News and Updates

BHP CISO runs into roadblock using UDRP to take down criticism site

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-01-09 17:51

Panel determines the domain wasn’t registered in bad faith given trademark date.

The Chief Information Security Officer of mining and petroleum giant BHP has lost an attempt to take down a criticism site by using the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Thomas Leen filed the dispute against the domain name The site shows a picture of Leen with the word “Bully” on it and includes several derogatory comments about him. The site shows up at the top of Google search results for his name.

After the site was created, Leen registered an Andorran trademark for his name. While the panel agreed that the domain was confusingly similar to Leen’s mark, it found that the domain wasn’t registered in bad faith because it predated Leen’s trademark.

Leen could have argued common law rights predating the domain’s registration. This would be difficult because UDRP panels are cautious about accepting common law rights on personal names, especially when the person isn’t a major celebrity. Still, arguing common law rights would have given him a better chance at winning than using rights registered after the domain was registered.

The panel also noted that questions about whether criticism is accurate or defamatory fall outside the scope of the policy.

Leen might do better to create sites and social profiles that rise higher in the search results, such as a personal site and LinkedIn profile.

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Categories: News and Updates, purchased for $2.68 million in 2017, survives cybersquatting challenge

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-01-09 16:52

No-brainer case reveals purchase price of

A German lottery operator has failed to take the domain name from another lottery operator through the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Bremer Toto und Lotto GmbH filed the dispute in October. Even without reviewing the case details, it was obvious that this case was dead on arrival.

The Complainant argued that Cavour Ltd. might use the domain name for an illegal lottery in Germany. But it failed to make even a prima facie case that Cavour (Lottoland), a lottery company, lacked rights or interests in the domain. It also failed to prove that the domain was registered in bad faith.

For some reason, the World Intellectual Property Organization panel failed to consider if this is was case of reverse domain name hijacking.

The UDRP response disclosed a major domain name sale. Cavour revealed that it purchased the domain for $2.68 million.

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Categories: News and Updates

4 companies that upgraded their domain names

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-01-09 14:39

These four Chinese companies upgraded their domain names for different reasons.

As a student of the Chinese domain market, I am excited to see companies upgrade to good domains, but I am even more excited when companies upgrade from good to great domains. Generally speaking, Chinese companies upgrade for the following reasons.

Matching brand: An end user may upgrade because its existing domain does not match its brand. For example, the world’s largest drone maker DJI ( 大疆) used to operate from In 2013, the startup invested $300,000 to upgrade to the brand-matching as its new corporate domain. Currently, redirects to

Going global: XiaoMi (小米) is the fourth largest mobile phone maker in 2018 according to Wikipedia but its name is not easy to pronounce and remember outside China. XiaoMi already owned the brand-matching but in 2014 it upgraded to for $3.6 million. Currently, redirects to

Switching extension: Qihoo 360 (奇虎 360) is an internet security company. It sells a number of products with names starting with “360”, such as 360 Safeguard, 360 Mobile Safe, 360 Secure Browser, and 360 Mobile Assistant. Its corporate domain was In 2015, the company shelled out (a reported but not confirmed) $17 million to acquire Currently, is used for the domestic market only.

Going short: Jing Dong (京东) is the third largest internet company in the world according to Wikipedia. It already owned the brand-matching but in 2012 it acquired for $5 million. Currently, redirects to

As we can see in these examples, Chinese companies like to upgrade their domains. So, it is a good idea to check and see if your domains fall into the upgrade path of end users in China.

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Categories: News and Updates

2019 Domain Sales Season Ends with a Canadian ccTLD Beating All Comers to Win the Year's Last Chart Race

DN Journal - Thu, 2020-01-09 02:29
Another year is in the books and this one ended with a surprise finish. He is roundup of all of the notable sales reported over the past 3 weeks.
Categories: News and Updates

The .ORG Debate Should be About What Its Users Want

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-01-08 18:16

I watch the controversy over the proposed sale of the .ORG domain with a mixture of bemusement and concern. Some in the ICANN community — mostly those who resent that the Internet ever became commercialized — oppose the sale of the Public Interest Registry to the for-profit company Ethos for $1.1 billion.

The basis of their concern is that the domain for non-profits should be in the hands of a non-profit and that the new owners might increase the current $9.93 fee PIR charges for a domain. Neither of those issues focuses on the most important thing: What is best for a .ORG user?

Much like the dial-tone on our landlines, we expect the Internet to simply work. I mean, for the most part it always has right? In 2007, the country of Estonia was viciously attacked by a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that crippled the country's infrastructure.

But it wasn't just Estonia that suffered that day. Much of the internet infrastructure was pushed to the brink of collapse across the globe. As the person at VeriSign in charge of keeping our systems operational, I was glad we had properly invested to counter these attacks.

In 2003, VeriSign agreed to give up its operation of the .org domain. My concern at that time was the safe and uninterrupted service of .ORG during its transition to the new registry operator. We spent a year of coordination, handover and backup planning. Ultimately the transition went smooth and Internet users never noticed.

I spent years making sure I understood what Internet users and website owners want. For Internet users, it's that the website they want to visit — whether it's or — is available when they need it. For website owners, it's the exact same thing. That's what the current discussion about the sale of .ORG should be about: what is the best thing for the .ORG community and its users.

Whether a registry manages 10 million domains, as PIR does with .ORG, or hundreds of millions of domains, as I did at VeriSign with .COM and .NET, it takes a mix of expertise, processes and continuous security upgrades to keep it operating at the highest level. It takes recruiting the most talented workforce to manage through the complexity of operating a domain registry. As the seventh-largest domain in the world, it's vital that PIR be able to recruit and retain its workforce. That is more likely to occur with a private sector owner.

