White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection (video)

White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection -

February 13, 2015: President Obama delivers remarks at the Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University to help shape public and private sector efforts to protect American consumers and companies from growing threats to consumers and commercial networks. The Summit brings together major stakeholders on consumer financial protection issues to discuss how all members of our financial system can work together to further protect American consumers and their financial data, now and in the future. (Program starts at 16:00 in video above--President Obama begins at 3:04:00.)

Agenda for the Summit
8:45 a.m.: Welcome Remarks, Stanford President John Hennessy
8:55 a.m.: Introductory Remarks, Lisa Monaco, National Security Council
9:05 a.m.: Introductory Remarks, Jeff Zients, National Economic Council
9:15 a.m.:
Plenary Panel: Public-Private Collaboration on Cybersecurity
10:00 a.m.:
Plenary Panel: Improving Cybersecurity Practices at Consumer Oriented Businesses and Organizations
10:45 a.m.: Remarks, Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
10:55 a.m.: Break
11:10 a.m.: Keynote Introduction, Stanford President John Hennessy
11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.: Presidential Address
Afternoon Sessions Resume at CEMEX
1:30 p.m.: Introduction, George Triantis, Chair, Stanford Cybersecurity Initiative Steering Committee
1:35 p.m.: Remarks, Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, U.S. Small Business Administration
1:45 p.m.:
Informal Discussion: Cyber Security as a Business Differentiator
2:15 p.m.:
Plenary Panel: Promoting More Secure Payment Technologies
3:00 p.m.: Remarks, John Mitchell, Professor of Computer Science and Vice Provost for Online Learning, Stanford University
3:05 p.m.: Plenary ends. Move to break-out sessions.
3:15 p.m.: Break-Out Sessions
1) Cybersecurity Information Sharing
2) International Law Enforcement Cooperation
3) Improving Authentication: Moving Beyond the Password
4) Chief Security Officers’ Perspectives: New Ideas on Technical Security
4:00 p.m.: Adjourn

more info: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/cybersecurity/summit

fact sheet: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/13/fact-sheet-white-house-summit-cybersecurity-and-consumer-protection



Net Neutrality Victory, FCC Protects Innovators and Consumers

In the public meeting Thursday, Mr. Wheeler began his remarks by noting the flood of public comments. “We listened and we learned,” he said. (source infra)

In Net Neutrality Victory, F.C.C. Classifies Broadband Internet Service as a Public Utility - NYTimes.com: "The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, a milestone in regulating high-speed Internet service into American homes.

Tom Wheeler, the commission chairman, said the F.C.C. was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers” and preserve the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles.”

The new rules, approved 3 to 2 along party lines, are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. Those prohibitions are hallmarks of the net neutrality concept.

Explaining the reason for the regulation, Mr. Wheeler, a Democrat, said that Internet access was “too important to let broadband providers be the ones making the rules.” Mobile data service for smartphones and tablets, in addition to wired lines, is being placed under the new rules. The order also includes provisions to protect consumer privacy and to ensure that Internet service is available for people with disabilities and in remote areas.... Also at the Thursday meeting, the F.C.C. approved an order to pre-empt state laws that limit the build-out of municipal broadband Internet services. The order focuses on laws in two states, North Carolina and Tennessee, but it would create a policy framework for other states. About 21 states, by the F.C.C.’s count, have laws that restrict the activities of community broadband services.


HEARING: Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance

Hearing Details: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 10:00 a.m. EST (US)
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation full committee hearing entitled “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance”

This hearing took place in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253.
LIVE video REPLAY of the hearing available HERE.

• Mr. Fadi Chehadé, CEO, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - Chehade Testimony 25 February 2015 - FINAL.pdf (124.4 KBs)

• Ambassador David Gross, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP, and former U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. Department of State - Amb. Gross Testimony.pdf (27.9 KBs); and

• Mr. Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce - NTIA Testimony 02-25-15 SCC Hearing.pdf (84.0 KBs)

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation convened the hearing on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, entitled “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance.”

Chairman Thune's Opening Statement

Senators Thune and Rubio Letter to ICANN, July 2014 (pdf)

Committee description of the Hearing:
As the U.S. government considers relinquishing control over certain aspects of Internet governance to the private sector, concerns remain that the loss of U.S. involvement over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) could empower foreign powers – acting through intergovernmental institutions or other surrogates – to gain increased control over critical Internet functions. Featuring testimony from the U.S. government official assessing the threat to the Internet and the CEO of the organization that currently manages the Internet’s system of unique identifiers via contract with the U.S. government, the hearing will examine the potential benefits and preparedness of non-governmental actors to protect Internet governance functions from attempted interference by foreign governments.


IANA Transition, Internet Society Webinar March 4th

NEW Date/Time: Wednesday 4 March, at 14:00 UTC

From the Internet Society:

IANA Transition | Internet Society: The US Government has announced its intent to transition its role and responsibilites with regard IANA functions to support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. The multistakeholder model has been key to the success of the Internet. The Internet Society is pleased support and participate in a process that strengthens the distributed, bottom-up governance approach that is a foundation of the open, global Internet.

WEBINAR: IANA Stewardship Transition Process Update

Key participants in the process to develop a proposal for transitioning to the global multistakeholder community stewardship of the IANA functions for Internet domain names, numbers, and protocol parameters will provide an update on the process and progress so far during a webinar open to veryone.

Date/Time: Wednesday 4 March, at 14:00 UTC time conversion (9am EST US)

Webinar participants include:
  • Alissa Cooper, Chair, IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group
  • Demi Getschko and Narelle Clark, Internet Society appointees to IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group
  • Eliot Lear, Member, Internet Architecture Board and author of the Internet Engineering Task Force IANAPLAN document
  • Nurani Nimpuno, Member, Consolidated RIR IANA Stewardship Proposal (CRISP) Team
  • Matthew Shears, Participant, ICANN Cross Community Working Group
  • Theresa Swinehart, ICANN
This webinar is open to everyone and is intended to provide an update for those who many not have been previously engaged in or following these discussions.

