Privacy

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Help! This is Not an Emergency

I like the drift of the Pulver/Evslin proposal on emergency communications, and wish there was as vigorous a debate going on over here. I just hope we in the UK aren't jerked out of complacency by some major disaster -- although widespread use of pre-paid cellular means the problem of sunken landlines isn't as acute. Yet I can't help but wonder why the poor public has to wait for a disaster before they're given partial control over how their number maps to different destinations and services. Why can't I get a voicemail service from someone other than my connectivity provider? Why is ENUM hostage to the telcos, whose interest lies in ensuring that new services can only come from them? more

Examining Two Well-Known Attacks on VoIP

VoIP is here to stay. In fact many incumbent telecommunication carriers have started offering VoIP service for sometime and several new VoIP service providers have emerged. Aside from issues such as quality of service, the aspect of security, or lack thereof, is misunderstood by some of the VoIP service providers. This purpose of this article is to discuss two of the most well known attacks that can be carried out in current VoIP deployments. more

ENUM: Mapping the E.164 Number Space into the DNS

Many communications networks are constructed for a single form of communication, and are ill suited to being used for any other form. Although the Internet is also a specialized network in terms of supporting digital communications, its relatively unique flexibility lies in its ability to digitally encode a very diverse set of communications formats, and then support their interaction over the Internet. In this way many communications networks can be mapped into an Internet application and in so doing become just another distributed application overlayed on the Internet. From this admittedly Internet-centric perspective, voice is just another Internet application. And for the growing population of Voice over IP (VoIP) users, this is indeed the case... more

Telecom Policy Review Panel Calls For Net Neutrality Legal Safeguards

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel report [Canada] was released yesterday and while the immediate reaction will no doubt focus on the recommendations for a market-oriented approach with significant changes to the CRTC, I would call attention to three other recommendations gleaned from reading the executive summary (the full document is nearly 400 pages). more

Examining the Reality of Convergence

If there is one word in the telecommunications that has suffered from over-abuse for many years now, it's convergence. The term has been liberally applied to each successive generation of communications technology for their supposed ability to solve a myriad of service delivery problems within a single unifying converged carriage and service delivery solution. Unfortunately, the underlying reality has always been markedly different from these wondrous promises, and we continue to see an industry that deploys a plethora of service delivery platforms and an equally diverse collection of associated switching and service delivery technologies. One can't help but wonder at the collective gullibility of an industry that continues to herald the convergent attributes of each new generation of communications technology, while at the same time being forced to admit that previous convergent promises have never been realized. more

The FTC Authentication Summit

The Federal Trade Commission and NIST had a two-day Authentication Summit on Nov 9-10 in Washington DC. When they published their report explaining their decision not to create a National Do Not Email Registry, the FTC identified lack of e-mail authentication as one of the reasons that it wouldn't work, and the authentication summit was part of their process to get some sort of authentication going. At the time the summit was scheduled, the IETF MARID group was still active and most people expected it to endorse Microsoft's Sender-ID in some form, so the summit would have been mostly about Sender-ID. Since MARID didn't do that, the summit had a broader and more interesting agenda. more

EFF Files Brief in Support of Email Privacy

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in a case that could have a profound effect on the privacy of Internet communications. The brief argues that the decision in US v. Councilman, soon to be reheard by the full First Circuit, should be overturned. more

An Analysis of Microsoft’s MARID Patent Applications

The IETF MARID working group has been slogging away all summer trying to produce a draft standard about e-mail sender verification. They started with Meng Wong's SPF and Microsoft's Caller ID for E-mail, which got stirred together into a hybrid called Sender ID. One of the issues hanging over the MARID process has been Microsoft's Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Caller ID and Sender ID. The IETF has a process described in RFC 3668 that requires contributors to disclose IPR claims related to their contributions. more

NCUC Group Releases Nominations

The Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC) is the constituency group representing civil society organizations in the formation of domain name policy. In August 2004 it initiated a process to nominate people to serve on the UN Secretary-General's Working Group on Internet Governance, as representatives of civil society. Our purpose was to assist the Secretary-General to identify qualified and widely-supported individuals capable of serving on the WGIG on behalf of civil society. more

As WGIG forms, Ideas about Defining its Scope Circulate

The Internet Governance Project (IGP) issued a set of reports analyzing the current "state of play" in Internet governance. The reports were commissioned by the United Nations ICT Task Force as an input into the deliberations of the UN Secretary-General's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). The report identifies the international organizations and agreements affecting the Internet, and points out where there are conflicts and gaps. more

A Closer Look at the Katie.com Domain Name Controversy

Every time an individual logs on to the Internet a pornographer is able to copy the stream of digital bits created by the computer user's Internet connection. The data bits are used to compile a database of information about Internet user buying habits and sexual tastes. These pornographers use the information secretly collected from logged in computers to alter the category or type of pornographic images uploaded onto various websites. Pornographers, for example, know that as a result the pornography in Cyberspace is of an extremely disturbing sort when compared to porn found in "real-space." Internet users are primarily known fans of sexual images of incest, bestiality, and torture. Cyber porn -- as it is often called -- is bigger, badder, and more extreme.  more

Internet Governance and Diplomacy

Developments in modern international relations have shown that traditional diplomacy is not capable of sufficiently addressing complex new issues, for example, the environment, health protection, and trade. Governance of the Information Society and the Internet is probably one of the most complex international issues facing diplomacy today. Issues surrounding the Information Society require a multi-disciplinary approach (the various concerns include technology, economy, impact on society, regulatory and legal issues, governance and more); a multi-stakeholder approach (various actors are involved, including states, international organizations, civil society, private sector, and others) and a multi-level approach (decision-making must take place on different levels: local, national, regional and global). Diplo has developed a research methodology which takes all of these approaches into account. Post includes illustration from Diplo Calendar 2004. more

Why Does A Technical Manager Function As A Regulator?

Unlike ICANN, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) responded graciously, promptly and substantively to inquiries from the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) regarding governance of the internet. CRE sent a letter to NTIA in mid-March asking about public access to documents prepared by ICANN under Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NTIA. NTIA provided a quick and clear response to CRE's questions. NTIA also reiterated its commitment to achieving transparency and accountability in ICANN's processes. NTIA's response to CRE, although clear and comprehensive, raised a number of important questions about ICANN and their governance of the internet. more

Email, Privacy, and Engagement

After they finished the tenth installment of their enormous multi-volume history, The Story of Civilization, Will and Ariel Durant wrote a set of thirteen essays entitled The Lessons of History. I happened to pick up this volume yesterday; it's both slim and sweeping. The Durants loved history, and wanted to show their readership what waves and tensions and trends they perceived. It's not a great book, but it's an undeniably forceful one. One essay discusses the essential moral characteristics of individuals, listing six traits and providing "positive" and "negative" descriptions of ways in which people act. more

Survey of Global Internet Jurisdiction

The American Bar Association/International Chamber of Commerce (ABA/ICC) recently released a survey on global Internet jurisdiction. The survey, co-chaired by Professor Michael Geist, involved nearly 300 companies in 45 different countries. It found that U.S. companies were far more concerned and pessimistic about Internet jurisdiction risk than European and Asian companies. The study has also found that an "Internet jurisdiction risk toolkit" is emerging where companies target low risk jurisdictions and take steps to avoid doing business in perceived high risk jurisdictions. more