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Dotcom contract 'undermines' ICANN's integrity

The new dotcom contract undermines ICANN's integrity and "poses unacceptable risks to the values that underly ICANN's mission", one of the internet watchdog's own board members said. In statements released today over the controversial contract passed earlier this week, new member Susan Crawford pulled no punches in her …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Mar 2006
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ICANN approves dotcom contract

ICANN has approved a controversial dotcom contract that will see VeriSign handed control of the internet's most famous product forever. The Board of the Internet overseeing organisation held a special meeting last night where the contract received nine votes in favour, five against and one abstention. The contract still has to …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Mar 2006
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US government dangles internet control contract

The US government has taken the extraordinary step of dangling the contract for control of the internet above the heads of the world. In a "Sources Sought Notice" put out by the Department of Commerce (DoC) late on Tuesday and only just noticed by the internet community, it is asking for "potential respondents" for the contract …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Feb 2006
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Nominet responds to rule-change concerns

Nominet's chairman and chief executive have hit back at claims that changes to the company's Memorandum and Articles of Association will over-commercialise the not-for-profit company. Chairman Bob Gilbert told us: "There is a lot of disinformation being peddled that is completely erroneous." Instead, both he and chief executive …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Feb 2006
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Nominet faces rebellion over rule changes

Nominet, the company in charge of the .uk registry, is facing a grassroots rebellion over proposed changes to company rules that will see it enter a more commercial phase. Last week, Nominet announced an extraordinary general meeting on March 16, where members would be invited to vote in favour of changes to its Articles of …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Feb 2006
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Global net tussle reaches uneasy truce

Governments, business, academia and civil society have reached an uneasy truce at the end of two days of meetings over the creation of a new global body for the internet. There remain a number of large issues to be agreed but, thanks to some heavy prodding by UN special adviser Nitin Desai, enough agreement was reached for a …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Feb 2006
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IGF: success, great success or useful sideshow?

When asked a month prior to this week's meeting in Geneva how it was likely to go, one diplomat closely involved in the talks was unequivocal: "It will be a success." Really? "Of course," he said. "Every UN meeting is always either a success or a great success." The United Nations truly does inhabit its own world. And it comes …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Feb 2006
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Registrars slam dotcom contract

Eight of the world's leading registrars have written to ICANN asking it to reject the new dotcom contract for handing too much power and control to incumbent VeriSign. The heads of GoDaddy, Tucows, Register.com, Network Solutions, Melbourne IT, Intercosmos, BulkRegister and Schlund+Partner, who together represent nearly 60 …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Feb 2006
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Govs and net users prepare for Geneva showdown

A showdown between governments and the rest of society over the future of the internet will start this morning in Geneva. For the next two days, in the grand surroundings of the Palais des Nations, a United Nations meeting will decide the formation of a new Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The meeting gathers together the most …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Feb 2006
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First results in: People not happy with new dotcom contract

People's first thoughts on the revised contract for all dotcoms have started appearing and so far it's unanimous: they hate it. The first response on the ICANN public comment board appears to sum up most others' feelings: "Lipstick on a pig doesn't make me want to kiss it," said George Kirikos. The second poster clarified …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Feb 2006
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ICANN releases new dotcom contract

Internet overseeing body ICANN has released a revised contract for all dotcoms which it hopes will finally end a huge legal fight at the heart of the internet. Significant changes have been made to the deal - which will hand control of all dotcom domains to current owner VeriSign until 2012 - following widespread criticism from …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jan 2006
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Sex.com owner sells up to chase $65m damages

He may just have sold it for $14m, but the owner of the world's most valuable domain name, Gary Kremen, now intends to spend his time recovering the $65m he is still owed by the con-man who stole the domain 10 years ago. Kremen sold Sex.com to Escom for $14m on Wednesday but retains the technology he has built behind it since …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Jan 2006
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February meeting on future of internet

