February 25, 2008

FCC Open Hearing: Net Neutrality

Filed under: Berkman, law — wseltzer @ 12:00 pm

FCC HearingThe FCC is in Cambridge today, for a Berkman-hosted open meeting (PDF) on Network Neutrality.

Congressman Ed Markey introduces the panel with recollections of his fight against mandated access charges for dial-up connections. Flat rate connections, initially allowed Internet to flourish, as Internet users built out a Net freed from the shackles of long-distance timers.

Markey clearly gets the ‘Net: “The Internet is as much mine and yours as it is AT&T’s, Verizon’s, and Comcast’s…. The nature of the ‘Net is not about the carriers and the services they provide… they provide access, not service. … This is ‘No Country for Old Bandwidth.’”

Markey understands that the value of the Internet’s potential, is greater than even the best current application: “The beauty of the internet is its wonderfully chaotic, ever-evolving nature… its ability to reinvent itself every single year.” Let’s hope the rest of the hearing strengthens that vision.

Join in: Join the Berkman IRC channel or post questions.

February 14, 2008

ICANN: Contribute to the ALAC Review

Filed under: ICANN, censorship — wseltzer @ 5:05 pm

Every three years, ICANN’s bylaws call for the review of its component parts. The GNSO review produced many good recommendations for restructuring of the GNSO Council and its Policy Development Process.

The triennial wheel has turned to the At-Large Advisory Committee, and ICANN, through Westlake Consulting, is calling for input as they consider “whether the ALAC has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure; and, If so, whether any change in structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness.”

ALAC exists “to consider and provide advice on the activities of ICANN, insofar as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users.” ALAC is supposed to be the Internet using public’s chief voice within ICANN. As ALAC’s liaison to the ICANN Board, I clearly believe that’s an important function. I also think ICANN could be doing better: I’d like to see that voice enhanced for members of the public concerned with topics such as availability of domain names in useful and non-English scripts, privacy in domain name registration, and security of Internet addresses.

If you’ve worked with ALAC or have ideas for facilitating public input to ICANN, I encourage you to get in touch with the review team. The more perspectives they hear, the better they can assess ALAC and offer recommendations.

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