2017-12-31

News Review | 12 Questions for 2018: Domains, ISOC, Internet, ICANN

graphic "News Review" ©2016 DomainMondo.com
Domain Mondo's weekly internet domain news review (NR 2017-12-31 pdf) with analysis and opinion: Features •  1) 12 Questions for 2018: Domains, Internet Society (ISOC), Internet, ICANN,  2) ICANN news: Public Comments Closing in Jan 2018, 3) New gTLD Domains: $MMX, 4) ICYMI Internet Domain News - Reality Check: One World, One Internet, in 2017? 5) Most Read in 2017 & last week.

1) 12 Questions for 2018: Domains, Internet Society (ISOC), Internet, ICANN
graphic: "12 Questions for 2018: Domains, ISOC, Internet, ICANN" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
1. Domain Names: Will 2018 Be As Bad As 2017 or Worse, particularly for new gTLDs (new generic top-level domains)?

The 2017 collapse in new gTLDs' domain name registrations:
graphic source: ntldstats.com
"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

2. Will the Internet Society (ISOC) find its way in 2018? 
  • The Internet Society receives most of its revenue (pdf) from its affiliate Public Interest Registry (PIR), specifically, PIR.org’s operation of the legacy gTLD .org. But does Public Interest Registry operate in the public interest?
Keeping Copyright Site-Blocking At Bay: 2017 In Review | Electronic Frontier Foundation | eff.org: "... This year, we’ve kept pressure on ICANN, the nonprofit body that makes domain name policy, to keep copyright enforcement out of their governing documents. And we’ve called out domain name registry companies who bypassed ICANN policy to create (or propose) their own private copyright enforcement machines. Public Interest Registry (PIR), the organization that manages the .org and .ngo top-level domains, announced in February that it intended to create a system of private arbitrators who would hear complaints of copyright infringement on websites. The arbitrators would wield the power to take away a website’s domain name, and possibly transfer it to the party who complained of infringement. The Domain Name Association (DNA), an industry trade association [started by Fadi Chehade and ICANN], also endorsed the plan. EFF pointed out that this plan was developed in secret, without input from Internet users, and that it would bypass many of the legal protections for website owners and users that U.S. courts have developed over the years. Within weeks [and only after being exposed by the EFF], PIR and DNA shelved this plan, apparently for good. Unfortunately, some domain registries continue to suspend domain names based on accusations from major motion picture distributors (whom they call “trusted notifiers”) ... these policies erode public trust in the domain name system, a key piece of Internet infrastructure ..."
  • IANA Internet Assigned Numbers Authority trademarks now held by IETF Trust c/o Internet Society after being assigned by ICANN as required by terms of the IANA transition
"Whereas, the IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG) included in its proposal that the intellectual property held by ICANN in relation to performing the IANA functions should be transferred to a neutral third party to hold for the benefit of the global Internet community, and licensed back to ICANN."
The Internet Society is the organizational home of the IETF and supports it with funding; the IETF Trust was created by the Internet Society and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives.
IANA graphics from USPTO.gov records at links below
IANATrademark Status & Document Retrieval | uspto.gov: "Owner Name: IETF TRUST  Composed of: Arkko, Jari, individual, Finland; Berger, Louis I., individual, United States; Brown, Kathryn C., individual, United States; Daigle, Leslie, individual, United States; Gondrom, Marc Tobias Daniel, individual, Germany; Levine, John, individual, United States; Pelletier, Raymond G., individual, United States; Schliesser,, Benson R., individual, United States; Sullivan, Andrew John, individual, United States; Owner Address:  c\o INTERNET SOCIETY 1775 Wiehle Avenue, Suite 201, Reston, Virginia 20190."
Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) | uspto.gov: IANA "Registration Date September 17, 2002 ... Last Listed Owner IETF TRUST .... Assignment Recorded. Distinctiveness Limitation Statement in part, as to 'INTERNET ASSIGNED NUMBERS AUTHORITY.'"
Editor's note: The Internet Society's (ISOC) misguided missteps:
  • ISOC should have defended the internet principles of Jon Postel's RFC 1591: "These designated authorities (TLD registry operators) are trustees for the delegated domain, and have a duty to serve the community. The designated manager is the trustee of the top-level domain for both the nation, in the case of a country code, and the global Internet community." Instead, ISOC "sold out" the global internet community and Postel's principles by allowing ICANN to trash RFC 1591 in its new gTLDs program--buying and selling gTLDs like chattel--and giving away gTLDs in perpetuity, each having complete predatory pricing power, contrary to the advice and recommendations of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division (pdf). When it really counted, the Internet Society failed the global internet community;
  • ISOC should have become an advocate for consumers (registrants) worldwide, knowing ICANN was completely neglecting consumer (registrant) protections in its new gTLDs program contrary to the advice of the DOJ Antitrust Division (link above);
  • ISOC's registry operator, PIR, with over 10 million domain names under management, should not still be relying on for-profit Afilias, to provide registry back-end services;
  • ISOC should have developed and have in place contingency plans for providing the IANA services when the global internet community replaces ICANN and/or its affiliate PTI (see Question 12. below). 