The webinar will be moderated by Internet Society Policy Advisor Konstantinos Komaitis. The Internet Society is organizing this webinar as part of its efforts to provide information for, and to facilitate discussions among, the broader Internet community about the IANA Stewardship Transition process.

Participation details:
Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device via:

Join from a dial-in phone: +1 (415) 762-9988 or +1 (646) 568-7788
Webinar ID: 181 452 151
Additional dial-in numbers available:

System requirements
Zoom 3.0 or higher is required to join the webinar. You can download it from https://isoc.zoom.us/download, Apple App Store or Google Play.

Internet Governance Webinar, February 27, 12:00 UTC

UPDATE: [Briefing] Internet governance in February 2015 | DiploFoundation: View the recording of the briefing, and read the digest of the discussion. You can also view or download the presentation, and view the photo gallery for the event.

Online and WMO building, Geneva - 27 Feb 2015 - Internet governance Webinar:

The Internet governance briefing in February 2015 will take place on Friday, 27th February, at 12:00 UTC/GMT (13:00 CET) time conversion. The briefing is delivered live from Geneva. To join online or in situ (WMO, 7 bis Avenue de la Paix), complete the registration form.

February is an important month for Net Neutrality, as the FCC prepares to vote for new proposals. Cybersecurity is also at the forefront, as banks are once again a target for hackers, while new proposals for government and private sector cooperation unfold in the USA. What impact will these developments - any many others - have on the global digital policy process? What are the updates from the IG Barometer, and what can we expect in March? Join the GIP on Friday, 27th February, for a 'zoomed-out' update of the major global IG and digital policies developments. The monthly Internet Governance briefings are organised by the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP), a Swiss initiative run by DiploFoundation.


NETmundial Initiative, Headwinds, Questions, Puzzlement

Letter dated 6 February 2015 from the International Chamber of Commerce (pdf) (excerpt below, emphasis added):

To: NETmundial Organizing Partners:

Virgilio Augusto Fernandes Almeida
Secretary for Information Technology Policy
for the Ministry of Science, Technology and
Innovation of Brazil

Fadi Chehadé
President and Chief Executive Officer of

Richard Samans
Managing Director and Member of the
Managing Board, World Economic Forum

"...The NMI [NETmundial Initiative] website, however, still leaves significant questions as to the nature and scope of the planned activities unanswered or unclear. Of particular concern, we note that NMI’s commitment to a prime objective of supporting and complementing IGF [Internet Governance Forum], with an assurance of not replicating or replacing IGF, seems buried in context and thus is unclear and remains ambiguous in its intent. We note, for example, that there is no mention whatsoever of the IGF in text describing purpose and objectives on the NMI home page. The business community, as represented by ICC-BASIS, is not the only stakeholder to have raised concerns of this nature. We remain puzzled as to why the NMI has not provided a clear scope and objective in the written text describing the mission and purpose of NMI. We would expect similar statements of the nature that were made to us on the call, specifically that NMI is focusing on providing a tool that will facilitate finding relevant Internet governance-related resources..."

For background see:

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade Showed Up in Davos for Secret ...
Jan 26, 2015
ICANN CEO Shows Up in Davos for Secret Meeting at WEF, World Economic Forum, NETmundial Initiative, internet governance, Fadi Chehade,

Favorite Quote of the Week, NETmundial Initiative - Domain ...
Sep 05, 2014
"My favorite part was when one news reporter... asked the speakers if they could tell him, in comprehensible and reportable language, what exactly had just happened [at the NETmundial Initiative at the World Economic ...

LIVE video: World Economic Forum NETmundial Initiative
Aug 27, 2014
LIVE video, World Economic Forum NETmundial Initiative, Initial Scoping Meeting, Press Conference, Debrief with Founding Partners,


China, Cyberspace Administration, Internet Censorship (video)

From the Washington PostThe Cyberspace Administration of China sang a song that promotes Internet censorship during a talent show hosted by the Beijing Internet Association. (Youku/Beijing Internet Association).... "Internet Power!" the chorus goes, for example. "Tell the world that the China Dream is lifting Greater China to prominence." The Cyberspace Administration doesn't just administer the Chinese Internet; it's in charge of strictly censoring it, too. Just last year, the U.S.-based group Freedom House rated China's Internet "not free," losing only to Iran and Syria in total points.

see also: China's Internet Censorship Anthem Is Revealed, Then Deleted - NYTimes.com and 

Five Predictions for Chinese Censorship in the Year of the Sheep | Foreign Policy: "Near-term prospects for media and Internet freedom in China are grim.-- A tightening Chinese firewall. Chinese Internet users are increasingly referring to their Internet as a “LAN,” or “local area network” — effectively a type of intranet — as it becomes more isolated than ever before. The combination of recent upgrades to the “Great Firewall” filtering system, new restrictions on virtual private network (VPN) services employed by users to reach blocked overseas websites, and a policy narrative extolling the principle of “internet sovereignty”—the right of each state to regulate its own cyberspace— has taken a toll. In 2014, Gmail, other previously available Google services, and Yahoo’s Flickr photo-sharing service joined social networks Facebook and Twitter as internationally-used web tools that are blocked in China. Expect revamped regulatory entities like the Cyberspace Administration of China to tighten controls at home while working with other authoritarian regimes to promote “internet sovereignty” and change the rules of global Internet governance. That doesn’t mean hope is lost; technologists will also continue their arms race with the Great Firewall, developing new tools to meet the demands of Chinese users determined to reach blocked services... Jail time for more prominent free speech advocates. Three internationally renowned advocates of media freedom will face potentially long prison sentences in the coming months – and their odds are not good. Dissident journalist Gao Yu was arrested in 2014 and forced to give a televised confession in May..." (read more at link above)

China’s fear of the Web - The Washington Post: "... despite its liberating qualities, the Internet is not free everywhere, and not for everyone. The authoritarian behemoths of China and Russia, as well as others, have made strenuous efforts to build what they call digital “sovereignty.” This usually means a kind of censorship in which information is placed behind a fence erected by the state. Tyrants are still fighting desperately to control digital information much as they did in the analog era, rather than letting it flow freely across borders and time zones...."


