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7/26/2006
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Who Owns The Internet?

In This Issue:

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.

Johanna Ambrosio
jambrosio@cmp.com


2. Today's Top Story

Chip Price War Helps Customers, Hurts Intel And AMD
Both chipmakers hope back-to-school sales in the third quarter and holiday purchases in the fourth quarter will improve their bottom lines.

Related Stories:

IBM Changes Its Server Software Pricing For The Dual-Core Era
Per-processor pricing isn't going to cut it as companies adopt multicore systems and virtualization.

Power.org Creates Standard Specifications
The goal is to create a single instruction set for all Power-based processors.

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.


3. Breaking News

HP To Acquire Mercury Interactive For $4.5 Billion
The deal would push HP's software business to over $2 billion a year. Mercury makes IT management software.

Vyatta Takes On Cisco With New Open-Source Router
But an open-source product is no better than those working on its code, and that number is much larger for a company like Cisco than it is for Vyatta and the small open-source routing community.

Hackers Holding Data For Ransom On The Rise
One security company urges IT managers to back up their data to protect from this new risk, which is still rare but increasing steadily.

IP Encryption Expected To Restore Trust With Consumers
A conference panel backs the IP encryption proposal, but design engineers want a model that offers them greater visibility into the IP.

Sun Swings To Loss On Charges For Job Cuts
The fiscal fourth quarter net loss was worse than analysts had expected, but revenue rose more than 20% from the prior quarter.

Office Exploits Reveal New Direction In Attack Strategies
Hackers are targeting people rather than machines, a Symantec security researcher says. They're not looking for hosts, but for usernames and e-mail addresses.

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.

Visual Effects Blamed For Slipped Movie Releases
Directors of Spider-Man 3 and Ghost Riders told fans this week that some of the special effects used in their movies proved daunting and have held up production.

SOA Management Ties Into XML Appliances
The result is improved wire speed and better endpoint policy enforcement across heterogeneous platforms and infrastructures, AmberPoint and Reactivity say.

Online Investigator Nabbed By Feds At Hackers Convention
The FBI arrested the CEO of an online investigative service just before he was set to speak at an NYC hackers conference. He faces various charges and will be speaking to a judge.

All Our Latest News

Watch The News Show

John Soat With 'True Stories'
An online investigator is arrested at a hackers conference, most people in England leave their cell phones on during sex, and DFW Airport launches podcasts.

Eric Chabrow With 'Quantum Leap'
Commercial quantum computers are decades off, but quantum computing principles are being applied today.

Sacha Lecca With 'Putin Me On'
Russian President Vladimir Putin asked some weird questions during a recent Web chat.

----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

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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.

Government Acts On Cyberbullies (BBC Online)
Guidelines from the United Kingdom help schools and parents everywhere tackle the rise of cyberbullying.


5. In Depth: Mobile

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.

Commuting? Google Feeds Live Traffic Info To Cell Phones
A new Google service sends changing traffic conditions and reports to mobile devices in real time.

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.

CA And F-Secure Tangle Over Mobile Malware Threat
CA contends the only mobile malware threats out there are all proof-of-concept. But F-Secure says it has counted more than 300 mobile threats.


6. Voice Of Authority

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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