The Internet is constantly changing, and so is the domain industry. That means companies such as PIR have to continually upgrade their processes and implement new features. That takes investment. That investment is more likely to occur with a private sector owner.

New security protocols are routinely added to the Internet infrastructure. When I was at VeriSign, we and PIR implemented an important security upgrade called DNSSEC that protected the core of the Internet from hackers by authenticating Internet traffic. Changes can be costly; setting aside the money to pay for them is more likely to occur with a private sector owner.

Which brings us to the current owner of PIR, the Internet Society. Owning PIR, and therefore .ORG, is a sweet deal for the 64,538 members focused on Internet standards and governance. Each year, PIR turns over the hefty profits from .ORG to the Internet Society to create programs for the overall betterment of the Internet. Noble efforts, but if I was a .ORG website owner I'd rather those profits flow back to .ORG to make sure it stays up and running.

Which brings me back to my original point: what is best for .ORG users and website owners? The Old Guard of the Internet thinks it's having .ORG run by the non-profit Internet Society. But I bet 99 percent of .ORG website owners don't know who the Internet Society is or who actually owns the .ORG registry. And visitors to .ORG websites? It's probably 100 percent.

Both of those groups care about only one thing: Does .ORG work? As we learned in 2007, we can take the Internet for granted. But the reason it stayed up then was because VeriSign and others spent tens of millions of dollars to defend it. Let's make sure that the stewards of .ORG and the rest of the Internet have the means to keep the Internet safe and secure in the future.

Written by Ken Silva, VP for Operations and Infrastructure at Ionic Security

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More under: DNS, Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation

Categories: News and Updates sells to end user for $100,000+

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-01-08 16:27

Shane Kinsch strikes again with six-figure sale.

A Texas-based financial services company has smartly purchased the domain name, which it forwards to its website at

Shane Kinsch, who sold last year for $250,000, sold the domain. Kinsch received $100,000 net of all expenses and brokers. Joe Uddeme of Name Experts represented the buyer.

Kinsch told Domain Name Wire that he picked the domain name up in the drop over a decade ago.

After reviewing some of the domains in Kinsch’s portfolio, don’t be surprised to hear about more big sales from him in the future. In an email to DNW, Kinsch wrote:

I acquired a couple thousand domains (mostly .com) between the late ’90s to mid-2000s. Here, it’s already 2020 and looking through the list, there’s still soo much potential I have sitting on the table. Lots of and a that is crazy good. I find myself navigating back to the things that keep me interested (and also very busy), and that’s tech and not so much marketing where most of the potential comes from.

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Categories: News and Updates

Cryptocurrency business tries to reverse hijack domain name

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-01-08 16:13

Netherlands company brought case in abuse of the policy, panelist rules.

A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found fintech/cryptocurrency business Feev Holding B.V. guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

The company filed a cybersquatting complaint against Firas Dabboussi, who registered the domain name in 2002. Feev Holding claimed trademark rights dated in 2019. Thus, the domain name could not have been registered in bad faith to target Feev Holding.

Feev Holding filed the case after it says that the domain owner reneged on an offer to sell the domain. It claims that it agreed to purchase the domain last year for $15,000. It also alleges that the domain owner set up email addresses that included two of Feev Holding’s representatives in the form of name @

The domain owner said this isn’t what happened. He claims that Feev Holding misrepresented itself as a music startup during negotiations. The panel also noted that it’s likely that the domain merely had a catchall email set up and that the domain owner didn’t set up email addresses related to Feev Holding’s representatives.

Either way, a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution filing is to settle issues of cybersquatting, not disputes over domain transactions.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, panelist Nick Gardner wrote:

In the view of the Panel this is a Complaint which should never have been launched. The Complainant should have appreciated that establishing registration and use in bad faith in respect of a domain name which had first been registered many years previously was likely to be impossible. The Complainant appears to have ignored any such considerations. It adopted an entirely unwarranted and misconceived approach based on a supposed contractual entitlement which even if it was well founded (which the Panel doubts) should have been brought to a different forum. The Complainant also threatened the Respondent with costs liability if an UDRP complaint was brought when no such liability exists under the UDRP. Finally it then introduced a completely misconceived allegation of criminal conduct against the Respondent which had no factual foundation whatsoever.

Feev Holding was represented by Mouritz Legal in the Netherlands.

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Categories: News and Updates

The curious case of a 7 letter acronym domain

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-01-08 14:08

It’s a mouthful.

I enjoy end user research because it is quite entertaining. I get to discover all sorts of reasons why a company chooses a corporate domain. However, sometimes the reason can be hard to understand. A recent case will illustrate my point.

This company is a flower seedling supplier in Shandong, China. It sells a variety of flowers such as seasonal grass flowers to offices, restaurants, hotels, and other institutions. It also undertakes large-scale community greening projects and flower arrangements for festivals. The company serves a large area of the country.

Its legal name is Qing Zhou Shi Zheng Ze Yuan Hua Hui Miao Mu You Xian Going Si (青州市正泽源花卉苗木有限公司). Yes, company legal names in China tend to be very long. The legal name can be divided into several blocks for our study.

  • Qing Zhou Shi (青州市=Qingzhou city. Location of company)
  • Zheng Ze Yuan (正泽源=Zhengzeyuan. Brand name.)
  • Hua Hui Miao Mu (花卉苗木=flower seedings. Business nature)
  • You Xian Going Si (有限公司=limited company. Type of company)

The flower seedling supplier uses as its corporate domain, which comes from Qing Zhou Shi | Zheng Ze Yuan | Hua Hui Miao Mu. Note that, however, the “S” for Shi is missing in the domain. It should have been if the the acronym approach is to be followed fully.

