Internet To Leave US Control

While it is designed to be independent, avoiding control from any country of government the internet is a little bit different from that dream. Sadly, like with any large system, someone has to be there to help maintain and support the complexity of the system, something connecting the entire world is no different in this respect. Now, the Internet could soon be leaving US control.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit company that manages internet protocols and domain names. With the ability to register custom domain names and with new protocols like IPV6, the internet is expanding with new services and systems taking up everything from bits to petabytes.

The transition from US control, if it goes ahead as planned, will change hands on September 30th. While there will be no change in the fundamental workings of the internet, the control that the US had will be gone leaving for a more global service, something that countries like Russia and China have been requesting goes to a global body like the UN.

Many who use the internet believe in a principle known as Net Neutrality. This principle is that all traffic on the internet, no matter the destination, content or type should be treated the same. This means that if you and your neighbour were both watching content, one football one League of Legends, neither of your connections would be chosen above the other. This leads to everyone and everything on the internet being treated, above all else, equally. Many countries don’t employ this, with giant firewalls and companies looking to find new ways to prioritise connections.

While sharing control all over the world is a good thing, making sure that people don’t use the new control to enforce restrictions, censorship or global monitoring is also important. The freedom of one cannot come at the cost of another.

The Pirate Bay Applies for .PIRATE Domain Name Registry

As a response to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) applying pressure on the domain name industry, Reservella Ltd., the parent company of The Pirate Bay, has applied to register the generic top-level domain (gTLD) extension .PIRATE.

The move is hoped to facilitate The Pirate Bay bypassing the current and projected domain registry regulations that have impeded the torrent side since its inception.

Winston, a spokesperson for The Pirate Bay, told TorrentFreak, “We can no longer trust third party services and registries, who are under immense pressure from the copyright lobby. So we decided to apply for our very own gTLD and be a true Pirate registry.”

The Pirate Bay hopes that the registration proposal, which is being processed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), will help create a new pirate movement, and, if approved, the .PIRATE domains will be made free and open to anyone who wants to adopt one.

“The ultimate goal is to create a true PIRATE hydra. This means that we will allow other sites to register .PIRATE domain names too. Staying true to our pirate roots the domains can be registered anonymously without charge,” Winston said.

He added, “Things are looking good so far, but we’re not there yet. Fingers crossed. Let’s hope nothing foolish happens.”

Source: TorrentFreak

Shorter .UK Domain Names To Launch In 2014

It seems that 2014 will be the year of new domain names, with seemingly dozens of new iterations becoming available. The most recently announced behind the new .UK domain names that will be available to UK based sites. Obviously the current popular choice for UK based sites is .co.uk and have .uk will keep things nice and snappy, perhaps it’s even a little bit cooler too.

Don’t worry about having to snap up your .co.uk address in the new format either, the tens of millions of existing customers that have registered either a .org.uk or a .co.uk address will have five years to claim a shorter version of their current address.

With new last week that ICANN will be issuing .london domain names from next year we can only assume this is the start of even more unique domain name announcements for the UK and of course many other countries around the world.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

London To Be Awarded .london Domain Name

Starting in spring new year, businesses, individuals and organisations based in London will be able to apply for the new .london domain suffix.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, also known as Icann, have awarded the city the rights to its very own domain name, making it the first in the world to have such an honour. New York, Paris and Berlin are believed to have also applied for their own domain names, but for now London is the only confirmed one.

With thousands of businesses already expressing their interest in the new suffix, including Selfridges and Carnaby Street, there is no doubt that the new domain will prove popular. The domain will be managed by Dot London Domains Ltd and I can bet they’re going to be fairly expensive too.

“This is an excellent opportunity to expand London’s digital presence, which in turn is set to generate funds to invest back into the city,” said mayor Boris Johnson during a ceremony that involved lighting up City Hall.

However, this may be a great development for those based in London, but could leave other European cities, as well as the rest of the UK feeling a little left out of the party.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

GoDaddy Reveals New Generic Top-Level Domains .MENU, .BUILD and More

ICANN has been going through a lengthy and expensive process of opening up new top level domains (TLDs) for websites and the fruits of all those developments and negotiations are finally starting to filter through to consumers. Domain name registrar GoDaddy has revealed that you can now start the pre-registration of some new top level domains which include .uno, .menu, .build and .luxury.

GoDaddy is now accepting pre-orders on the new TLDs starting at $40/$300 (pre-registration/priority pre-registration) for the .uno domain, $50/$350 for the .menu domain, $100/$200 for the .build domain and $800/$1200 for the .luxury domain.

“GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar, is the first registrar to sell pre-registrations on the new, ICANN-approved domain name extensions, as part of a new program designed to expand the inventory of Internet website addresses.” stated GoDaddy in a company statement.

