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Kieren McCarthy

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Global Commission on Internet Governance wobbles into IANA debate

The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) has waded into the debate over the critical IANA contract with a formal statement and position paper. Rather than making a splash, however, the result is somewhat of a soggy mess. The elite group has spent two days in closed meetings in Canada and on Wednesday morning held a …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Nov 2014

Save Thanksgiving! Get your turkey to text you when it's done

It may be a cliché, but the one thing guaranteed to ruin your Thanksgiving dinner, as well as provide one more thing that your family to torture you with for the rest of your life, is a burnt turkey. Well, worry no more. Not only have boffins at iDevices developed a thermometer that you can leave in the oven with the bird but …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Nov 2014

How to run a big web music biz (Spotify): Grab more cash from fans, sink deeper into the red

Spotify has taken advice from Taylor Swift and shaken off its haters: the online music streaming upstart is in good shape despite increased losses. Founded in 2006, Spotify is privately held but published its 2013 consolidated financial results in Luxembourg on Tuesday. Although it's headquartered in London, UK, and Stockholm, …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Nov 2014

Floody hell! Brits cram Internet of Things into tight White Spaces

Geeks in Oxford, England, have squeezed 13Mbps down and 3Mbps up a single channel of White Space – unused TV frequencies in their area – and used the tech to connect up river flood sensors. The radio network – set up by bods at UK domain registry Nominet – is one a series of trials across Blighty using the gaps in telly spectrum …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Nov 2014
Google UK office logos

Google turns on shiny new .google top-level domain – but WHY?

Google has turned on its namesake top-level domain (TLD) with the creation of 'nic.google' representing the internet giant's entry into the domain name market. Currently the domain redirects to Google's registry page where it outlines the other internet extensions it has already won the rights to, including: .ads, .dad, .fly, . …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Nov 2014

New 'Internet Security Council' struggling to get off the ground

Plans for a new internet governance body are struggling to get off the ground after blowback from the internet community itself. The NetMundial Initiative was formally launched three weeks ago as an open source platform that would enable people to collaborate on internet governance issues. However observers immediately took …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Nov 2014

Woman who stung Tinder with sex-pest sueball stings again – with rival Bumble app

A Tinder cofounder who sued the upstart for sexual harassment will launch a competing dating app called Bumble next month. And, having settled the legal bother for an undisclosed sum, Whitney Wolfe is giving the online hookup scene both barrels. "Other apps are full of creepy guys and cheesy pickup lines," the Bumble app's …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Nov 2014

Culture CLASH: Wuzhen Declaration spurned at World Internet Conference in China

As you might expect, China's first global internet conference was a particularly Chinese affair. There were few sessions, each dominated by pre-selected authority figures, lots of positive declarations, almost no criticism and little audience participation. In effect, the polar opposite of a normal internet conference. Somewhat …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Nov 2014

It's 2014 and people are willing to blow $6.8m on things like Z.com

Z.com has been sold for $6.8m (£4.3m, 800m yen) to Japanese domain biz GMO Registry, putting it in the top ten of all-time domain name sales. As one of only three single-letter dot-coms available – the others being Q and X – the domain was previously owned by Nissan (for its Z-series of cars) and will be used by GMO Registry to …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2014
corset

George.Best walks into a sex.bar, spots a bearded dwarf sysadmin and thinks: Warcraft.cool

Nearly 10 million locked-away domain names will be set free and go on sale over the next two months. But before you get excited, take a look at a list of them – beware, it's a huge CSV file. Among the very occasional gems like sex.bar, george.best or warcraft.cool, there are literally millions of utterly worthless domains like …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2014

First Congress, now top govt watchdog digs into ICANN's internet grab

It's not just US Senators digging into ICANN's takeover of the internet's control panel. America's powerful Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been asked to interview key people in Washington DC over the proposed move – and the results are likely to form the basis for a number of hearings in the new year. And we managed …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Nov 2014
Jennifer Pahlka

What should America turn to for web advice? That's right: GOV.UK – says ex-Obama IT guru

