Internet and e-mail policy and practice
including Notes on Internet E-mail


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25 Dec 2008

Anonymous speech doesn't require forgery Email
In September the long strange Jeremy Jaynes spam case took its most recent twist when the Virginia Supreme Court
reversed its previous decision and threw out the state's anti-spam law on First Amendment grounds. The state is currently preparing one final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and interested parties are preparing their briefs. I recently reread the decision, and was struck that the court's analysis depends on a severe misunderstanding of the way that e-mail works.

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  posted at: 17:53 :: permanent link to this entry :: 1 comments
Stable link is

21 Dec 2008

US Dep't of Commerce doesn't like ICANN's new domain plan ICANN
ICANN's authority to manage top level of the DNS comes from a two-year Joint Project Agreement (JPA) signed with the US Department of Commerce in 1997, since extended seven times, most recently until September 2009. Since the DoC can unilaterally cancel the JPA which would put ICANN out of the DNS business, when DoC speaks, ICANN listens.

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  posted at: 19:13 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is

19 Dec 2008

ICANN sets the schedule to kill domain tasting ICANN

Domain tasting, as everyone probably knows by now, is the disreputable practice of registering lots of domains, seeing how much traffic they get, and then using the five day Add Grace Period (AGP) to refund the 99.9% of them that aren't worth paying for. A related abuse is front running, registrars speculatively grabbing domains that people inquire about to prevent them from using a different registrar.

Back in April, the ICANN GNSO (the subgroup that deals with generic TLDs, i.e., all but the two-letter country codes) voted to set a new policy to get rid of domain tasting. And now, eight short months later, it's finally about to become ICANN policy.

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  posted at: 04:51 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is

07 Dec 2008

How To Do Coreg That Doesn't Stink Email

Coreg, short for co-registration, is a popular but problematic method for building mailing lists. When you sign up for mail from someone, if there's a box asking if you'd like Valuable Offers from Our Treasured Marketing Partners, that's coreg. They sell your address to the TMPs who do, well, something with it. In some cases coreg is a sideline, but there are companies that do nothing but coreg, with online sweepstakes and other cheap trinkets as come-ons to get people to sign up.

Coreg has earned a dreadful reputation. The classic example is "Nadine", an elderly woman who mistyped her address on a sweepstakes site, instead typing an address at an ISP in Texas which collected all of the mail she got and tracked its passage from one mailer to another. He stopped counting last year at upwards of 90,000 messages, everything from political opinion surveys to horse porn.

So a friend asked, is it possible to do coreg that doesn't stink?

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  posted at: 18:36 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is

Selective Sender Email

Several proposals for Lightweight MTA Authentication Protocol (LMAP) have been gathering attention of late. They all define ways for a domain to specify that some particular IP addresses are allowed to send mail for that domain, and others aren't.

LMAP has a variety of technical problems because there are surprisingly many ways that mail can be sent from unexpected places.

Selective Sender, a simpler scheme that has been proposed before under other names, is much simpler.

... read the mini-paper on-line
... mini-paper printable version

  posted at: 10:14 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is

ICANN to add new top level domains, World to come to an end ICANN
The biggest buzz from the Paris ICANN meeting was that the board accepted last fall's proposal for a streamlined process to add new TLDs. A variety of articles in the mainstream press, many featuring inflammatory but poorly informed quotes (from people who probably got a phone call saying "We go to press in five minutes, what do you think about ICANN's plan to add a million new domains?") didn't help. When can we expect the flood of TLDs? Don't hold your breath.

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  posted at: 10:14 :: permanent link to this entry :: 2 comments
Stable link is

Domain Registration, a Simple Introduction ICANN

I recently gave a talk about the way that domain registrations work. To illustrate it I made a slide that illustrates the process.

Any questions?

  posted at: 10:13 :: permanent link to this entry :: 2 comments
Stable link is

ICANN Paints Themselves into a Corner ICANN
ICANN recently commissioned
a report from a domain auction company to see whether it would be a good idea to auction TLDs that have multiple applicants. Remarkably, the domain auctioneers came to the conclusion that auctions are a great idea, which they surely are for some people. But are they a good idea for ICANN? And if ICANN admits they can't evaluate competing applications on their merits, how can they keep the process from turning into another speculative land grab?

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  posted at: 10:13 :: permanent link to this entry :: 2 comments
Stable link is

Dell's Anti-Tasting Suit ICANN
Dell filed a suit in Florida in early October against a nest of domain tasters in Miami, widely reported in the press last week. The suit was just unsealed, after giving the court time to approve a restraining order and serve it on the defendants. The primary defendant is a Miami resident named Juan Vasquez, doing business as several registrars called BelgiumDomains, CapitolDomains, and DomainDoorman, as well as a whole bunch of tiny companies of unknown authenticity in the Bahamas, various small Caribbean islands, Panama, Argentina, and even Indian Ocean tax haven Mauritius.

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  posted at: 10:12 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is

Comments on ICANN's registry failure plans ICANN

On June 1st, ICANN publised a short report on what they plan to do about registry failure. (It's not a failure plan, it's a plan to develop a plan.) They invited me to comment on it, so here's what I said. You can see all the comments on ICANN's web site; the only other substantial one is the one from Chuck Gomes, although Ed Hasbrouck's questions about the secret amendments to the .AERO registry are interesting, too.

Most of the report is pretty good. The first three sections give a good overview of the software and data involved in running a registry. I agree with the taxonomy of failure scenarios in section 5.

Section 4 tells us that voluntary transitions have consistently worked well, so there is little reason to spend much time and effort worrying about them or setting rules for them.

Sections 6 and 7 are less good. I realize that they're just guidelines for future work, but they have some problematic implicit assumptions, and do not, in my opinion, set out an adequate task list to prepare for many likely failure scenarios.

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  posted at: 10:06 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
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Other blogs

It turns out you don’t need a license to hunt for spam.
62 days ago

A keen grasp of the obvious
Italian Apple Cake
620 days ago

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