News Review 1) .ORG Comments, 2) When To 'Short Sell' Verisign $VRSN

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Domain Mondo's weekly internet domain news review (NR 2019-04-28) with analysis and opinion: Features • 1) .ORG Comments Close April 29, 2) a. When to 'Short Sell' Verisign $VRSN, b. Domain Industry Collapse? c. A Trademark Is NOT A Monopoly, 3) .AMAZON Chaos, 4) EPDP Phase 2 'Daunting Task Ahead' 5) ICYMI: Warning re: Google Chrome browser, and more, 6) Most Read.

1) Public Comments Closing Soon on .ORG, .INFO, .ASIA, and .BIZ
graphic "ICANN | Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers"
Public Comments close at ICANN at 23:59 UTC (7:59 pm EDT) on the respective dates shown for each issue below:
Editor's note:  say “No” to Unlimited Price Increases on .Org Domain Names (and other gTLDs).
  • Read the .ORG comments submitted here, [UPDATE: including my comment (pdf) embed below].
  • UPDATE: read the .INFO comments submitted here, including my comment (pdf).
UPDATE: .ORG comment from Editor of DomainMondo.com (w/o attachments filed with original but links to same--link updated to ICA comment after ICANN org changed the URL):

2) Names, Domains & Trademarks 
graphic "Names, Domains & Trademarks" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
a. When To Short Sell Verisign $VRSN: VeriSign $VRSN Q1 2019 Earnings Results: Verisign ended the first quarter of 2019 with a total of 154.8 million .com and .net domain name registrations in the domain name base, a 4.4 percent increase* from the end of the first quarter of 2018 (a net increase of 1.82 million during the first quarter of 2019), $1.25 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, Q1 revenue of $306 million, up 2.4 percent YOY, net income of $163 million (vs  $134 million Q1 2018). Nothing new reported re: ongoing discussions with ICANN re .COM pricing or .WEB arbitration (IRP). More info at the link above. 

*Editor's note.net registrations have actually declined due to .net price gouging by both ICANN and Verisign (see also this News Review 4)a.), so all the growth is attributable to .com. Verisign shares are nearing their all-time highs of year 2000 (graphic below) when Verisign bought Network Solutions  (see archive.org) which at that time controlled .COM, .NET and .ORG, a virtual monopoly on all gTLD domain names. Verisign acquired Network Solutions for "$21 billion in [Verisign] stock" which afterwards declined over 96% in value:
Once ICANN is completely "successful" in trashing .COM the same way ICANN is now trying to trash .ORG--see feature #1 above--may be the time to "short sell" $VRSN shares (see also next note below).

b. Domain Industry Collapse? 75% of websites today are not active, but parked domains or similar--internetlivestats.com. Editor's note: "what's this mean?" It means that total domain name registrations today of about 350 million could drop (not be renewed, etc.) by more than 50%, and internet "end users" would not notice anything different. It means that ICANN policy of enabling each gTLD registry operator to unilaterally price gouge all gTLD domain name registrants will eventually backfire with severe consequences for both the domain name industry and ICANN.

c. A Trademark Is NOT A Monopoly: "Trademark rights actually arise based on use of the mark ... exclusive rights in a trademark are inextricably linked to the goods and services with which the mark is used. Except in rare circumstances, a trademark is not a monopoly that allows its owner to prevent others from using the same word(s) in all circumstances."--Hutchison PLLC.

3) More .AMAZON Chaos:
To ICANN Board Chair Cherine Chalaby: 
  • 23 April 2019 Letter from Achilles Zaluar, Department of Technological Promotion | Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil; 
  • 23 April 2019 Letter from Brian Huseman,Vice President, Public Policy, Amazon.com, Inc., excerpt:  "the issue before the Board is to: 'make an objective and independent judgment regarding whether there are, in fact, well-founded, merits-based public policy reasons for denying Amazon’s applications.'
Editor's note: first, know that ICANN continuously misidentifies the applicant as "Amazon Corporation." The new gTLD .AMAZON applicant is Amazon EU S.à.r.l., a European legal entity owned, controlled, and formed by Amazon.com, Inc., primarily to dodge taxes.
"Amazon EU S.à.r.l. ... was incorporated in 2004 and is based in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Amazon EU S.à.r.l. operates as a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc."--source.
Second, as I've said before, "the idea of having private .BRAND gTLDs was a mistake from the beginning, a corruption of the concept of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) as set forth in RFC 1591 written by Jon Postel, which predates the formation of ICANN and its "Californication" of the internet and global DNS. I'm with the South American countries. ICANN should do the "right thing" for once and end the .BRAND gTLD program, refund the application fees, and "undelegate" all .BRAND gTLDs from the internet "root," while allowing every owner of a distinctive trademark to block use of that mark as a gTLD in the future. End the ICANN extortion racket -- see .PING testimony."

