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Battling Over Clouds

More than 40 years ago, the FCC was worried about telephone companies using their power over communications to control the then-nascent (and competitive) data processing marketplace. The Bell System at that point was already banned from providing services that weren't common carriage communications services (or "incidental to" those communications services)... In a 1999 article in the Texas Law Review, Steve Bickerstaff pointed out that Computer 1 meant that no one could provide a "computer utility" service... Today, we'd call the "computer utility" something different -- we'd use the term "cloud computing." more

Google, Viacom, Privacy and Copyright Meet the Social Web

In all the recent uproar (New York Times, "Google Told to Turn Over User Data of YouTube," Michael Helft, 4 July 2008) about the fact that Google has been forced to turn over a large pile of personally-identifiable information to Viacom as part of a copyright dispute (Opinion), there is a really interesting angle pointed out by Dan Brickley (co-creator of FOAF and general Semantic Web troublemaker)... more

Domain-Name Error Redirect: Incentives and Solutions

Some domainers, having forgone parking revenue to avoid any claims of trademark violation, have then found themselves thrown into legal trouble with trademark claimants because of actions taken by a third party (ISPs and PC manufacturers). In addition to the resulting direct legal cost, the possibility of action by a third party heightens uncertainty and steals management's attention away from its real job. The troubles for the domain name owner start when a surfer who enters in the browser an inactive domain name is redirected to a Web page with advertising instead of getting a page that says there is an input error... more

Storm Warning for Cloud Computing: More Like a Miasma

The approach is growing in popularity, and Google, Microsoft and Amazon are among the many large companies working on ways to attract users to their offerings, with Google Apps, Microsoft's Live Mesh and Amazon S3 all signing up customers as they try to figure out what works and what can turn a profit... In the real world national borders, commercial rivalries and political imperatives all come into play... The issue was recently highlighted by reports that the Canadian government has a policy of not allowing public sector IT projects to use US-based hosting services because of concerns over data protection. more

Facebook Apps on Any Website: A Clever Move? Or a Security Nightmare?

Well, given the amount of malicious JavaScript, malware, and other possibilities to use Facebook (and other similar social networking platforms) for abuse, I certainly wouldn't categorize this news as a "clever move"... In fact, I foresee this as an extraordinarily short-sighted move with far-reaching security implications -- which will allow the levels of malicious abuse to reach new heights. more

Making the Wireless World More Web-Friendly

Your wireless carrier (in the U.S., probably AT&T or Verizon Wireless) has a lot of control over the handset you can use and the applications that can run on that device. In fact, wireless carriers routinely ask for (and get) an enormous slice of the revenue from applications that work on their networks, and they force handset manufacturers to jump through all kinds of hoops in order to be allowed to sell devices that can connect to these networks... This has had bad effects on the ecosystem of the wireless world. more

Social Operating System: Connecting Domains and Social Media

Wired Magazine (Aug 2007 print issue, page 50) defines "social operating system" as a platform for online living; a social network such as MySpace that seamlessly integrates activities including entertainment and shopping. But Jon Udell points out that MySpace is not Your Space. He envisions a future in which each child would receive his or her own chunk of managed storage at birth.. Of course, we'd want the ability for Bob's Space to connect with Jane's Space - suppose they are siblings starring in the same family vacation video, or co-authors of a research report? more

Does the iPhone Keep dotMobi Awake at Night?

We've had a number of questions (and seen plenty of commentary) regarding the recent launch of the iPhone and how it might affect us and the mobile web in general. ...the iPhone changes the way that tastemakers think about their online existence. Interacting with the web, clearly, is no longer a solitary, sedentary and constrained activity.Now I've personally believed this for a while, so arguably it's no big deal -- the long-term evolution of the web to become a largely mobile (and, by the way, subtly different) medium is inevitable. more

Solving the “Fake Twitter Profile” Problem Using DNS

Recently, an article I wrote for Bitcoin Magazine talked about how we can use DNS underscore scoping to better abstract Lightning addresses and even create a de facto specification that could work on any resource (like a wallet or a smart contract) across all blockchains. more

Bigger, Faster, Better (and Cheaper!)

Let's take a second to look back some 50 years to the world of 1972 and the technology and telecommunications environment at that time. The world of 1972 was one populated by a relatively small collection of massive (and eye-wateringly expensive) mainframe computers that were tended by a set of computer operators working around the clock and directed by specialized programmers, trained in the obscure symbol set used by the job control systems on these computers. more

Calculating the Return on Investment of Online Brand Protection Projects

In the early days of Online Brand Protection (OBP), before it was commonly understood how damaging to revenue infringements could be, this was an extremely popular topic. I remember delivering webinars on the subject then and even running a couple of half-day in-person workshops for brand owners at major conferences. more

Content vs Carriage – Who Pays?

There was a common catch cry in the early 1990s that "the Internet must be free!" Some thought this was a policy stance relating to the rejection of imposed control over content. Others took this proposition more literally as "free, like free beer!" It might sound naive today, but there was a widespread view at the time that the Internet was able to cast aside conventional economics and operate the Internet infrastructure without charging end-users at all! more

Do You See What I See? Geotargeting in Brand Infringements

Geotargeting is a well-established online technique for delivering tailored web content based on a user's geographic location. From an internet technology point of view, this is usually based on the user's IP address, which is converted to a physical location through a standard look-up process performed by network infrastructure. Geotargeting is commonly used by websites for several legitimate reasons, including providing users with relevant advertising and other content... more

Building a More Inclusive Internet for All: A Radix Initiative

Universal Acceptance (UA) is a fundamental requirement for a truly multilingual and digitally inclusive Internet. UA is important because it ensures that all domain names, including new long top-level domains (TLDs) and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), and email addresses are treated equally and can be used by all Internet-enabled applications, devices, and systems. more

Home Broadband and the Cloud

I'm not sure that most people understand the extent to which our online experience has moved to the cloud -- and this movement to the cloud means we're using a lot more bandwidth than in the recent past. A huge number of online functions now reside in the cloud, when only a few years ago, a lot of processing was done on our computers. Take the example of Twitter, where I keep an account to upload a copy of my blog every day. more