For comparison, look at how Baidu has selected its corporate domain from its legal name.

  • Bei Jing (北京=Beijing. Location of company)
  • Bai Du (百度=Baidu. Brand name.)
  • Wang Xun Ke Ji (网讯科技=network information technology. Business nature)
  • You Xian Going Si (有限公司=limited company. Type of company)

Baidu has chosen, which matches the company’s brand name. So, the key here is to identify the brand name of a company. Once you know the brand name of the company, you’ll know what domain can be used as its corporate domain. In the case of the seedling supplier, since its brand is Zhengzeyuan, the brand-matching or would be a good choice.

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Categories: News and Updates

New York City Releases Internet Master Plan For City's Broadband Future

Domain industry news - Tue, 2020-01-07 22:25

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer today announced an Internet Master Plan for the City aimed to chart a path for internet providers in the private sector to work in partnership with the City in order to address market gaps and deliver universal broadband to New Yorkers. The administration says this plan includes the City working with service providers and permitting entities to optimize real estate such as rooftops, light poles and building fiber-optic lines to connect City assets. Also noted:

Current broadband subscription costs a burden on the budgets of low-income families. 46% of New York City households living in poverty do not have broadband at home. The Bronx has the highest percentage of residents without home broadband at almost 38%.

While many New Yorkers use a mobile connection and a home connection, New Yorkers increasingly need both connections to make full use of the internet. Forty percent of households do not have this level of connectivity today.

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More under: Access Providers, Broadband, Telecom, Wireless

Categories: News and Updates

NamesCon's Soeren von Varchmin & Helga Neumer Reveal What's in Store for Revamped Event in Austin

DN Journal - Tue, 2020-01-07 21:08
NamesCon Global 2020 is just 3 weeks away. Here is an inside look at changes show organizers have made to help fuel industry growth.
Categories: News and Updates

Internet Governance Outlook 2020: The Next Generation of Players and Problems Is Coming

Domain industry news - Tue, 2020-01-07 20:45

The beginning of a new decade is always an invitation to have a broader look into the future. What, in the next ten years, will happen in the Internet Governance Ecosystem? Will the 2020s see the usual swinging pendulum between more liberal and more restrictive Internet policies in an interconnected world? Or will we move towards a watershed? Will cyberspace, as we know it from the last 50 years as a place for innovation and mutually beneficial digital cooperation, change dramatically and turn into a battlefield between networks and states, where the prioritization of national interests and maximal profits will lead to a fragmentation of the Internet into "national segments", "wallet gardens" and "alternative roots"? And how the next generation of Internet players will manage the next generation of Internet problems?

If you calculate a generation with 25 years, then 2020 is not only the beginning of a new decade, it also marks the entrance of the "third generation" of Internet leaders into the digital theater. The "fathers of the Internet" (Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, Steve Crocker, Louis Pouzin, and others), who invented the Internet 50 years ago, are meanwhile grandfathers. Their children, who commercialized and politicized the Internet, have created a borderless space which is used now by more than four billion people for nearly everything. But now it's time for the "grandchildren." What will they do with this new "heritage of mankind"? Will the next generation of business leaders, technical experts, civil society activists and policymakers keep the Internet open, free, secure, innovative and unfragmented? Or will new "strong autocratic leaders" emerge, who wants to turn the Internet Governance Ecosystem into a space for militarization, digital trade wars and mass surveillance?

One procedural and four substantial issues

We live in an interconnected world. The UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLP.DC), which presented its final report to the UN Secretary-General in June 2019, has called our time "the age of cyberinterdependence." [1] Cyberinterdependce means three things: 1. No government can act alone. 2. No stakeholder can act alone and 3. All Internet related public policy or technical issues are interlinked.

This is the big challenge for the next generation of Internet Governance leaders. In the 2020s, they have to find answers at least for one procedural and four substantial issues:

The procedural issue is how to organize an inclusive, transparent, bottom-up policymaking process on a global level that combines traditional intergovernmental with innovative multistakeholder processes to find sustainable solutions for a broad mix of individual but interrelated issues? Good experiences from the past — WSIS, NetMundial, IANA Transition — can help. In the 2000s, there was a more or less ideological battle between "isms" — multistakeholderism vs. multilateralism — which produced more controversy than progress. In the 2010s, it was widely recognized that both concepts could co-exist, which was reflected, inter alia, in the NetMundial Conference (2014) and the IANA transition (2016). But as the UN Panel has outlined, for the 2020s, this will not be enough. The next generation of Internet Governance will need much more inclusive processes where multilateralism and multistakeholderism have to be treated as two sides of one coin.

Revitalizing the Internet Governance definition from WSIS Tunis Agenda (2005) can help the new players to understand the nature and complexity of the issue. In Tunis, the heads of 193 UN member states agreed that stakeholders should participate "in their respective roles" in Internet policymaking, but should "share" decision making. In other words: Governments remain governments, businesses remain businesses and civil society remains civil society, but all stakeholders have to work hand in hand to bring their special expertise to the decision-making table to find the best solutions for everybody. In the technical world of the IETF, this process leads to "rough consensus." Can the world of politics learn something from these experiences?

The concept of "sharing" is the DNA of the whole Internet. It leads to a "win-win-situation" and does not know losers. If the concept of sharing is ignored or substituted by a 20th century "zero-sum game" with winners and losers, the risk is high, that in an interconnected world at the end of the day everybody is a loser. This is a fundamental lesson from the 50 years of Internet history, which should not be forgotten in the 2020s.

