ICANN

ICANN / Most Viewed

Is the Internet Dying?

There are indications that the Internet, at least the Internet as we know it today, is dying. I am always amazed, and appalled, when I fire up a packet monitor and watch the continuous flow of useless junk that arrives at my demarcation routers' interfaces. That background traffic has increased to the point where it makes noticeable lines on my MRTG graphs. And I have little reason for optimism that this increase will cease. Quite the contrary, I find more reason to be pessimistic and believe that this background noise will become a Niagara-like roar that drowns the usability of the Internet. And the net has very long memory... more

Adult-Related TLDs Considered Dangerous

In an RFC prepared by Donald E. Eastlake 3rd and Declan McCullagh, an analysis is offered for proposals to mandate the use of a special top level name or an IP address bit to flag "adult" or "unsafe" material or the like. This document explains why these ideas are ill considered from legal, philosophical, and technical points of view: "Besides technical impossibility, such a mandate would be an illegal forcing of speech in some jurisdictions, as well as cause severe linguistic problems for domain or other character string names." more

ICANN Uses For-Profit Companies as “Comparables” in Its Employee Compensation

According to page 123 of ICANN's annual report: "...Commitment to continued payment in the salary span of 50th to 75th percentile of for-profit market place of companies of a similar size and complexity to ICANN..." Note that the comparables have been "for-profit". This is obviously ridiculous, given the purported non-profit nature of ICANN, with its inherent job security... more

New Top-Level Domains and Software Implications

Many software applications rely on validation routines to check the validity of domain names. By validation, I mean here to test the string submitted by the user and see if it matches a pre-defined pattern. A typical example are web forms that need to validate e-mail addresses. This is by new means a new issue. It first appeared with the introduction of the .info Top-Level Domain (TLD). more

IDN and Homographs Spoofing

There is a published spoofing attack using homographs IDN. By using a Cyrillic SMALL LETTER A (U+430), Securnia is able to pretend to be http://www.paypal.com/. Actually this is well-documented in RFC 3490 under the Security Consideration: "To help prevent confusion between characters that are visually similar, it is suggested that implementations provide visual indications where a domain name contains multiple scripts. Such mechanisms can also be used to show when a name contains a mixture of simplified and traditional Chinese characters, or to distinguish zero and one from O and l..." more

Domain Name Registrar Allows Completely Blank WHOIS

In a very casual and low-key footnote over the weekend, ICANN announced it would be further bypassing the Affirmation of Commitments and ignoring the WHOIS Review Team Report. There will be no enhanced validation or verification of WHOIS because unidentified people citing unknown statistics have said it would be too expensive... As a topic which has burned untold hours of community debate and development, the vague minimalist statement dismisses every ounce of work put in by stakeholders. more

DNSSEC: Once More, With Feeling!

After looking at the state of DNSSEC in some detail a little over a year ago in 2006, I've been intending to come back to DNSSEC to see if anything has changed, for better or worse, in the intervening period... To recap, DNSSEC is an approach to adding some "security" into the DNS. The underlying motivation here is that the DNS represents a rather obvious gaping hole in the overall security picture of the Internet, although it is by no means the only rather significant vulnerability in the entire system. One of the more effective methods of a convert attack in this space is to attack at the level of the DNS by inserting fake responses in place of the actual DNS response. more

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

Breaking the Internet HOWTO

A number of people, notably Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, have been asking about how to Break The Internet. Since Mme Reding seems to have absolutely no prior experience in the Information Technology, Computing or Telecommunications industries, I have prepared this brief HOWTO. "1. Declare the creation of a new Root Zone. This is the easy bit - all you have to do is spout great volumes of hot air at a conference in Geneva, and then storm out in a huff when other people refuse to take you seriously. Then you get the PFY who services your photocopier to declare the creation of a new European Root Zone! Hooray!" more

The Closing Window: A Historical Analysis of Domain Tasting

I wrote this history and analysis of domain tasting for the ICANN Business Constituency membership. It's by no means perfect but I thought I'd share it with those who would like a bit more color on the subject. "Present day 'Domain Tasting' has its roots in 2001 and 2002 when a small group of ambitious domain registrants persuaded two registrars to allow them to register large blocks of domain names for the purpose of establishing which names garnered type-in traffic..." 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

New Mobile Domain Another Bad Idea

You may have seen a new proposal for a "mobile" top-level domain name for use by something called "mobile users" whatever they are. (The domain will not actually be named .mobile, rumours are they are hoping for a coveted one-letter TLD like .m "to make it easier to type on a mobile phone.) Centuries ago, as trademark law began its evolution, we learned one pretty strong rule about building rules for a name system for commerce, and even for non-commerce.
Nobody should be given ownership of generic terms. Nobody should have ownership rights in a generic word like "apple" -- not Apple Computer, not Apple Records, not the Washington State Apple Growers, not a man named John Apple. more

Rebooting Whois

As some readers probably know, I spend quite a bit of my time working on Internet policy related matters. Some of it may appear incredibly boring, but it matters. (If you really want me to explain why it matters I'd be happy to do so!) Since earlier this year I've been part of a small team of people drawn from the four corners of the globe and asked to re-examine "whois". more

How .MUSIC Will Go Mainstream and Benefit ICANN’s New gTLD Program

Since the launch of the New gTLD Program in 2012, it has become evident that new gTLD registries overestimated the demand for new Top-Level Domain name extensions. Furthermore, new gTLD registries did not anticipate the hurdles in raising awareness, not to mention creating adoption for new domains. Even the most pessimistic New gTLD Program critic did not expect such uninspiring results. It was a wake up call for many in the domain industry. The New gTLD Program currently lacks credibility. No new gTLD has yet to go mainstream and capture the world's imagination. more

Internationalizing the Internet

One topic does not appear to have a compellingly obvious localization solution in the multi-lingual world, and that is the Domain Name System (DNS). The subtle difference here is that the DNS is the glue that binds all users' language symbols together, and performing localized adaptations to suit local language use needs is not enough. What we need is a means to allow all of these language symbols to be used within the same system, or "internationalization". more