The first steps toward the new Internet Governance Forum, which will take a lead role in how the internet will be run now and in the future, have been taken. A website for the IGF has popped up on the net, and the first official convening meeting has been scheduled for 16-17 February at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jan 2006
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2005: The year the US government undermined the internet

2005 will be forever seen as the year in which the US government managed to keep unilateral control of the internet, despite widespread opposition by the rest of the world. However, while this very public spat went on, everyone failed to notice a related change that will have far greater implications for everyday internet users …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Dec 2005
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Claim back £300 per spam

Net expert Nigel Roberts has won a landmark legal victory by chasing down a UK spammer and winning £300 in costs. Roberts, who runs his own Internet business as well as the Jersey and Guernsey country code domains, used his legal know-how to apply EU legislation to a UK company, Media Logistics. It is believed to be the first …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Dec 2005
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So who is funding the CFIT and why?

Every delegate at the last week's ICANN conference in Vancouver was handed a free bag with an enormous sponsorship logo for an organisation called CFIT. CFIT also featured in ICANN delegates' lives every morning when they picked up the free newspaper left outside their hotel room. It came wrapped in a CFIT plastic bag. Inside …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Dec 2005
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.eu domains are go, go, go!

It may have taken over five years getting there, but at 10am today, the first .eu domains will go on sale - and it's going to be a landrush. At least it will be for trademark holders, because only those holding a valid European Union trademark will be entitled to apply from now until 7 February 2006 - and only on the exact …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Dec 2005
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Investigations into ICANN transparency continue

A new lobbying body calling itself itself the Campaign for ICANN Transparency (CFIT) has expanded its investigation into the internet overseeing organisation with a freedom of information request served on the US Department of Commerce. The organisation has already served ICANN with a lawsuit in its home state of California …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Dec 2005
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Bush administration control will cause net to split

The continued control of the internet's organisational structure by the US government - in particular the Bush administration - could result in the splitting of the Net, one of the leading Arab internet voices has warned. CEO of the Multi-lingual Internet Names Consortium (MINC) and member of the recently created international …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Dec 2005
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ICANN Meeting blog: Indecision and insults

According to my computer's calendar, I have been in Vancouver for three days. And according to a search on the Internet, I have written six stories about events at the ICANN conference here. Which is all incredibly useful because on sitting down in the press room at the Westin Hotel, my horribly jet-lagged mind casually …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Dec 2005
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EC opens investigation into dotcom contract

The European Commission has opened an investigation into the new dotcom contract following a formal complaint by a lobbying group calling itself the Coalition for ICANN Transparency (CFIT). According to CFIT, the proposed contract drawn up between internet-overseeing organisation ICANN and registrar VeriSign breaches EU …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Dec 2005
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Read the letter that won the internet governance battle

The World Summit in Tunis last month was overshadowed by the global argument over internet governance. Its biggest controversy came with the proposition put forward by the EU a month earlier that there be a new inter-governmental body that oversee ICANN. The US government - which currently enjoys unilateral control over the …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Dec 2005
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ICANN kills .xxx porn domain

The proposed .xxx porn domain has been kicked into the long grass just days before it was due to meet final approval. ICANN chairman Vint Cerf stunned an open meeting of the governmental advistory committee (GAC) in Vancouver late on Tuesday when he announced that the whole issue had been pulled from the Board meeting agenda - …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Dec 2005
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ICANN shrugs off dotcom lawsuits

Internet overseeing organisation ICANN has dimissed two lawsuits against it as "attempts to manipulate the public comment process" over future ownership of all dotcoms. General Counsel for ICANN John Jeffrey told us that the "underlying motivation" of the legal threats was clear in that they stemmed from "specific sectors of …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Dec 2005
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ICANN creates advisory committee for foreign-language net

Internet overseeing organisation ICANN has created a new advisory group to cover the complex and controversial of internationalised domain names (IDNs) - domain names in foreign languages. The new committee comprises three chairs - all ICANN Board members - and 18 experts from the around the world. Its brief will be to "promote …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Nov 2005
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The World Summit in pictures

