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Kieren McCarthy

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Time to test your sarcasm detectors: It's the UN's global comms shakeup extravaganza!

The United Nations is often mocked as an old boy's network where representatives spend all their time making speeches about nothing and attending social events while wasting millions of dollars congratulating each other for doing so. But that is far from the truth, as the arm of the UN focused on the latest technological …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Oct 2014

Wanna see how Russia et al hope to shape the internet? ITU opens up (a little more) to public

Having tried and failed for a decade to understand and influence the internet, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) appears to finally be grasping the fundamentals of the open web. Currently meeting in Busan, South Korea, at its three-week Plenipotentiary held every four years, the UN agency has formally decided to …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Oct 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Would you blow $5.6m to own a dot-word? Meet a bloke who did just that

A further $13m was spent yesterday on auctions for the ownership rights to three new soul-sapping dot-word domains: .spot, .salon and .realty. Amazon outbid Google and gTLD powerhouse Donuts to pay $2.2m for the rights to sell dot-spot addresses; Donuts beat L'Oreal and two others for dot-salon at $5.1m; and top of the heap, …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Oct 2014

Whisper. Explain this 'questionable' behavior – senior US senator

US Senator Jay Rockefeller has sent a terse letter [PDF] to the CEO of "anonymous" messaging app Whisper about its privacy policies. Referring to "questionable" behavior revealed last week, the letter requests a briefing from the company on four issues, each revolving around the fact that Whisper tracks users of its app even …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Oct 2014
Steve Crocker, ICANN chairman

The future health of the internet comes down to ONE simple question…

When was the last time you gave any thought to how the internet actually works? Despite the extraordinary and never-ending growth in people and devices that connect to the internet every second of every day, we have never seen the equivalent of Twitter’s Fail Whale. The internet, as a whole, just doesn’t go down. There are two …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Oct 2014
gTLD graphic

Want to own .app, .blog or .pet? Best sell a third of yourself for $100m on London Stock Exchange

Internet registry Afilias hopes to build a $100m (£62.3m) war chest by floating on the London Stock Exchange – just in time to spend the cash snapping up the rights to new dot-word domains. The company will sell 30 percent of itself next month, ahead of a critical dot-word auction planned for 17 December. Some 21 valuable new …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Oct 2014
Obama and Silicon Valley dinner, Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web

On February 8, 2000, the US government signed a contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to run the so-called "IANA functions" – which glue together the internet as we know it. Ever since that day, people have been trying to end that contract. This time next year, it will finally happen. …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Oct 2014

How to hit the top of Google's rankings: 'Use a new dot-thing gTLD'

If you want to get higher up Google's search rankings, it turns out that using a new dot-thing domain – such as .guru or .ninja – may give you the edge. Two recent studies into the impact of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) have claimed that, far from Google's official position, using the right domain ending can bump you up …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Oct 2014

In dot we trust: If you keep to this 124-page security rulebook, you can own yourname.trust

NCC Group has published a set of security standards that you'll have to follow if you want to operate a .trust website. The company owns the rights to sell dot-trusts, and uploaded the 124-page policy document [PDF] earlier this month. It provides a technical rundown covering network security to secure DNS settings, and NCC …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Oct 2014

Whisper tracks its users. So we tracked down its LA office. This is what happened next

We were surprised as anyone when The Guardian revealed that, far from being “the safest place on the internet”, the anonymous messaging app Whisper was tracking the location of its users – even when they specifically denied the app access to their location. Worse, if someone's posts were deemed newsworthy, according to The …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Oct 2014

It's not always about you: Why the Apple Watch is all about China

If you’re wondering why you don’t want the new Apple Watch as much as you think you should, don’t fret, it’s because you’re not Chinese. When it was launched last month, all eyes were on what innovations Apple had been cooking up. Sure, a watch would likely tell you when someone was calling, or pop up your emails, but this is …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Oct 2014
Banksy HMV dog Nipper with bazooka

Banksy puts down spray can, goes corporate in banksy.com cybersquat brouhaha

Street artist Banksy has gone corporate, using a trademark of his name to try to win control of the Banksy.com domain. A formal complaint has been sent to domain arbitrator WIPO by Banksy’s “authentication” company Pest Control Office, which now, it seems, has moved into trademark enforcement. WIPO will decide in case D2014- …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Oct 2014
Olga Madruga-Forti