4) EPDP Phase 2, The "Daunting Task Ahead"
UPDATE: First Meeting of  EPDP Phase 2, Thursday, May 2, 2019, at 14:00 UTC (10am EDT) but no video for observers, and transcript will be at least 72 hours delayed. Details of agenda and 'audiocast' here. Letter from Goran Marby (ICANN CEO) here (via GNSO Chair Keith Drazek).
Dear Members of the EPDP Team,
As I assume the duties of the Chair of the EPDP team of the second phase of the process, I would like to thank the GNSO Council for placing trust in me and appointing me to perform this important function. I also would like to pay tribute to the EPDP Team for the work accomplished during the first phase and their dedication to a task, which is far from trivial.
We have a daunting task ahead, which is exacerbated by the ambiguity surrounding the precise outline of implementation of the GDPR. We will be targeting a moving object as we develop the most effective way forward. It won’t be simple, but extremely interesting from a systemic point of view.
I hope that my previous experience in handling diplomatic negotiations in different circles at the UN as well as chairing the ICANN GAC from 2007 to 2010 will be beneficial for the team in advancing our objectives.
I have been with the Latvian diplomatic service for the past 27 years holding different positions in bilateral and multilateral settings. From 2000 to 2007, I was Latvian ambassador to the UN in Geneva and in that capacity was chosen to lead the preparations of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that culminated with the adoption of the Tunis Agenda*, partly devoted to global Internet governance issues. Since then my activities have been linked, directly or indirectly, with ICANN, either chairing the GAC or engaging with ICANN in different UN fora (Internet Governance Forum, WSIS Forum or UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development). At the time of chairing the ICANN GAC, I was involved in the development of the IDN Fast Track policy and opening of the GAC meetings to the ICANN community.
I look forward working with the team as well as ICANN supporting staff and rely on team’s collective wisdom and desire to reach a successful outcome. As soon as all members of the team will be announced, we will start our substantive activities.
Thank you in advance, Janis Karklins, EPDP Phase 2 Chair22 Apr 2019 (emphasis added)
*Tunis Agenda"INTERNET GOVERNANCE 29. We reaffirm the principles enunciated in the Geneva phase of the WSIS, in December 2003, that the Internet has evolved into a global facility available to the public and its governance should constitute a core issue of the Information Society agenda. The international management of the Internet should be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. It should ensure an equitable distribution of resources, facilitate access for all and ensure a stable and secure functioning of the Internet, taking into account multilingualism."

From the EPDP mail list: Professor Mueller schools Ambassador Karklins and ICANN Vice-Chair Chris Disspain:
Greetings, Janis
Welcome aboard!
Recalling your role as IGF Director I look forward to working with you. This job will require all of your diplomatic skills. I say that because the problems we have are political, they are not caused by ambiguity in the law. There are stakeholders who want registration data to be available to anyone as quickly and as easily as possible, and there are stakeholders who want it to be protected as much as possible, and various positions in between. The law overriding this process is fixed, it is not a “moving target.” What moves and introduces ambiguity are the compromises and coalitions that form in the attempt to reach agreement. I hope you understand the importance of your role, which is not to drive policy or take sides, but to fairly broker agreements and get results in this contentious environment.--Milton Mueller 23 Apr 2019, Georgia Institute of Technology, Internet Governance Project (emphasis added)
Milton Mueller, 23 Apr 2019 replying to Chris Disspain (Vice-Chair of the ICANN Board of Directors and Board liaison to the EPDP), re: European Commission comments on Phase 1 report:

There is no inconsistency between the two statements. I am struggling to understand why key members of ICANN’s board do not understand this. Purposes determine what data is collected and how it can be used by the controller. Disclosure to third parties with legitimate interests is not a purpose ICANN has in collecting and using registrant data, but disclosure is nevertheless something that can happen legally when certain conditions are met. When a credit card company collects PII about me, its purpose is to facilitate financial transactions, it is not to provide my name and address to the police. But legally, the police can request disclosure of that information from the credit card company under certain conditions set by law. What is so difficult to understand there?
In the statements below, the EC merely insists, correctly, upon distinguishing between ICANN’s purposes for collecting and using registrant data, and its reasons for disclosing it to third parties. This does not rule out all disclosure to third parties with legitimate interests.
During the EPDP deliberations, the same point was made repeatedly by public comments, and a majority of the EPDP members. The law is clear. Some in this debate are trying to erect a false dichotomy: either we have ICANN collecting and disclosing registrant data indiscriminately, as it did during the old Whois, or there is no disclosure to third parties at all. Do you really think this is the choice we have? [link and emphasis added]
Also replying to Chris Disspain, Volker Greimann 24 Apr 2019:
Hi Chris,
I am with Milton here as I felt that the statements in the [European Commission] letter were more than clear when it comes to disclosures to law enforcement and third parties.  The purposes of law enforcement and third parties are not purposes of ICANN and ICANN should stop trying to fit a square peg through the round hole of its own purposes.
Law enforcement has legal rights under which access to data processed for various other purposes may be requested, for example under Art. 6 I (c) GDPR. Similarly, third parties will need a legal basis for any and every access request and controllers must in their own responsibility carry out a balancing between the rights of the data subject affected in each case and the rights of the requester. 
When they note under "Next Steps" that law enforcement needs a timely and workable solution going forward to ensure the ability of LEAs to access the data legitimately, that does not invalidate the basic legal assumptions they make before that. On the contrary, it supports their view that a disclosure model for LEAs that is compliant with the legal requirements as well as stable, transparent and predictable is necessary. 
No one said this was going to be easy but there is no contradiction in the letter when it comes to its messages. 
EPDP Links EPDP wiki & mail list, Phase 1 Final Report (pdf), GNSO mail list & calendar. Link to legal questions and memos.

EPDP related notes:
  • 9th EDPD (European Data Protection Days) 20-22 May 2019, Berlin--euroforum.de.
  • Annual Privacy Forum 2019--ENISA, DG CONNECT, the University of Rome Tor Vergata and LUISS University are organizing the Annual Privacy Forum (APF) 2019 on 13-14 June 2019 in Rome.--enisa.europa.eu.
  • The most stringent privacy law in the U.S. goes into effect January 1, 2020--California Consumer Privacy Act: A Compliance Guide | Skadden.com: "the law applies to any company that has California customers or employees, not just those based in the state."

5) ICYMI Internet Domain News 
graphic "ICYMI Internet Domain News" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
Warning over Google Chrome browser--thetimes.co.uk: "... Google’s plans to encrypt Chrome will make it harder to block harmful material, including child-abuse images and terrorist propaganda. The new version will bypass most parental control systems and undermine the government’s attempts to stop under-18s viewing pornography ..."  See also Google Caves to the Intolerant Left, Betraying Its Own Ideals--dailysignal.com and "Former Mozilla exec: Google has sabotaged Firefox for years"--zdnet.com.

U.S. congressional leaders question Google's massive tracking database known as Sensorvault that allegedly contains precise consumer location information from hundreds of millions of devices.

Governments vs internet freedom--spiked-online.com: "British and Australian officials are killing off free speech online."

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) declares a ‘New Era’ of Internet Regulation; EU Threatens Same--reason.com.

US: Analyzing the Republican net neutrality bills--aei.org.

Sri Lanka’s ban on social media forces a question nobody wants to ask: What if a global media network is impossible?--theatlantic.com.

Austria is About to Outlaw Anonymous Internet Comments--technadu.com.

Russia's parliament votes to unplug internet from world--dw.com.

To Battle Russian Disinformation, Ukraine Mimics … Russia--justsecurity.org.

It’s U.S. vs. World as Big Tech Faces Specter of Limiting Speech Online--nytimes.com.

EU: Good Ends, Bad Means? The EU’s Struggle To Protect Copyright--cfr.org and What the EU’s copyright overhaul means — and what might change for big tech--niemanlab.orgSee also "New European Law Will Change the Internet"--voanews.com, and Europe looks to remold internet with new copyright rules--abcnews.go.com.

India Is Leading the World in Internet Shutdowns--slate.com.

India: after TikTok Ban, Internet Freedom Foundation recommends alternatives to App Bans in India.

Venezuela: 'Venezuelans Are Starving for Information' in a Country in Chaos--time.com.

Brazil: Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Censures Online News Outlets--Supreme Court Justice Moraes went further and later blocked Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram accounts of seven people who wrote negative comments about his decision--riotimesonline.com.

Russia isn’t the first country to protest Western control over global telecommunications--theconversation.com.

Pakistan's Internet Landscape 2018--bytesforall.pk (pdf)

6) Most Read this past week on DomainMondo.com: 
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