Tag Archives: america

US Bullies Costa Rica and Refuses to Obey Local Laws Over Pirate Bay Domains

The United States Embassy in Costa Rica has been pressuring the local ccTLD operator, NIC Costa Rica, to take down thepiratebay.cr domain name with increasing urgency as the registry resists. And if they refuse there have been threats to take the registry operation away from NIC Costa Rica.

In a letter to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee [pdf], Dr. Pedro León Azofeifa, President of the Costa Rican Academy of Science, parent of NIC Costa Rica, advises that since 2015 the US Embassy in Costa Rica, representing the interests of the US Department of Commerce, who in turn is acting on behalf of American intellectual property interests, has frequently contacted the registry operator regarding the domain name for one of the leading websites providing access to an index of digital content, much of it pirated. The Pirate Bay has been operational since 2003 and has moved to several top level domains, and sometimes back again, as court cases and government, mostly US, pressure to delete the torrent site’s domain names.

The country code top level domain operator writes that The Pirate Bay has more than 70 domain names registered worldwide. They further advise the GAC that the interactions with the US Embassy “have escalated with time and include great pressure since 2016 that is exemplified by several phone calls, emails and meeting urging our ccTLD to take down the domain, even though this would go against our domain name policies.” The letter also notes that the US Department of Commerce has urged the Costa Rican “Ministry of Commerce to carry out an investigation as to why our local Ministry of Commerce to carry out an investigation as to why our organisation does not take down this domain, even though the process they ask us to follow goes against our current domain name policies.”

NIC Costa Rica advises the GAC that the “Ministry of Commerce has carried out an investigation and informed us that NIC Costa Rica was acting following best practices and has clear mechanisms to take down domain names that required a local court order. The representative of the United States Embassy, Mr. Kevin Ludeke , Economic Specialist, who claims to represent the interests of the US Department of Commerce, has mentioned threats to close our registry, with repeated harassment regarding our practices and operation policies and even personal negative comments directed to our Executive Director , based on no clear evidence or statistical data to support his claims as a way to pressure our organisation to take down the domain name without following our current policies.”

The registry notes their “domain policies work in accordance with the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.” The registry goes on to note that “in accordance with these guidelines, when confronted with a conflict related to a domain name registered under .cr, which infringes upon the legislation pertaining to intellectual property, the registration of marks, or in which there is a crime including–but not limited to–drug trafficking, child pornography, human trafficking, or bank fraud, then NIC Costa Rica will proceed to eliminate the domain name if ordered to do so by a final judgment from the Courts of Justice of the Republic of Costa Rica.”

The registry has advised the US Embassy that they need to have a local court order in order to proceed to take down or block any domain as exemplified above. However, despite these arguments, the pressure and harassment to take down the domain name without its proper process and local court order persists.”

North American And European Police Combine To Seize 4,500 Domains Linked To Counterfeit Goods

Over 4,500 domain names hosting websites selling counterfeit products to consumers online have been seized by law enforcement authorities in a joint global operation. Operation In Our Sites VII tackled copyright-infringing websites and third-party marketplace listings selling luxury goods, sportswear, spare parts, electronics, pharmaceuticals, toiletries and other fake products.There were roughly 15,000 illegal websites seized and 48,000 erroneous ecommerce links removed over the past year as part of the operation.Law enforcement authorities from 27 countries, anti-counterfeiting associations and brand owner representatives participated in this huge action, which was coordinated and facilitated by Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition, the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and Interpol.”This year’s operation IOS VII has seen a significant increase in the number of seized domain names compared to last year. This excellent result shows how effective cooperation between law enforcement authorities and private sector partners is vital to ultimately make the internet a safer place for consumers. Through its Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC³), Europol will continue to work closely with its partners to strengthen the fight against intellectual property crime online and offline,” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.”The tremendous collaborative efforts between law enforcement and industry prove the internet is not a safe haven for counterfeiters preying on consumers,” said the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center Director Bruce Foucart. “Our investigators are committed to bringing online pirates to justice by seizing websites, working with global police authorities and strengthening relationships with industry partners.”Fighting the trade of counterfeit products online is a challenging and difficult task for law enforcement. To strengthen the fight against counterfeiting and piracy online and offline, Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) joined forces to launch the Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC) in July 2016. With its increased operational capabilities, the IPC has successfully supported many high-priority investigations related to online intellectual property infringements such as Operation Student and Operation Fake.