The new TLDs won’t become usable until later next year and expect many more TLDs to go on pre-registration before then.

Image courtesy of GoDaddy via Softpedia

The US Is Rapidly Losing Control Of The Internet

At a recent summit in Uruguay, all of the major internet organisations made a pledge to free themselves of US government influence. This includes the directors of ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Society and all five of the regional Internet address registries!

In a statement, the group called for “accelerating the globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing”.

Currently the US department of commerce has oversight of ICANN, but it looks like all that is about to change as the group say they’ve strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of internet users globally, especially in light of recent monitoring and surveillance issues with the NSA and other bodies.

Also, it has been announced that the Internet Governance Summit will now be held in Brazil, where the president has been extremely critical of the US over web surveillance in recent months, only reinforcing the groups ideals of being more open.

In a statement announcing the location of the summit, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff said: “The United States and its allies must urgently end their spying activities once and for all.”

There is certainly something huge brewing here, but as for what it all means in the long term I am truly uncertain.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

ICANN Refuses Google Dotless Search Domain

ICANN have decided that Google’s request for the dotless top level domain (TLD) “search” has been rejected. In fact their report stated no one should get dotless TLDs anytime soon because there are just too many issues with them. Surprisingly such a request from Google wasn’t the first for a dotless TLD and it no doubt will not be the last despite ICANN’s ruling.

The domain, like the dotless suggests, means the domain is missing a dot. This gives Google a rather large swath of the search bar because instead of having to type http://google.com or http://google.search (if Google were given such a TLD) you would only have to type http://search to be on a Google website.

While Google has been refused dotless TLDs it is still pushing hard to secure other high profile TLDs like .search. Google has applied for an absolute tonne of these new TLDs and they will continue to be hotly contested and controversially debated in the coming years. Google of course isn’t the only internet-based corporation to get involved with the “TLD rush”, Amazon are known to be heavily involved at the current time too.

Image courtesy of ICANN

Facebook Wins 105 Domains and $2.8 Million Damages From “Typosquatters”

It isn’t an uncommon thing for something to fall victim to “typosquatters”, you are just going about your daily business, doing a tactical Facebook check when suddenly you type it wrong and you end up at facebookl.com or one of many other varieties of Facebook-typo domains. Why is this a problem? Well very often these sites hold malware and viruses to capitalise on Facebook’s popularity, or host lots of adverts to cash in on Facebook’s misled traffic. You might think this is totally legal right? Since free speech should dictate that anyone can buy whatever domain they want providing it isn’t already owned by someone. Well that isn’t the case at all because the 1999 Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA for short) has been designed to prevent against this exact thing.

Facebook took out a legal case against 105 domains used by typosquatters under the ACPA and they won the case hands down. They were awarded the 105 domains that were used by the typosquatters and awarded a hefty $2,795,000 in compensation for statutory damages. While the compensation may seem like a lot, it isn’t. In most cases that have been trialed under the ACPA the squatters, spammers, opportunists (or whatever you want to call them), normally have the domains seized from them by ICANN but can’t be tracked down to pay the damages they owe. This is expected to be the case here but on a positive note Facebook gets to redirect these 105 domains to its website and no longer lose traffic, or have visitors get infected from visiting these dodgy sites.

What are your thoughts on Facebook winning this case? Is it a good common sense law? Or is it unfair and giving corporations preferential treatment?

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Book Publishers Dispute Amazon Owning .book Domains

The consultation process with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) for the new selection of Top Level Domains (TLDs) has progressed into an all out dispute between Amazon and major book publishers. Amazon applied for access to TLDs such as .book, .movie, .app and .like and many other TLDs in a wide range of languages. Only the .book TLD caused significant conflict between Amazon and publishers for obvious reasons. Book publishers stated that giving Amazon access to this particular domain would be a threat to market competition and fairness.

“Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive,” wrote Scott Turow, Authors Guild president, to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, the nonprofit that oversees the world’s Internet domain names. “The potential for abuse seems limitless.”

Indeed the implications of these comments are true because the applications for these TLDs cost $185,000 each and they cost a further $25,000 a year in terms of database maintenance fees with ICANN. This means according to rough estimates Amazon has already sunk a huge $10 million + into these new TLDs. Consequently, this puts a wide array of smaller book publishing companies at risk because trying to fork up the $200K required is near-impossible for many given how tight book margins already are and the tendency for the book market to move towards e-books which is also creating book piracy problems. Last year the Authors’ Guild was at loggerheads with Amazon for pricing e-books too low and for removing the buy button for some books during price disputes, this latest conflict adds to the tensions.

Amazon and ICANN both declined to comment on the whole scenario.

Do you think that new system of TLDs is fair? Should the prices be lower? Should there be more competition regulations? Let us know what you think

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