Articles by date
31 March 2007
ICANN Lisbon: ICANN ready to shut up and move on (The Register)
ICANN, the de facto determinant of much that occurs on the internet, will wrap up its triennial meeting tomorrow with an unusual open board meeting on the controversial .xxx gTLD. The week has been a mixed bag - the unveiling of a new, more user-friendly ICANN website has been one of the nicest surprises, although the news that ICANN was itself subject to a lawsuit arising out of the seemingly never-ending RegisterFly disaster deflated what was an optimistic beginning to a long week. Ongoing arguments by the representatives of intellectual property owners (i.e., intellectual property attorneys) provided a nonstop subtext to just about every meeting attended by yours truly. The article addresses the main topics for meetings attended - IDNs (superficially uncontroversial but subtly troubling to all involved); and the Whois database (proposed changes to the registry are problematic inasmuch as there is little middle ground between the opposing parties - Europeans and Americans).
Security watchers are calling on ICANN to adopt a new TLD to be used exclusively by registered banks and financial organisations. The proposed TLD - proposals include .safe, .sure or .bank - would aim to give consumers increased piece of mind that they are dealing with a legitimate financial institution while potentially making it easier to identify rogue sites. The idea has been in existence for some time, but the massive rise in phishing attacks over recent months has renewed interest.
As one of a number of initiatives aimed at further improvements in accountability and transparency, ICANN engaged One World Trust to undertake an independent review of standards of accountability and transparency within ICANN. The terms of reference for the report were designed to allow a wide ranging review.
Internet users from three of ICANN's five global regions will now have direct input to the organization thanks to the creation of three Regional At-Large Organisations. Memorandums of Understanding creating RALOs for Africa and Europe were signed today by ICANN and member groups of the RALOs in a special ceremony at ICANN's 28th Public Meeting in Lisbon. The third RALO -- Asia-Australia-Pacific -- was announced and will be formally signed at the 30th Public Meeting to be held later this year.
ICANN Lisbon: ICANN to decide if pornographic Web sites to have own '.xxx' domain (Sydney Morning Herald)
Pornographic web sites could have a virtual red-light district if ICANN agrees Friday (30/3) to a proposal that would create a ".xxx" Internet address aimed at making clear what content is adults only. ICANN has already rejected similar proposals twice since 2000. ICANN plans to vote on whether to approve the domain name for voluntary use by porn sites after a week of meetings and public forums in Lisbon, Portugal, focusing on if it could help keep objectionable material away from underaged eyes or promulgate censorship of free expression. The Canadian government has raised objections relating to a '.xxx' domain name may inadvertently leave ICANN in the business of content regulation, "which would be inconsistent with its technical mandate."
Buses equipped with wi-fi are being used to deliver web content to remote rural villages in the developing world. In rural India and parts of Rwanda, Cambodia and Paraguay, the vehicles offer web content to computers with no internet connection. The buses and a fleet of motorcycles update their pages in cities before visiting the hard-to-reach communities. As well as offering popular pages, the United Villages project also allows users to request specific information.
30 March 2007
Net phone service providers must be upfront about limitations of their services, regulator Ofcom says. It said suppliers in the fast-growing VoIP sector must explain when selling services whether they include emergency services access. Providers, including Skype, must also spell out other limits, including where directory listings are unavailable.
ICANN committee says plan to give porn sites '.xxx' domain still faces questions (Sydney Morning Herald)
The chairman of a key ICANN committee said Thursday that questions remain about how to implement a new ".xxx" domain name for pornographic and adult websites, a signal that its creation could be delayed again. Janis Karklins, chairman of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee, said ICANN's board had not yet answered questions about whether the application meets the standards needed to be established.