U. S. Government Blasts China’s Draft Domain Regulations by Philip Corwin

Philip Corwin imageIn an unexpected move, the two top U.S. officials charged with the Obama Administration’s Internet policy have issued a joint statement severely criticizing draft Chinese domain policies. On May 16th, the State Department’s  Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda and NTIA’s Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling issued an official statement titled “China’s Internet Domain Name Measures and the Digital Economy”. In it, they charge that “ the Chinese government’s recent actions run contrary to China’s stated commitments toward global Internet governance processes as well as its stated goals for economic reform”.

The focus of their ire are new proposed rules issued in March by China’s  Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The officials describe them as:

draft measures that would require all Internet domain names in China to be registered through government-licensed service providers that have established a domestic presence in the country and would impose additional stringent regulations on the provision of domain name services …The most controversial provision of China’s draft domain name measures – article 37 – has attracted considerable international concern, as some have interpreted the article to mean that all websites with domain names registered outside China will be blocked, thereby cutting off Chinese Internet users from the global Internet.  

The statement also throws down the gauntlet in regard to China’s recent efforts to push alternative, government-centric models of Internet governance. In this regard, it states:

China’s approach to DNS management within its borders could still contravene, undermine, and conflict with current policies for managing top level domains that emerge from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which follows a multistakeholder model in its community-based and consensus-driven policymaking approach.

While probably not affecting the content of the statement, the timing of its issuance may in part be to demonstrate a tough stance toward China’s DNS policy in advance of next Tuesday’s Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing on the IANA transition and ICANN accountability. Committee member Ted Cruz has been peppering ICANN with questions regarding former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade’s participation in China’s World Internet Conference (WIC) last December, and his agreement to become Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee to the 2016 WIC meeting. Many speakers at the 2015 WIC meeting defended Internet censorship and heightened government control.

Adding gasoline to the fire, the statement also lashes Chinese Internet censorship, stating in that regard:

The regulations would also appear to formalize an explicit system of online censorship by forbidding the registration of websites containing any one of nine categories of prohibited content, broadly and vaguely defined, and creating a blacklist of “forbidden characters” in the registration of domain names, adding an extra layer of control to China’s Great Firewall… What we do not accept is the exercise of aggressive authority over people’s use of the Internet or the ability of a government to prevent the world from reaching its people.  Sadly, this is exactly what Chinese authorities, through these recent measures, are trying to do. 

While such views have likely been advanced in confidential meetings between Chinese and U.S. officials, it is highly unusual to see such bold charges levied against another nation in an official statement.

China has yet to respond to the U.S. allegations, and it remains to be seen if it will moderate its position regarding the draft rules – or whether it will react to this criticism by digging in and implementing them. It is also unclear what effect implementation might have on burgeoning purchases of domain names by Chinese registrants, who have flooded the secondary domain market over the past year through high-dollar purchase of short letter and number domains, and who reportedly also account for more than half the purchases of domains originating from ICANN’s new gTLD program. The draft rules could make many registries and domain names off-limits for Chinese purchasers.

The full text of the statement follows—   

 

China’s Internet Domain Name Measures and the Digital Economy

May 16, 2016 by Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling

May 16, 2016

This post was cross posted to the State Department’s blog: https://blogs.state.gov/stories/2016/05/16/china-s-internet-domain-name-measures-and-digital-economy [1]

China is a force in the global digital economy and an important player in global Internet policy discussions. Today, more than 700 million people have access to the Internet in China, more than any country in the world. Several of the most valuable Internet-based companies call China home.  Global innovators and service providers from around the world, including from the United States, are eager to enter its market.

