Kieren McCarthy

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed

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

Analysis 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

Analysis 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)

Vid+Comment 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

Comment 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

Analysis 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

Comment 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

Updated 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

Analysis 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…

Analysis 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

Pics 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

Analysis 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