1. Editor's Note: Who Owns The Internet? 2. Today's Top Story - Chip Price War Helps Customers, Hurts Intel And AMD Related Stories: - IBM Changes Its Server Software Pricing For The Dual-Core Era - Power.org Creates Standard Specifications - AMD: We're Not Manufacturing Motherboards 3. Breaking News - HP To Acquire Mercury Interactive For $4.5 Billion - Vyatta Takes On Cisco With New Open-Source Router - Hackers Holding Data For Ransom On The Rise - IP Encryption Expected To Restore Trust With Consumers - Sun Swings To Loss On Charges For Job Cuts - Office Exploits Reveal New Direction In Attack Strategies - U.S. Accounts For Most Spam - Microsoft's New Home Page Shuns Firefox - Visual Effects Blamed For Slipped Movie Releases - SOA Management Ties Into XML Appliances - Online Investigator Nabbed By Feds At Hackers Convention 4. Grab Bag - Paid Vacation: Send Your Android Clone To Work (How Stuff Works) - More Of AOL May Be Free (Baltimore Sun) - Government Acts On Cyberbullies (BBC Online) 5. In Depth: Mobile - Cell Phones Changing Sex, Relationships - DFW Airport Launches Podcast Service - Google Launches Real-Time Traffic Service - Microsoft Partners Could Miss Out On Zune Party - CA And F-Secure Tangle Over Mobile Malware Threat 6. Voice Of Authority - More Penny-Pinching HMOs Outsource Americans' Private Medical Data To India 7. White Papers - Solving The Weakest Link: Password Security 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quotes Of The Day:
"We had no idea that this would turn into a global and public infrastructure." — Vinton Cerf
"The people who want to dissolve or diminish American sovereignty and replace it with global governance never give up. Their modus operandi is to work toward their one-world goal incrementally through United Nations treaties." — Phyllis Schlafly
"Global equations undergo changes, this is their nature." — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
1. Editor's Note: Who Owns The Internet?
The U.S. government is commencing to begin thinking about making ICANN a private entity. The self-imposed deadline for privatization is September 30, and a hearing about whether and how to actually make this happen is scheduled for this week at the Commerce Department.
The European Union has been particularly vocal in its criticism of the way ICANN runs now. In fact, lots of foreign voices have been raised in support of the privatization idea, pointing out that something as critical to worldwide commerce as the Internet shouldn't be dominated or controlled by one country. Others, though, say the U.S. government invented the Internet (back when it was Arpanet, a packet-switched network used to share research among universities), and so it's only fair that America retain control over a resource it created to begin with.
I can see both sides of this, but I'm wondering what bad stuff the naysayers feel will happen if ICANN were to become completely private. (It's already quasi-private, but more on that in a moment.) When you get right down to it, I'm thinking the major objection is that the competitive interests of American companies won't be quite as protected without the Commerce Department overseeing ICANN.
The interesting thing, though, is that ICANN already functions as a mini-United Nations. Out of its 20 board members, perhaps five hail from the United States. (I say "perhaps" because not all board members' biographies are available online, particularly those who were just elected to serve.)
The other 15 ICANN board members hail from countries as diverse as Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Germany, Japan, China, Canada, and Kenya. As for staffers, they represent seven countries. ICANN already has offices in and holds meetings in many other countries. It consults with governments around the world.
So what, exactly, will change if ICANN becomes completely private? I can't see all that much difference from how it operates now. It's going to continue to be messy, with lots of arguments over general policy and technical decisions. There will continue to be politics to the extent that there are politics in just about any organization, no less one that's international in scope.
The key questions, which I hope are addressed in the hearing this week, are exactly what the Department of Commerce originally intended when it decided to work with ICANN back in 1998, whether those intentions have changed, and whether the requirements of the American business community have changed—or perhaps should change in its own best interest.
The goals stated then were: The Department of Commerce intends to "enter an agreement with a not-for-profit entity to establish a process to transition current U.S. Government management of the Domain Name System to such an entity based on the principles of stability, competition, bottom-up coordination, and representation."
Were those goals for U.S. companies only, or for the global community at large? If ICANN and the Domain Name System were intended to help American companies only, then what happens with the foreign subsidiaries of American companies? And if these subsidiaries are included under the umbrella, how do you keep companies based elsewhere out of the ICANN-protected layer of the Internet?
It should be an interesting hearing, I'm thinking.
So where do you stand? Do you agree with the notion of ICANN's privatization, or are you opposed and why? Weigh in, or read more about this, on my blog entry.
AMD: We're Not Manufacturing Motherboards Pat Moorhead, AMD vice president of global marketing, offered a "definitive no" when asked if the chipmaker would be developing its own line of motherboards as a result of the ATI acquisition.
U.S. Accounts For Most Spam Of all the countries studied, said Sophos, the U.S. accounted for 23% of all spam spewed out in the second quarter, with China close behind at 20%.
Microsoft's New Home Page Shuns Firefox The vendor is revamping its home page and has a preview available. Firefox users, however, are redirected to Microsoft's generic "page not found" message and screen.
Top 5 Benefits Of VoIP Learn the top five benefits of installing VoIP beyond the pilot stage in this recent report by InformationWeek Research.
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4. Grab Bag
Paid Vacation: Send Your Android Clone To Work (How Stuff Works) Hiroshi Ishiguro is a professor at Osaka University. Ishiguro is so busy that he built an android clone of himself to take his place when he doesn't feel like making the hour-long commute to the university. Onlookers say the clone is an unsettling likeness of the professor.
More Of AOL May Be Free (Baltimore Sun) The company responsible for introducing millions of people to the Internet is poised to undergo a transformation that will likely accelerate its decline as a gatekeeper of access to the information superhighway.
Cell Phones Changing Sex, Relationships When asked to describe the circumstances under which they would turn their phones off or silence them, more people listed movies, restaurants, meetings, or nighttime than sex.
DFW Airport Launches Podcast Service Dallas Fort Worth Airport's podcasts will help direct travelers to parking, dining, shopping, and other amenities located in or near the international terminal.
Microsoft Partners Could Miss Out On Zune Party The biggest losers initially, however, are expected to be iRiver, Creative, and other device manufacturers that have failed to deliver a player that can compete with the iPod, using Microsoft's media platform.
More Penny-Pinching HMOs Outsource Americans' Private Medical Data To India If you've had some nasty or embarrassing illness in the past 12 months, or perhaps an ailment so unusual or damning you'd prefer to hide it from your employer, friends, and loved ones, then here's a shocker: There's a good chance a stranger in India knows all about it. And the kicker: It was your health care provider that told him. Paul McDougall explains.
7. White Papers
Solving The Weakest Link: Password Security Passwords are still the most pervasive tool used to secure today's organizations. As the number of passwords per employee increases, the likelihood of them being forgotten rises. This paper proposes a new approach to improving security that involves eliminating the use of passwords among end users.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.