That’s why it is incredibly important that China use its power and influence in a manner that supports the continued development of the global Internet and the prosperity of its domestic digital economy.

Both of our countries participate actively in a range of international organizations and processes that discuss the global development and deployment of the Internet.  We have both argued that the current processes, which rely on the cooperation of all stakeholders including government, industry, and civil society, are working effectively for the Internet’s future development and management.

However, the Chinese government’s recent actions run contrary to China’s stated commitments toward global Internet governance processes as well as its stated goals for economic reform.

In late March 2016, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued draft measures that would require all Internet domain names in China to be registered through government-licensed service providers that have established a domestic presence in the country and would impose additional stringent regulations on the provision of domain name services.

The regulations appear to create a barrier to access and force localization of data and domestic registration of domain names.  Whether driven by a motivation to increase control over Internet content in China or a desire to increase the quantity of Chinese-registered domain names, these regulations would contravene policies that have been established already at the global level by all Internet stakeholders (including Chinese).  If put into effect, these regulations would have potentially large and negative repercussions for everyone.

The regulations have led to expressions of concern in comments formally submitted by governments, including the United States, companies, and other stakeholders around the world that support an open and interoperable Internet.

The most controversial provision of China’s draft domain name measures – article 37 – has attracted considerable international concern, as some have interpreted the article to mean that all websites with domain names registered outside China will be blocked, thereby cutting off Chinese Internet users from the global Internet.  While Chinese authorities have clarified that the intent of the article would be to prohibit access to Chinese-registered domain names that are acquired from registries/registrars that are not in compliance with Chinese regulations, concerns remain that the language in its current form is vague and open to differing interpretations.  Even if applied to Chinese-registered domain names, China’s approach to DNS management within its borders could still contravene, undermine, and conflict with current policies for managing top level domains that emerge from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which follows a multistakeholder model in its community-based and consensus-driven policymaking approach.

Other concerns with the measures include requirements for forced data localization and real name verification for the registration of Internet addresses.  For instance, the draft measures appear to mandate that all Internet domain name registrars, registries, root server operators, and others, maintain zone files in China, thereby compelling firms to create a system for their China operations, which is entirely separate from their global operations.  This forced localization, though not unprecedented in China, would potentially create new barriers to the free flow of information and commerce across borders and consequently infringe upon internationally recognized commitments on free expression and trade.  The regulations would also appear to formalize an explicit system of online censorship by forbidding the registration of websites containing any one of nine categories of prohibited content, broadly and vaguely defined, and creating a blacklist of “forbidden characters” in the registration of domain names, adding an extra layer of control to China’s Great Firewall.

The United States supports the open global Internet as a platform for free expression and economic and human development worldwide, and we support the growth of China’s digital ecosystem within that context. We welcome the Chinese adoption and creation of Internet-based technologies and services.

What we do not accept is the exercise of aggressive authority over people’s use of the Internet or the ability of a government to prevent the world from reaching its people.  Sadly, this is exactly what Chinese authorities, through these recent measures, are trying to do.  Such efforts will not only create undue burdens and challenges for enterprises, both Chinese and foreign, operating in China, but they will also diminish the view of China as a constructive partner in the development of the global Internet.  Furthermore, they will hinder Chinese technology and services from achieving acceptance outside of China.

We have listened to company concerns, consulted with diplomatic partners, and shared our views directly with the Chinese government, while calling for China to continue dialogue with a broad group of stakeholders as its draft regulations are revised.

The digital economy has become one of the most powerful engines for global economic growth.  If left unchanged, China’s regulations would undermine some of the most fundamental aspects of the Internet – openness, reliability, and interoperability – within China.  By creating its own rules for domain name management, China is threatening to fragment the Internet, which would limit the Internet’s ability to operate as a global platform for human communication, commerce, and creativity.

Lawrence E. Strickling [2] serves as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda [3] serves as U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State.