3. What's Next for (U.S.) Internet Net Neutrality, in Congress, in the FCC / FTC and the federal courts--will the federal courts stop the FCC's attempt to do away with the Title II net neutrality rules?
Team Internet Is Far From Done | eff.org

4. Should the Internet Governance Forum be "allowed to die" (like the NetMundial Initiative)?

5.  China's 5th World Internet Conference in 2018: Even Bigger, Broader, Bolder?

  • "The Chinese government is aggressively moving to attract international support for its vision for internet rule-making and management, while the United States government appears largely missing in action."--Ryan Hass

6.  Will ICANN be ready for EU GDPR compliance on 25 May 2018?
  • "We'll need to move quickly"--Goran Marby, ICANN President and CEO.
  • "... we believe that compliance with the GDPR will have an impact on the WHOIS system, and thus the domain name space ... we need to work together to find the right balance between the current WHOIS services and compliance with local laws ..."--14 Nov 2017 Letter from ICANN (Akram Atallah & Theresa Swinehart) | ICANN.org (pdf) (emphasis added). 
  • More info: EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ICANN WHOIS.
  • WP29 (pdf): "... the unlimited publication of personal data of individual  domain name holders raises serious concerns regarding the lawfulness of such practice under the current European Data Protection directive (95/46/EC), especially regarding the necessity to have a legitimate purpose and a legal ground for such processing. Determining whether (and to what extent) these concerns are justified is ultimately for the DPAs [Data Protection Authorities] to decide, although the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the law is with the data controller(s) ..."
  • Protection of personal data | European Commission | ec.europa.euThe EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years​."--EU GDPR | eugdpr.org.

7.  Will NTIA extend the Cooperative Agreement with Verisign on or before November 30, 2018, and specifically, what will happen to .com pricing (long-term)? Will the U.S. government allow ICANN and Verisign exploit legacy gTLD .com registrants the way ICANN and Verisign already exploit legacy gTLD .net registrants?

8.  Will ICANN "roll the root zone KSK" in 2018 or "break the internet" in the process?
  • Root KSK Rollover Project | ICANN.org 18 Dec 2017: "The ICANN org is today announcing that it will not roll the root zone KSK in the first quarter of 2018. We have decided that we do not yet have enough information to set a specific date for the rollover."

9. What will be the outcomes of  ICANN litigation in 2018?

10. What will the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division do about .WEB, Verisign and ICANN
Editor's note: As I noted last weekICANN mismanaged its ill-conceived and misbegotten expansion of gTLDs from just 22 to over 1200, rejecting the advice of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (pdf) and U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division (pdf) with regard to competition, pricing power, and consumer (registrant) protection. The above US DOJ letter was sent to ICANN by NTIA in Dec 2008 (pdf).
UPDATE 9 Jan 9 2018DOJ closes .WEB investigation (no action)--Verisign, Inc. Form 8-K, Jan 9, 2018, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:
"Item 7.01. Regulation FD Disclosure.
As the Company (Verisign, Inc.) previously disclosed, on January 18, 2017, the Company received a Civil Investigative Demand from the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) requesting certain material related to the Company becoming the registry operator for the .web gTLD.   On January 9, 2018, the DOJ notified the Company that this investigation was closed.   Verisign previously announced on August 1, 2016, that it had provided funds for Nu Dot Co’s successful bid for the .web gTLD and the Company anticipates that Nu Dot Co will now seek to execute the .web Registry Agreement with ICANN and thereafter assign it to Verisign upon consent from ICANN." (emphasis added)
    See also: News Review | New gTLD .WEB, ICANN & Verisign, What's Next?

