ICANN’s plan to open up the domain name space to new top level domains is scheduled to begin January 12, 2012. Now there is a cynical, illegitimate last-second push by a few corporate interests in the United States to derail that process. That group’s demands must be rebuffed, unambiguously and finally. ICANN must start implementing the new TLD program on January 12 as scheduled. ICANN must keep its promise to those who participated in its processes in good faith.
A new article by Bloomberg exposes the presence of bandwidth optimization equipment in the network of an Iranian Internet Service Provider. The equipment comes from an Israeli company, Allot Communications. This is treated as a perfect example of how governments need to crack down on the sale of threatening technology to dictatorships by Western companies. But when the actual facts of the case come out, you will find that it proves the opposite.
Activists and investigative journalists are highlighting the linkage between modern surveillance technologies and repressive governments. The emerging narrative around surveillance technology provides the perfect frame for public activism. You have a clear bad guy – a Gadhafi, an Assad, the Iranian theocrats, the Chinese Communist Party. You have a symbolic token, a technology, which links the bad guys and their bad actions to reachable actors – the corporate vendors – who are part of our own society and jurisdiction. You can then campaign on a simple moral impulse – the reachable actors must not be allowed to aid, abet or profit from the violence and political injustice of the bad guys. This in turn leads to what seems like a simple and effective policy response – to sever the link between reachable actors and the bad guys by somehow banning or regulating the transfer of this technology on a global basis. This blog post offers a critique of this budding movement, turning a critical eye upon a righteous cause.