Topics:

National Telecommunications and Information Administration
1401 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20230

commerce.gov | Privacy Policy | Web Policies | FOIA | Accessibility | usa.gov

Source URL: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/blog/2016/china-s-internet-domain-name-measures-and-digital-economy

Links:
[1] https://blogs.state.gov/stories/2016/05/16/china-s-internet-domain-name-measures-and-digital-economy
[2] http://www.ntia.doc.gov/legacy/about/bio_strickling.html
[3] http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/bureau/209063.htm
[4] http://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/domain-name-system

This blog post by Philip Corwin from the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:
www.internetcommerce.org/u-s-blasts-chinas-draft-domain-regulations/

US Court Orders Seizure of 67 Domains Involved in Smuggling and Selling Misbranded and Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

United States Department of Justice logoA US federal court has ordered the seizure of dozens of domain names officials believe are involved in the smuggling and selling of misbranded and counterfeit prescription drugs.

United States Attorney Bill Nettles Tuesday announced that Special Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations executed seizure orders against 67 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and prescription drugs. The seized domains are now in the custody of the US government. Visitors to the sites will now find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities for violations of federal laws against smuggling and trademark misuse.

The domain names are subject to forfeiture under federal forfeiture laws that afford individuals who have an interest in the seized domain names a period of time after the “Notice of Seizure” to file a petition with a federal court and additional time after the “Notice of Forfeiture” to contest the forfeiture.  If no petitions or claims are filed, the domain names become property of the U.S. government.

Said Nettles: “It’s important for consumers to understand the significant risks involved in purchasing pharmaceutical drugs from these websites.  The generic versions of these prescription drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and cannot be distributed in the United States legally.  To be safe and effective, prescription drugs must be taken under the care and supervision of appropriate health care professionals; not purchased off the internet from unknown and unregulated foreign sources.”

The case was investigated by Special Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations.   Assistant United States Attorney Eric Klumb is assigned to handle the forfeiture.

Ted Cruz Still Believes In Reds Under The Beds At ICANN

Poor US Senator Ted Cruz. Fresh from getting pummelled by Donald Trump to see who can be the Republican candidate for the upcoming US election, he’s found time to shine a spotlight under the bed of ICANN and found there are reds under that bed coming all the way from China.Poor Ted. He’s raised concerns and requested information regarding ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé’s involvement with the World Internet Conference, which is organised by the Chinese government.In a statement on the Senator’s website that does wonders for grammar and the English language, Cruz has said in one long paragraph that:
Either the World Internet Conference and the People’s Republic of China have misreported the events that took place during their own conference or Fadi Chehade isn’t being completely honest with the United States Senate,” said Sen. Cruz. “While Chehade continues to state that his first meeting won’t take place until later this year, the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China, reported on December 17, 2015 that, ‘The advisory committee held its first meeting on the sidelines of the second World Internet Conference in Wuzhen of east China’s Zhejiang Province. Jack Ma, founder of China’s Internet giant Alibaba, and Fadi Chehade, president and CEO of ICANN, act as co-chairman of the advisory committee.’ It should also be noted that Chehade has admitted that he has entered into an arrangement while still serving as the CEO of ICANN and performing under a contract with the United States government, through which his future travel costs to the Chinese government’s state-sponsored World Internet Conference will be compensated. Travel compensation from the Chinese government can be a form of personal conflict of interest, which could impair Chehade’s ability to act impartially and in the best interest of the government when performing under the contract. As such, Chehade should recuse himself from all ICANN decisions that could impact the Chinese government, which include all negotiations and discussions pertaining to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition.Defending his and ICANN’s participation in the Chinese conference, Chehadé writes, not to be outdone, in another long paragraph that:
Attending conferences such as the Wuzhen World Internet Conference is just one way that ICANN does the outreach that has enabled a global shift towards preserving a globally interoperable Internet. ICANN participates in many other international conferences, such as the Internet Governance Forum, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, as well as regional Internet Governance Forum events and technical events across the world. In 2014, I participated in the World Internet Conference’s opening ceremony in my role as ICANN’s President and CEO. My return to the 2015 meeting as ICANN’s President and CEO was a natural continuation of ICANN’s work. Of course, ICANN’s attendance at a conference does not represent an endorsement of every viewpoint expressed at that conference. In this fragile time, ICANN cannot ignore potential challenges to the values of multistakeholderism and to ICANN’s mission. It is even more important to be present for those tough conversations, perform outreach, and maintain a supportive environment for the secure, unified operation of the Internet. Contrary to what is suggested in your letter, staying away from the World Internet Conference, particularly to make a political statement on issues outside of ICANN’s mission, would not have served the global Internet community.It has also been announced that Chehadé “will serve as a co-chair of a high level advisory committee to the World Internet Conference’s organizing committee.” Chehadé notes this will be in his personal capacity and that he will be joined by executives from well-known Chinese communist sympathisers such as “Microsoft, Nokia, Brookings Institution, as well as Bruce McConnell, former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity, among others.”Chehadé notes he has “not received any form of gift, reimbursement, compensation, or any other form of personal enrichment, direct or indirect, for this post-ICANN effort, though I understand that travel costs to the World Internet Conference will be covered while I serve on the high level advisory committee. I do not have any plans to seek any form of employment with the Chinese government.”Poor Ted. Those reds under the beds are really eating away at him. Frankly, you’d think he’d have more important things to worry about at the moment.