The four substantial issues are cybersecurity, digital economy, human rights and technology. For all four issues, one can paint the worst and best-case scenarios for the coming decade.

In the political field the worst case is a cyberwar with a new generation of cyberweapons, based on AI. The best case is the construction of a new cybersecurity architecture with a mix of intergovernmental treaties and multistakeholder arrangements, based on international law and human rights, which will protect the "public core of the Internet" as a "common heritage of mankind."

In the economic field the worst case is a digital trade war and new forms of digital neo-colonialism with the potential to ruin national economies and currencies and to deepen existing gaps and divides. The best case is a prosperous digital economy that will bring the next billion users to the Internet, stimulate innovation, raise the living standard for more and more people, help to achieve the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and create new jobs for decent work in the digital age.

In the field of human rights the worst case is mass surveillance und global censorship. The best case is a free Internet where privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of association, the rights to culture, education and work are protected and can be enjoyed by everybody, regardless of frontiers.

In the technological field the worst case is a new "standardization war" and an AI which goes out of human control. The best case is the development of smart cities that contribute to the building of a human-centered information society with "enabled citizens," where technical innovation helps to improve healthcare, education, housing and public transportation.

The Agenda for 2020

But let's look into the concrete issues which will be on the international political agenda for 2020.

A key political process will start already in January 2020 with the preparation of the "Global Commitment for Digital Cooperation". To draft such a global commitment was one of the key proposals of the UN Panel. The plan is to adopt such a document on October 24, 2020, the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. It is not yet clear how such a new document will be negotiated. There is no need to draft a new treaty. But a "Global Commitment" would make sense indeed. If 193 UN member states, with the support of the multistakeholder community, could agree on a set of some general guidelines, this would be useful to frame the complicated process of Internet negotiations in the coming years. Such a "Global Committment" could include some basic paragraphs for trust and security in cyberspace, encouraging the ongoing cybersecurity negotiations. It could include some guidelines for the development of the digital economy, helping the WTO to find balanced solutions on eCommerce and digital taxation as well as strengthening the digital component of the SDGs. It could strengthen human rights in the digital age and supporting a human-centered development of AI. And it could encourage enhanced communication, coordination and collaboration among state and non-state actors in shaping cyberspace.

But the preparation of the 75th UN anniversary is not the only process. There will be a broad range of activities in all four main baskets of the Internet Governance Ecosystem:


In the field of cybersecurity it will be interesting to see whether the intergovernmental negotiations produce concrete outcomes. Such outcomes could become building blocks of a new global cybersecurity architecture. At the moment, we have four processes which are not formally interlinked, but are aiming more or less in the same direction:

  1. Under the 1st Committee of the UN General Assembly there are two separate, but complementary bodies which are negotiating norms on state behavior as well as confidence and capacity-building measures to strengthen peace and international security in cyberspace: The Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) has to present its final report until fall 2020. The 6th Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) has one year more. It has to deliver its outcome to the 76th UN General Assembly in Fall 2021;
  2. The second process takes place under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) where another Group of Governmental Experts negotiates since 2014 "Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems" (GGE-LAWS). This GGE made some progress last year in agreeing on a number of "guiding principles," however, there is a broad disagreement what the final outcome of the negotiations should be. Some states want to see a legally binding treaty that would prohibit AI-based weapon systems, similar to the prohibition of chemical or biological weapons. Others are rejecting even a moratorium for killer robots. The GGE LAWS will have two meetings in 2020. And it has to report back to the 6th CCW Review Conference in 2021;
  3. The third process has been opened just recently by a decision of the 74th UN General Assembly (December 2019). According to the adopted UN resolution, "an open-ended ad hoc intergovernmental committee of experts" will be established with the mandate "to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes." The UN resolution, initiated by Russia, was adopted by 79 votes. Sixty states voted against (mainly Western countries), and 33 abstained. It is unclear how such a controversial decision will lead to a broad-based outcome or a new Cybercrime Convention which would go beyond the existing Budapest Convention from 2001.
  4. The forth process is pushed forward mainly by the G7 and G20. In 2019, both summits adopted documents to intensify the work to counter terrorism and violent propaganda as well as fake news. However, this is a slippery slope if the cleaning of illegal content from Twitter and Facebook accounts is delegated to private corporations, which often make no big differences between "illegal" and "harmful" content. Whether "harmful" content is also "illegal" is very often dependent on the context, and this can be decided only by independent courts and not by algorithms. If mechanisms are introduced to bypass independent courts, this can open the door for "private sector censorship" with the unintended side effect, that regimes, who do not value the existence of an independent judiciary, would feel encouraged to continue with "governmental censorship".

So far, those four processes are mainly intergovernmental processes and organized in silos with only little communication among each other or the outside world of non-state actors. It remains to be seen how long governments will need to realize that they will be unable to achieve anything meaningful if they do not take a holistic approach and cooperate with non-state actors from business, the technical community, and civil society. The recommendations of the "Global Commission in Stability in Cyberspace" has produced a number of guidelines which give both state and non-state actors a role in "Advancing Cyberstability." [2] Arrangements by businesses themselves as Microsoft´s "Tech Accord", Siemens "Charter of Trust" or Tim Barner-Lee's "Contract for the Web" can make substantial contributions to stabilize peace and enhance international security in cyberspace. New non-governmental players, such as the recently established "Cyber Peace Institute" (CPI) in Geneva as well as other existing institutions like the "Gobal Forum on Cyberexpertise" (GFCE) and the IGF Best Practice Forum on Cybersecurity (BPF.CS@IGF) could play a constructive role.

