Retrograde Inversion of Telecommunications Policy

Going backwards upside down. That's what we're doing with telecommunications policy in the U.S. The Comcast affair should prompt a re-examination of many decisions the FCC, Congress, and the courts have made over the last few years. When the FCC reports on its reactions to Comcast's activities, the right response will be "You're asking the wrong question." "What is reasonable network management" isn't the question we should be asking... more

Overloading the Internet? Recent Media Reports Based on Dangerous Misinformation

The London Times article (and a similar one in the Guardian) are based on dangerous misinformation. The net isn't slowing down, and nearly no technical experts believe major "overload" problems likely on the backhaul, core, or decent local loop... Net traffic per user, as documented by Odlyzko and Cisco, has been growing at about 35-40% the last five years, and that growth rate is flat and possibly down the last two years. The net has been able to handle the increase without price increases, much less overload, because the primary and rate limiting equipment (switches, routers, WDM, etc.) have simultaneously been going down at a similar 35-40%. Moore's Law is bringing costs down and capacity up at a remarkable rate. more

Who Makes the Any Apps Any Handset Call?

The Wall Street Journal today reported that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants to reject a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by Skype that would establish a wireless Carterfone policy, i.e., that wireless carriers must allow subscribers to use any compatible handset to access any application, content or software. Chairman Martin has confidence that the marketplace solutions obviate any necessary FCC intervention. Such optimism must derive in part from the apparently newfound willingness of one major wireless carrier, Verizon, to support aspects of open access. Perhaps Chairman Martin has confidence in the marketplace based on the magnanimous offer of most wireless carriers to pro-rate their early termination penalties by $5 a month. But here's the rub... more

F2C: My Opening Remarks

Here are my opening remarks at F2C: Freedom to Connect yesterday: "I am honored to be among so many remarkable people. We have to be remarkable people, because we have a hell of a job to do. The Internet has been given to us. It is a miraculous gift, and a boon to our lives... at least in part because it accidentally matured outside the purview of profit and loss. Now the money has arrived. If you want to see what happens when the money arrives, look at Nigeria or Venezuela or Russia or Iraq..." more

Gaping Hole in Models for Using Spectrum Efficiently

In February, the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis published three studies (1, 2, 3) on spectrum licensing and spectrum utilization. Thanks to Nick Ruark for pointing them out... Reading on I was struck by a gaping hole in their assumptions. more