Wendy Seltzer has a great essay up today about the process by which ICANN is allocating new top-level domains (TLDs, like .com, .net, .org, and so forth). Wendy is the copyfighting civil liberties cyberlawyer who founded Chilling Effects
and previously worked with me at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She's served on the ICANN board for years -- this is the US-chartered corporation that oversees the domain name system, the only really centrally governed piece of the entire Internet.
ICANN has been thrashing for years over the creation of more TLDs, like ".sex" -- the idea is to recapture the edenic glory days when all .COMs were companies, all
.ORGs .EDUs were educational institutions and all .WS sites were in Western Samoa. A .sex TLD would be overseen so that only porn sites got .sex domains, and so that porn sites would be forced out of the .com/net/org spaces. This merely requires that some perfectly infallible institution be set up to rake in gigantic profits from the sex industry while accurately dividing all material on the web into "porn" and "not-porn." Simple.
Another faction has bigger ideas: they want to blow the lid off of DNS, to allow for the creation of an infinite number of TLDs. Wendy is in this faction and in "Aging the Internet Prematurely," she sets out a stirring call-to-arms for the TLD multiverse.
To trust the market, ICANN must be willing to let new TLDs fail. Instead of insisting that every new business have a 100-year plan, we should prepare the businesses and their stakeholders for contingency. Ensuring the "stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems" should mean developing predictable responses to failure, not demanding impracticable guarantees of perpetual success. Escrow, clear consumer information, streamlined processes, and flexible responses to the expected unanticipated, can all protect the end-users better than the dubious foresight of ICANN's central regulators. These same regulators, bear in mind, didn't foresee that a five-day add-grace period would swell the ranks of domains with "tasters" gaming the loophole with ad-based parking pages.
Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into “GuyFi” stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of “stress relief.” Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named “Hot Octopus”… The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day […]
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
A leaked Comcast memo discloses that the company’s consumer data caps have nothing to do with network congestion, contrary to its public claims. The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are […]
Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]