The first informal intersessional consultative meeting of the OEWG with industry, non-governmental organizations and academia in New York (December 2019) demonstrated that multistakeholder cooperation can not only work but is extremely useful also in the field of cybersecurity. The report from this "Intersessional" will be presented to the next intergovernmental OEWG meeting in February 2020 in New York. Will governments just "take note" of this report, or will they rethink and innovate their future proceedings?

Digital Economy

The key controversial issues in the digital economy will be digital trade, eCommerce, taxation, digital currencies, SDGs and the future of work.

  1. The "Osaka Track" initiative, which came out of the G20 meeting under the Japanese G20 presidency (June 2019), is now negotiated within the WTO. However, there are only 78 WTO members who are engaged in these negotiations on "Data Free Flow with Trust" (DFFT). On the other hand, those WTO members represent more than 80 percent of global eCommerce. It is a big challenge for the forthcoming 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (June 2020 in Nursultan, Kasachstan) to produce an inclusive agreement. The so-called "WTO E-Commerce Moratorium" from 1998 expired at the end of 2019 but was extended just recently until the WTO Ministerial. This issue — if it remains unsolved — has the potential to provoke a digital trade war as big nations like India, Indonesia or South Africa reject the "Osaka Track" and China, US and EU are more or less in a waiting position because the whole reform project for the WTO is unclear, as long as the US continues to block the continuation of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.
  2. The second big controversy is digital taxation. The issue is under discussion for a long time, mainly in the OECD, but also in the EU and other bodies. The EU has already produced hundreds of pages with drafts for legal texts, but could not agree on a common position. Some EU members preferred a "national approach," others a "global solution." The OECD, in cooperation with the G20, is working for years to propose a feasible mechanism. In fall 2019, the OECD started a public consultation on a new proposal for a global digital tax regime. The hope is to get an agreement before the end of 2020. However, the French president Emanuel Macron was not ready to wait, and France introduced a national digital tax in 2019, which infuriated US President Donald Trump. During the G7 summit under the French presidency in Biarritz (August 2019), the two presidents agreed that if a global solution is achieved by the end of 2020, France will terminate its national digital tax legislation. But what will happen if the OECD and the G20 are unable to agree? Is a digital tax war unavoidable?
  3. Another controversy is the plan for digital currencies. Facebook's LIBRA project is seen with growing mistrust by finance ministers and governors of Central Banks all over the world. Even private partners like PayPal or Mastercard have obvious problems in continuing with their support for the project. The Swiss government has recently rejected first drafts to license LIBRA. In the meantime, discussions have started among national banks to offer an alternative digital currency under their own control. At the same time, new mobile online paying systems — from AliPay to ApplePay — are becoming more and more popular for millions of costumers with a mobile phone.
  4. How digitalization will influence the daily life of everybody was discussed extensively in the final report of the Global Commission on the Future of Work. The ILO Centenary Conference in June 2019, based on the recommendations of the Global Commission, adopted a "Decent Work Agenda" to manage the consequences of digitalization "to deliver quality jobs along with social protection and respect for rights at work to achieve sustainable, inclusive economic growth, and eliminate poverty". A challenge not only for developing countries.
  5. Finally, digitalization and the SDGs is also a big issue. The SDGs are aimed at 2030. It is very clear that without progress in the digital economy, those goals will not be achieved. In particular, the African Union is pushing to make the 2020s a decade for "Digital Africa." And there is a great outreach by China, Russia, the US and the EU to step in and help. Help is certainly welcome; however, there is also a threat that the offered help is driven by geopolitical interests concerning a continent, where the next billion Internet users are waiting to be connected. The last thing Africa needs is becoming a battlefield between cybersuperpowers.

Human Rights

In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council reaffirmed that "the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online." This was a fundamental statement; however, in many cases, this remains a lip service if it comes to concrete implementation measures. In dealing with national cybersecurity and digital economy, many governments see human rights often as "secondary issues". Only a little progress has been achieved in recent years. On the contrary, more and more states shut down the Internet during election campaigns and crackdowns on protest. Digital mass surveillance has grown. Vague national laws require retention of user data and disclosure, weaken encryption or enable direct access to networks, often on the basis of spurious or sweeping national security justifications, and without judicial authorization or oversight. The failure of States to protect net neutrality, prioritizing profit over equitable access, is a particular threat to the rights of economically disadvantaged groups.

Proposals by the two UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression and privacy in the digital age, David Kaye and Joe Catenacci, to stop legislation with a censorship potential or to draft new global instruments against mass surveillance, has been ignored by the member states of the UN Human Rights Council. The Council will have three sessions in 2020, and the two rapporteurs will come back with their proposals. In 2023 we will have the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let's wait and see whether some progress can be achieved in the coming decade.


For a couple of years, technical issues like codes, protocols and standards are pulled more and more into political controversies. This is not a big surprise if one recognizes that standards for voice and face recognition, protocols for the DNS (DOH) and new applications and services as Blockchain, Internet of Things, Big Data, 5G and AI have deep political, economic, social and cultural implications. The battle around Huawei portends further struggles ahead of us. The question of who defines the standards for all those new services, who will control the market, how can fundamental ethical principles, freedom and privacy be incorporated into technologies "by design," how can security be secured and how can the human being remain in control? All this has become a political battlefield, which is now even on the agenda of the G7 and G20.

