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Multistakeholderism Is Working: A Short Series of Articles

I was in a conversation with a close friend the other day, you know the kind where you have been friends for so long that you have endured each other experimenting with changed politics, evolving religion, and if you are unlucky, flirtations with multilevel marketing. We were discussing politics that day, which is not unusual given our ancient friendship and the recent change at the helm of the United States. more

Is ICANN Running a Racket?

On March 13, 2019, I published an article on CircleID, Portrait of a Single-Character Domain Name, that explored the proposed release and auction of o.com, a single-character .com domain name that was registered in 1993 and assigned to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) by Dr. Jon Postel. Although the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has since raised serious objections... more

Ending U.S. Government Amnesia About Its Legacy Internet Registries is in the Public Interest

On July 2, 2002, Damien Cave published an interview on Salon.com with John Gilmore, "original 'cypherpunk' and all-around Internet supergeek," titled "It's time for ICANN to go." In this wide-ranging interview, Gilmore -- an early employee of Sun Microsystems who also co-founded Cygnus Software (acquired by Red Hat) and was an early supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Internet Society (ISOC) -- offered blunt insight and eye-opening historical detail... more

Emergence, Rise and Fall of Surveillance Capitalism, Part 1: Emergence

One of the consequences of the Jan 6th events is a renewed attention towards Surveillance Capitalism as a key doctrine undermining democracy. This 2-part series of articles discusses the emergence, rise, and fall of Surveillance Capitalism under the premise that the better we understand the danger at the door, the better we are able to confront it. more

Why the Internet is Not Like a Railroad

When one person transmits the speech of another, we have had three legal models, which I would characterize as Magazine, Bookstore, and Railroad. The Magazine model makes the transmitting party a publisher who is entirely responsible for whatever the material says. The publisher selects and reviews all the material it published. If users contribute content such as letters to the editor, the publisher reviews them and decides which to publish. more

The Netizen’s Guide to Reboot the Root (Part I)

In the world of ICANN and Internet policy, complexity is manufactured to create an illusion that issues are impenetrably technical such that normal and everyday principles can't apply. This causes a pervasive and entrenched phenomenon of eyes that glaze over at the mere mention of the word "ICANN" -- including those of government regulators and other officials that might otherwise take more of an active interest. more

.com Is A Clear and Present Danger to Online Safety

"The Internet is the real world now." This assessment was offered by Protocol, a technology industry news site, following the very real violence on Capitol Hill during the counting of the electoral college votes that officially determines the next president of the United States. The media outlet went on to say that, "[t]he only difference is, you can do more things and reach more people online -- with truth and with lies -- than you can in the real world." more

NTIA Objects to Planned o.com Auction

According to media sources, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) wrote to Verisign last Friday, objecting to the company's plan to auction o.com to the highest bidder. The planned release for o.com - described by the Second Amendment to the .com Registry Agreement and intended as a pilot for the remaining reserved single-character .com names - involved an opaque consideration process that ignored community input and set aside hard-won trademark protections developed by stakeholders in order to maximize dollars earmarked for an unidentified cadre of non-profit organizations. more

Holding Trump Accountable Under Public International Law

Trump and his enablers are well known to disrespect if not disdain legal systems, including public international law. He has effectively abrogated every treaty instrument relating to international communications at the whim of a tweet. His behavior has dishonoured the USA in a way that will take years to remedy. Trump's actions to ban access to Android Operating System updates on Chinese products have significantly harmed cybersecurity worldwide. more

Is Booking.com a Generic Term?

A fundamental rule of trademarks is that they have to be distinctive, and that nobody can register a trademark on a generic term like "wine" or "plastic." In a case decided today by the U.S. Supreme Court, the court decided 8-1 that online travel agent Booking.com could register its domain name as a trademark. In this case, I think the majority got it wrong, and Justice Breyer's lone dissent is correct. more

Article 22 of the GDPR Should Not Preclude Contemplated Automation

There is an ongoing disagreement among various members and groups in the ICANN community regarding automation -- namely, whether and to what extent automation can be used to disclose registrant data in response to legitimate data disclosure requests. A major contributing factor to the complications around automation has been confusion about how to interpret and apply Article 22 of the GDPR. more

Surveillance Capitalist in Chief

Surveillance capitalism monetizes private data that it collects without consent of the individuals concerned, data to analyze and sell to advertisers and opinion-makers. There was always an intricate relationship between governments and surveillance capitalists. Governments have the duty to protect their citizens from the excesses of surveillance capitalism. On the other hand, governments use that data, and surveillance capitalism's services and techniques. more

Preserving ICANN’s Independence Through Bold Action – Not Inaction

This week, the ICANN Board will vote on whether to approve the transfer of control of the .ORG domain to a private equity firm called Ethos Capital. This is a weighty decision for ICANN, since in order to approve the sale, it will have to convince itself that this is the right choice in the face of tremendous and widespread opposition, including from those who will be most affected by the sale. more

Why Are Internet Security Standards Badly Deployed and What to Do About It?

In 2019 under the aegis of the Internet Governance Forum, a pilot project was conducted into the causes of and solutions for the, in general, slow deployment of internet security standards. Standards that on mass deployment make the Internet and all its users safer, indiscriminately, immediately... Recently the report 'Setting the standard. For a more Secure and Trustworthy Internet. The Identification of Pressure Points in Society to Speed up Internet Standards Deployment', was published on the IGF website. more

Technology Vendors Must Be Proactive in Dealing With COVID-19 Problems

Early action now on possible performance issues will "flatten the curve" of customer problems in the coming weeks and months. Here are three things technology and software vendors can do right now to get ahead of problems that may appear (if they are not already) with services such as development, implementation and support... Check your contracts to see whether there are any "material assumptions" that have failed or will fail - perhaps because of some governmental action or unavailability of personnel... more