Since the Internet is a multi-faceted beast, we felt it only right that we also make use of its ability to displays photos. As such here is a brief pictorial review of the World Summit in Tunis this week: The World Summit saw just under 20,000 people turn up to a series of giant tents, otherwise known as the Kram conference …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Nov 2005
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Light regulation will beat child porn, says trade minister

Light-touch regulation, minimal legisation and a close working relationship with business is the answer to the net's problems, not least child pornography, according to UK secretary of state for trade Alun Michael. Speaking to us at the World Summit, where he was the UK government's most senior representative, Michael said that …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2005
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This is how a government-filtered internet looks

There been alot of argument in Tunis during the World Summit over the fact that the government filters internet access to remove websites it doesn't like. We thought we'd show you what it looks like if you're on the end of it. As such, here is a screengrab of the Swissinfo.org site as seen from the Tunisian perspective. It is a …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2005
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Reg saves World Summit with multi-million-pound commitment

The Register has put its money where its mouth and saved the World Summit from being branded a waste of everyone's time. Yes, the United Nations has added our "commitment to provide the peoples of the world with excellent IT news coverage" to its official list of projects achieved under the WSIS process, called the Golden Book …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2005
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ITU refuses to accept net governance agreement

The ITU has refused to accept the internet governance consensus reached after torrid negotiations during its own summit process, further damaging its credibility in eyes of the net community. Speaking at the closing press conference for the World Summit in Tunis, ITU secretary-general Yoshio Utsumi said that while it would …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2005
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WSIS: Secret police, hunger and booze

Secret policemen: you miss 'em when they're gone. It seems most people shipped out of Tunis soon after the closing ceremony ended around 7pm. When I got back to my hotel around 10pm, there was only one secret policeman standing guard and he didn't even bother to inspect my badge. This morning, I only saw one who idly came to …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Nov 2005
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Media freedom issue blows up in Tunis

The fall-out from pointedly critical remarks made at the opening ceremony of the World Summit in Tunis by Swiss prime minister Samuel Schmid continues. Following Swiss criticism that the host government censored the speech when it was relayed on Tunisian television to remove remarks critical of press freedom in Tunisia, Tunisia …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2005
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World Summit blog: Buses, toilets and fear

Was there ever a more evil form of transport than a bus? They are so convincing. You can carry a lot of people and they can go wherever you want. Trains and trams are on tracks, cars are too small and cramped. But don't be fooled. Having lots of people means lots of stopping as each person tries to save themselves those vital …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Nov 2005
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Tunisian Internet control lambasted at opening of World Summit

An extraordinary criticism of Tunisia’s approach to the Internet was fired at its president Zine Ben Ali at the opening ceremony of the World Summit in Tunis this morning. Swiss president Samuel Schmid drew huge applause from the back of the room when he directly criticised Tunisia’s controlling Internet policies. "It is …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Nov 2005
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US wins net governance battle

The United States has won its fight to retain control over the internet, at least for the foreseeable future. The world's governments in Tunisia finally reached agreement at 10.30pm last night, just hours before the official opening of the World Summit this morning. In the end, with absolutely no time remaining, a deal was cut …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Nov 2005
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Meet the man who will save the internet

It’s been four years since the issue of how the internet should be run, and by whom, became an official United Nations topic. And yet despite hundreds of hours of talks, three preparatory meetings and a world summit, there is only one thing that the world’s governments can agree on: Masood Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador. If a …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2005
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World Summit blog: Heat, taxis and cous-cous

Tunis is relatively mild this time of year for a North African country. Although if you've just come from Britain, the sudden jump of 10-15 degrees wouldn't let you think so. But heat was very much the order of the day as the Kram conference centre was forced to open its doors early in order to accomodate ongoing discussions ( …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2005
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So where are we up to with this internet governance thing?