Platforms for discussions are, inter alia, IETF and Study Group 20 of the ITU-T. In particular, AI has become a global topic of the highest priority. More and more governments have established national expert groups to find out what is at stake for their countries. The EU High-Level Expert Group on AI presented its "Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence" in April 2019. In May 2019, the OECD adopted a "Council Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence," which was supported by the G20 summit in Osaka (June 2019). Since 2017 the ITU is organizing an annual "AI for Good Global S​ummit". In November 2019, the 40th UNESCO General Conference adopted a resolution to start work on a normative instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence.

AI is a very complex issue and difficult to define. Because it is a problem for the whole world, it could become a sphere for global cooperation. Positive experience from global cooperation in the Outer Space as the "International Space Station" (ISS) could be used as a source of inspiration. But as we have seen recently, even the outer space is now turned again into a space of confrontation and weaponization. In other words, the challenge for 2020 is to channel the global AI discussion into peaceful waters.

The Future of the IGF

One of the 2019 highlights was the 14th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin (November 2019). Inspired by the proposals of the UN High Level-Panel to move forward with the idea of an IGF+, the Berlin IGF produced tangible output as never before: Messages from Berlin, the Chair's summary, session reports, a resolution from the high-level governmental meeting, and — for the first time in the history of the IGF — a resolution adopted by 160 parliamentarians from 60 countries, the "Jimmy Schulz Call", remembering the member of the German Bundestag, Jimmy Schulz, who was one of the initiators of this first meeting of parliamentarians within the IGF and who passed away at the eve of the Berlin IGF.

The Berlin IGF also attracted related organizations to come to Berlin: The Munich Security Conference organized its annual Cybersecurity Summit. Tim Berners-Lee opened his "Contract for the Web" for signatures. The Global Commission on Stability in Cyberspace presented its final report. A NetMundial+5 meeting evaluated the impact of this landmark multistakeholder conference. More than 200 sessions took place. The network of national and regional IGFs (NRI) has matured. Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) and Best Practice Fora (BPFs) adopt recommendations.

With the opening speeches of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the IGF also made a point on the busy agenda of world politics. Guterres underlined the role of digitalisation for achieving the SDGs. "My belief is that the Internet can be a powerful force for good, but we also see that it is a tool that can easily be put to nefarious use. The algorithms that determine social media can trap us in the echo chambers of our own opinions and prejudices," he said. "We also need to understand the relationship between digital advances and inequality," he added. "We know that inequality and exclusion drive social unrest and conflict. We also know that digital technologies, depending on their use, can be a force that widens social gaps or reduces them." He offered the UN as the "appropriate platform" to address these global challenges.

Merkel was very clear in bringing multstakeholderism and multilateralism into the right balance and supported the idea to have special arrangements to protect the public core of the Internet. "This shared Internet infrastructure has become a cornerstone of the global economy," she said. "Billions of people can make their views and ideas known on the Internet." She criticized several governments which "are interfering with the freedoms the Internet creates." They see the Internet through their national lens, preferring unilateral actions and are trying to "to seal their nets off from the global Internet." But even some private companies, Merkel says, "are investing in their own, closed-off infrastructures. This raises the danger that global companies might build up parallel worlds — with their own rules and standards — which they will then try to impose on others via international bodies." In her eyes, "digital sovereignty does not mean protectionism, or that state authorities say what information can be disseminated" rather, it describes "the ability both of individuals and of society to shape the digital transformation in a self-determined way… If we are convinced that isolationism is not an expression of sovereignty, but that we have to base our actions on a shared understanding and shared values, then precisely that — a commitment to a shared, free, open and secure global Internet — is in fact an expression of sovereignty". According to Merkel "an increasingly fragmented Internet can never be good". Insofar, she proposes "we should all be determined to protect the heart of the Internet as a global public good." Merkel, comparing the industrial revolution with the information age, said that "technological innovations do not just happen" and companies need "parameters and guidelines." But the Internet "cannot and must not be shaped by states and governments alone. Because the fundamental issues surrounding the Internet ultimately affect each and every one of us. That's why we need a comprehensive dialogue and a multistakeholder approach, as we say these days."

With the two speeches of Guterres and Merkel, the IGF got a substantial push, which will help to shape its future. The current mandate of the IGF ends in 2025. It will be up to the WSIS+20 Review Conference to decide about the future of an IGF+. During the Berlin IGF, UN Secretary-General appointed Anriette Esterhuysen, former president of the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), as the new Chair of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG). She follows Lynn St Amour, the former ISOC president, who retired after three years as MAG Chair. APC is a civil society organization headquartered in South Africa. Esterhuysen was also a former member of the Global Commissions on Internet Governance (2014- 2016) and on Stability in Cyberspace (2017–2919).

The Berlin IGF produced what the founding mothers and fathers of the IGF had in mind when they agreed in Tunis in 2005 on the "forum function". The IGF in Berlin, with nearly 7000 participants (half of them online) from 161 countries, was the big, high-level marketplace for information and ideas, which produced tangible outcomes as input into the various Internet-related negotiations by organizations, which have a mandate to take decisions. The IGF+ proposal, which includes ideas for the establishment of a "cooperation accelorator" or a "policy incubator", opens the door for the introduction of an additional layer in the IGF pyramid, which could close the existing gap between discussion and decision.

The preparations for the 15th IGF, scheduled for Katowice/Poland from November, 2–6, 2020, will start already in January in Geneva with the first MAG meeting under Esterhuysen's leadership. A series of national and regional IGFs will follow, as the 13th EURODIG in June 2020 in Trieste/Italy.