It's not the most obvious place you would expect a Silicon Valley-ite to point to as the future of the America, but Jennifer Pahlka is a big fan of the UK government's website. Pahlka heads up Code For America, an organization helping the public sector make better use of IT. She's just finished a stint in Washington DC as deputy …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Nov 2014

'Internet Freedom Panel' to keep web overlord ICANN out of Russian hands – new proposal

A seemingly independent panel with authority over domain name system overseer ICANN has been proposed in a new US law bill. The Defending Internet Freedom Act [PDF], put forward by Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA), would see the creation of a board made up of techies and reps from the domain name world, as well as a new consortium …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Nov 2014

Quebec's latest bid to break away from Canada HALTED by a single dot

It was not the news the company behind the new dot-quebec domains wanted to hear. Just days before launch, dot-quebec's biggest supporter – the government of the Canadian province of Québec – ditched its plan to move from .gouv.qc.ca to the much simpler and more convenient .quebec. Apparently the shift in websites would be too …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Nov 2014
BrickArms' Toy taliban figure

HALF A BILLION TERRORISTS: WhatsApp encrypts ALL its worldwide jabber

WhatsApp has announced that it will encrypt all its 600m users' text messages by default, which is a serious stride forward for privacy - and one which will no doubt be criticised by spooks and police worldwide. The rollout, announced today, was described by the app maker as the "largest deployment of end-to-end encryption ever …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2014

Deloitte builds sofa-and-slippers startup fund ... where's the fun in that?

Deloitte has taken a leap into the fast-moving, fail-often world of startup culture by developing a risk-free version of Silicon Valley. A charming anti-formula to the Bay Area's post-revenue darlings. The accountancy giant has put aside £25m ($39m) to fund new business ideas proposed by its own employees: the staffers get to …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2014

Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it

In what appears to be a legal first, data from a woman's Fitbit tech bracelet will be used in court to argue a case. The gadget's wearer was a personal trainer before she was hurt in an accident. Her law firm in Canada will use data from her wearable and compare it to data from other women of her age and profession in order to …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2014

Internet Society slams online 'UN Security Council' plan, snubs permanent seat offer

The Internet Society has blasted efforts from some quarters to create a "UN Security Council" for the internet – which would rule over the online world. The society (ISoc) is a non-profit organization that, among other things, runs the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which develops and publishes crucial internet's …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Nov 2014

America, here's what the FCC's Rosenworcel REALLY thinks about your broadband

One of the FCC's five commissioners, Jessica Rosenworcel, says she wants to use both the 1934 and 1996 telecommunication laws to bring US broadband up to date. The problem is that today's rules, here in America, are still focused on the telephone era, when really they need to account for the internet age. Sound familiar? Yes, …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2014
management regulation1

Judge: Terror bomb victims CAN'T seize Iran's domain name as compensation

A judge in Washington DC has ruled that a country's entire internet registry cannot be seized, averting a global diplomatic crisis. In a ruling [PDF] made earlier this week but released late last night, Judge Royce Lamberth focused in on a single argument presented by DNS overseer ICANN that country code top-level domains ( …

Is your kid ADDICTED to web porn? Twitter? Hint: Don't blame the internet

Parents' biggest concern about life online is admen stalking kids across the web, according to new research. Unveiling the results of its study [PDF] at the Family Online Safety Institute's annual conference in Washington DC on Wednesday, Hart Research noted that 57 per cent of parents feel the harms outweigh the benefits when …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Nov 2014

Net neutrality, Verizon, open internet ... How can we solve this mess?