1800FLOWERS.COM, Jim McCann, Founder, Interview

This Bloomberg “Masters in Business” radio podcast features Jim McCann, the founder and CEO of 1-800-Flowers, who is also the author of “ Talk Is (Not!) Cheap: The Art of Conversation Leadership. He started with a single floral shop in Manhattan and went on to transform what had been a sleepy retail industry into a national platform. He did so by embracing technology, first with 800 numbers, than with AOL, the internet and finally mobile and social. Another fine interview by Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg contributor, and blogger at ritholtz.com

domain name: 1800Flowers.com



INTA President J Scott Evans on ICANN, IANA Transition, WTR Interview

INTA the breach: J Scott Evans interview by World Trademark Review: The first World Trademark Review podcast, J Scott Evans, president of the International Trademark Association, talking about all things brand, including new gTLDsINTA website: inta.org

World Trademark Review website: worldtrademarkreview.com
"... World Trademark Review... we look at the law from a strategic perspective, looking at how it facilitates brand creation, protection and ultimately monetisation. In short, it’s really about best practice when it comes to managing the trademark asset. Our blog, therefore, tackles the full range of trademark and brand issues..."

INTA The Breach; J Scott Evans Interview--TranscriptJ – J Scott Evans; T – Trevor Little (excerpts): 
J: “... I think that the internet and ICANN as a DNS governance body has been very important to trademark owners over the last 15 years, and INTA - as a founding member of the intellectual property constituency - has been actively involved in this matter since the very beginning. But we've had oversight by the US government, and however loose that may have been, it did somehow provide sort of a carrot-and-a-stick approach to ICANN and had some way of holding them in line. So if you weren’t satisfied with how ICANN was operating, you had someone you could go to and file a grievance or complaint or have them look into it, and be a - not really a policeman - but just a mediator of interest if those interests were not aligning correctly. And that’s going away, so the big question is: How is that going to evolve? What is going to be the new model? And I don’t think anyone can answer that right now. And I think INTA and trademarks owners all around the world should be very focused on making sure that the proper structures and procedures are put into place so ICANN can be held accountable for the decisions it makes, so there’s some sort of mechanism should a decision be poorly taken that there can be some sort mechanism to have that looked at and reviewed and discussed other than it being a “fait accompli”. I think also one of the biggest issues for me personally, and I would say it should be for everyone in the trademark community and really for citizens of the world, is the fact that the government advisory committee within ICANN has become increasingly proactive and, for example, they- I’m sure you’re very aware - have denied and have continued to deny Amazon the dot Amazon top level domain, claiming it is somehow a geographical indicator. Now that’s just not true, it’s not a geographic indication, and there is no law that I’m aware of in my 22 years of practice that supports that conclusion.... what happens when the next issue is gay rights? Or women’s issues? And some group of countries or tow-towing regime says ‘this offends us morally, so we should have no more content related to women’s issues on the web’. And I think this should disturb everyone, not just as trademark owners or brand owners, but as citizens of the world, and I think we need to be at the table, we need to be very clear that this sort of mechanism is not going to be acceptable. That is not a multi-stakeholderism, we will not accept it and we are not going to allow it to occur.”....
J: "... a trademark is only part of a brand - it’s the legal side of the brand, it’s sort of the nuts and bolts of a brand, but a brand is an emotional attachment that consumers have - an affinity they have for certain products. A love, if you want, and I think in a world where consumers have so much power, because social media gives consumers so much power, that trademark counsel and practitioners need to understand that the world has changed and we’re not just talking about legal rights any more, we’re talking about managing and working with marketers and brand managers within your own organisation to steward a brand - and a brand is so much bigger and so much more emotional than what a trademark is. And I think we need to understand that it’s really bigger than that. We have an obligation to work with our business people to make sure that that ethereal thing that is a brand, that is so very valuable in the mind of consumers and on your balance sheet, is protected and that we’re being creative and innovative, and we’re not forgetting that emotion, that raw sense of loyalty that consumers feel for products that they love and enjoy.”


Rightside Q4 2014 Financial Results, Webcast, Conference Call

Rightside Q4 2014 Financial Results:
  • Fourth Quarter Domain Name Services Revenue Increases 16% Year-over-Year 
  • Fourth Quarter Total Revenue Increases 13.5% Year-over-Year 
  • 36 gTLD Registry Operator Agreements Signed to Date
Rightside will host a conference call and audio webcast with investors and analysts today, February 19, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (2:00 p.m.Pacific Time):
Live conference call: 844-413-1777 (domestic) or 716-247-5761 (international)
Conference call replay available through February 26, 2015: 855-859-2056 (domestic) or 404-537-3406 (international)
Conference ID: 71122453
Live and archived webcast: http://investors.rightside.co

Fourth Quarter 2014 Financial Results
Rightside 4th Quarter Earnings Conference Call
Rightside Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results
Rightside Income Statement by Quarter 22.3 KB
Financial Highlights - Fourth Quarter 2014Domain name services revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2014 increased 16% to $43.2 million compared to $37.2 million for the same period in 2013. Organic growth of 15%, which excludes the acquisition related benefit from Name.com, was primarily due to an increase in domain name registrations associated with the continued onboarding of eNom wholesale partners, over 35% growth at Name.com, and $1.0 million of revenue from the new registry business.

Aftermarket and other revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2014 was$8.6 million compared to $8.4 million for the same period in 2013.