NTIA Wants Participation In IANA Transition to Multistakeholder Model

IANA logoA proposal has been released that will see the transition of the US government’s stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority’s (IANA) through ICANN to a multistakeholder model and the US government is encouraging comments and feedback.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration‘s Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling has asked those interested to give their feedback in a blog posting on the NTIA’s website.

The move is not without controversy with many US Republicans spreading fear of doomsday scenarios whereby countries such as China and Russia would be allowed to take control of the internet.

The proposal also has critics not spreading the doomsday scenarios but taking a more constructive approach such as former staffer and journalist Kieren McCarthy who writes a lengthy article in The Register, and is essential reading for those interested in the transition, that says in part:

“the near-final version is a hodgepodge of ideas and compromises that fails to address a key aspect of Uncle Sam’s role.

“In addition, the plan substitutes a complex set of unworkable process steps in place of the US Department of Commerce’s simple oversight of the internet. And it is reliant on a separate, unfinished process for improving accountability at the organization that will assume de facto control, ICANN.

“Most of the problems in the plan stem from political rather than technical issues, which means its main aspects are likely to remain even after a public comment period.

“In particular, the decision to award ICANN control of the IANA contract through a wholly controlled affiliate remains controversial, and there is some reason to believe that the process was distorted in order to arrive at a pre-decided outcome.”

Currently the role of the IANA is managed by ICANN through a contract with the US government. Discussions have been underway for over a year within the ICANN community and with other interested parties as to how best complete this transition.

According to Reuters, “the transition proposal recommends creating a separate subsidiary, with its own performance evaluation process, to actually operate the technical functions of managing the Internet’s name and address system under a contract with ICANN.”

“Similar to ICANN’s current process, a community could raise the alarm if IANA functions are not performed appropriately, according to Alissa Cooper, a U.S.-based network engineer who chairs the group coordinating the IANA transition.

“Because the proposal roots the accountability responsibility in the various stakeholder communities, that is one of the defences against capture by any single constituency,” Cooper told Reuters. “The proposal does a good job of maintaining the aspects of the current system that have been working well and carrying them forward to the future.”

“Under the proposal, ICANN would remain headquartered in California.

“The proposal suggests that the role played by the U.S. government be replaced by ICANN itself, an oversight committee and a review process involving many interested parties, none of which are governments or inter-governmental organisations.”

 

The transition is expected to be completed in mid-2016 after current CEO and President Fadi Chehadé, who has been driving the change following the US government announcement that it would happen, steps down.

