American and European Union leaders said on Friday that they had reached an “agreement in principle” to assure that it is legal to transfer personal data across the Atlantic, after a previous pact was struck down when a court found it did not do enough to shield Europeans from American surveillance programs.
The protection of intellectual property (IP) is a growing challenge for governments and business around the world that spend a lot of time and money to protect their branded goods, copyrighted material, patented inventions and trade secrets. Often the protections are done overly zealously.Curbing abusive domain name registrations is one means identified on how to protect IP in a White House paper released in December with research needed into how illicit actors exploit the domain name environment going forward.The report identifies that examining a “‘follow-the-money’ approach to disrupt illicit financing models (via payment processors, ad networks and the like), to practices and policies aimed at curbing abusive practices within e-commerce platforms, social media channels, the domain name ecosystem, and the search environment, among others” will all contribute to protecting IP.It is an issue the Obama Administration has taken seriously and is committed to continuing to be vigilant in The losses are huge. According to one estimate from the International Chamber of Commerce in 2008, the worldwide market for counterfeit and pirated products alone was projected to be $1.77 trillion in 2015, and growing at rate of 22% per year.It is an issue the Obama Administration has taken seriously and is committed to continuing to be vigilant in addressing threats to intellectual property — including corporate and state sponsored trade secret misappropriation — that jeopardise our status as the world’s leader for innovation and creativity, pose a considerable threat to public health and safety, undermine legitimate business, and harm other national interests.The issue of curbing abusive domain name registrations is one means of protecting IP addressed in a paper, the FY 2017-2019 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement [pdf], released by the White House in December.One of the best practices in the domain name environment identified in the paper was a partnership with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Donuts and Redix domain name registry platforms. Their solution as noted in the paper works to promote a safe and secure domain name system. Under the programme, a “trusted notifier” system has been established as part of collaborative efforts to mitigate blatant and pervasive illegal online activity in violation of platform terms of service.Looking at abusive domain name registrations, the paper notes how entities engage “in online counterfeit sales, the unlawful exploitation of copyrighted materials, and other large-scale infringing activity may engage in a combination of ‘domain name hopping’ and ‘venue shopping’ for perceived domain name safe havens. These tactics have been reported within both the gTLD and ccTLD domain name environments.”The report goes on to say that:
“While the TLD environment provides internet users with a diversity of choice, operators of websites engaged in illicit IP-based activities exploit this openness. To evade law enforcement, bad actors will register the same or different domain name with different registrars. They then attempt to evade law enforcement by moving from one registrar to another, thus prolonging the so-called “whack-a-mole” pursuit. The result of this behaviour is to drive up costs of time and resources spent on protecting intellectual property rights.””By way of illustration, an operator of a large file-sharing site found guilty of facilitating criminal peer-to-peer file sharing of movies, music and games continued to circumnavigate the globe and exploit the domain name environment by moving from ccTLD to ccTLD to evade law enforcement.”A “Notorious Markets” Out-of-Cycle Review by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative listed illustrative markets facilitating counterfeiting and piracy. From 2013-2015 it found a total of 26 of 54 named sites, or almost half of named online sites, operate within the ccTLD environment. The report notes that as ccTLDs are outnumbered in registration numbers by gTLDs by more than 2 to 1, “the frequency of bad faith ccTLD sites appear to be disproportionate in nature and worthy of further research and analysis.”To deal with the issues in more detail, the paper identifies a number of areas where research is needed, into the precise nature and dimensions of the various challenges in IP enforcement in order to improve the effectiveness and targeting of policy, including legal reform, trade policy, and capacity building. In the domain name environment, the report identifies how do illicit actors exploit various domain environments to successfully evade law enforcement through “domain name hopping” and other strategics as an area for further research.The report can be downloaded from:
Vice President Biden has been tasked with the job of cutting waste in their agencies as part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to make government more accountable to the American people.As one of the campaign’s first steps, the Administration will be targeting duplication and waste among federal websites. There are almost 2000 .GOV domain names with websites, and many microsites under these domains, across the Federal Government. With so many separate sites, Americans often do not know where to turn for information. The White House want to put a halt to the creation of any new websites, and will eliminate more than half of the existing sites over the next year.”For too long the federal government has allowed billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on inefficiencies,” said Vice President Biden. “Over the last two years, we have been slashing waste across government and today we are putting Washington on notice: the President and I are committed to changing the way government works and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars.”Under many of the 2000 domains and microsites are an estimated 24,000 websites of varying purpose, design, navigation, usability, and accessibility.While many government websites each deliver value to the taxpayer through easy-to-use services and information, an overall online landscape of literally thousands of websites – each focusing on a specific topic or organization – can create confusion and inefficiency.In addition to confusing the public, duplicate and unnecessary websites also waste money. And while the costs for some of these websites may be relatively small, as President Obama also said in the video, “No amount of waste is acceptable. Not when it’s your money, not at a time when so many families are already cutting back.”So the federal government will do more with less, improving how it delivers information and services to the public by reducing the number of websites it maintains.As one of the first steps of the Campaign to Cut Waste and as part of an OMB memorandum to improve customer service, we’ve taken three concrete steps:
- Stop the bleeding. Starting right now, there is a freeze on all .gov URL’s. This means no one can get a new one without a written waiver from the federal CIO, Vivek Kundra. Facing this constraint, agencies will focus on their current infrastructure, adding content and functionality to existing websites.
- Map out the current landscape. To understand what’s working, and what isn’t, agencies will need to report on every URL they maintain. In addition, we’re enlisting the oversight of a powerful stakeholder: you. In the next 30 days, a list of all registered .gov domains will be published so that you can pore over them yourself and offer feedback.
- Develop a government-wide policy for websites. While it’s pretty obvious that we don’t need thousands of websites, what we do need is a little trickier. Should there only be one federal website? Is a more practical solution a common set of templates and standards so that sites are better connected to one another and more consistent to the public? A task force will consult with experts from the public and private sector to develop a policy for government websites moving forward. If you’re interested in participating in this process, let us know.