Total revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2014 increased 13.5% to $51.7 million compared to $45.6 million for the same period in 2013.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, Rightside recorded a gain on other assets, net of $7.8 million representing the gain on withdrawals of its interest in gTLD applications during the period.

Net income for the three months ended December 31, 2014 was $1.5 million compared to a net loss of $5.7 million for the same period in 2013.

Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended December 31, 2014 was $0.6 million, compared to Adjusted EBITDA of ($0.9 million) for the same period in 2013.

Financial Highlights - Full Year 2014
Domain name services revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014 increased 14% to $161.6 million compared to $141.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Aftermarket and other revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014 was $30.2 million compared to $43.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2013, primarily due to a decrease in the sales of domain names owned by Rightside and the elimination of low quality advertising traffic in the second half of 2013.

Total revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014 increased 3.5% to $191.7 millioncompared to $185.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Rightside recorded an income tax benefit of $1.3 million for 2014 resulting from taxable losses in the U.S.

Net loss decreased to $1.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2014 compared to $10.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2014 was ($3.1 million), compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $8.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2013. Adjusted EBITDA loss for 2014 includes $6.9 million of investment in the new registry business, net of revenue contribution.

Business Highlights
Rightside has signed registry operator agreements with ICANN for 36 gTLDs to date, including 3 since the third quarter of 2014, and has an interest in 29 additional gTLD applications that have yet to be awarded to their ultimate registry operator.

As of December 31, 2014, 28 of Rightside's owned and operated gTLDs were in "general availability" for an average of 120 days each. These have generated nearly 150,000 registrations with over $5.0 million in total cash sales as of December 31, 2014.

Half of domain name services growth during the fourth quarter came from new gTLD registrations.

During the fourth quarter, 15% of Name.com new registrations came from new gTLDs with an average selling price of the new gTLDs over three times that of legacy gTLDs. New gTLD revenue comprised over 40% of Name.com's year-over-year growth for the fourth quarter of 2014.

With over 16 million total domains under management as of December 31, 2014, including over 2.7 million domain names registered through its own retail outlets, Rightside remains one of the world's largest registrars.

ICANN Was Originally Intended To Be A Membership Organization

One of the tragic facts in ICANN's history is that Jon Postel died before ICANN's first Board of Directors meeting:
"Without Postel as its peacekeeper, ICANN had trouble raising money and was forced to survive on fees from Network Solutions and a new crop of domain-name registrars that grew up under ICANN’s oversight, [Esther] Dyson says. Thus was born a financial conflict of interest that continues to this day: ICANN subsists on the very industry it purports to govern. Dyson says she “lost any faith, over time,” in ICANN’s ability to regulate the domain-name business." (source: MIT Technology Review)
One of the issues the Enhancing ICANN Accountability Cross Community Working Group (CCWG-Accountability) is now grappling with is whether ICANN should have an empowered membership capable of removing directors, etc. A look back indicates that is what was originally intended--

Resources - ICANN: Articles of Incorporation of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - As Revised November 21, 1998:  ".... 9. These Articles may be amended by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the directors of the Corporation. When the Corporation has members, any such amendment must be ratified by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the members voting on any proposed amendment." (emphasis added)

Also note the original ICANN Bylaws (6 Nov 1998): "ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP (This Article is reserved for use when the Corporation has members.)" (emphasis added)

In fact, ICANN staff produced a memo dated August 11, 1999, outlining options for membership as provided in the ICANN Articles and Bylaws then in effect:

"Analysis: Statutory Members Versus Nonstatutory Members for the ICANN AT-Large Membership .... One of the fundamental issues underlying the development of a process to create an ICANN "membership" that will select At-Large Directors of ICANN is to determine precisely what rights and/or powers those "members" will have... II. Rights of Statutory Members - California law provides that certain specific rights and powers automatically belong to any "member" of a non-profit corporation. A "member" includes "any person who, pursuant to a specific provision of a corporation's articles or bylaws, has the right to vote for the election of a director or directors or . . . has the right to vote on changes to the articles or bylaws." (5056). If the ICANN "membership" was created without any explicit limitations on these rights or powers, an ICANN member would be a Statutory Member, as we are using that term here, and would have the following rights and powers, as set forth in the California Nonprofit Corporation Law:
6. Members may bring derivative actions, subject to the usual conditions. (5710) No bond shall be required if enough members bring the action. (5710)
7. Most amendments to articles must be approved by Board and members (and any other persons specified in articles). (e.g. SOs). (5812)
8. Board must send annual report (as defined in 6321) to members within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year. (6321)
9. Membership lists and accounting books and records and minutes must be made available to members for proper purposes. (6330, 6333 and 6338)
10. Members may amend the bylaws; however, the bylaws may provide that the amendment may occur only with the approval of a specified person other than the Board. (e.g. SOs). ( 5150) Note, however, that the Board may amend the bylaws without the approval of members unless the action would materially and adversely affect the right of members as to voting or transfer.
11. Directors elected by members may be removed by members. (5222)
12. The bylaws must specify a quorum requirement. (5512)
13. Members can bring legal actions to....." (emphasis added)
In less than three months after the staff memo above was issued, the ICANN Board of Directors amended the ICANN Bylaws to prevent any possibility of "members"--

October 29. 1999, amended bylaws"ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP - Section 1. GENERAL - The Corporation shall not have members..." (emphasis added)

Today the applicable bylaw provision preventing members is in Article XVII:

ICANN Bylaws: "ARTICLE XVII: MEMBERS - ICANN shall not have members, as defined in the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law ("CNPBCL"), notwithstanding the use of the term "Member" in these Bylaws, in any ICANN document, or in any action of the ICANN Board or staff." (emphasis added)

And the rest is history. One of the ways ICANN was "captured" by special interests, was the elimination of any possibility of membership by amending the bylaws to prevent "membership." Now, the CCWG-Accountability is trying to "re-invent the wheel" and reform ICANN into what had originally been intended.