Domain Names, Trademarks, and the First Amendment: Searching for Meaningful Boundaries by Margreth Barrett (University of California, Hastings College of the Law)
This article argues that domain names for forum web sites are comparable to the titles of expressive works, and points out how existing principles defining and governing the regulation of non-commercial speech should apply when mark owners challenge incorporation of their marks into domain names for gripe sites and other forum sites that target the mark owner. Unfortunately, courts have generally ignored the Supreme Court's definition of noncommercial speech in this context, and the First Amendment implications of prohibiting the defendants' use. In particular, courts are equating commercial speech with the Lanham Act's recently expanded commercial use requirement. While the commercial use requirement has served in the past to ensure that Lanham Act protection is consistent with First Amendment principles, its recent expansion has seriously undermined its effectiveness to do so. The article also examines the interface of First Amendment protection with the Anticybersquatter Consumer Protection Act, focusing particularly on how the courts are construing and applying the forth and fifth factors that the Act lays out for determining whether a defendant has the requisite bad faith intent to profit from the plaintiff's mark. The article notes several concerns, including a tendency of courts to undermine the purpose of the fourth factor's safe harbor for noncommercial fair use by: 1) relying on recent expansion of the Lanham Act's commercial use requirement in infringement and dilution cases to find that the defendant's forum site use was commercial; 2) focusing on the defendant's intent to harm the plaintiff, rather than his intent to profit; and 3) defining profit to include non-financial interests, such as the defendant's personal satisfaction from airing his criticism of the plaintiff. The article also points out pitfalls in the courts' construction of the fifth factor, and suggests alternative constructions that are more consistent with First Amendment precedent.
IDNs: Straightforward Technical Problem or Machiavellian Nightmare? by Greg Goth (IEEE Computer Society)
Three of the leading figures trying to solve the technical aspect of IDNs -- Internet domain names containing non-ASCII characters, such as those used in Arabic or Chinese -- have been alternately hopeful and pessimistic recently. Vint Cerf, chairman of the ICANN board, says he's more optimistic about finally deploying a globally workable IDN solution than he's been in a year. Cary Karp, director of Internet strategy and technology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, paints a darker picture of disingenuous and cynical maneuvering by parties with axes to grind. And John Klensin, former chairman of the Internet Architecture Board, says his outlook on one of the global Internet community's most vexing and longest-running problems depends on the developments on any given day.
A Brave New Geography of the Internet Age? The Determinants of Telecommunications Growth in Historical Perspective by Richard Perkins & Eric Neumayer (London School of Economics - Department of Geography and Environment)
Abstract: The Internet is often portrayed as a novel, uniquely disembedded technology, floating free of territory and traditional place-based constraints. In this paper, we contribute to a growing body of literature which challenges such imagery. To do so, we use quantitative techniques to examine the determinants of spatio-temporal variations in the Internet and older communication technologies, namely, mail, the electric telegraph and telephones. Our results reveal striking similarities in the country-bound factors - income, education and trade openness - influencing rates of uptake. We conclude that, contrary to claims of novelty, the Internet is unfolding unevenly across geographic space according to conventional territorial and relational attributes.
Swapping Print: The Impact of Immigration and the Internet on International Newspaper Trade by Hisham S. Foad (San Diego State University, Department of Economics)
Abstract: Why is there international trade in newspapers? Why do even very small countries both import from and export to large nations? New trade models founded on transport costs and increasing returns fail to explain the high degree of bilateral trade in cultural goods like newspapers and periodicals. I argue that immigration is complementary to newspaper trade, with small cosmopolitan countries having the largest trade as a percentage of GDP. These predictions are empirically confirmed, with a 10% increase in bilateral immigration inducing a 4.4% increase in newspaper trade between nations. While increased immigration has lead to greater trade, this effect is decreasing in internet usage. The trade-immigration elasticity is 8.5% smaller for high-internet usage countries, reflecting the fact that immigrants increasingly get their foreign news fix online. These results suggest that cultural goods need not be protected from trade as a country's economic presence on the global stage creates a market for its products.
