(David Goldstein) ICM Registry, the applicant for .XXX generic Top Level Domain, hopes to begin offering .XXX domain names in 2010 following an independent review of its application to, and subsequent refusal by, ICANN. The rejection of ICM Registry's application was always controversial, however the first ICANN Independent Review Process decision since the process was introduced six years ago voted two to one to advise the ICANN Board to reconsider the .XXX gTLD at its next meeting. The review panel found that ICANN's handling of ICM Registry's application to run the .XXX top level domain violated ICANN's Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation, as well as international and California law. It should be noted that the holdings of the Independent Review Panel are advisory in nature and that they do not constitute a binding arbitral award.
(OUT-LAW News) The body responsible for the .uk internet addresses disconnected over 1,200 websites without any oversight from a court. The much-publicised action last month was based only on police assertions about criminal activity on the sites. Two Nominet executives have told technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio that it severed the connection between 1,219 domain names and the sites that lay behind them without the kind of court order that web hosting companies would usually demand.
(Ars Technica) Stephen Conroy is Australia's Communications Minister and, in that role, has been instrumental in pushing for ISP-level traffic filters that will block access to illegal content by his nation's citizens. A site that was combination parody and protest, stephenconroy.com.au, saw its domain registration deleted late last month since they had no business relationship with anyone or thing by that name. Its creators, however, registered stephenconroy as a business in Victoria, simply waited for it to reappear in the pool of available domains, and grabbed it again.
(Forbes) This week, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released regulations, dated Dec. 15, requiring the registration of all Web sites.
MIIT's justification was the need to eliminate sexual content. As a Ministry spokesman stated, "This is about mobile pornography, it's not referring to any other issue." The explanation, however comforting it sounds, is disingenuous. The wording of the rules is broad enough to cover all sites, domestic and foreign, whether or not they carry sex-themed material. "Domain names that have not registered will not be resolved or transferred," the regulations state. In other words, unregistered sites will become unavailable to users in China. see also Blacklist, White List? China's Internet Censors Spawn Confusion (WSJ) by Loretta Chao.
(RAPID) At the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt), the European Commission has s welcomed a landmark step towards a truly global (and local) internet: the announcement that "Internationalised Domain Names" will be introduced at the top level. Until now, internet domain names were either fully or partly in the Latin "a to z" alphabet. ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which manages the internet's core directory, has announced that a fast track process would be launched today to open up country code top level domains (like ".eu" of europa.eu) to non Latin characters. This means that Europeans, especially in Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus, will be able to see domain names in their own alphabets. Viviane Reding, the EU's telecoms and internet Commissioner, heralded this major multilingual development. She also called for the timeframe of the Internet Governance Forum - a unique multi-stakeholder dialogue platform for the global internet community - to be extended. See also Why the Internet must be open, global and multilingual Opening speech by Viviane Reding Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media at the Internet Governance Forum Sharm El Sheikh, 15 November 2009.
(RAPDI) Viviane Reding, the EU's Commissioner for Information Society and Media, today welcomed news that ICANN, the body primarily responsible for managing internet domain names, will become more open and accountable to billions of internet users worldwide. As of 30 September, ICANN, the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, will no longer be subject to unilateral review by the US Department of Commerce, but by independent review panels appointed by ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and ICANN itself with the involvement of governments around the world. Since 2005, the European Commission has repeatedly called for reform of the governance of the internet's key global resources.
(Economist) America is poised to loosen its control over cyberspace. For the past decade America has delegated some of its authority over the internet to a non-profit organisation called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN's latest mandate is due to expire on September 30th. The day before, a new accord is planned to come into effect, whereby America will pass some of its authority over ICANN to the "internet community" of businesses, individual users and other governments.
(IDG News Service) Europe's efforts to internationalize the running of the Internet's governance body were criticized by three leading trade groups - ETNO, EuroISPA and GSMA Europe - for failing to take account of the needs of the private sector. Oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) by an intergovernmental body, as the European Commission proposed in May, "would contradict the goal to move ICANN responsibilities to the private sector and would not appropriately take into account all stakeholders," said groups representing former telecommunication monopolies, ISPs and mobile phone companies in a joint statement. The trade groups said that instead of more governmental involvement in ICANN, there should be less, with full control eventually handed over to the private sector.