The post by Strickling is as follows:

Nearly 17 months ago, NTIA kicked off activities to complete the privatization of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) as promised in 1998 by transitioning our stewardship role over  certain technical functions related to the DNS.

 

We have reached an important milestone in that process as the two working groups tasked with developing proposals related to the transition have released them for final comment.

These technical functions, known as the IANA functions, play an important but limited role in how the DNS and Internet operate. The DNS allows users to identify websites, mail servers, and other Internet destinations using easy-to-understand names (e.g., www.ntia.doc.gov) rather than the numeric network addresses (e.g., 170.110.225.163) necessary to retrieve information on the Internet.

The IANA transition will advance our commitment to ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for global economic growth, innovation and free speech.

Since March 2014, the Internet community – made up of technical experts, businesses and civil society – has spent hundreds of hours devising a transition proposal that aims to meet the principles we outlined, including preserving the openness, security and resiliency of the Internet.

The global Internet community also developed a proposal to enhance the accountability of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which currently performs the IANA functions under a contract with NTIA, in advance of NTIA transitioning its stewardship role.

In recent days both the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) and the Cross Community Working Group (CCWG) on Enhancing ICANN Accountability have posted their proposals for review and final public comment.  Comments are due September 8, 2015, for the ICG’s proposal and September 12, 2015, for the CCWG’s proposal.

I urge all parties with an interest in the IANA transition to review these proposals and provide feedback to the working groups. This is the best way to make your voice heard and make a difference.  It is particularly important that stakeholders everywhere evaluate whether these plans meet the criteria that we have said must be part of the transition.

I greatly appreciate the time and effort the community has put into developing these proposals. With the participation of as many stakeholders as possible, I am confident that this transition will result in a stronger ICANN and an Internet that will continue to grow and thrive throughout the world.

Another Republican Hopeful Beaten to Domain, But Forks Out Over $100,000 For It

Following the commotion over Carly Fiorina missing out on getting carlyfiorina.org, it has emerged another Republican presidential candidate also missed out on a key domain.Only days before he launched his bid to be the Republican candidate, Rand Paul used his re-election committee to pay $100,980 to Escrow.com for a “domain name” on 27 March. The domain had been used though by friends of the campaign, unlike the Fiorina domain, as it was used as a pro-Paul website. Previously Paul was using the domain randpaul2016.com, which now redirects to his new domain.In politics the sum paid is regarded as a lot of money. “Holy crap,” a top Republican digital strategist told the National Journal when informed of the price. “That’s a ton.”Patrick Ruffini, a veteran GOP digital strategist, said that he had never heard of a campaign paying so much for a URL, though he was not shocked. “It’s very much a seller’s market,” Ruffini said, adding that owning a candidate’s “FirstnameLastname.com” was the gold standard in the digital world. “I would argue that almost nothing else matters.”The domain has had a number of owners, both supporters and opponents.”In 2008, it was owned by opponents of his; more recently, by supporters,” reported the Washington Post. “But not so supportive that Paul got it on the cheap, apparently.”Other candidates have done better on the domain-name front according to another report, this one in the Los Angeles Times. “Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who announced his candidacy last month, owns his own name. So does Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner.””But Jeb Bush and Chris Christie both have potential problems with domain squatters.””The Christie domain is owned by a man who shares the New Jersey governor’s name while jebbushforpresident.com, which mocks the former Florida governor, is owned by a gay couple from Oregon.”

Carly Fiorina Commits Blunder Not Nominating Key .ORG Domain

For someone in the tech industry you could have expected better. But as former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced that she’s running for the Republican nomination to become US President, it became apparent she’d forgotten to register the domain carlyfiorina.org.The domain was registered in December when it became apparent she was considering running, and someone has got in early. The registrant is now using the domain to showcase their claim she was responsible for around 30,000 retrenchments in her time at Hewlett-Packard.She is the second Republican to nominate for the Republican candidacy to have domain troubles as the New York Times reports. “Senator Ted Cruz, who failed to secure TedCruz.com. (Mr. Cruz’s troubles go back even further — after his filibuster intended to undercut the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a website, TedCruzforAmerica.com, was registered and redirected unsuspecting users to the website of the federal health insurance exchange.)”Carly Fiorina Failed To Register This Domain - NYTThe Times also notes “some politicians (or potential politicians) have taken notice, most notably Chelsea Clinton, who as BuzzFeed reported, registered nearly every possible domain derivation of her name.”