ICANN WHOIS Accuracy Pilot Study Report, Comment Period Ends 27 FEB

ICANN WHOIS Accuracy Pilot Study Report, Comment Period Ends 27 Feb 2015 23:59 UTC:

WHOIS Accuracy Pilot Study Report - ICANN: "The WHOIS Pilot Study Report published today [Dec 23, 2014] for public comment describes the results of a pilot accuracy study conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. The Report illustrates the findings and methodology to be deployed in the WHOIS Accuracy Reporting System (ARS) under development by ICANN. By publishing it for public comment, ICANN is seeking feedback on the approach, methodology, and reporting formats used in the Pilot Study to help shape the final design of the ARS...." (read more at the link above)

NORC WHOIS Accuracy Pilot Report [PDF, 1.5 MB]

more info:

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving, Leading Change, Interview, Podcast

GoDaddy's CEO Blake Irving talks about the company's renewed focus on small businesses, women-run businesses, startups, and bringing on a new leadership team. (17:40)

domain name: godaddy.com

source: Harvard Business Review, February 5, 2015 (transcript)

Recent news on GoDaddy--
GoDaddy Updates IPO Plans But Offers Few New Details - Law360: "February 11, 2015-- Private equity-backed GoDaddy Inc., a web hosting platform geared toward small businesses, updated its U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission registration statement on Wednesday, clarifying some of its tax receivable agreements but not posting any valuation or how many shares it plans to sell. GoDaddy initially filed for an IPO in June 2014, saying it wanted to raise $100 million in the first half of 2015 to pay down debt and cover corporate expenses.... "

Form S-1: GoDaddy SEC filing


US Senator Thune planning Hearing on ICANN, IANA, Internet Governance

Chairman US Senator Thune is planning a late February US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on ICANN, Internet Governance, and the IANA transition--

The Senate Commerce Committee is planning to have an Internet governance hearing when it returns from its current recess in late February. The hearing follows ICANN 52 in Singapore where the IANA stewardship transition planning was discussed. Republicans have criticized the NTIA announcement, warning that foreign governments would seize undue control of the Internet if the U.S. gave up its oversight role. Thune told Politico Morning Tech that the upcoming hearing will give lawmakers a chance "to take a hard look at where they're going" as ICANN and others work on an oversight transition plan. He added that the hearing "will have pretty good representation," including from ICANN, though a source said details are still being finalized. (source: Politico)

ICANN New gTLD Private Auctions, 2015 Patsy of the Year Nominees?

“If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.” ― Warren Buffett
ICANN designed a grand casino game for its new gTLDs (new generic top-level domains) program, whereby the gamblers a/k/a new gTLD applicants can mutually agree on a private auction, and, as in other casino games, it pays to know the rules, and know who the "patsy" is, in each round.

The new gTLD private auctions have become a way for new gTLD applicants to make money (or recoup some of their losses) by participating in the private auction, bid up the price, and then lose in the end to the patsy a/k/a winner of the auction who must pay the second-highest bid which is then divided evenly among the other gamblers a/k/a participating new gTLD applicants. Of course to be admitted to the game, you have to ante up $185,000 (new gTLD application fee to ICANN) and then stay in the "game" until the patsy gets stuck with the winning bid. Note that under ICANN rules, this is all allowed to be done in secret, no one even knows for sure, at this point, how much .BLOG actually sold for, although there has been speculation it was as high as $30 million (see below).

Fast forward to the private auction of new gTLD .BLOG:

TheDomains: Minds + Machines Pockets $3.5+ Million By Losing .Blog & .Store...

Got it? You WIN by LOSING! This is definitely a casino game loved by domain-name-industry- captured-ICANN insiders! So who were all the "Losers" (i.e., the real Winners) in the .BLOG auction? Besides Minds + Machines (see link above), included were industry giants Google, Afilias, Donuts, and reportedly four others. Clue #1: when you outbid companies like Google AND Afilias AND Donuts AND Minds + Machines, for a new gTLD, you are probably the patsy for that round.

Of course, while many observers were privately snickering at what reportedly happened in the .BLOG auction, predictably, some pundits in the domain name industry got the .BLOG story all wrong, here are but two examples:

1. ICANN's Auction Piggy Bank Just Got Twice As Big - actually, no, neither ICANN nor the global multistakeholder community received anything from the private auction of .BLOG and that is the way ICANN designed it--private auctions of new gTLDs were allowed in order to enhance private profit-making, thereby dispensing with any notion of the global public interest! Good Ol' ICANN--LOL!

2. "If anyone thinks that the new gTLD program is failing, I think they should have a look at ...[citing story that $30 million was reportedly paid by the private auction "winner" for .BLOG]... - actually, the new gTLDs program IS failing, badly, and the .BLOG reported sale just means one poor unfortunate new gTLD registry operator is now starting out $30 million in the hole.

Unsurprisingly, the reported "winner" of the .BLOG auction, when contacted, "didn't want to talk." 


Response to US Senator and Congressman re: NTIA, IANA, ICANN

Below is the published comment by the Editor of Domain Mondo in response to the CircleID post: Ensuring Trust in Internet Governance by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee and Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, concerning the NTIA, ICANN, and the IANA transition:

"NTIA wants to transfer IANA to the global multistakeholder community--really? In Singapore at ICANN 52, ICANN and NTIA were pressuring stakeholders to hurry up and hand IANA over to ICANN--ICANN is not the global multistakeholder community nor truly representative of it. ICANN, a California non-profit corporation with an essentially self-selected Board of Directors, and no membership, is, and has been for years, largely captured by special interests within the domain name industry--that is why NTIA almost pulled the IANA contract away from ICANN in 2012. Nothing has really changed since then, except the Snowden revelations came to light and the U.S. is now under international pressure to let go of its historic role of Internet oversight. The idea that ICANN could fulfill NTIA's historic stewardship role is ludicrous based on ICANN's own track record. At the same time, NTIA has been less than fully honest in the announcement of its intentions. In March, 2014, NTIA said it wanted to be transitioned out of its role. What is NTIA's role? NTIA said then that its role was as historic steward of the Internet DNS with contract rights and authority over the IANA functions and Internet root zone. Yet, the ICANN-convened process, requested by NTIA, is only focused on the IANA contract, not stewardship responsibilities nor Internet root zone management! How dysfunctional--or disingenuous? Sometime after March, 2014, NTIA also, apparently, decided that ICANN accountability should also be part of this whole process--NTIA said nothing about ICANN accountability in March, 2014, but now NTIA's Larry Strickling says somehow that needs to be included in any proposal that is submitted to NTIA. WOW! Never mind that it will take years to both fully implement and then judge whether any ICANN internal accountability changes are effective, and to what extent. Meanwhile, NTIA still maintains Congressional approval is not needed for any of the transition process. Congress and the NTIA need to review this July, 2000, GAO report. NTIA also needs to be honest and transparent with the U.S. Congress, the American people, and the global multistakeholder community. NTIA (and ICANN) should accept the fact that a majority of people in the U.S., as well as a majority of the global multistakeholder community, justifiably lack confidence and trust in ICANN having sole power and authority over the Internet DNS. NETmundial principles, as well as historic principles of the free and open Internet, actually contravene this vision of an all-powerful ICANN, a single point of failure, with no external accountability nor oversight. I am currently a participant in the process ICANN convened at the request of NTIA. My views herein are only my own. Others have differing views. What is not helpful is NTIA being duplicitous or manipulative, less than fully honest and transparent, as indicated above. At this point, as both a U.S. citizen and member of the global multistakeholder community, I want NTIA transitioned out of its role, as soon as possible--NTIA is no longer an effective steward, and the world is demanding change. However, just walking away and leaving dysfunctional ICANN in charge is not the answer. The challenge is in coming up with an effective solution that has buy-in from the global multistakeholder community while ensuring a free, open, stable and secure Internet for future generations. External solutions to achieve this have been proposed and are currently being considered. I have personally sought input from Ass't Sec Strickling (with copy to Secretary Pritzker) without response. Hopefully Congress, the House and Senate, can get some answers and shed some light on NTIA's true intentions (e.g., why did NTIA exclude stewardship and Internet root zone management responsibilities, from the ICANN-convened process, and what are NTIA's future plans or intentions for those, specifically?)."

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo


Domain Name Registrants Rights and Responsibilities

Buried on the ICANN website (URL: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/benefits-2013-09-16-en ), under the heading "Registrants' Benefits and Responsibilities" --

Domain Name Registrants' Rights:

1. Your domain name registration and any privacy/proxy services you may use in conjunction with it must be subject to a Registration Agreement with an ICANN Accredited Registrar.
  • You are entitled to review this Registration Agreement at any time, and download a copy for your records.
2. You are entitled to accurate and accessible information about:
  • The identity of your ICANN Accredited Registrar;
  • The identity of any proxy or privacy service provider affiliated with your Registrar;
  • Your Registrar's terms and conditions, including pricing information, applicable to domain name registrations;
  • The terms and conditions, including pricing information, applicable to any privacy services offered by your Registrar;
  • The customer support services offered by your Registrar and the privacy services provider, and how to access them;
  • How to raise concerns and resolve disputes with your Registrar and any privacy services offered by them; and
  • Instructions that explain your Registrar's processes for registering, managing, transferring, renewing, and restoring your domain name registrations, including through any proxy or privacy services made available by your Registrar.
3. You shall not be subject to false advertising or deceptive practices by your Registrar or though any proxy or privacy services made available by your Registrar. This includes deceptive notices, hidden fees, and any practices that are illegal under the consumer protection law of your residence.

Domain Name Registrants' Responsibilities:
  1. You must comply with the terms and conditions posted by your Registrar, including applicable policies from your Registrar, the Registry and ICANN.
  2. You must review your Registrar's current Registration Agreement, along with any updates.
  3. You will assume sole responsibility for the registration and use of your domain name.
  4. You must provide accurate information for publication in directories such as WHOIS, and promptly update this to reflect any changes.
  5. You must respond to inquiries from your Registrar within fifteen (15) days, and keep your Registrar account data current. If you choose to have your domain name registration renew automatically, you must also keep your payment information current.
(source: ICANNemphasis added)


Barry Ritholtz Interviews Westwood Capital Investment Banker Dan Alpert

Barry Ritholtz interviews investment banker Dan Alpert, founder and managing partner of Westwood Capital. Alpert is the author of “The Age of Oversupply: Overcoming the Greatest Challenge to the Global Economy.”

domain name: westwoodcapital.com

Domain Mondo note: For entrepreneurs and start-ups the interview becomes interesting @17:30--the global economy and its implications, China, oversupply, demand.... 

Alpert created the first collateralized debt obligations backed by commercial mortgage-backed securities, and one of the very first real-estate investment trusts. Over the past 30 years working in finance, he has developed expertise in distressed assets, structured products and real-estate financing.


ICANN, New gTLDs, Neil Young, PonoPlayer - Who Else Wears No Clothes?

Neil Young's PonoPlayer: The Emperor Has No Clothes"... You’ve got to admit it: The argument for the Pono Player sure is appealing — that we don’t know what we’ve been missing in our music. Unfortunately, it isn’t true..." -- David Pogue  (complete review and video at link above)

Domain name: ponomusic.force.com (yes, a subdomain of force.com which is owned by a completely separate entity: Salesforce.com, Inc. Apparently Mr. Young is also clueless about domain names and how to build a sustainable online business?)

