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Can ICANN Meet The Needs Of “Less Developed” Countries?

On World Telecommunications Day last Saturday, the question of the digital divide?the difference between the so-called "developed" and "less developed" countries in terms of the availability and use of new information and communications technologies, particularly regarding access and use of the Internet?was one of the main topics of debate. However, less is understood about the growing knowledge and participation divide between "developed" and "undeveloped" countries on decisions regarding the global structure of the Internet that is currently under the mandate of the Internet Corporation for the Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)... more

Rolling Out The New .Pro Domain

Professionals can extend their online identities and direct traffic using .pro - the last of seven new top-level domain names approved by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Individuals and entities in the accounting, legal and medical professions became eligible to apply to defensively register as of April 23, 2003. In July, .pro domain names will go live. more

If It Walks Like A Duck And Quacks Like A Duck It’s Probably A…?

It is time to revisit the old question regarding whether or not a domain name is actually 'property' and what this means to domain name registrants, registrations, ISPs and ICANN itself. What type of rights does a domain name confer? What responsibilities will the act of registering domain names suddenly bestow? more

Internet Governance: There Are No Masterplans

Please pardon me if I start this story by telling about an incident that happened to me at the Madrid airport while flying to the ICANN meetings in Rio.

It was about midnight when, after flying in from Turin, my hometown, I had to go through the passport control to reach my gate for the flight to Rio. The war between the US/UK and Iraq had started two days before, and even if the Spanish government was among its supporters, security checks were apparently proceeding as usual. Passport controls inside the EU for EU citizens usually take a few seconds, and the line ahead of me was proceeding quickly. more

Brownian Motion And ICANN’s Latest Status Report To The United States

Brownian motion is the ceaseless random movement of particles suspended in a warm fluid. The particles move because they are buffeted by random collisions with molecules and atoms speeding this way and that under the impetus of heat. The greater the heat, the greater the motion. But no matter how much motion and how much heat, Brownian motion brings no progress.

Today I learned from Bret Fausett's ICANN Blog that ICANN has just published its Sixth Status Report Under ICANN/US Government Memorandum of Understanding, dated March 31, 2003. This report is subtitled "Report by ICANN to United States Department of Commerce Re: Progress Toward Objectives of Memorandum of Understanding" (emphasis added.) more

With No Privacy Standards Who Knows Who Is Abusing The Whois Database

John Banks is a loan officer in New York. John's supervisor recently warned John about the potential number of bad loans he may be carrying as part of his portfolio. To dump some of the bad loans he might be carrying, John came up with a scheme. He pointed his web browser to www.whois.org and entered terms denoting disease or poor health such as 'cancer' and 'illness'. This query on the Internet's WHOIS database reported results of names and addresses of domain name owners who had developed websites devoted to providing information on certain serious illnesses. John compared these names and addresses with those in his portfolio of loans. For the matches, he canceled the loans and required immediate payment-in-full. more

Time For ICANN/IANA To Squarely Face The Question Of Privacy

Various people whose judgment I value [M. Mueller, B. Fausett] have suggested that ICANN/IANA may finally get to the issue of privacy.

The ICANN Board is establishing a "President's Standing Committee on Privacy" (why the committee is possessed by ICANN's "president" and not the Board is something we can deal with at another time and another place.)

Privacy is a hard question. It is a matter that pervades all aspects of information handling. It would be entirely inappropriate, and ultimately futile, to try to deal with privacy as an after-the-fact adjustment to the existing DNS Whois system. It is necessary to examine the most fundamental questions -- such as what reasons, if any, justify there being a Whois database at all. more

In Defense Of Face To Face

I recently caused a stir in a small but passionate community. I was speaking about a topic I've discussed many times before: the need for more effective public input into the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit corporation that controls the Internet's protocols, addresses and domain name system. "We want public input into ICANN," I had said at a conference at Oxford University. Then, I referred to ICANN's new At-Large Advisory Committee, set up to foster public input and on which I sit: "We've got a mechanism where (the public) can have a seat on the task forces, liaisons to working groups, be part of the policy making process -- I see that in many ways as more important than having a seat on the board." more

Why ICANN Needs Fresh Blood: A Deeper View

I grew up in a utopian community in India.

I make this statement -- which may seem at best tangential to an article on the DNS -- at the outset because it suggests that I know something about ideology and ideologically charged debates.

Like the town where I grew up, the Internet was the product of dreamers, people who believed in the possibility of surmounting reality. In Code, Lessig compared early Internet euphoria to the euphoria that met the downfall of communism. He could just as well have compared it to the utopianism that accompanied the birth of communism. The point is that Internet pioneers were inspired by ideology, by a fervor to change the world. more

A Sustainable Framework For The Deployment Of New gTLDs - Part II

Part I of this article explored some of the current thinking and direction that key policy-makers seem to be headed with the creation of new gTLDS. This part focuses on a new alternative plan for the ongoing deployment of new gTLDs.

ICANN is likely to see many proposals over the coming weeks that attempt to deal with the thorny issue of how to rollout new gTLDs. Any plan that deals with the rollout of new generic top-level domain names must ensure that the expansion of the namespace does not disrupt the existing infrastructure and services. more