wes_felter The Unlikely Candidates “Follow My Feet”
The Unlikely Candidates “Follow My Feet”
The Unlikely Candidates “Follow My Feet”
It seems that pigs can, after all, fly. From the start of its new gTLD program, ICANN ignored what was obvious to pretty much everyone else: corporations might wish to apply for their brands and run them as closed ecosystem TLDs servicing only the brands in question.
No longer. By releasing a proposed addendum to its registry contract, called Specification 13, ICANN has done two things it has always said it would never do: acknowledged that "brand TLDs" should be considered in the new gTLD program, and created a new category of TLD for this specific class of application.
The addendum is only a draft right now. Comments from the public are invited until January 9, 2014 on what, to many long-term new gTLD program observers, will probably be considered a major shift in strategy for ICANN. Once the public comment period closes, the intent is for the draft to be forwarded to the ICANN Board's New gTLD Program Committee. If the NGPC ratifies it, Spec 13 would then become part of the contract applicants will have to sign before being allowed to operate a new gTLD.
If and when this happens, brand TLDs will, for the first time, be officially defined. The proposed Spec 13 says that:
Furthermore, all domain names registered in the TLD must be controlled by the registry operator, its affiliates or licensees.
An end to equal access
Those registry operators that can meet these requirements will be opted out of one of the core requirements made by the GNSO, ICANN's new gTLD policy maker, when it drafted the original set of recommendations for the new gTLD program: equal access for all registrars.
Under Spec 13, brand TLD operators will be allowed to "designate one or more ICANN accredited registrars as the exclusive registrar(s) for the TLD". This makes perfect sense for brand TLDs as they are, by definition, niche operations on which the brand must be able to exercise strict control and not have, for example, a competitor set up a registrar just to be able to access the brand's registry platform. However, breaking the equal access commandment has always been such a contentious issue, it's not hard to imagine many will be displeased at this.
Spec 13 also addresses what happens if a brand TLD operator terminates. By definition, brand registries will be full of sensitive data that should not be passed on to just any old successor. So the proposed registry contract changes allow for mechanisms by which the legacy brand TLD operator can oppose this.
Written by Stéphane Van Gelder, Chairman, STEPHANE VAN GELDER CONSULTING
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A morning shot from MediaCityUK in Salford, which I thought showed an interesting mix of the components of this somewhat bizarre new creation. Old Trafford is just behind me. The offices on the right are the BBC. The building on the left will contain the set of Coronation Street, which is being rebuilt here. There’s some heavy industry in the background, and it’s a nice spot for early-morning rowers. Oh, and you can’t see the cormorant diving under the bridge.
Life is still for a while, as Matthew is napping, and we're chilling on the sofa in the late afternoon sunshine. So time for a snap I can take without getting up - the lovely portmeirion bowl on the windowsill :) I like the patterns of light and shade, and the reflections in the glass.
First, there is the letter of Cecil D. Quillen, Jr. whose efforts on behalf of patent reform we have mentioned here before. Needless to say, despite the thoughtful comments he has received little response.
Next, Salvatore Modica send us this link to an article documenting how patents on the human genome have reduced research in the area. There is a message here, especially for people like Andrew Sullivan who exaggerate the role of pharmaceutical companies in saving their lives.
Finally I'd like to draw attention to the excellent paper of Bessen and Nuvolari in which they nail the reason for widespread knowledge sharing: the existence of a competing existing technology.
Oh yeah, I also pushed out Dali Clock 2.40 a little while ago that does the same thing. (That one was easier.)
No iOS versions this time, because the changes weren't relevant.
Mirrored from jwz.org.
My laptop is just over 3 years old, which is about the point I start to think about a replacement. At present there's nothing that's an obvious contender so I've been looking at an SSD to prolong it by another year or two.
One of the other thoughts I had is that I currently use dm-crypt under Linux to provide whole disk encryption for everything except the boot partition - I have a bunch of my personal financial and immigration documents stored that I'd prefer not to get disclosed if my laptop is stolen. Modern drives have started offered integral AES encryption options, so perhaps I could offload that to the drive (my i5 470UM lacks the hardware instructions for this).
General consensus in the pub (where all the best security advice is to be found) is that no one present trusted SSD firmware authors to not use some badly chosen AES crypto mode, or leave the key lying around plain text in easily readable flash, or some other implementation mishap.