The Myth of the Superuser: Fear, Risk, and Harm Online by Paul Ohm (University of Colorado Law School)
The experts in computer security and Internet law have failed to deliver us from fear, resulting in overbroad prohibitions, harms to civil liberties, wasted law enforcement resources, and misallocated economic investment. This Article urges policymakers and partisans to stop using tropes of fear; calls for better empirical work on the probability of online harm; and proposes an anti-Precautionary Principle, a presumption against new laws designed to stop the Superuser.
Network Neutrality by Alfred E. Kahn (AEI-Brookings Joint Center Working Paper)
Abstract: Much of the advocacy of legislatively-mandated network neutrality is based on a simple fallacy - namely, that differing charges to suppliers of content to the Internet for correspondingly differing speeds of delivery are inherently discriminatory. They are not; and an attempt to prohibit them would prevent the Internet's offering a full range of services, with widely diverging tolerances for latency. Preservation of the open end-to-end character of the Internet may well, however, require vigilant prohibition of vertical squeezes and other unfair methods of competition and authority of an antitrust agency to compel interconnections.
Economists' Statement on Network Neutrality Policy (AEI-Brookingsr)
Abstract: Network neutrality is a policy proposal that would regulate how network providers manage and price the use of their networks. Congress has introduced several bills on network neutrality. Proposed legislation generally would mandate that Internet service providers exercise no control over the content that flows over their lines and would bar providers from charging particular services more than others for preferentially faster access to the Internet. These proposals must be considered carefully in light of the underlying economics. Our basic concern is that most proposals aimed at implementing net neutrality are likely to do more harm than good.
Regulating for Local Content in the Digital Audiovisual Environment - A View from Australia by Jason John Bosland (University of Melbourne - Centre for Media and Communications Law)
Abstract: This paper explores the future of Australian content quotas in light of digital television and emergent, internet-based television services. Part II describes the current system of broadcasting regulation in Australia, focusing in particular on the interaction between economic and cultural goals. Part III considers the challenges to existing regulation presented by digital television and the distribution of programming via broadband internet. Finally, Part IV examines some of the solutions that have been proposed to achieve adequate levels of local Australian content in the digital media age, including a consideration of a possible solution not yet fully explored in the Australian context: the introduction of a public service publisher, or a PSP. Also considered is how this and other policy responses might be limited by Australia's recent entry into a free-trade agreement with the United States.
The Cybercrime Phenomenon and Latvian Cybercrime Law by Dr. Edward Lestrade (Doing Business in Europe)
Abstract: The term 'Cybercrime' is now widely used to describe the phenomenon of the wide variety of criminal, or unauthorised acts which may be committed remotely from the target area, or country, as a result of internet technologies. With regard to the foregoing, this article will present and examine a dominant European international measure for combating Cybercrime - the European Convention on Cybercrime ('ECC') - and some EU complementary measures. Having done that, issues concerning the implementation of these international measures will be examined from the perspective of one of the new member states of the European Union - the Republic of Latvia - so as to comment on the relative effectiveness of the adopted measures in that country to limit, deter and punish Cybercrime following the lead of the ECC and the EU measures.
The Race By Robert Kuttner (Columbia Journalism Review)
By the usual indicators, daily newspapers are in a deepening downward spiral. ... A far more hopeful picture is emerging for newspapers. In this scenario the mainstream press, though late to the party, figures out how to make serious money from the Internet, uses the Web to enrich traditional journalistic forms, and retains its professionalism -- along with a readership that is part print, part Web. Newspapers stay alive as hybrids. The culture and civic mission of daily print journalism endure. Can that happen? Given the financial squeeze and the shortsightedness of many publishers and investors, will dailies be able to navigate such a transition without sacrificing standards of journalism? Or will cost-cutting owners so thoroughly gut the nation's newsrooms that they collapse the distinction between the rest of the Internet and everything that makes newspapers uniquely valuable? Which newspapers are most likely to survive? And, while we are at it, why does the survival of newspapers matter? In an era when the Web explodes the monopoly of the print newspaper as authoritative assembler of the day's news and invites readers to be both aggregators and originators of content, what remains distinctive about newspapers?