So President Obama chimed in this week over the issue of "net neutrality" – arguing that in order to protect netizens and keep the internet "free and open", cable companies should be reclassified as "Title II common carriers". "Whether you use computer, phone or tablet, your internet provider should have a legal obligation not …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Nov 2014

Net neutrality, Obama, FCC, Title II:Your ESSENTIAL guide to WTF is happening

President Obama ploughed into the net neutrality debate on Monday by demanding reclassification of "internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunication Act." What does that actually mean? And why are some for and some against this as a solution? First, some very quick history: The Telecommunications Act [PDF …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Nov 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Amazon bags control of .book and .pay domains – but NOT .cloud

Bookseller-turned-bazaar Amazon has beaten off competition from eight other companies, including Google and publisher Bowker, to win the right to sell domains ending in .book. It's not known how much Amazon paid since the gTLD was bought at private auction, although it is believed to have been between $5m and $10m – Amazon just …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Nov 2014

Obama HURLS FCC under train, GUTPUNCHES ISPs in net neut battle

Barack Obama has set the cat among the pigeons in the battle over net neutrality – by issuing a blunt demand that internet access be treated as a public utility in the United States. In a two-minute video, also given its own page on the White House website, Obama warns that "abandoning the principles" behind the internet's …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Nov 2014
gTLD graphic

Newly public dot-dentist flogger Rightside's shares jump on strong domain sales

In its first earnings report since going public, domain-name specialist Rightside reported revenues of $48.8m, a 7 per cent revenue increase over the year-ago quarter, causing its shares to jump by 4.5 per cent. The company is now valued at $173m. Rightside is unique in the domain name industry in that it services every level of …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Nov 2014

Why 120 people protested outside San Francisco City Hall (Hint: 'Hybrid' net neutrality)

If you wandered through San Francisco's Civic Centre Plaza on Thursday between 6pm and 6.35pm at the City Hall end, it would have been hard, though not impossible, to avoid a protest held against new net neutrality proposals. With just two days' notice, a turnout of 100 to 120 people is pretty good (although 333 said they …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Nov 2014

Amazon: Put our ALWAYS ON MICROPHONE in your house, please. WHAT?

Somewhat out the blue, Amazon is flogging a new gadget called Echo – which is a cross between ice maiden Siri and wireless speaker system Sonos, and will save you having to using your fingers ever again. The Echo is a voice-activated 9-inch-high cylinder that connects to your Wi-Fi and will answer spoken questions, play music, …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Nov 2014
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

ICANN creates 'UN Security Council for the internet', installs itself as a permanent member

In the same week that the United Nations finally gave up trying to grab control of the internet, a group of three organizations led by domain-name overseer ICANN have launched an effort to become the internet's UN. The "NetMundial Initiative" will be an "open source platform" and a "shared public resource" that will enable " …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Nov 2014
Tesla's Elon Musk

Elon Musk hits the brakes on Tesla's e-SUV Model X production

Tesla's shares jumped seven per cent in after-hours trading after it announced a better than expected third quarter. The electric car manufacturer delivered just under 8,000 Model S sedans in the three months to September 30, generated $851m in GAAP revenue (up 97 per cent year-on-year) and recorded a GAAP net loss of $74.7m (94 …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Nov 2014

Tinder swipes left on CEO Sean Rad, journalists swipe right

Tinder CEO Sean Rad has been dumped by the dating app maker he helped found, although he'll keep his 10 per cent stake. Unusually, the details of the firing were revealed by the 28-year-old himself in a lengthy piece of blowjob journalism by Forbes, titled "The Crazy Saga of the World's Hottest App". In between learning about …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Nov 2014

Net neutrality Thursday PROTESTS: Time to learn your chant

Internet activists are planning a series of protests across the US on Thursday against a "hybrid" net neutrality plan that was leaked late last week. Protesters will gather outside the White House and in 14 other cities at 6pm to protest the plan "to show President Obama and his FCC chairman that the public will accept nothing …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Nov 2014

7 questions we're dying to ask the internet's MOST EXCITING BLOKE

It is some irony that the further away the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) walks from trying to run the internet, the more it understands it. Having opened up their documents, started webcasting meetings, and expanded outside communications, now it is the turn of new Secretary-General Houlin Zhao to take questions …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Nov 2014