So how hard would it be to retrofit reliable (or at least source verifiable and thus more reliable) crypto to an SSD? There was an impressive article recently about reverse engineering the firmware of a HDD, to the point of modifying data returned to the host and also running Linux on the controller. It seems that SSD firmware should be easier - NAND is simpler to talk to than motors and magnetic sensors, right? It's a case of gluing together a SATA interface, a NAND controller and an AES offload engine, yes?
Aside from the minor matter of finding a suitable drive with an available JTAG interface, a controller with docs (or more likely that can be reverse engineered) and enough time to produce a replacement open firmware, that is.
Alternatively can anyone provide some idea of how secure the available laptop SSDs on the market actually are? I'm fine with "the NSA can read your data if they want" because a determined attacker will be able to find other ways to get my data anyway, but I don't want "anyone who finds the drive can use this loophole in the firmware by wiggling some bits with jtag to dump the key and read all your data".
We're currently printing up to ten frames on a single card. Because there is always a little ghosting on lenticular cards as you go up to high frame counts, we're currently limiting the Gifpop creation process to ten sequential frames. Gifs that are very blurry or have lots of sudden camera movements will be less clear than ones with smooth, clear motion.
Mirrored from jwz.org.
With the excitement of the release of the 4.0 version of Creative Commons licences, it is possible that another really important development will have been missed. Creative Commons has announced the release of one of the last ports that will probably be drafted in a while, the Creative Commons Intergovernmental Organization 3.0 licence suite, designed to be used by international institutions such as WIPO, UNESCO, the World Bank, OECD, and other similar bodies.
It may seem strange that CC has released a port for the 3.0 suite just shortly after making the 4.0 version available to the public. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it is expected that 4.0 will bring an end to the porting experiment and will only be translated, so it makes sense that the IGO version would be done for a set of licences that are already adapted to comply with several jurisdictions. Secondly, the porting process for the IGO version began some time ago, just before the 4.0 began, so the version had to be done with the existing text.
So what is the difference between the Unported 3.0 and the IGO version? Most of the changes are with the language, the IGO version has terminology taken from relevant international treaties. The main change is the inclusion of an alternative dispute resolution clause in case there is a dispute involving an Intergovernmental organisation. The clause reads:
“Where the Licensor is an IGO, any and all disputes arising under this License that cannot be settled amicably shall be resolved in accordance with the following procedure:
Pursuant to a notice of mediation communicated by reasonable means by either You or the Licensor to the other, the dispute shall be submitted to non-binding mediation conducted in accordance with rules designated by the Licensor in the copyright notice published with the Work, or if none then in accordance with those communicated in the notice of mediation. The language used in the mediation proceedings shall be English unless otherwise agreed.
If any such dispute has not been settled within 45 days following the date on which the notice of mediation is provided, either You or the Licensor may, pursuant to a notice of arbitration communicated by reasonable means to the other, elect to have the dispute referred to and finally determined by arbitration. The arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with the rules designated by the Licensor in the copyright notice published with the Work, or if none then in accordance with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules as then in force. The arbitral tribunal shall consist of a sole arbitrator and the language of the proceedings shall be English unless otherwise agreed. The place of arbitration shall be where the Licensor has its headquarters. The arbitral proceedings shall be conducted remotely (e.g., via telephone conference or written submissions) whenever practicable.”
The reason for the inclusion of such a clause is that, because of their international nature, IGOs are reluctant to resolve disputes in national courts, and tend to include alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in most of their contracts and licences. Given the low level of disputes that arise from open licences in general, this clause is not expected to be used that much.
It may be easy to miss the monumental importance of this new licence. Creative Commons has enough acceptance in the legal mainstream that it will be adopted by the likes of the World Intellectual Property Organization and the OECD. It could be argued that this might be detrimental to CC, as it shows that it is now being used by the establishment as a fig leaf to cover the deficiencies inherent in copyright protection. The reality is that this sets CC as the international open content standard, and sends a strong message that it should also be adopted by governments to release their own data. In other words, there are no more excuses not to adopt CC, and this can be used by open content advocates everywhere to answer for once and for all stupid questions about the validity of open licences.
WIPO has announced the release with a list of the organisations that participated in the drafting:
“The group of organizations that contributed to the development of the new licenses consisted of, in addition to WIPO: European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN); European Space Agency (ESA); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); International Labour Organization (ILO); Organization of American States (OAS); Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); United Nations (UN); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); World Bank; World Health Organization (WHO). The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Nordic Council of Ministers participated as observers to the group.”
This is an impressive group that tells us just how far CC has come in the last few years.
