Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Featured Blogs

Toward an ITU Renaissance

For nearly fifty years now, a significant portion of my professional engineering and lawyering life has been threaded through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It has included all of its multiple sectors, working on the inside for two Secretary-Generals and running its Relations between Members and Regulations Division, writing two books including "The ITU in a Changing World" with the late George Codding, representing the U.S. at several conferences... more

Why Facebook Is Not a Common Carrier

The ever-entertaining Fifth Circuit has recently upheld a strange Texas law that forbids most kinds of social media moderation. (Techdirt explains many of the reasons the court is wrong, so I won't try.) This brings us to the trendy question of whether Facebook, Twitter, et al. should be treated as common carriers. You can make a good argument to separate the point-to-point data transport from the ISP and make the former common carriage. more

Your Choice

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

How to Restore Trust Into Cyberspace? Beer Has the Answer!

Let's face it, when it comes to digital technologies, fundamental human rights are not on top of the digital agenda. They seem irrelevant and remote, even an obstacle to digital innovation and opportunities. We are quick to pay lip service to them, but we permit the profit motive and stakeholder self-interests to override human rights principles. It does not matter how right and righteous the cause might be; to be implemented, it must be profitable or carry stakeholder benefits. more

From “Network Neutrality” to “Sender Pays”, the Principles Remain Much the Same

The entire set of issues of network neutrality, interconnection and settlements, termination monopolies, cost allocation and infrastructure investment economics is back with us again. This time it's not under the banner of "Network Neutrality" but under a more directly confronting title of "Sender Pays." The principle is much the same: network providers want to charge both their customers and the content providers to carry content to users. more

WHOIS Disclosure Questions

In 2020, the ICANN Generic Name Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council approved a plan to revamp the WHOIS system as per the recommendations given by the ICANN Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP). This plan directed ICANN to develop a centralized System for Standardized Access/Disclosure (SSAD) for WHOIS records. After much debate regarding the suitability and cost of such a system, ICANN brought together a group... more

Regulation of Algorithmic Regulation Begins

A Chinese law that went into effect six months ago required online service providers to file details of the algorithms they use with China's centralized regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). In mid-August, CAC released a list of 30 algorithms used by companies such as Alibaba, TenCent and Douyin, the Chinese version of Tiktok, with a brief description of their purpose. more

Amplifying the Internet Governance Forum: Will the New IGF Leadership Panel Make the Difference?

On August 16, 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres nominated ten high-level and eminent persons to serve in a new IGF Leadership Panel (ILP). The ILP includes luminaries like Vint Cerf, the father of the Internet, Tomas Hendrik Ilves, the former president of Estonia, and Maria Ressa, the Philippine woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. It is an interesting mix of "usual suspects" and "fresh blood." more

The Latest OEWG on ICTs Report: Thoughts and Recommendations

At the end of July, the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on ICTs -- which is currently discussing how states should and shouldn't behave in cyberspace - concluded its third meeting, which falls in the middle of its four-year mandate (ending in 2025). Below, we provide a summary of what happened, reflections on the outcomes and implications (the good and the bad), and some practical recommendations for stakeholders and governments to consider ahead of the next meeting. more

FCC Nixes Starlink and LTD Broadband

On August 10, the FCC issued a press release denying the long-form applications of Starlink and LTD Broadband in the RDOF reverse auction. This is big news because these are two of the biggest winners of the reverse auction. LTD Broadband was the largest winner of the auctions at $1.32 billion, while Starlink had claimed over $885 million in the auction. more