Timetable of Events

Internet Governance will be on the political agenda the whole year of 2020. It starts with the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January and the Munich Security Conference in February, where numerous workshops and roundtables are dealing with cyber and digital issues. The next meetings of the OEWG and the GGE will take place in February in New York and Geneva. The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) will have its annual meeting in Accra/Ghana in early February. The next ICANN meeting in March in Cancun could become very hot after the controversial sale of PIR, the registry operator of the .org top-level domain. The sale has triggered for the first time since the IANA transition a discussion on whether the "empowered community" should appear at the stage of the Internet theater. This could also overshadow the Global Domain Week in May 2020 in Paris. End of March, ITU will organize its annual WSIS Forum in Geneva. RightsCon takes place in June in Costa Rica. Other ICANN meetings will take place in Kuala Lumpur (June) and Hamburg (October). IETF meetings are planned for Vancouver (March), Madrid (July) and Bangkok (November). The 3rd Paris Peace Forum will continue the discussion on Cybersecurity in November.

World leaders will also discuss Internet Governance, cybersecurity, and the digital economy at the forthcoming summit meetings of the G20, G7, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The US chairs the G7 in 2020. The G7 summit will take place in June 2020, just on the eve of the US presidential elections. Saudi Arabia has overtaken the G20 presidency. The G20 summit is scheduled for in Riyad, November 21–22, 2020. Saud Arabia is planning to give digital and cyber issues a high priority. Under the headline "Shaping new Frontiers", Saudi Arabia will push for a discussion around the future of the digital economy, including a new global digital tax regime. Russia has overtaken the 2020 presidency both for BRICS and SCO. St. Petersburg is the venue for the BRICS summit in July 2020. Russian president Vladimir Putin has already outlined that the misuse of the Internet for terrorism, cybersecurity, digital economy, and AI will be priority issues on the 2020 BRICS agenda. Similar priorities have been defined for the Russian SCO presidency.

The UN, the 75th General Assembly, UN bodies (OEWG, GGE, GGE LAWS, HRC, etc.) and nearly all UN specialized agencies (ITU, UNESCO, WTO, UNCTAD, WIPO, ILO, etc.) have also an agenda full with Internet-related problems. The highlight will certainly be, as mentioned above, the celebrations around the 75th anniversary of the United Nations on October 24, 2020. Beyond the UN, there is basically no intergovernmental organization anymore, which has not checked how they are affected by the digital revolution. This is in particular of great importance for organizations dealing with security aspects as NATO, OSCE, ASEAN, OAS, Interpol and others.

Next to the intergovernmental 2020 will see again an endless series of important expert conferences as Cycon in Tallinn (March), Cyberweek in Tel Aviv (June), Black Hat & DevCon in Las Vegas (August), CyFy in New Dehli (October), Singapore Cyberweek (October), the Chinese Wuzhen "World Internet Conference" (November) and many others. And at the horizon, in the middle of the 2020s, the WSIS+20 Review Conference, is waiting. To prepare such a big meeting as early as possible makes sense — no quiet time for the Internet Governance travel circus.

[1] See:
[2] See:

Written by Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor Emeritus at the University of Aarhus

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Categories: News and Updates

Pizzeria, music academy and other end user domain sales

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-01-07 19:17

A Boston pizzeria was among end user buyers at Uniregistry.

This Boston pizza join bought for $5,000. It forwards it to its longer domain name.

I’ve reviewed Uniregistry’s last two sales reports to find end user domain name purchases. You’ll especially like the last one. $22,500 – Travel company TravelLab Global AB. I’m not sure what it will use this domain for. $17,750 – Quicko Technosoft Labs Pvt Ltd, which uses the domain, has the tag line “Accelerate Digital Adoption.” $10,000 – This Virginia and West Virginia group teaches music. It forwards its upgraded domain to $9,500 – The buyer is forwarding the domain to, a site to search for divorce, law, and other types of records. $6,000 – The buyer is creating a site for electric scooters. $6,000 – It’s a Shopify website for shoehorns (what else?). $5,800 – A holding page states that “Sympatic is developing cloud software that serves the data owners and gives them the ability to collaborate and allow compute over data without exposing their data.” $5,500 – What a fantastic name. The coming soon page shows someone wearing virtual reality glasses and the words “Travel Beyond…Coming Soon”. $5,000 – It appears that the buyer is a computer consulting firm that uses the .net version of this domain. $5,000 – A unit of Top Indian Holidays that offers tours in India. $5,000 – is an open source, browser-based diagramming application. $5,000 – Italian Express Pizzeria in Boston uses the long domain $4,250 – Just about a perfect name for this male grooming company.

© 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact editor (at) Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

Related posts:
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  3. Who bought the top 20 sales at Uniregistry this week
Categories: News and Updates

Shakeup on the .com leader boards, Namecheap tops 5 million

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-01-07 17:57

Lots of shifting and Namecheap hits a milestone.

ICANN has published the latest official data from Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) about the .com namespace. This registrar-by-registrar report covers September 2019.

There was a lot of shakeup this month.

On the new registrations chart, Xin Net fell out of the top ten after its monthly volume reduced from 220k to 51k. Hosting Concepts B.V. d/b/a OpenProvider, an at-cost registrar, surged into the top 10.

On the total .com leaderboard, GMO replaced NameSilo in the #10 spot after giving it up to NameSilo the month before.

Namecheap hit a big milestone, surging past 5 million .com domains under management.

Finally, on the clerical side, I’ve added Crazy Domains to’s totals starting this month. acquired CrazyDomains’ parent company Dreamscape last year.