It is tempting to write off ICANN as a U.S. foreign policy lackey and that's all there is to say about ICANN. However, if the mantra for rewiring governance means "lets get ICANN" we risk missing forest for trees. ICANN is merely the symptom of a dysfunctional governance predicament that somehow (despite best efforts) skews oversight. Shapiro, for example, regards oversight as a "game" (1994). His "delegation dilemma" or "agency problem" stems from two options, neither of which are attractive vis-á-vis governance.
For Shapiro, delegating oversight to "agents" produces uneven regulatory results, especially where the governance debate is "ongoing"; in other words, not yet clear, as is the case with NTIA and in fact the U.S. Government. Contrarily, as with insufficient oversight, the opposite tack generates a zero sum game where two separate entities "compete to control regulatory policy". Either way governance loses out.
The resulting policy riddle reduces policy to politics and therefore "who gets what". That said, Lowi's definition of the "power and purpose" behind policy reminds us that ICANN's version of pluralist governance, meaning who gets the spoils, turns on a policy delusion where the concept of community actually means business interests first and foremost: a version of reality that conceals and contorts power by cloaking governance in weasel-word phrases like "multi-stakeholder groups" or, better yet, "constituencies".
In ICANN's case oversight in reality is top-down governance driven by imaginary consensus derived from subordinate groups. It states that its purpose is "managing the policy process efficiently and effectively to benefit the global Internet community". But policy actions, as distinct from rhetoric, disclose the sham. Policy transforms into gibberish. I will explore why this is the case.
It's About Choice
Governance writ large, or small, reduces to choice. In the real world democracy is messy and disruptive. Without appropriate oversight choices become arbitrary and, worse still, degenerative. A better alternative is equilibrium, which I use here to reflect Karl Deutsch and the idea that the utility of a policy derives from evidence-based feedback. Feedback distinguishes negative policies from its opposite by the contrast between institutional words and deeds. Bad decisions, when left unchecked, dissolve into chaos which sooner or later spirals into systemic collapse.
So where is the evidence about words versus deeds? ICANN's gTLD policy has already created layer upon layer of legal, technical, semantic and other logistical headaches, all of which stem from its deranged new mission that apparently scaled in one blush to a thousand and more gTLD "dough nuts". Nearly all of them reflect ICANN's high flown version of an internet world awash in the glory of uncounted domains, each one of which serves to safeguard communications freedom against government control. In reality the vast majority of the applicants view right-of-the-dot TLDs as money-making schemes. Some of them will fail. Others, which means all the corporate and closed dot brand top-level fortresses, will create information silos, meaning monopolies.
Such is the zero sum legacy this leaves for others to sort out when governance grows up. ICANN chose its policy path which in reality is a function of the deeper the pockets, the greater the spoils, as in auctioning off top-level domains without any regard whatsoever as to their relative promise as information resources. If anyone doubts this they will perhaps check out the fate of former environmental applicant Dot Green (.Green). So much for substance versus rhetoric.
There are unyielding constraints. And therein lies ICANN's danger to "the community", especially the governance community which means peer institutions. It will be difficult to undo ICANN's policy blunders, although in fairness the policy choices left open to it were constrained by its master. Namely: (1) "[I]t is the policy of the United States to preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet"; (2) "Currently, an important aspect of the Internet is governed by a private sector, international organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); (3) "There is no universally agreed-upon definition of "Internet governance."
What does one conclude when a government document (here) states in the same breath that internet governance has no universal definition, but ICANN nonetheless "governs" Internet through a "successful" multi-stakeholder model? A reasonable person will deduce that government policy itself is either half-baked; or, at any rate something is not right; and the reason for that is because U.S. plans for Internet do not square with some of the rest of the world in connection with privatization, otherwise called "openness".
Internet is global. But ICANN's governance model is provincial. The governance puzzle has two heads.I pointed this out in a previous post. Head number one, the rhetoric, slants to "fundamental values" (Breton, 1977) which universally means "the community". But head number two is about cowboy capitalism run amok. According to Mueller, there's a "clash between two models of global governance; one based on agreements among sovereign territorial states; the other based on private contracting among transnational non-state actors, but relying in some respects on the global hegemony of a single state [meaning USA]".
It's Also About Control
The surface account for the "clash" is the stuff of domestic political drama, delineated by authors Goldsmith and Wu (2008) as well as in a formal historical sense by Mueller (2002). The former chronicles the political shenanigans of Postel, Cerf, Crocker, Internet Society, and their antagonist, Ira Magaziner, meaning U.S. Government, in an informative and entertaining narrative, but with a serious purpose behind the antics, which was control of the so-called root. Those initial skirmishes fueled by ideology have had real world consequence.