(RAPID) The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, has called for more transparency and multilateral accountability in the governance of the internet. At present, a private US-based body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ( ICANN ), is responsible for coordinating key elements of the internet. The Commission agrees that private companies should continue to take the lead in the day-to-day management of the operation of the internet, as long as they are accountable and independent. The Commission also believes that decisions about the internet, especially those about openness and security, should be taken in a transparent and accountable manner because they affect everyone around the globe. ICANN currently operates under a Joint Project Agreement with the US Department of Commerce which expires on 30 September 2009. In the view of the European Commission, future internet governance arrangements should reflect the key role that the global network has come to play for all countries. Commission Communication "Internet governance: the next steps" COM(2009) 2007.
(RAPID) In a video posted on her website, Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, called for greater transparency and accountability in Internet Governance as of October 2009. Key decisions related to Internet Governance, like top level domains and managing the internet's core directory, are currently made by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private not-for profit corporation established in California. So far, ICANN has been operating under an agreement with the US Department of Commerce. However, this agreement expires on 30 September this year. For the time after, Commissioner Reding outlined a new governance model for the internet. This would include a fully private and accountable ICANN, accompanied by an independent judicial body, as well as a "G12 for Internet Governance" - a multilateral forum for governments to discuss general internet governance policy and security issues. See Text of Mrs Reding's message.
(BBC) The number of websites showing and selling images of child abuse has fallen in the last 12 months. The number of sites hosting such images dropped by 10% in 2008, reveal figures from the Internet Watch Foundation. The watchdog warned that the fall in numbers masked a rise in the severity of images seen on the remaining sites. see also Child Porn Websites Domains Concentrated in Ten Registries (Goldstein Report) A small number of registries and registrars are responsible for three-quarters of child porn websites says the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in their annual report. The IWF found 74 per cent of child sexual abuse domains they traced are commercial operations selling indecent images of children with 76 per cent of these (some 850 unique domains) are registered with just ten unnamed domain name registries. Of these, five registries and registrars accounted for 55 per cent of all the commercial child sexual abuse domains known to IWF during 2008.
(RAPID) Three years after its launch, the .eu top-level internet domain continues to be a success story. There are now more than three million internet domains under Europe's own top-level domain. Even the financial crisis has not stopped this growth: the number of .eu domains increased by 2% during the first quarter of 2009, and .eu was firmly entrenched as the fifth most popular country code top-level domain worldwide. Early last month, Sweden made a symbolic gesture by being the first Member State to adopt ".eu" for its official website dedicated to the Presidency of the European Union that will start on 1 July: www.se2009.eu.
(BBC) Plans to offer hundreds of new web addresses as alternatives to .com have been criticised by the US government.The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees net addresses has floated plans for the radical change to the existing system. But the US Commerce department has questioned both the benefits and the costs of such a scheme. Officials have also raised concerns about whether the plans will destabilise the current system.
The body behind the internet's addressing systems has said that it will settle disputes over who wins the right to new generic top level domains (gTLDs) by auction. ICANN has said that auctions will be used if two organisations vying for the right to a gTLD are tied on other grounds.
(Intellectual Property Watch) by Monika Ermert. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the "biggest extension of the DNS [domain name system] in 40 years" after its decision last week to finish implementation of a new policy for introducing new top-level domains (TLDs). One problem is a procedure to allow anyone to file objections against new TLD proposals on the bases of existing rights of others (like those holding trademarks), confusing similarity, economic concerns or concerns of ethnic communities about a new domain. Governments also reiterated that geographical names, including place names, must be avoided or only be granted in case of endorsement by the respective local authorities. But the most discussed and criticised reason for an objection clearly is "morality and public order."
