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A Closer Look at the Katie.com Domain Name Controversy

Every time an individual logs on to the Internet a pornographer is able to copy the stream of digital bits created by the computer user's Internet connection. The data bits are used to compile a database of information about Internet user buying habits and sexual tastes. These pornographers use the information secretly collected from logged in computers to alter the category or type of pornographic images uploaded onto various websites. Pornographers, for example, know that as a result the pornography in Cyberspace is of an extremely disturbing sort when compared to porn found in "real-space." Internet users are primarily known fans of sexual images of incest, bestiality, and torture. Cyber porn -- as it is often called -- is bigger, badder, and more extreme.  more

Averting the Internet Meltdown

A call to action went out: a small, California-based organization called People for Internet Responsibility (PFIR) posted an announcement for an urgent conference - "Preventing the Internet Meltdown." The meltdown that PFIR envisioned was not an impending technical malfunction or enemy attack. Instead, conference organizers foresaw "risks of imminent disruption" to the Internet that would come from an unlikely sector: government officials and bureaucrats working on the unglamorous-sounding problems of Internet Governance. more

Open Ends: Civil Society and Internet Governance - Part II

This is the second part of a three-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Jeanette Hofmann, policy expert from Germany, where she talks about her experiences as a member of the ICANN's Nominating Committee and her current involvement as a civil society member of the German delegation for the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS). "So much in the current debates over global governance seems to go back to the issue what place governments and individual nation states have within global governance. What has been your ICANN experience? Ideally, what would be the place of the state? Do you believe in a federal structure? Should, for instance, bigger countries, in terms of its population, have a great say?..." more

Open Ends: Civil Society and Internet Governance - Part I

This is the first part of a three-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Jeanette Hofmann, policy expert from Germany, where she talks about her experiences as a member of the ICANN's Nominating Committee and her current involvement as a civil society member of the German delegation for the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS). "You recently published a paper (in German) called 'The Short Dream of Democracy on the Net.' Your conclusion is a rather sombering one. How would you describe the current situation related to ICANN? You state that nothing has been learned from the failed At-Large Membership experiment. Would you even go that far and see a backlash happening right now?..." more

Personal Names, Politics and Cybersquatting

Thinking about the www.kerryedwards.com auction reminds one of the uneasy relationship between personal names, politics and cybersquatting. When reporters learned that the domain name was taken by Kerry Edwards, the Indiana bail bondsman, at least some headlines were quick to brand Mr. Edwards' conduct as cybersquatting. The Chicago Sun-Times, for example, ran the headline "Kerry Edwards is the Name, Cybersquatting is the Game." Mr. Edwards, of course, had registered his own name as a domain name long before Kerry picked Edwards as a running mate. 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

Spam and the Introduction Problem

IBM researcher Nathaniel Borenstein has commented that everyone agrees that spam is bad, and that's a huge impediment to doing anything about it. Having decided that spam is bad, it's tempting to divide the spam problem into smaller problems and try to solve the smaller problems, then put the solutions to the subproblems together and, voila, no more spam. That would be fine if the combined subproblems were truly equivalent to the spam problem, but that's rarely the case. more

KerryEdwards.com Buyers Get Second Chance

The widely publicized auction of the domain name KerryEdwards.com ended Saturday night, but the search for a new owner continues. According to Matt Bentley, CEO of Sedo.com, the domain name brokerage managing the sale, a key bidder withdrew at a late stage in the auction, leaving the domain up for grabs among the dozen or so parties who had expressed a serious interest in purchasing the domain. more

Interview with United Nations Head Secretariat of WGIG

Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator, Secretariat of the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance, is a career diplomat, who has served as eEnvoy of the Swiss Foreign Ministry in Bern since April 2002. His main tasks include foreign policy coordination in the area of information and communication technologies, in general, and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in particular. He chaired the negotiating group that developed an agreed text on Internet governance for the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action in December 2003... Mr Kummer says: "The time-frame is very short indeed. And the task ahead of us is daunting." more

What the ITU WSIS Spam Meeting Accomplished

The first week in July I went to an acronym-heavy World Symposium on the Internet Society Thematic Meeting on spam in Geneva. A few people have reported this as a meeting by "the UN", which it wasn't. Although the International Telecommunications Union is now part of the UN, it dates back to an 1865 treaty to manage international telegraph communication... more

Sender Address Verification: Solving the Spam Crisis

There are many companies in the spam-fighting business and most, if not all, claim to be hugely successful. Yet spam is exponentially more prevalent today than it was just 2 years ago. How can one conclude that today's anti spam solutions are working? This year spammers will use machine-generated programs to send trillions of unsolicited email. Thankfully, a new anti-spam technology has made its way into the market. more

The Site Finder Reprise

I have been attending the Icann conference in Malaysia this week. One of the key events was the submission of the report from the Security & Stability Advisory Committee regarding Site Finder. In reading the committee's report I discovered what I believe is an incredible breakdown in logic and as a consequence, a very mistaken, or at least confused, set of conclusions. So, why do I say that? more

CreditCards.com Domain Name Sells for $2.75 Million

"CreditCards.com, the domain name, has been purchased for $2.75 million by ClickSuccess, L.P., an Austin, Texas-based firm specializing in marketing financial products online. The purchase, announced yesterday (July 20, 2004), represents the fifth highest selling price for a domain name on record." I have to admit, when I looked at those opening lines from a new press release today I started trying to find out who was behind the joke!  more

ICANN Starts IPv6 Ball Rolling

IPv6 took a significant step forward this week with ICANN's decision to officially add the next generation protocol to its root server systems. The shift to IPv6 is perhaps the largest and most significant change to the structure of the Internet in decades - ICANN's move a signal that the revolution has officially begun. more

10 Reasons Why Involving Government in Spam Control is a Bad Idea

1. Many jurisdictions already have laws which cover abuse of computer systems and networks -- and spam is of course abuse. These laws are only sporadically enforced, however, usually when a sufficiently visible/powerful entity is the aggrieved party. Adding more laws (a) is redundant and (b) does not increase enforcement. 2. Laws are only enforced as law enforcement has resources available. Spam/abuse is not a high priority unless a sufficiently visible/powerful entity makes it so, and those cases are rare. more

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