Privacy

Privacy / Featured Blogs

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

TLD for Online Communities and Social Networking?

A company called PW Registry Corporation makes the following announcement regarding the .PW ccTLD originally designated for the country of Palau: "The PW Registry Corporation announced today plans for the activation of the PW top- level domain (TLD), the Internet's first and only domain extension devoted to "Communities of Shared Interests". Unlike other domain extensions, such as .com, .biz, and .info, PW is aimed at providing individuals and consumer/affinity organizations a highly-personalized, permanent and portable e-mail address and a managed platform for community and social networking." more

Report on Reaction to FOISA

On February 4, 2004, United States Congress held a hearing on a new proposed bill called the Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act (FOISA). This bill will increase prison sentences by up to seven years in criminal cases if a domain owner provides "material and misleading false contact information to a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority." What follows is a collection of commentaries made in response to this proposed bill. more

Why FOISA Should Never Become Law

In a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal, I noticed an underreported story about an embarrassing glitch that occurred involving the "washpost.com" domain name, which is used by the Washington Post Newspaper Company. Apparently, recently, the domain name stopped working -- no domain name services. This disrupted the flow and access of e-mail at the Washington Post as well as the operations of the washpost.com website.  more

Using Whois to Enforce Law?

Before starting I'd like to remind you that there are two distinct Whois systems -- the one for IP address delegations and one for DNS registrations. I believe that the former is a useful system in which there are clear utility values that outweigh the privacy costs, and in which the person whose privacy is exposed has made a knowing choice. I do not believe that these arguments apply to the latter, the DNS, form of Whois. more

Privacy Alert: Watch Out For FOISA

This morning, at 10 am in 2141 Rayburn, the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property is holding a hearing on "Internet Domain Name Fraud -- New Criminal and Civil Enforcement Tools." At that hearing, the Subcommittee will be considering a new Whois bill creating new penalties for people who provide false data when registering a domain name. We need to raise our collective eyebrows at this bill (which was suddenly dropped the evening before this hearing). The title of the bill is the "Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act." (FOISA) more

Why NAT Isn’t As Bad As You Thought

Please do sit down. Should the shock cause you to suddenly lose consciousness, I hereby disclaim all responsibility for any subsequent loss or injury. I'm about to defend the anthrax of the Internet: NAT. Network Address Translation is a hack to enable private IP addresses on one side of a router (inside your network) to talk to public IP addresses on the other side (on the Internet, outside your network). It really doesn't matter how it works. The consequence is that unless the router is specifically configured, outsiders can't get in uninvited. So those on the inside can't, by default, act as servers of any service to the outside world. more

ICANN on Closing Off Port 43

ICANN has launched three task forces on WHOIS restructuring...It sounds innocuous enough -- nobody likes spam -- but the restrictions being discussed reach further than marketers. Pushed by registrars who feel that WHOIS amounts to forced disclosure of their customer lists, the task force is seriously discussing closing off port 43's straightforward access to WHOIS information, replacing it with GIF-based barriers or similar access restrictions. more

Nations at WSIS Better Off with an ICANN-Like Structure

There is much talk currently about the WSIS meeting taking place in Geneva this week which means some needed attention is being paid to Internet governance. While some may view the term "Internet governance" as an oxymoron and my natural reaction is something along the lines of "I hope that they continue to view regulation as too complicated so that we Internet-folks can just keep doing what we are doing" I confess to knowing deep down that we would all be better off with a simple, effective policy framework than with the current anarchic state. more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part II

This is the second part of a two-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Milton Mueller discussing ICANN, World Summit on the Information Society, and the escalating debates over Internet Governance. Read the first part of this Interview here. Geert Lovink: "Confronted with Internet governance many cyber activists find themselves in a catch 22 situation. On the one hand they do not trust government bureaucrats to run the Internet, out of a justified fear that regulation through multilateral negotiations might lead to censorship and stifle innovation. On the other hand they criticize the corporate agendas of the engineering class that is anything but representative. What models should activists propose in the light of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)? There seems to be no way back to a nation state 'federalist' solution. Should they buy into the 'global civil society' solution?" more