Another ICANN Board member resigns

ICANN has seen its second Board member resign in less than a year. Olga Madruga-Forti has quit the coveted role on the last day of the domain oversight organization’s meeting in Los Angeles, raising questions about the culture inside the notoriously secretive group. The organization has provided no details, putting out a …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Oct 2014
ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure

Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet

The Arab States will push for greater control of the internet next week – by arguing that only governments should steer how the web is run, rather than independent bodies. In a late submission [PDF] to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) meeting in Busan, South Korea, the 22 states collectively asked for revisions to …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Oct 2014
Thomas Schneider, new GAC chair

World govts elect Swiss big cheese as their new ICANN point man

The world’s governments have selected Swiss civil servant Thomas Schneider to act as their chair inside key internet body ICANN. In a vote on Tuesday in Los Angeles, Schneider beat Lebanon representative Imad Hoballah by 61 votes to 37 to become chairman of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). He will act as the frontman …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Oct 2014
Penny Pritzker, US Commerce Secretary

Commerce Secretary feeds digital catnip to NET NERDS

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has vowed to protect the “free, vibrant and open internet” by letting net nerds decide how to replace the US government’s traditional role overseeing the internet. Speaking at the opening ceremony of ICANN’s meeting in Los Angeles, Pritzker took the well-travelled route of praising the net’s …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Oct 2014
The extinct golden toad of the Monteverde cloud forests. Credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Dot-gay told it's NOT gay enough – but web'll be officially .eco-friendly

A slew of decisions over who gets to run new internet extensions have been handed down, meaning that within months domain names ending in "radio", "eco", "hotel" and "Osaka" will start appearing online. Those four were the lucky ones out of a group of 17 applications that asked for a "community evaluation" of their bids to …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Oct 2014
Iranian flag flying

ICANN can't hand over Iran's internet, bomb victims told

It's not possible to hand over Iran's internet because it doesn't own it, a Washington DC court has been told in a mind-boggling submission to terrorism victims. Lawyers for nine US citizens injured in an Iran-financed bombing in Jerusalem back in 1997 have turned to the internet in an effort to recoup millions of dollars …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Jul 2014

'Internet World Cup' conference fizzles out to bore draw

NetMundial, last week's two-day conference on Internet governance staged in Brazil, has fizzled out to a bore draw with its concluding communiqué [PDF] failing to suggest strong action on key topics and for the most part reiterating previous conferences' conclusions. Despite high expectations, the issue of mass online …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Apr 2014

Tales from the Internet World Cup: ICANN tell nothing will change

NetMundial's internet conference, the much-hyped, over-excited lovechild of Edward Snowden's NSA revelations, has been significantly more subdued than people thought it would be. After the first day of the two-day internet shindig in São Paulo, Brazil – the Global Multi-stakeholder Meeting on the future of Internet Governance – …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Apr 2014

Brazilian president signs internet civil rights law

A bill guaranteeing civil rights on the internet was signed into law by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff at the NetMundial Internet Governance conference today. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff signs Marco Civil at the NetMundial conference in Brazil, 23 April 2014 In a theatrical flourish, Rousseff signed the "Marco Civil …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Apr 2014
The Register breaking news

Confab makes sense of dot-everything revolution

It is more than three years ago that El Reg announced the approval of “customized top-level domains”, following two years of policy debate. “ICANN estimates it will begin taking applications in April or May of next year,” we reported. ICANN was a little off in its estimates. It took until June this year – more than two years …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Aug 2011
The Register breaking news

Tomorrow's tech demoed with free pizza and beer

It's not often that you can experience that magic moment when the future opens up in front of you – but when it happens, chances are it will be in Silicon Valley. One of those moments came about five minutes into a demo by Layar.com at SVNewTech's monthly meeting in Palo Alto, California. Layar's "Augmented Reality Strategist" …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 May 2011
The Register breaking news

iOS lauded as top moneymaker

The iPad and iPhone are the most valuable and profitable devices available for your software-development business – at least according to Evernote CEO Phil Libin. Presenting a wealth of figures about his company's sales, users, and upgrade rates at The Founder Conference in Silicon Valley, Libin revealed that Apple's iOS …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 May 2011
The Register breaking news