Conflict, Terrorism and the Media in Asia by Rebekah L. Bina (Federal Communications Law Journal)
The fourth and latest release in a series of publications on the impact of media and changes in societal culture in Asia, this book provides a study of the subnational conflicts across Asia and the global "War on Terror." The authors examine the condition of free press, access to media, and diversity in news reporting to explore how media is used as a tool to facilitate ideological coalition, shelter populations, and maintain political stability.
Abstract: This study examines the degree to which Wikipedia entries cite or reference research and scholarship, and whether that research and scholarship is generally available to readers. Working on the assumption that where Wikipedia provides links to research and scholarship that readers can readily consult, it increases the authority, reliability, and educational quality of this popular encyclopedia, this study examines Wikipedia's use of open access research and scholarship, that is, peer-reviewed journal articles that have been made freely available online. This study demonstrates among a sample of 100 Wikipedia entries, which included 168 sources or references, only two percent of the entries provided links to open access research and scholarship. However, it proved possible to locate, using Google Scholar and other search engines, relevant examples of open access work for 60 percent of a sub-set of 20 Wikipedia entries. The results suggest that much more can be done to enrich and enhance this encyclopedia's representation of the current state of knowledge. To assist in this process, the study provides a guide to help Wikipedia contributors locate and utilize open access research and scholarship in creating and editing encyclopedia entries.
The potential disruptive impact of Internet 2 based technologies by C. Pascu, D. Osimo, M. Ulbrich, G. Turlea and J.C. Burgelman (First Monday)
Abstract: This paper assesses the development of emerging computing applications that fall under the family of digital applications and technologies. These applications and technologies -- Internet 2 based technologies for short -- enable new ways of connectivity for networking, interfacing and producing content. They have the capacity and the force to disrupt existing social and economic relations and thus have major impacts on society. Hence, the term 'e-ruptions': emerging e-trends with potential disruptive power. This paper investigates the socio-economic impact of emerging e-ruptions, in an attempt to try and contextualise their implications and relevance for policy formulation.
Scammers target domain name owners (The Register)
The Register writes of a new spam-based scam where fraudsters are targeting domain owners. The scam is supposedly sophisticated and typically begins with an email message to domain owners offering to purchase a domain. Prospective victims are directed to a forum ostensibly set-up to discuss domain appraisal services. Potential victims are asked to purchase domain appraisal software for $99, and even if paid for, the scammers renege on promises.
Dummit Law Firm has announced they have filed a class action lawsuit against internet registrars Registerfly and Enom as well as ICANN. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a RegisterFly customer who had a website that provided the main source of her income. The lawsuit was originally sealed, supposedly for fears of retribution from RegisterFly to the plaintiff, "but since then other concerns have become more pressing, and the case was opened to the public." The Register notes ICANN was served process two weeks ago, and questions why there has been no mention of this on its blog.
The New .xxx Domain: Just a .bad/idea (National Catholic Register)
This article on the .xxx proposal in the National Catholic Register is strongly against the creation of the .xxx TLD. It begins "Family advocates and purveyors of pornography are definitely strange bedfellows." The article gives both the religious and "family" advocates view noting "both camps are largely against it, albeit for radically different reasons." Religious groups oppose the creation of .xxx because they see pornographers not being asked to relinquish their ".com" sites and the voluntary "relocating to a '.xxx' site could actually increase, even double, the number of ways to reach pornography on the Internet -- and only half of it, if that much, will supposedly be easier to block. It's a lateral move that achieves nothing substantial or good." Towards the end of the article it claims "for one thing, the new '.xxx' domain is not a done deal -- the consent of the U.S. Commerce Department is likely necessary, giving laypeople a chance to make their voices heard".
auDA has commissioned an online survey of .au registrants and Internet users as part of a major review of .au domain name policies.