    11. What will happen to the ICANN Reviews, including the still suspended SSR2 (by unilateral action of the ICANN Board of Directors on Oct 28, 2017, with AC/SOs leadership acquiescence)?

    12. Will the global internet community begin taking steps to reform or replace ICANN in 2018, including at PP-18, ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 | Dubai, UAE 29 Oct - 16 Nov 2018, or just establish a new, competing root?

    Background:
    "The ITU has problems, but there is no other organization that includes most of the world. In particular, 14 out of 18 board members at ICANN come from the U.S. and allies. The majority of world Internet users aren't represented. This is unsustainable."--circleid.com (emphasis added). 
    Is Multi-Stakeholder Internet Governance Dying? | Electronic Frontier Foundation | eff.org: "... there is a strong tendency for ICANN working groups to be stacked with private sector stakeholders such as lawyers for intellectual property rights holders and the domain name industry, who are able to dominate discussions, to obstruct attempts at compromise, and to push for one-sided outcomes, such as the right for a single company to control a generic word domain. As a result, ICANN, although notionally multi-stakeholder, in practice fails to fulfil the criterion of balance. Its processes do not place a priority on the facilitation of understanding and consensus between warring stakeholder groups, and this feeds politicking and strategic behavior. Even many industry stakeholders acknowledge this shortcoming; for example Jonathan Matkowsky, who works for a digital threat management company, said in an ICANN mailing list post recently, “It's very sad to see the open Internet breaking down as a result of the multistakeholder process failing to work.”" (emphasis added)
    APC Priorities for the 12th Internet Governance Forum | Association for Progressive Communications"being influential in ICANN requires a degree of effort and consistency which is difficult to sustain ... even in the IGF the fragility of the multistakeholder approach is evident as participation from governmental and business actors appears to be tailing off." 
    A Closer Look at Why Russia Wants an Independent Internet | circleid.com"the ICANN board in 2016. The Internet doesn't look like this anymore."

    Russia Will Build Its Own Internet Directory, Citing US Information Warfare | DefenseOne.com."In 2014, the U.S. cleverly announced it would give control of the DNS database to a non-governmental international body of stakeholders, a process to be run by the California-based Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. “Now, when China stands up and says, ‘We want a seat at the table of internet governance,’ the U.S. can say, ‘No. The internet should be stateless.’ They’re in a much stronger position to make that argument today than they were before,” Matthew Prince, co-founder of the company Cloudflare, told Defense One at the time. In a statement Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov framed Russia’s desire for an alternative DNS as essential to “protecting it from possible external influence.” “We all know who the chief administrator of the global internet is. And due to its volatility, we have to think about how to ensure our national security,” Peskov said ... The move follows Russia’s 2016 launch of its own segregated military internet for top-secret communication, called the Closed Data Transfer Segment, modeled slightly after the U.S. Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, or JWICS. (emphasis and links added).
    ICANN | Electronic Frontier Foundation | eff.org"ICANN's susceptibility to capture has been no more evident than in the excessive deference given to the interests of intellectual property owners." Read also Why Did ICANN Become a Member of Trademark Lobbyist Group INTA? | DomainMondo.com Oct 15, 2015.
    Editor's note: remember, the global internet community, including domain name registrants, never chose ICANN, the U.S. government did. ICANN is a California corporate monopoly controlled primarily by the special interests mentioned above by EFF.org (gTLD registry operators and registry service providers, registrars, trademark lawyers, big tech (mostly U.S.) companies, and other special interests, lawyers, and lobbyists), who collectively are often referred to as the "ICANN community" which does not represent the global internet community and therefore is unable to reflect the global public interest. It should be a priority to reform or replace ICANN and its "ICANN community" with a more representative, balanced organization, with the ability to provide consumer (registrant) protections, and act as a competent and responsible steward of the global internet DNS, a global public resource, in accordance with the principles of RFC 1591.