.REALTOR gTLD Seen As Struggling

REALTOR gTLD logoDomain name registrations for the .realtor gTLD are way short of targets as the operator has given away 95,000 registrations to bona fide North American real estate agents, way short of its target of 500,000 domains it had initially planned to give away to members, according to a report on the Associations Now website.

Initially the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said it would provide the first 500,000 members who register for a .realtor domain with a free one-year registration, and their Canadian equivalent the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) 10,000 free domains to members, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Registrations of the gTLD have been increasing by around 60 per day which the report notes would mean the NAR would take 18 years to reach its target.

According to the latest nTLDstats.com figures, there are 97,400 domains registered with registrations increasing by 391 in the past week.

One reason is the restrictions the NAR puts on registrants. One real estate agent has written [subscription] of her .com domain that she “[owns] the domain names and I own the hosting account. My business sites are backed up daily and can be moved with the greatest of ease if I need to. I make the rules on my own site and decide how to use it.”

The agent, Teresa Boardman from Minnesota, wrote she has no intention of registering a .realtor domain and that someone else can have her personalised domain that she’d be entitled to.

The restrictions, according to the .realtor website, on the gTLD mean registrants must use part or all of their first and/or last name as registered with the NAR or its Canadian equivalent. Something that many will not find appealing. And that may be a lesson – no matter how cheap a domain, if there are too many restrictions on registration it won’t be appealing.

US Trade Office Wants ICANN and Governments To Help Stamp Out Online Counterfeit Goods

A report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is critical of registrars that have allowed domain names to be registered and used in the distribution of unauthorised copyright-protected content. And it is urging governments and ICANN to get involved to address the problem.According to the report, one respondent identified several registrars that have apparently refused requests to lock or suspend domain names used to sell suspected counterfeit pharmaceuticals to consumers worldwide. While this is conduct is a threat to brand owners, it also presents a public health challenge, and requires a coordinated response by governments and a variety of private sector stakeholders.According to a 2012 report from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy cited by the USTR, an estimated 96 percent of online pharmacies targeting US consumers are operating in violation of applicable US law and standards.The report also cites a World Trade Organisation report estimating 50 percent of websites worldwide that hide their physical address are selling illicit pharmaceuticals, including those labelled with counterfeit trademarks. The website www.LegitScript.com has reviewed over 40,000 online drug sellers, but found fewer than 400 to be legitimate. Studies have found that counterfeit anti-cancer, anti-HIV/AIDS , and other medications are not only ineffective, but in some cases may contain toxic or deadly adulterants, such as rat poison.With relatively few lawful sources amidst a sea of harmful ones, the public faces a substantial risk when navigating these online pharmaceutical markets. In addition to the public health and safety risks, there is also economic harm. Illegal online pharmaceutical sellers can generate significant revenues each month, diverting income from legitimate innovative and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers , and depriving governments of tax revenues from legitimate sales.The USTR says registrars can play a critical public safety role in the internet ecosystem. Ignoring that role, or acting affirmatively to facilitate public harm, is of great concern. One of the registrars nominated in response to USTR’s Federal Register Request, Tucows.com, appears in the List of companies of concern and is an example of this concern. The USTR is urging trading partner governments and ICANN to investigate and address this very serious problem.But Tucows denies it is implicated in the problem. The registrar told Reuters ‘it took down dozen of sites every day but unlike some competitors, it considered all complaints carefully to ensure they were justified.'”We want to make sure that our registrants are protected and respected as well as making sure there are not bad actors on our system, and that requires striking a balance on a daily basis,” said Graeme Bunton, Tucows manager of public policy.