We're doing great, say dot-London chiefs ... Unfortunately, few agree

Operator of the dot-London internet registry, Minds & Machines, has told investors that it is "highly satisfied" with registrations in the new domain name extensions it operates – "particularly from a revenue perspective." Unfortunately, the stock market and domain name industry don't seem to agree. Announcing that it would …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Nov 2014
ITU ballot box

UN takeover of internet postponed indefinitely

Efforts to squeeze the United Nations into the throne of the internet have been comprehensively defeated at a key meeting in South Korea. The result raises the possibility that after more than a decade of fighting, the threat of a UN takeover is a thing of the past. After more than two weeks of negotiations at the United …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Nov 2014

How's the great dot-thing gold rush going? Well, coffee.club just sold for $100,000

The domain name coffee.club has been sold for $100,000 (£62,600), marking a growing acceptance – and value – in the market for new top-level domains. In a novel move, the coffee.club owner will also pay the domain's registry operator through an installment plan: 10 percent each year for the next decade, with no interest. "It is …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Nov 2014
broken smashed harddrives forensics

ICANN, ICAN'T, IWON'T: uWHAT? How the internet is actually run

A few weeks ago in Los Angeles, internet oversight body ICANN met for the 51st time – apparently in order to suck as much life as possible from 2,000 souls suffering a collective case of permanent, misplaced optimism. It was, as it always is, declared an enormous success, which is why you should ignore all the following …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Nov 2014

Brazil greenlights $200m internet cable to Europe in bid to outfox NSA

Brazil is moving ahead with plans to build an "anti-NSA" internet cable to Europe, even though it won't make the slightest difference to spying efforts. Francisco Ziober Filho, president of state-run telecoms company Telebras, announced earlier this week that the company will form a joint venture with Spain's IslaLink to run the …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Oct 2014

Has the United Nations taken over the Internet yet?

For the past five days, and the next nine, dozens of government representatives are in Busan, Korea discussing changes to the international telecommunications regime. It is the Plenipotentiary conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the arm of the United Nations that tries to coordinate telecoms efforts …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Oct 2014
Banksy's Portobello Road artwork

Banksy denies Banksy impostor's claim to Banksy.com – which isn't owned by Banksy

Street artist Banksy is renowned for satirizing society through the unexpected, and a battle over his namesake dot-com domain seems to have provided him with another opportunity. We reported earlier this month that the anonymous artists appeared to have gone corporate, filing a trademark infringement case against the owner of …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Oct 2014

Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories

Telecoms giant and proud defender of the third estate, Verizon, has entered the media market on its own, bankrolling a new tech news site, SugarString. There is a small catch, however. According to one reporter who says he was approached to work for the site, writers for SugarString are banned from reporting on or even …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Oct 2014
Facebook WhatsApp

Facebook shares flutter as firm reports user growth slowing

Facebook's shares dropped 10 percent on the news that it is planning to spend more on roughly the same number of users next year. However, after hours trading pulled the social media monster's price back up to around $80 per share following the third-quarter results announcements. CFO Dave Wehner said the company was planning …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Oct 2014

Swedish 'Future minister' doesn't do social media

Social media is something you would think your "future minister" is active on. Not so in Sweden. As part of the Prime Minister's office, the minister for "Strategy, Future Issues and Nordic cooperation" is a significant and powerful voice. Kristina Persson's voice does not extend to the internet however. Criticizing his new …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Oct 2014
Russell Haworth, Nominet CEO

New Nominet CEO: I'll embrace past but look forward to the future

"It's too early to tell what areas of growth will be best for Nominet," says Russell Haworth, "but the company has got some smart people, a good board and an active membership base so if we can corral all three, everybody wins." Haworth has been announced as the new CEO at dot-uk registry operator Nominet after a six-month …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Oct 2014

Why weasel words might not work for Whisper

Whisper's CEO has attempted to undercut criticism of his company by suspending its editorial team and penning a lengthy response to accusations of privacy abuses and user tracking. Editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman, as well as an undisclosed number of staff have been put on leave "pending the results of our internal review," CEO …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Oct 2014

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