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The Standards Paywalls Fall: Everyone Benefits

Yesterday -- in a unanimous decision of the US Federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit (CADC) in ASTM v. Public.Resource.Org --- some of the worst standards paywalls came tumbling down. The court definitively determined that where governmental authorities incorporate private organisation technical standards into law by reference, non-commercial dissemination of those standards "constitutes fair use and cannot support liability for copyright infringement." more

The Internet Archive Hops Out of the Copyright Frying Pan Into a New and Different Fire

In 2020 a group of book publishers sued the Internet Archive over their Controlled Digital Lending program, which made PDF scans of books and lent them out from the Archive's website. For books still in copyright, the Archive usually limited the number of copies of a book lent to the number of physical copies of the book they had in storage. Several publishers sued with an argument that can be summarized as "that's not how it works." more

On Internet Centrality and Fragmentation

I attended a workshop on the topic of Internet Fragmentation in July. The workshop was attended by a small collection of Australian public policy folk, some industry representatives, folk from various cyber-related bodies, and those with a background in Internet Governance matters. It was a short meeting, so the perils of fragmentation were not discussed at length, as they often can be, but the concerns about the breakup of the essential bonds that keep the Internet together were certainly palpable in that meeting. more

The ‘Millennium Problems’ in Brand Protection

As the brand protection industry approaches a quarter of a century in age, following the founding of pioneers Envisional and MarkMonitor in 1999, I present an overview of some of the main outstanding issues which are frequently unaddressed or are generally only partially solved by brand protection service providers. I term these the 'Millennium Problems' in reference to the set of unsolved mathematical problems published in 2000 by the Clay Mathematics Institute, and for which significant prizes were offered for solutions. more

Can Large Language Models Use the Contents of Your Website?

Large Language Models (LLM) like GPT -- 4 and its front-end ChatGPT work by ingesting gigantic amounts of text from the Internet to train the model and then responding to prompts with text generated from those models. Depending on who you ask, this is either one step (or maybe no steps) from Artificial General Intelligence, or as Ted Chiang wrote in the New Yorker, ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web. more

An Extortionists Fire Sale of TikTok to a US Company Would Be Un-American and Futile

In the latest twist of the US-China spat, President Trump has his sights on TikTok, the short-form video-sharing platform and ByteDance subsidiary. On July 31, President Trump threatened to ban TikTok because it was a threat to US national security. On August 6, he made good on his threat when he signed an Executive Order to that effect. President Trump tightened the screws with an August 14 Executive Order requiring ByteDance to divest its assets in the US and destroy any TikTok data on its US users within 90 days. more

We Can Have Forever URLs

A Forever URL is one that never expires. You own it and needn't worry about forgetting to renew it. The term itself is inspired by the US Forever Stamps, which you can use even if the postal rate goes up. This article looks at the underlying mechanisms for linking such information and is aimed at a technical audience. The DNS isn't just about websites; it is fundamental to how we connect endpoints, be they websites, devices, documents etc. more

Spam Filtering and Social Media Moderation Are the Same Thing

CDA Section 230 has been called "The 26 Words that Created the Internet". While it is obvious how Sec 230 protects the World Wide Web, it is equally important for e-mail. A recent Pennsylvania court case emphasizes this point. Dr. Thomas, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, forwarded an article about another professor Dr. Monge to an online e-mail discussion list. Dr. Monge claimed the article was defamatory and sued Dr. Thomas, the university, and many others. more

Canadian International Pharmacy Association Calls for Ban of Online Sale of Opioids

The wide availability of dangerous and addictive drugs is ravaging society. Such devastation is bringing ever-increasing attention from legislators, regulators and from families who have lost loved ones. The Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) believes that the online marketing and sales of such products should be banned immediately. We call on governments, technology platforms, and the ICANN community to act quickly and bring an end to opioid sales online. more

Do You Know Someone Who Should Be in the Internet Hall of Fame? Nominations Now Open Until March 24

Do you know someone who deserves recognition for helping build the Internet in their region or country? Or someone who made the Internet more secure through the work they've done? Or someone who made some major technical innovation that made the Internet faster or better? more

Are We Facing the Splinternet?

One of the consequences of the war between Russia and Ukraine is that Russia has largely stopped participating in many large worldwide web applications. Russia has blocked Facebook and Twitter. Other applications like Apple, Microsoft, TikTok, Netflix, and others have withdrawn from Russia. The European Union is in the process of trying to block Russian-generated content, such as the state-owned news outlets of RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik. more

The Technical Problems of the UN’s Internet Governance Forum Will Not Simply Solve Themselves

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has, for several years, experienced technical problems that have nothing to do with the local staff or host countries of the event. In fact, the volunteers who were part of the local staff of its 17th edition, held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, were constantly overcompensating for issues with a great deal of goodwill.  more

The Short History of the Internet: From ARPANET to the Metaverse

Last Saturday marked the 53rd anniversary of the Internet. While the vast majority of its five billion users have been online for less than a decade, the Internet was taken into use on October 29th, 1969, when two computers connected to the ARPANET exchanged a message. Although the Internet has been around for a while, it remained below most people's radar until the late 1990s when the dot com boom started. 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

Cyberhygiene Requires Critical Thinking

At his farewell speech in August outgoing, Telstra CEO Andy Penn mentioned that the cyber threat has never been as serious as the present. He mentioned the deteriorating geopolitical situation and the big shift in how criminals operate in the cyber domain. One thing is for sure is that in order to enjoy all the positives resulting from the digital economy, we need to be far more vigilant about the barrage of information that we are receiving and/or have access to. more

News Briefs

Mozilla Launches Monitor Plus, A Comprehensive Privacy Service

NSA Admits Purchasing Americans’ Internet Browsing Data Without Warrants

France’s Proposed Web Blocking Law: A Threat to Internet Freedom, Warns Mozilla Foundation

Quantifying Internet Shutdowns: ISOC Introduces the NetLoss Calculator

Celebrating 30 Years Since the World Wide Web Was Released to the Public

Government of India, MeitY Organizes 2-Day Event to Promote Universal Acceptance and Multilingual Internet

Europol Warns on the Criminal Usage of ChatGPT and Its Implications for Law Enforcement

Gordon E. Moore, Co-Founder of Intel and Father of Moore’s Law, Passes Away at 94

Internet Society CEO and President Testifies in Support of Section 230 Protections Before US Senate Subcommittee

Feds Confirm Cyberattack Caused Nation’s Critical Suicide Helpline Outage

Biden’s Cyberspace Ambassador Urges Americans to Tone Down the Anti-China and Anti-Russia Tough Talk on Tech

W3C Re-Launches as a Public-Interest Non-Profit Organization

A New Privacy-Focused DNS Protocol Released Called Oblivious

New Data Reveals Phishing Attacks Are Bigger Than Reported, Exact Size of Problem Unknown

Google to Invest $10 Billion in India to Help Accelerate Its Digital Economy

Firefox Starts the Roll Out of DNS Over HTTPS (DoH) by Default for US-Based Users

“lo” and Behold

Leading Domain Registries and Registrars Release Joint Document on Addressing ‘DNS Abuse’

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee Is Investigating Google’s Plans to Implement DNS Over HTTPS

8chan Website Pushed Offline Over Ties to the Mass Shooting in El Paso

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