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Let's face it. The suppression of free speech is happening all over the Internet. Examples range from fanatics shouting down "unbelievers" in chatrooms to governments silencing voices to rig elections. We are equally convinced that freedom of speech as a principle should be generally upheld in cyberspace. This principle is strong where freedom and democracy are strong. It shines bright for those in search of freedom and democracy. Well, folks, think again. A recent experience has made me think otherwise. more

Visit of US House Speaker Pelosi to Taiwan Has Little Impact on Network Infrastructures

I'm writing this from Taipei, where I have lived in peace for over 10 years. Sadly I learned that during this week, intermediate-range ballistic missiles (operated by China) have flown far above the capital of Taiwan and that five of them have landed in the waters of Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This provocative live-firing drill came as a direct response from China following Pelosi's visit. more

The EARN IT Act: The Wrong Solution to a Complex Problem

The EARN IT Act was reintroduced into Congress last Monday, with the promise that it would end Internet platforms' "blanket immunity" for "tens of millions of photos and videos" of child sexual abuse that they allow to circulate online. With the bill already scheduled for hearing in committee, it's on track to be passed quickly. And why shouldn't it be, if its sponsors' claims about it are true? Perhaps because they're not true. more

The Term Web3 Has Been Seized by the Crypto Market: An Internet Governance Perspective

In late 2021, the term Web3 began to increasingly appear in mainstream media outlets. This does not refer, however, to a sudden increase in interest in the Semantic Web as defined by Tim Berners-Lee, but rather to something entirely different. Enthusiasts of cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) seized this term and changed its meaning to reflect a supposed new stage of the Web, running on top of blockchains and having decentralization as its core value. To summarize the narrative being spun, the first generation of the Web afforded independence to the owners of websites, but this did not extend to the average user... more

We Must Keep Track of How Countries Will Confront Cybercrime in a New UN Convention

As a designated committee of experts prepares to draft a new treaty to combat the use of information and communications technologies in cybercrime at the UN in January 2022, it is paramount that other stakeholders oversee these discussions to avoid violating human rights on the Internet. This initiative was kickstarted by a 2019 resolution led by Russia and endorsed by other countries considered by many to behavior controversially on cybersecurity matters, such as China, Venezuela, Cambodia, North Korea, and others. more

Content Blocking at the DNS Level in Germany

For those who follow the issue of blocking illegal content from the Internet, there is an interesting development in relation to this issue here in Germany, and I will tell you a little about it. One way to make it difficult to access illegal content is to block it directly in the DNS. But what is DNS for? Basically, it serves to translate the domain name into the IP of the server that is hosting the content. By blocking directly at the DNS level, a query to a domain will no longer bring the server's IP number, and with that, the user no longer accesses that content. more

Regulating Big Tech. This Time, for Sure!

United States President Biden has recently commented: “But let me be very clear: Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism; it’s exploitation. Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want. […] So, we know we’ve got a problem – a major problem.” It’s not every day you hear the President of the United States take on the very industry that supported his national economy remaining the world’s richest over the past couple of decades. Yet his tone resonates with a growing unease within the US... more

The Long-Run Effect of Cuba’s Recent Internet-Augmented Protests

It’s now more than 6 weeks since the Cuban political protests and accompanying Internet service disruption. Will they lead to a long-run change in the Cuban Internet or the Cuban political situation? Let’s start with the Cuban Internet. Many of the Internet changes during the protests have disappeared. Total daily traffic, the ratios of mobile to fixed traffic, and human to automated posts, and the proportion of blocked Signal sessions are about what they were before the protests. more

The Cuban Internet in the Aftermath of the Anti-Government Protests

In an earlier post, I looked at the use of the Internet by anti-government protesters last month and the government's attempt to block them. Now, a few weeks later, let's see how the Internet changed after my July 18 post. The protesters used messaging and social media services, which the government tried to block, and posted images and videos of protests around the island. more

Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance Is Captured and Presumed Dead

Technical management of the Internet was delegated to ICANN by the U.S. government because it was believed that the private sector would be more agile and responsive to the needs of globally distributed stakeholders. However, this optimism and the faith it has produced has proven to be misplaced since ICANN's multi-stakeholder governance continues falling far short of the basic expectations set when it was created. more

The State of the Internet During the Anti-Government Protests in Cuba

On Sunday, July 11, thousands of Cubans, took to the streets in anti-government protests triggered by COVID, the faltering economy, and an overwhelmed healthcare system. In three days, 110 protests took place across the island. The following is a snapshot of an interactive, crowd-sourced map showing the locations of 118 large and small demonstrations (94 reported on the 11th, 14 on the 12th, seven on the 13th and three on the 17th). more

Leaked Documents Reveal Xi Jinping’s Communist Chinese Plan to Control the Internet’s Root

Yesterday, The Epoch Times reported on leaked internal Chinese government documents revealing that premier Xi Jinping has "personally directed the communist regime to focus its efforts to control the global Internet, displacing the influential role of the United States." Xi's ultimate aim is for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to wield "discourse power" over communications and discussions on the global geopolitical stage by controlling content on the Internet. 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

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

The Internet Isn’t Privatized Until .com Is Put Out for Bid

Previously, this series tackled the terribly awful Amendment 35 to the NTIA-Verisign cooperative agreement and also made the case that the tainted presumptive renewal currently included in registry agreements is inherently anti-competitive. But renewing legitimacy and integrity of Internet governance requires accurately understanding the unique and significant role retained by the U.S. government following the IANA transition. more

News Briefs

CENTR Has Released an Animated Video on ccTLDs and Their Technical Role Concerning Content

Russia Says It Has Successfully Tested a Country-Wide Alternative to the Global Internet

Iran Almost Completely Shuts Off Internet Access Across the Country Amid Protests Over Fuel Prices

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

URS Is a Bad Fit for .ORG, Says EFF

Other Countries Beginning to Adopt China’s Unique Approach to an Isolated Internet Structure

Domestic Internet of Russia, Iran Far Deeper Kind of Fragmentation, More Physical Than Seen Before

Vladimir Putin Signs ‘Sovereign Internet’ Law to Further Tighten Government Control of the Internet

Indian Government Proposes Vast New Powers to Suppress Internet Content

Internet Will Split Into Chinese-Led and US-Led Versions Within the Next Decade, Says Eric Schmidt

“Seven Dirty Words” Restriction Policy Lifted from .US Domain Name Registrations

EU Authorities to Give Internet Companies 1 Hour to Take Down Extremist Content or Face Hefty Fines

Protests in Iraq Lead to a Two-Day Internet Shutdown by the Government

Russia Wipes Out Over 17 Million IP Addresses In Efforts to Block Telegram

Google Ends Domain-Fronting Feature Used by Censorship Tools

EFF Warns ICANN Not to Engage in Censorship, Says It Should Stick to Technical Role

Civil Society Groups Call for Deletion of Internet Filtering Provision in EU Copyright Proposal

China Blocks WhatsApp, Says Messaging Service Should Stop Spread of “Illegal Information”

EU Presidency Pushing Other Member States for Substantial Internet Surveillance

China Continues VPN Crackdown, Targets Alibaba and Other Ecommerce Sites

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