(CNET) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has voted to relax rules for naming Web sites. At its meeting in Paris, ICANN, a not-for-profit organization that oversees the naming scheme for Web sites, voted to accept a proposal that will allow companies to purchase new top-level domain names ending in whatever they like. See also ICANN go-ahead on gTLDs - with "string criteria" (LINX Public Affairs blog, posred by Malcolm Hutty).
(OUT-LAW News) A committee of the body responsible for the internet's addressing system has found no evidence of front running, a form of deceptive domain name acquisition. Front running has long been rumoured to be in operation by unscrupulous domain name registration companies. They are alleged to monitor what addresses users search for but do not immediately buy. They then buy that domain to sell to the enquirer at a profit, according to reports. But a committee of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has investigated 120 supposed examples of the cheating and found no wrongdoing.
(ZDNet Australia) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has formally announced a proposal to make "domain tasting" a thing of the past by changing the way it charges for domain names. Domain tasting is the use of the "add grace period" - a five-day period following registration where the domain name can be deleted at no cost to the registrar - to see how profitable a domain name is.
More than 2.5 million people and organizations have registered European Union domain names since .eu was opened to the public a year ago. According to the European Union, .eu is now Europe's third most popular top-level domain and the seventh most popular globally.
(BBC) Plans to create an internet domain specifically for pornographic websites have been rejected. The proposal for the .xxx domain was voted out by the overseer of the net's addressing system, seven years after the ideas was first put forward. Board members said they were concerned that approval would put the agency into the position of a content regulator. See Board meeting resolution and transcript. GAC Communique: GAC expresses concern that ICANN could be moving towards assuming an ongoing management and oversight role regarding Internet content which would be inconsistent with its technical mandate. Government of Canada comments on the proposed ICM Registry Agreement. See also Why I Voted For XXX (Susan Crawford), Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) Press Release and .XXX ICANN comments - enormous opposition (Seth Finkelstein).
(CNET News.com) An attack in early February on key parts of the backbone of the Internet had little effect, thanks to new protection technology. The distributed denial-of-service attack on the Domain Name System proved the effectiveness of the Anycast load-balancing system, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) said. see also: ICANN has released a factsheet concerning the recent attack on the root server system on 6 February 2007. The factsheet is intended to provide an explanation of the attack for a non-technical audience in the hope of enlarging public understanding surrounding this and related issues. [Ed: it does - very clearly written]
(Europa) Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Annual Conference for the Joint Government-Private Sector Dialogue, Brussels, 26 February 2007. Speaking about creative contents, and notably audiovisual contents, I would like to make two comments related to EU?Japan cooperation. First, I would like a better distribution of Japanese films, notably feature films, in the EU and a better distribution of European films in Japan. Second, I must reflect here the debate which is taking place in EU countries on videogames. As you may know, worries have been expressed in European countries about very violent games imported in Europe. Our industry, with the support of the European Commission, has developed a good functioning system of labelling as regards games not appropriate for certain age categories and content categories. I believe this is a domain, where a discussion is needed between the EU and Japan in order to better understand each other and take advantage of existing best practice.
(CBRonline.com) The resurrected proposal to open an internet domain reserved for porn web sites is looking less likely to succeed, with ICANN's board of directors last week expressing 'serious concerns' about it. A majority of ICANN's directors are concerned that .xxx may not be wanted by the adult entertainment industry it would purport to serve, according to minutes of a February 12 ICANN board meeting.
(Internet Governance Project) by Milton Mueller. The backers of the controversial .xxx domain have negotiated a new contract with ICANN. Final approval of the contract is still vehemently opposed by an amusing alliance of anti-pornography conservatives and pornographers with investments in existing adult domain names. Nevertheless, chances are now good that it will finally succeed in gaining the approval of the ICANN Board. What are the implications of this probable resolution of the .xxx drama for the Internet and Internet governance? They are major. But no one seems to be talking about them.
(BBC) The US government has given its blessing to a controversial deal over the future of the lucrative .com net domain. The deal gives .com administrator Verisign control over the domain until 2012. The US Department of Commerce retains some oversight of Verisign and has final approval of any price rises to renew .com net addresses. Critics said the deal gave Verisign a monopoly hold on the iconic domain.