David Pogue's review of Neil Young's Pono is devastating. But even more illuminating was the insight gleaned by one of my favorite bloggers (excerpt below):

Re-Pono - Lefsetz Letter: "Why does Neil Young get a pass?... But that’s the news industry today. Few stand alone. They want to sidle up to the rich and famous who believe they’re so much better than us. Kind of like the rich westsiders who refuse to vaccinate their kids. Of course they’re right, they went to Ivy League schools, they’re rich! And they’re perpetuating their breed, if they don’t get felled by disease, using their money, power and influence to get ahead while the poor line up for shots and take whatever is given to them... So I’m waiting for the big boys to say Pono sucks. David Pogue just did, and his opinion went viral, if you didn’t get it you need new friends, he declared that “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”... anybody with a brain knew this project was doomed from the start.I said so. But I was inundated by e-mail from his fans calling me a hater. That’s how far we’ve come, you can’t say a negative thing about anybody with a profile because you’re gonna offend their tribe... What did Jack Nicholson say in that movie, YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH? No one can handle the truth anymore... So football is safe, global warming doesn’t exist and Neil Young can’t be wrong. But he is... " (emphasis added, read full article at link above).

OK, I'll add the obvious analogy for those who "don't get it:"

So football is safe, global warming doesn't exist and ICANN and the new gTLD hucksters can't be wrong... but they are.

Caveat Emptor!


IANA Stewardship Transition, Q&A, ICANN 52 Final Day Sessions

This is ICANN 52's final day (February 12th in Singapore). Interesting sessions include (go to links below to join online):
07:00 to 10:00 SGT CCWG-Accountability Working Session
08:45 to 12:30 SGT GAC Sessions
10:30 to 11:45 SGT IANA TransitionCWG-Stewardship Q&A (see further below)
11:15 to 12:30 SGT Internet Governance - Public Session
13:30 to 17:00 SGT ICANN Public Forum
17:00 to 18:00 SGT ICANN Public Board Meeting

   CWG-Stewardship Questions & Answers | ICANN52 | SingaporeCWG-Stewardship Questions & Answers 
Date and Time: Thu, 12 February 2015, 10:30 to 11:45 SGT - which is Wed 11 February 2015, 9:30 - 10:45 pm EST in the USA
ICANN52 | Singapore
Full Schedule: Feb 6-13
Singapore Date and Time:

Overview: An engagement session for CWG-Stewardship to go through elements of their response to the Request for Transition Proposals (RFP) from the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) with the community. (source: ICANN.org)

Virtual Meeting Room Stream Live English

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ICANN 52, High Interest Topics, All Day Sessions

High Interest Topics - All Day Sessions - ...
Tue Feb, 10 2015 7:15 PM EST — Wed Feb, 11 2015 6:15 AM EST (US)


Fadi Chehade on Domain Hoggers, IANA Transition (ICANN 52 video); US NTIA Pressures Stakeholders

ICANN52 Press Conference video below
ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé, Board Chair Dr. Steve Crocker, and President of the Global Domains Division Akram Atallah, answer journalists questions during the ICANN52 press conference on February 9, 2015. Video begins at a point [33:18] where Fadi Chehade is asked about his public statements about domain hogging. After that Steve Crocker and Chehade address the IANA transition and the US 2016 election. People attending the ICANN 52 meeting in Singapore this week have been complaining on Twitter about the heavy-handed pressure being applied by the United States government and ICANN on attendees to hurry-up the IANA transition process and hand everything over to ICANN (see below). Ira Magaziner was a featured speaker at the ICANN 52 Opening Session this week in Singapore, see: Political Windows Open And Close, Says ICANN President; Seeks End Of Prep For IANA Transition"Ira Magaziner, pushed for urgency in finalising the proposal for the future oversight of the private names and numbers regime."

Magaziner was also selected by ICANN's PEG--NTIA's Larry Strickling is one of the four members of PEG--to be an "Advisor" to sit on the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG). Many in the Internet community remember that Magaziner reportedly threatened Jon Postel in 1998:

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority - Wikipedia"In January 1998, Postel was threatened by US Presidential science advisor Ira Magaziner with the statement "You'll never work on the Internet again" after Postel collaborated with root server operators to test using a root server other than Network Solutions' "A" root to act as the authority over the root zone.* Demonstrating that control of the root was from the IANA rather than from Network Solutions would have clarified IANA's authority to create new top-level domains as a step to resolving the DNS Wars, but he ended his effort after Magaziner's threat, and died not long after." (emphasis added)

*Jon Postel - Wikipedia"On January 28, 1998, Postel, as a test, emailed eight of the twelve operators of Internet's regional root nameservers on his own authority and instructed them to change the root zone server from then SAIC subsidiary Network Solutions (NSI)'s A.ROOT-SERVERS.NET ( to IANA's DNSROOT.IANA.ORG ( The operators complied with Postel's instructions, thus dividing control of Internet naming between the non-government operators with IANA and the 4 remaining U.S. Government roots at NASA, DoD, and BRL with NSI...."


ICANN 52, Universal Acceptance, New gTLD Domain Names "break stuff"

Screenshot from ICANN 52 Session on Universal Acceptance, ICANN's new gTLDs "break stuff"
Slide from ICANN 52 session on Universal Acceptance - ICANN's new gTLDs "break stuff"
ICANN: "Many of the services and applications Internet users rely on, do not accept new top-level domains [ICANN's new generic top-level Domains], Internationalized Domain Names or Internationalized email addresses. The issue poses a risk to the public perception of ICANN's New gTLD and IDN Programs. This session is intended to solicit community interest in participating in ICANN's Universal Acceptance Initiative, discuss ICANN's outreach plans and gather new ideas for tackling the issue." (ICANN's description of the Universal Acceptance session at ICANN 52)