Apple ex-evangelist Kawasaki pans, praises Jobs

Apple fanboys may have religious fervor, but so too does its ex–chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki, who reckons that Apple's continued existence is evidence that there must be a God. Keynoting at The Founder Conference in Mountain View, California, just up the road from Apple's HQ, Kawasaki laid into his former employer, joking about …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 May 2011
The Register breaking news

There is no big Silicon Valley tech bubble, says VC king

Forget what you may have heard: there is no massive tech bubble in Silicon Valley. Instead there are hundreds of little bubbles, and they're set to begin popping at the end of this year. That's according to investor and "co-maintainer" of the bubble-blowing AngelList, Naval Ravikant. Speaking at The Founder Conference in …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 May 2011
The Register breaking news

How to find the next Google. Or at least a free taco

Outside a nondescript warehouse under a San Francisco freeway was a roach coach serving free tacos to an assembled mass of geeks, entrepreneurs, and dressed-down corporate types, all of whom were hoping that in the next few hours they'd witness the unveiling of the next Facebook or Google or Skype. This is SF New Tech, billed as …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Apr 2011
The Register breaking news

United Nations undermines Internet Governance Forum

The first preparatory meeting for the 2011 Internet Governance Forum has ended with a significant degree of uncertainty thanks to ongoing bureaucratic delays. Over two days, representatives from business, government, civil society, and the technical community met in Geneva in order to decide the path forward for the sixth annual …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Feb 2011
The Register breaking news

Sex.com sellers roll eyes at $13m price tag

Sex.com may have been sold for $13 million but that isn’t enough for its owners. The deal between Escom and soon-to-be new owner Clover Holdings – an opaque company based in offshore tax haven St Vincent – will go ahead after being given formal approval by Judge Geraldine Mund in Los Angeles on Wednesday. However, the proceeds …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Oct 2010
The Register breaking news

ITU congress: where Kabbadi meets telecoms

At the International Telecommunication Union's quadrennial Plenipotentiary congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, bureaucratic posturing is as endemic as one might expect for such a creaky, hide-bound United Nations agency. Take, for example, the style of debate — if, indeed, the word "debate" can be properly applied to the florid …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Oct 2010
The Register breaking news

International Telecom Union drags self out of past

There's plenty wrong with the International Telecommunication Union, but formal proposals here at its quadrennial Plenipotentiary congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, prove that many attendees want to fix the creaky United Nations' agency. Those proposals show that the ITU is aware of its problems: its closed nature, its budgeting, …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Oct 2010
The Register breaking news

196 nations open three week (!) telecoms congress

The International Telecommunication Union is a walking contradiction, where tedious 19th century ceremony exists side-by-side with snappy 21st century efficiency. I'm here in Guadalajara, Mexico at the ITU's Plenipotentiary — a meeting that this United Nations' agency for information and communication technology holds every four …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Oct 2010
The Register breaking news

IGF and crazy cabbies pull world together

Having spent three days grumbling and moaning about the Internet Governance Forum 2010, I pre-decided it was time to highlight the good stuff, the reason why people from 107 different countries bothered to attend. If you asked pretty much anyone at the event if the numbers were up or down this year, everyone would have said down …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Sep 2010
The Register breaking news

Critical Internet Resources not so critical

If you were to list Internet conferences in terms of boredom, the IGF would come mid- to top-table. It doesn’t have the razzmatazz or micro-celebrities of Web2.0 conferences but then it also doesn’t suffer the long, drawn-out pondering of intergovernmental talk-fests. That’s why it’s so important that the Critical Internet …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Sep 2010
The Register breaking news

The sound and the fury and the kettle

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania. And Lithuania is north-east of Poland and underneath Finland. In an exhibition center on the outskirts of Vilnius, over the Neris river from the big, beautiful Vingis park, are currently the 1,000 or so people in this world who spend their lives obsessing about internet governance. I’m one of …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Sep 2010
The Register breaking news

Comms minister Vaizey reads internet script excellently

In his first outing in the minefield of internet politics, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey stuck firmly to the script. Speaking at the UK Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Whitehall yesterday, Vaizey basically repeated the civil servant line that has been formed over the past five years, …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Domain registrars push back on law enforcement changes