(Sydney Morning Herald) The Internet's key oversight agencyhas rejected a proposed search service to help guide people who mistype ".travel" Web addresses or seek nonexistent ones. The decision comes after a review panel warned that the proposal from Tralliance Corp., which operates ".travel," could hinder spam filters and other applications that rely on the Internet's Domain Name System, the directories crucial for finding websites and sending e-mail.
(Internet Governance Project) ICANN's 8-year experiment in nongovernmental governance of the Internet's domain name system all but came to an end this last November 30. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it, and not ICANN, would be the ultimate 'decider' when it comes to dot com. From now on the Commerce Department - not ICANN's policy making process - will provide the final word on renewal of the lucrative .com license. The Commerce Department will Commerce continue to ensure the Internet's "security and stability," and will now ensure that an agreement provides "reasonable price, terms, and conditions." That leaves ICANN with little substantive power over .com. see also Price rise on the cards for .com (Computer Business Review).
(MIP) EURid, the registry for .eu domain names, is halving the costs of registering and renewing .eu domain names. As of January 1 2007, the price for registering a domain name and the annual renewal fee will be 5 as opposed to today's 10. The registry said the reduction was due to the high number of domains registered since the .eu domain name was launched at the end of 2005. There are now more than 2.34 million active .eu domain names.
A long-simmering dispute over whether the U.S. government has too much control over the Internet's underpinnings will heat up again next week at a United Nations summit in Greece. Officially, the inaugural meeting of the United Nations' Internet Governance Forum is designed to explore topics like free speech, security, spam and multilingualism. But the diplomatic subtext is more pointed: Does the U.S. government have too much influence over how Internet addresses are allocated and domain names are assigned?
(RAPID) Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding has visited EURid, the independent consortium managing the '.eu' domain name. Commissioner Reding was accompanied by several Members of the European Parliament. The purpose of the visit was to understand the way the new domain name registration system - that so far has attracted more than two million users - functions.
(BBC) Thousands of website names ending in the .eu suffix have been suspended by the body that administers the domain. Brussels-based EURid froze 74,000 domain names which it believes have been stockpiled by a syndicate of registrars who intend to sell them on. The process, known as 'warehousing', is not permitted by EURid which is suing 400 registrars for breach of contract.
(out-law.com) The company that called for a .xxx domain on the internet has asked ICANN to reconsider its decision to reject the bid. ICM Registry is also suing the US Government for access to documents that it hopes will prove political interference. ICANN's board rejected ICM's proposal by nine votes to five on 10th May. But ICM filed a request for reconsideration, arguing that the decision was 'based on inaccurate information about the written statements of various governments concerning .xxx'.
(Susan Crawford) The decision by ICANN's board, which voted 9-5 to reject the XXX contract, represents a low point for ICANN. I am a member of ICANN's board, and I voted in favor of the agreement. Policies as to the use of domain names, as opposed to the registration of domain names, are not appropriate subjects for ICANN decisionmaking. By keeping such a short leash on ICM's development of its policy organization, which will in turn make decisions about the use of names at the second level, ICANN may be getting into dangerous territory. We should not run the risk of turning ICANN into a convenient chokepoint for the content-related limitations desired by particular governments around the world. see also .XXX and Conservative Groups by Patrick Vande Walle.
(ZDNet UK) Internet regulator ICANN has approved the creation of the .tel domain, the company that proposed the domain announced. Telnic, which proposed .tel to ICANN in 2000, said the domain will give individuals and businesses a naming and navigation structure for the Internet communications space.
(OUT-LAW News) The internet's domain naming body has rejected a plan for a .xxx domain, a red light district for the internet. It was the right decision, but not for reasons suggested by the religious right in the US. It was right because the plan was flawed.
(CNET News.com) Adult companies have joined conservative groups in celebrating an Internet regulator's decision to reject the creation of a domain for adult Web sites. Adult-industry observer Scott McGowan, in an article on the EyeOnAdult Web site, said he "just couldn't be happier." He claimed that ICM Registry, which proposed the new top-level domain, was driven purely by the desire to make money.