Better late than never, it has now been proposed that ICANN form a "steering group" to help solve the problem ICANN created with its ill-conceived, misbegotten new gTLDs program, and even an industry organization for new gTLD proponents wants to "help"--thedna.org--headed by former ICANN Chief Strategy Officer, Kurt Pritz, architect of the new gTLDs program, who resigned during development of the program for an undisclosed conflict of interest reportedly "related" to one of the chief backers of both the new gTLDs program and thedna.org, ARI Registry Services. But domain name registrants should be forewarned, this problem is going to take "years" to solve:

Slide from ICANN 52 session on Universal Acceptance -
New gTLD Domain Names "Do Not Work" Across The Internet and the Problem Will Take "Years" To Fix

Download the ICANN 52 Universal Acceptance pdf and then listen/watch the Universal Acceptance session from ICANN 52 at the links below (note: there is an audio problem in the first five minutes of the video), and laugh or weep when you hear of the complaints coming from domain name registrants and internet users, to give but one example of many,  that e.g., "the new gTLD .SOCIAL does not work" on the internet--

Archival Media:
Universal Acceptance | Adobe Connect: Full [EN] Virtual Meeting Room Stream Archive (English)
Universal Acceptance | Audio: Full [EN] Audio Stream Archive (English)

And to top everything off, the inept, incompetent, unaccountable, and conflicted ICANN now wants the global multistakeholder community to give ICANN all power and control over the Internet DNS in the IANA stewardship transition!

  1. Once the IANA transition is complete, and ICANN no longer has benefit of government contractor immunity and similar defenses, who will be the first to file a claim against ICANN related to its new gTLDs--a new gTLD registry operator or applicant, a new gTLD registrar, or a new gTLD domain name registrant? 
  2. What would be the total potential liability for such claims? Billions of dollars (US)? 
see also: Why New gTLD Domain Names Fail To Work Across the Internet and

ICANN, New gTLD Domain Names, Universal Acceptance Another #FAIL - 14 October 2014

Caveat Emptor!

ICANN 52 Singapore LIVE, Welcome Ceremony, Opening Session

ICANN 52 Singapore, Welcome Ceremony and President's Opening Session -
Replay Note: Forward to 30:00 for Program Start

Details of the Welcome Ceremony:
WHAT: Welcome Ceremony and President's Opening Session
WHO: Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO, and Dr. Stephen Crocker, Chair of the Board of Directors
WHEN: Monday, 9 February 08:30 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. SGT (0030 – 0200 UTC)
WHERE: Padang Room, Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore
OFF-SITE ACCESS: via a live video webcast at https://icann.adobeconnect.com/sin52-padang.

Former Senior Advisor to U.S. President Bill Clinton, Ira Magaziner, and Singapore's Minister of Communications and Information, Dr. Yaacob bin Ibrahim, will address attendees at the meeting's opening ceremony.

Welcome Ceremony and President's Opening Session | ICANN52 | Singapore:
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ICANN Lawyers Nix ICANN Accountability

In a crushing blow to the work of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability, ICANN's lawyers have rained on their parade--

Initial Responses to the Community Working Group’s California Law Questions, 7 February 2015, from Jones Day (ICANN's lawyers) to questions submitted by the Cross Community Working Group (CCWG).... (excerpts below, full responses here)--

Jones Day: “…. It is important to note that, even in the context of members and delegates, California law provides that the activities and affairs of ICANN still must be conducted and all corporate powers must be exercised by or under the direction of the Board. Accordingly, members and delegates cannot force the Board to take a certain action or overturn a Board decision. The rights of members and delegates under California law are limited and are more closely associated with approval rights over specified actions, rather than the right to second guess or supersede Board action or inaction. For example, members would only be entitled to approve the Board’s budget and would not be able to propose or approve a separate budget. As with any new structure, adding “members” or “delegates” raises a considerable number of governance issues, including the mechanisms to hold these new members or delegates accountable, how these members/delegates would be selected (and how could they be changed), what specified matters would the members/delegates be entitled to approve, what would be the applicable voting threshold for each specified matter, how often would member/delegate meetings be held and how much notice would be required for those meetings, and how would the creation of members/delegates affect the existing Board selection structure. Further, any new structure must be evaluated against the question of whether the new structure actually solves the underlying problem or meets the underlying goal. In some respects, the introduction of “members” or “delegates,” while initially appealing, may not solve the underlying problems and could simply result in moving the “problems” to another body of individuals where similar accountability concerns would persist (i.e., who watches the watchers) ….

“4. In the case of inaction by the Board on an issue developed through community consensus, is it possible to have a mechanism that will empower the community to require the Board to take action?

No. California law does not provide for a mechanism that would empower the community, regardless of whether ICANN has members or not, to force the Board to take action on a community proposal. The activities and affairs of ICANN must be managed and all corporate powers must be exercised under the ultimate direction of the Board….”  (emphasis added)

Follow the CCWG mail list discussion here: http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/accountability-cross-community/

ICANN 52 Singapore, International News Conference

ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé will join Board Chair Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, Global Domains Division President Akram Atallah and Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific (APAC) Yu-Chuang Kuek in responding to journalists' questions during an international news conference. They will address a wide range of issues, including the current status of the IANA stewardship transition and the continued delegation of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs).

ICANN52 | Singapore
Full Schedule: Feb 6-13
Singapore Date and Time:
WHO: Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO, Dr. Stephen Crocker, Chair of the Board of Directors, Akram Atallah, President of ICANN's Global Domains Division, and Yu-Chuang Kuek, Vice President and Managing Director for Asia Pacific (APAC).

WHEN: Monday, 9 February 13:00 P.M. – 14:00 P.M. SGT (0500 – 0600 UTC)

OFF-SITE ACCESS: A live webcast may be accessed at https://icann.adobeconnect.com/sin52-press/.

Telephone access may be obtained by dialling an international access number obtained from this list http://goo.gl/arhucw. The toll free access number in the U.S. is +1 (719) 457-6209. Once you have reached the conferencing center, dial 364 624 6532.

A recording of the news conference will be posted to the press page of the ICANN web site (http://www.icann.org/en/news/press) after the event.

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