By looking back on the antics one gets a sense of the antecedent template that might partially explain ICANN. The concept of "control" is key. Policy and politics go hand-in-glove. Control denotes power, and primacy, however defined. For example, The Economist newspaper (23 November 2013) attributes to Walter Russell Mead four kinds of U.S. power: military, economy, values, and hegemony. The fourth definition, hegemony, is not well understood, especially in terms of governance. Hegemony is a large scale phenomenon running alongside history which requires consent, not only from those who are directly governed, but also from peer institutions, including other governments.
While control in ICANN's domestic arena amounts to struggles between those with claims to entitlement, or privilege derived from money, the hegemony concept provides a tool to pinpoint via feedback governance models that presume to speak for civil society, but actually reflect the voice of the hegemon. That voice, even at this relatively early stage, is already a control intimation derived from the marketing jingles and double-talk which discloses the ambitions of economic elites.
Those intimations are real and possibly determinative. In the realm of real politik large canvas hegemony can be readily viewed on television in the form of daily domestic altercations in various countries, mindful of Strindberg's allegorical Dance of Death. Reduce that to discord about fundamental values against the politics of control and it is feasible to start making sense of ICANN.
The struggle isn't really about economic fabulism or libertarian delusions that Internet sooner or later will eliminate sovereign statehood and therefore openness trumps whatever imaginary enemies are out there waiting to slip intrusive government into the mix. Those particular intimations are real, but they are side shows. The drama behind the struggle as applied to ICANN is survival. ICANN is trapped. American internet policy was not born from principled compromise. The historical evidence points to the ideology of the empire of business which is America's gift to the world and therefore the hegemon's principal advocate. This obtains even while government claims that U.S. policy is "to preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet".
Therein roots the dilemma. ICANN could not and can not reconcile the public interest with the self-serving proclivities of business. If, as Goldsmith and Wu observe, that government knows: a) privatizing Internet eliminates accountability; and b) that government control is anathema, at least in its own mind; it follows c) that ICANN does not know to whom it belongs and, thus, the key to the kingdom is financial independence from both ideologies, arrived at through a lemming like leap into an ocean of privately owned gTLDs.
It is as if previous wars about governance, (meaning gTLD-MoU, ISOC, CORE and the rest of it described by Goldsmith and Wu as an "attempt to take root [zone] authority"), have predisposed ICANN to its survival mentality. And, if so, this mirrors the dysfunctional governance predicament that seems to emerge from the U.S. in the three (above-mentioned) policy objectives.
Accordingly, it is time for non-state entities, regardless of affiliation, to begin thinking about internet governance mindful of the age of new network thinking and new governance models. ICANN's present model mirrors survival. It chose to be guided by laissez faire, the best and perhaps only road to its own endurance. That particular blunder, although tactically understandable, sharply contradicts ICANN's stated "policy process [which aims to] efficiently and effectively to benefit the global Internet community".
No reasonable person will conclude that the monopolistic marketing capers of the gTLD beneficiaries are aimed at anything other than lining their own pockets, and by default ICANN's pockets, through generic TLD and domain fees, amounts to reasonable governance. What an alternative model (and perhaps many other alternatives from different sources) can do is highlight and compare ICANN-style governance with a peered networking model where lateral governance replaces the bottom-up delusion by testing on a small scale the efficacy of ICANN governance against a more progressive oversight model. At the minimum this will expose the smoke screen that deflects our attention from the present framework that drifts somewhere between state sponsored hegemony and hell bent profiteering.
To begin that exposure I intend in Part 3 to start looking at the little and sometimes seemingly insignificant "intimations" that disclose the predisposed character of governance in ICANN.
Written by Frederick Harris
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Today we headed out to the annual Mill Road Winter Fair - for the first time despite me having been in Cambridge nearly 15 years and Mike over 8! We had a fun time with shopping, food, watching the lion dancers, and hearing assorted other performers, plus we spotted this bike, which the charity You Can Bike Too which helps with bikes adapted for the disabled were charging £1 for photos of. A cute idea, and a good cause, and an object which sums up a lot of what Cambridge stands for! There was some more nice yarnbombing on the railings over the railway bridge too. I took a few other nice photos which will probably turn up on Facebook today and maybe one or two will make it onto Instagram in the new year.