    2) ICANN news
    graphic "ICANN | Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers"
    Public Comment Opportunities Closing in Jan 2018 | ICANN.org closing dates (subject to change):

    3) Names, Domains & Trademarks
    graphic "Names, Domains & Trademarks" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
    New gTLDs Registry Operator Minds + Machines Group Ltd (mmx.co) (LON:MMX):
    MMX shares are priced in GBX Pence Sterling not US Dollars
    Still think new gTLDs are a great business opportunity?

    4) ICYMI Internet Domain News - Reality Check: One World, One Internet, in 2017?
    graphic "ICYMI Internet Domain News" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
    •  Net NeutralityTeam Internet Is Far From Done: What’s Next For Net Neutrality and How You Can Help | Electronic Frontier Foundation | eff.org

    •  China closed more than 13,000 websites in past three years reports China's  state news agency Xinhua: The Chinese government says all countries regulate the internet, and its rules are aimed at ensuring "national security and social stability" ... users themselves were punished for sharing sensitive news and commentary, with prison terms ranging from "five days to eleven years."--"These moves have a powerful deterrent effect," said Wang Shengjun, vice chairman of the Chinese parliament’s standing committee--usatoday.com.

    •  How Europe's New Internet Laws Threaten Freedom of Expression | ForeignAffairs.com

    •  Google & Cybercrime: A year ago, a grand jury in Palm Beach County, Florida, investigated fraud and abuse in the addiction industry and found that gaming Google searches is a common tool for criminals to lure addicts into questionable and sometimes dangerous treatment. Addiction treatment in America is driven by effectively paying to acquire patients, in the form of digital marketing or so-called patient lead acquisition. Google is at the center of it all. There’s big money involved. "A midsize addiction treatment center can easily shell out $1 million a month or more for Google AdWords."--Why It Took Google So Long to End Shady Rehab Center Ads | Bloomberg.com. [Editor's note: in September, Google announced plans to stop accepting ads for rehab centers.]

    •  Has the New York Times Made Gloria Steinem's Original 1998 Defense of Bill Clinton Disappear? | newsbusters.org"... Steinem sent her feminist credentials into the toilet in March 1998 when, in a Times op-ed, she defended Bill Clinton against the charges which eventually led to his impeachment later that year. The link to that op-ed in the previous paragraph was found in a public library database. That's because I couldn't locate it in multiple searches at the Times website ..."

    •  Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet | AmericanLibrariesMagazine.org

    •  How Facebook's Secret Unit Created Digital Propaganda Troll Armies To Influence Elections | ZeroHedge.com"how a secret unit of Facebook has helped create troll armies for governments around the world including India for digital propaganda to influence elections."

    •  The Internet: 10 predictions for 2018 | DiploFoundation | diplomacy.edu

    5) The Five Most Read Posts in 2017 on DomainMondo.com: 
    graphic "Domain Mondo" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
    1. News Review | Esther Dyson Interview, ICANN Founding Board Chair
    2. News Review | RySG Requests $$$ and "Detailed Accounting" From ICANN
    3. News Review | ICANN Pays Senior VP Sally Costerton Secret Contract $$$
    4. News Review: ICANN Interactive Webinar, Editor's Comment on DNS Abuse
    5. News Review | Report: ICANN's New gTLDs As Global DNS Malware
    Top 3 Most Read this past week:
    1. News Review | Domain Name Registrations Decline Worldwide Q3 2017 Dec 24
    2. Investors Warned By FINRA Not To Get Fooled By Bitcoin Scams (video) Dec 26
    3. A Lesson in Money: Venezuelans Want U.S. Dollars NOT Cryptocurrency Dec 28

    -- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo 

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