The World Summit on the Information Society starts this Wednesday in Tunis. It will be three days in which the world's governments will decide for the very first time what should and can be done with this medium we call the internet. But three days before that, starting midday Sunday 12 November, will begin the discussions on …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2005
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World Summit blog: internet, freedom of speech and the UN

The most controversial aspect of this whole world summit hasn't been the ensuing fight of who should run the internet but where it is being hosted: Tunisia. Stories about the clampdown on freedom of speech by the government in Tunisia have been the main focus of most stories up to now. It is nowhere near as bad as, say, China …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2005
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World Summit blog: Hotels and women

You can directly measure the quality of a hotel by the amount of stuff in the room that leaves with the guest. God only knows why you would want a tiny sewing kit or a miniscule bottle of moisturiser, but the better the hotel, the more they call out to you. Or the pens and paper. In the old days, being branded with a hotel's …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Nov 2005
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Sex.com thief appears in court

Following his dramatic arrest late last week Sex.com thief Stephen Cohen has appeared before a judge in San Diego and been ordered to face the $65m judgement lodged against him nearly five years ago. Cohen confirmed that he was the man named in an arrest warrant from May 2001. Dishevelled and dressed in a white jail-issue …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Oct 2005
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Sex.com thief arrested

The con-man who stole the most valuable domain name in the world, Sex.com, has been arrested by Mexican police and handed over to US agents after nearly six years on the run. Stephen Michael Cohen was arrested on an immigration violation by Mexican authorities and turned over to the US border patrol yesterday, the LA Times has …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Oct 2005
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ICANN prez welcomes new era of internet

The deal struck between ICANN and VeriSign in a meeting late on Monday has welcomed in a "new era" of the internet, president and CEO of ICANN, Paul Twomey told us last night. Admitting that it has been a very long negotiation, and one that was not over yet, Twomey was nevertheless delighted that "the VeriSign-ICANN war has …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Oct 2005
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VeriSign and ICANN strike monster net deal

VeriSign has dropped all its lawsuits against internet overseeing organisation ICANN, agreed to hand over ownership of the root zone, and in return been awarded control of all dotcoms until 2012. The agreement is a huge boost to ICANN, dragged down by the lawsuits and fighting for autonomy against both the US government and the …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Oct 2005
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Nominet votes for Argentinian solution to net ownership

In an historically unusual decision, the company running all .uk internet domains, Nominet, has voted for an Argentinian solution to the current crisis over internet ownership. In an official statement, Nominet's legal and policy director Emily Taylor said the company preferred Argentina's proposal over the other seven on the …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Oct 2005
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VeriSign buys Weblogs.com for $2.3m

A main piece of the blogging infrastructure - ping service Weblogs.com - has been bought by the Net's largest company, VeriSign, for $2.3m. The deal will see VeriSign continue to run the basic ping service for free but add charged-for services, including a blog filter, in coming months. Explaining his decision to sell the site …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Oct 2005
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EU outlines future net governance

Check out Kieren's radio report on Prepcom 3 An oversight body of international governments will decide the top-level of the internet from now on, pulling it away from the US government and enshrining the revolutionary medium in international law. That is the position taken by the EU, which is currently cutting a deal with …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Sep 2005
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EU deal threatens end to US dominance of internet

Check out Kieren's radio report on Prepcom 3 A dramatic last-minute deal drawn up by the EU may mark the end of the US government's control of the internet. The UK, acting as European representative, stunned delegates from around the world during a late-night session on Wednesday when it produced a series of paragraphs that …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Sep 2005
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Does the ITU get the internet?

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is angling for a wider role in running the internet, to the extent that it is hosting the WSIS meeting taking place in Geneva at the moment. Situated in the United Nations' Palais des Nations and just over the road from the ITU three-building complex, delegates from across the …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Sep 2005
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Unseemly 'elitism' row rocks PrepCom3

Frustration with an elitist approach taken by governments at the crucial PrepCom3 meeting in Geneva boiled over yesterday. In two strongly worded interventions, first the civil society and then the private sector condemned the decision taken in some meetings to exclude everyone but government officials. Ayesha Hassan, …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Sep 2005