Policy & Regulation

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Fake Bank Site, Fake Registrar

In our continuing review of Rogue Registrars we have stumbled upon on a very elaborate fake banking site for "Swiss Bank" or "Bank of Switzerland". To the casual Internet consumer this site probably appears legitimate, but a number of clues tip off the fraud. Phishing sites are everywhere so this does not immediately raise eyebrows until you review the Thick WHOIS record for the domain. more

A Fairness 'Scorecard' for Trademark Protection Under the New gTLDs

In the last few years, ICANN has made huge strides in Protecting Trademarks within new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). Now much more is being asked. Is it right? Is it appropriate? Will these changes make the new gTLDs unusable for the very communities we most hope will want them: developing countries, developing communities, new businesses, growing organizations and all the people born in the future? more

Experts Urge Congress to Reject DNS Filtering from PROTECT IP Act, Serious Technical Concerns Raised

A group of leading DNS experts have released a paper detailing serious concerns over the proposed DNS filtering requirements included as part of the bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate named Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 ("PROTECT IP Act"). The group who is urging lawmakers to reconsider enacting such a mandate into law, includes leading DNS designers, operators, and researchers, responsible for numerous RFCs for DNS, publication of many peer-reviewed academic studies related to architecture and security of the DNS, and responsible for the operation of important DNS infrastructure on the Internet. more

Who Is Blocking WHOIS? Part 2

We have just returned from the Brussels, Belgium ICANN meeting where we released our Registrar audit, the Internet "Doomsday Book." There are many topics covered in the report, but we wanted to follow up specifically on the issue of WHOIS access and add data to our previous column Who Is Blocking WHOIS? which covered Registrar denial of their contracted obligation to support Port 43 WHOIS access. more

Microsoft's Takedown of 3322.org - A Gigantic Self Goal?

I will first begin this post by emphasizing that this article is entirely my personal viewpoint and not to be considered as endorsed by or a viewpoint of my employer or any other organization that I am affiliated with. Neither is this to be considered an indictment of the sterling work (which I personally value very highly) that several people in Microsoft are doing against cybercrime. Microsoft's takedown of 3322.org to disrupt the Nitol botnet is partial and will, at best, have a temporary effect on the botnet itself... more

ISPs Are Not Broadcasters, Says Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Internet providers are not broadcasters for the purposes of the Broadcasting Act when they simply transmit content to subscribers, reports Michael Geist. The court noted... more

The Spurious Justifications for Eliminating Price Caps on .org and Other Legacy Domains

ICANN is about to do serious damage to its reputation by making a precipitous, ill-considered leap into the unknown should it follow through on removing price constraints on several legacy extensions, most notably .org. Doing so would expose a global community of non-profits to the risk of quickly-escalating exploitative pricing. The rationale for eliminating price caps relies on three points, all of which are incorrect. more

Permissionless Innovation: Why It Matters

We live in a world of information abundance and the proliferation of ideas. Through mobile devices, tablets, laptops and computers we can access and create any sort of data in a ubiquitous way. But, it was not always like that. Before the Internet information was limited and was travelling slow. Our ancestors depended on channels of information that were often subjected to various policy and regulatory restrictions. The Internet changed all that. more

An Economic Analysis of Domain Name Policy - Part I

"The Root Server is a Scarce Resource" is the focus of part one of a three-part series based on a study prepared by Karl M. Manheim, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and Lawrence B. Solum, Professor of Law at University of San Diego. Special thanks and credit to Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 25, p. 317, 2004. ...We begin our analysis of domain name policy with a brief excursion into economics. Economics cannot answer all of the questions raised by domain name policy. First, domain name policy must answer to the discipline of network engineering. A useful domain name system must work, and the functionality, scalability, reliability, and stability of the system are determined by the soundness of its engineering. Second, domain name policy must answer to public policy. The Internet is a global network of networks, and Internet policy is answerable to a variety of constituencies, including national governments, the operators of the ccTLDs, Internet Service Providers, information providers, end users of the Internet, and many others. 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

When Registrars Look the Other Way, Drug-Dealers Get Paid

Since November of last year we have been discussing the problem of illicit and illegal online pharmacy support by ICANN-accredited Registrars. In several articles and direct contact with the Registrars we have tirelessly tried to convey the seriousness of this problem, many listened, some did not... With the background information already known, the case presented here is much more specific and concerns EvaPharmacy, which was until recently, the world's largest online criminal pharmacy network. more

Noncommercial Users Ask ICANN Board to Review Decision to Expand Trademark Rights in New Domains

ICANN's Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group (NCSG) has filed a Request for Reconsideration with ICANN's Board of Directors regarding the staff's decision to expand the scope of the trademark claims service beyond that provided by community consensus policy and in contradiction to ICANN Bylaws. Specifically at issue is ICANN staff's unilateral decision to adopt the "trademark +50" proposal for new domains, which would provide trademark holders who have previously won a UDRP or court decision with rights to 50 additional derivations of their trademark in ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). more

Shedding Light on How Much Energy the Internet and ICTs Consume

Ever since I published an essay exploring the relationship between climate change and the Internet, I have endeavored to bring this subject to the fore as often as possible (and in relevant fora and discussions) since the responsibility of creating a more sustainable world falls on all communities and stakeholder groups. It is particularly pressing now -- at a time when international interest in curbing climate change is strengthening, while it is juxtaposed with the receding commitments of the United States government... more

It's About Connectivity Not The Internet!

I've been trying to avoid writing about the Internet as such. With as "At the Edge" I'm looking at larger issues but can't escape writing more directly about the Internet. It seems as if everyone wants a say in Internet policy without distinguishing between technical and social issues. Today the term "The Internet" or, for many simply "Internet" is more of brand than a term for a specific technology and its implications. It has become too easy to talk about the Internet in lieu of understanding. We also see the converse -- a failure to recognize "Internet" issues. more

Refusing REFUSED

The U.S. Congress' road to Stopping Online Piracy (SOPA) and PROTECT IP (PIPA) has had some twists and turns due to technical constraints imposed by the basic design of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS). PIPA's (and SOPA's) provisions regarding advertising and payment networks appear to be well grounded in the law enforcement tradition called following the money, but other provisions having to do with regulating American Internet Service Providers (ISPs) so as to block DNS resolution for pirate or infringing web sites have been shown to be ineffectual, impractical, and sometimes unintelligible. more

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