The companies that sell domain names have pushed back on proposals made by law enforcement yesterday to change their contracts to make cybercrime more difficult. Calling the proposals “policy by the back door”, the registrars complained to members of ICANN’s Board in Brussels that the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

US Senator wants Internet seizure rights

A new bill introduced to Congress calls for a new government body to oversee the internet as well as provide emergency powers to a “director of cyberspace policy” as well as the President. The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA), introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman, would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Nominet election campaign starts rolling

The election campaign for two Board positions at dot-uk registry Nominet has kicked off, with seven candidates vying for two positions. But despite efforts to revitalise the organisation after several years of infighting, voters will be disappointed to see a cast of the usual suspects on the ballot. Five of the seven candidates …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Internet 1 - England goalkeeper 0

The internet loves nothing more than an excruciating moment of embarrassment caught by the cameras. When that moment happens to be in the middle of a World Cup match between England and the United States, well... Robert Green Robert Green As many online viewers have pointed out, even the hoardings at the side of the pitch …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

New York Times bans 'tweet'

Writers at the New York Times were recently requested to stop referring to Twitter updates as "tweets" by the Gray Lady's standards editor, Phil Corbett. With the internet causing radical upheavals in newspapers across the world, it is reassuring to find at least one that's prepared to stick to its guns. In an electronic mail …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

New Interwebs extensions edge ever closer to reality

A new generation of dot-coms will edge closer to reality next week in Brussels, with one – dot-xxx – possibly being approved on the Friday. The tri-annual meeting of Internet overseeing body ICANN in Brussels will focus on the fourth version of an “applicant guidebook” for those who want to start up and run new Internet …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Google to Commies: We’ll make censorship illegal

Google is working with the US government to try to make it illegal for countries to censor the Internet by using international trade rules. The ad broker’s communications head, Robert Boorstin, told a Media Access Project audience in DC that Google “believes very strongly, as do other companies, that censorship is a trade …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

New Nominet chair: I’ll start by listening

Nominet’s new chair will start her new job by listening. “I don’t come in with answers. I would like to listen to staff, but I also recognise how important it is to listen to members, to see how strongly they feel,” Baroness Rennie Fritchie explained to The Reg in her first interview since accepting her new position. She is also …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Nominet announces Baroness as new chair

A Baroness, Dame Commander, pro-chancellor, and training and development expert has been chosen as the new chair of dot-uk registry Nominet. Baroness Rennie Fritchie replaces former chairman Bob Gilbert, who stepped down in March, and she takes over from interim chairman Gordon Dick. She becomes chair at an interesting time: in …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Auction opens for rare single letter net domain

The auction of a rare single-letter domain – e.co – has just hit the interwebs, with bids reaching $16,500 in the first 90 minutes. The sale is advertised on the domain itself, with the name pitched as the potential “home to your e-commerce site, education site, entertainment site” or even “to showcase your company's plan to …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Sun man and 'Bond nemesis' celebrate 25 years of dotcom

This week's celebration of 25 years of .com promised to be a step above the usual incestuous industry award shows. For one, it was designed to honor the 25 biggest pioneers of the online world – people who in some cases have reached beyond the IT world and entered mainstream awareness – the Internet’s rock gods. There was Steve …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 May 2010
The Register breaking news

Email 2.0: Trying to catch up with the web

Remember the days when you clicked on a link in an email without worrying about hitting a porn site or letting loose a virus? Well, these days could be back with us soon if the engineers at INET SF have their way. “As we moved forwards to Web 2.0, email moved backwards to 0.7,” explains Daniel Dreymann of Goodmail Systems, …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 May 2010
The Register breaking news

DNSSEC: the internet's International Criminal Court?

The DNSSEC protocol could have some very interesting geo-political implications, including erosion of the scope of state sovereign powers, according to policy and security experts. “We will have to handle the geo-political element of DNSSEC very carefully,” explained Peter Dengate Thrush, a New Zealand patent attorney and …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 May 2010
The Register breaking news

Internet abuzz with BitTorrent bypass code

A block of 86 lines of C# code is creating a buzz online following claims it may make BitTorrent downloads untraceable. The code, sweetly named SeedFucker, is actually an exploit discovered last November that would allow a BitTorent user to fake the IP address of a server from where a file could be downloaded. It could also be …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Apr 2010