July 27, 2004

Meltdown: Day 1

Filed under: markets — Wendy @ 12:33 pm

Scott Bradner noted that “the value of conference will be inversely proportional to time spent bashing ICANN.” By that standard (and others), the conference got off to a good start, raising bigger questions of governance and regulation: Who makes the rules? and Who says who makes the rules? Since much regulation is about protecting incumbents, watch the regulations (in laws and standards), as well as the regulators who don’t understand the technologies they’re regulating.

Like Ed Felten, I’m not going to try to summarize, but just to pick up a few points.

  • Chokepoints. Many decisions now are made for us by intermediaries. Can we empower the end-users to make those choices for ourselves? Can we solve the information imperfections to allow market forces to help?

  • Collateral damage of untargeted solutions. Do we really want to respond to spam by putting the government into the middle of end-to-end email? Will we let unwanted email kill off anonymity? The spammers will still break the law, and still find ways to be anonymous, while the innocent end-users’ experience is far worse. If we identify email senders to the endpoints, do we make those more attractive targets for zombie attacks?

More to come…

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