Here’s how registrars did in terms of new .com registrations:

1.* (NYSE: GDDY) 855,287 (862,732 in August)
2. Chengdu West 222,511
3. Tucows** (NASDAQ:TCX) 180,825 (187,769)
4. Namecheap Inc. 163,226 (161,107)
5. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) 138,929 (141,014 )
6. Endurance+ (NASDAQ: EIGI) 124,810 (126,603)
7. Alibaba (HiChina) 105,294 (136,895)
8. GMO 95,565 (66,910)
9. 71,894
10. OpenProvider 67,647 (n/a)

Here’s the leaderboard of the top registrars in terms of total .com registrations as of the end of September 2019.

1. GoDaddy* 51,253,800 (51,098,287 in August)
2. Tucows** 13,047,695 (13,123,695)
3. 7,031,650 (6,607,353)
4. Endurance+ 6,873,843 (6,886,901)
5. Alibaba 6,118,945 (6,189,184)
6. United Internet^ 5,549,036 (5,549,520)
7. Namecheap 5,051,943 (4,978,908)
8. Xin Net Technology Corporation 4,518,714 (4,575,392)
9. Google 2,845,811 (2,755,721)
10. GMO 2,183,060 (n/a)

Many domain companies have multiple accreditations and I’ve tried to capture the largest ones. See the notes below.

* Includes GoDaddy, Wild West Domains and 123 Reg
** Includes Tucows, Enom, Ascio and EPAG
+ Includes PDR,, FastDomain and Bigrock. There are other Endurance registrars, but these are the biggest.
++ Includes Network Solutions,, and Crazy Domains
^ Includes 1&1, PSI, Cronon, United-Domains, Arsys and world4you

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Categories: News and Updates

The biggest problem with Verisign’s .com deal

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-01-07 17:27

It’s not the billion-dollar bonus for Verisign.

As expected, ICANN has agreed* to let Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) increase prices on .com domain names starting this year.

The U.S. government had already agreed to the price increases, but these increases aren’t included in Verisign’s current agreement with ICANN that runs for four more years. So Verisign had to go back to ICANN and ask it to renegotiate the contract to add the increases now.

ICANN was always going to roll over rather than try to protect domain registrants at the risk of a lawsuit.

But ICANN did more than just allow the price increases. Verisign is going to pay it some extra cash, too.

I predicted this would happen. In my 2019 predictions episode published a year ago, I said:

“I expect Verisign to offer some sort of additional payment to ICANN to incentive it to renegotiate the contract. Remember, ICANN has a budget hole it needs to fill and I’m sure it would much prefer to get a few million dollars extra from Verisign each year than having to cut staff.”

That’s what happened. The exact number is $4 million a year for five years, which will plug the budget gap nicely.

Of course, I have a problem with the price increases in general. But that was already written.

It’s the $20 million payment that makes this look dirty and gives fodder to ICANN’s critics. The companies ICANN regulates (and yes, I’m going to use that word) fund ICANN. And they can chip in a little extra when needed.

ICANN should cut its costs rather than take this handout from Verisign.

* There’s a comment period, but we already know how much deference ICANN is going to give to the community’s input.

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Related posts:
  1. .Com prices are going up after Verisign pays off ICANN
  2. Verisign jumps in on .Web dispute, here’s what it could mean
  3. A .com price freeze through 2024 more likely?
Categories: News and Updates

Reviewing the 4 character domains that sold in December

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-01-07 14:37

Kassey Lee reviews the market for four character domain names.

I’m starting this monthly series to look at 4C (four character) .com domains. Thanks to the ripple effect which began with 2C and then continued on to 3C, I believe many 4C will become valuable. Yes, the market for 4C domains has gone up and down, but I believe it will be up again. I think more and more 4C domains with good patterns will be used by end users over the long term as other shorter domains become too expensive. For example, LLNN can be the poor cousin of LL, which is out of reach for many Chinese SME. Because of this belief, I also own a collection of them and check their prices daily.

For December, Namebio reports 106 sale transactions of 4C .com domains totaling $65,200. The average price is $615, the lowest price $102, and the highest price $8,100. Here are the top 5 domains from the list selected for my analysis. sold for $8,100. EMC can be an acronym for E Mo Cheng (恶魔城= demon castle, also the name of a video game series). does not resolve but redirects to, a Chinese site owned by Dell. EMC2 could also be E=MC squared. sold for $4,655. CP can be an acronym for Cai Piao (彩票= lottery ticket) and 57 rhymes with Wan Qian (玩钱=play with money). Both and do not resolve. sold for $3,755. MB can be an acronym for Mu Biao (目标=target) and 88 rhymes with Fa Fa (发发=making a fortune). is for sale with BIN price of 3,000 yuan and redirects to a Chinese betting site. sold for $3,251. MW can be an acronym for Mei Wan (每晚=every night) and 88 rhymes with Fa Fa (发发=making a fortune). Both and do not resolve. sold for $3,010. HH can be an acronym for Huang Hou (皇后=queen) and 44 rhymes with Shi Zi (狮子=lion). is just a landing page looking for advertisers and does not resolve.

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Categories: News and Updates

Internet Governance and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Part 2: Article 1-5

Domain industry news - Mon, 2020-01-06 20:34

Article 1-5: Basic and Personal Rights. Co-authored by Klaus Stoll and Prof Sam Lanfranco. [1]

Digital governance, like all governance, needs to be founded in guiding principles from which all policy making is derived. There are no more fundamental principles to guide our policy making than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (UDHR). This article is Part 2 of a series of articles exploring the application of the UDHR to rights issues in the cyberspaces of the Internet ecosystem. The previous article in the series explores the foundations of the UDHR. [2]

This part 2 discusses Articles 1-5 which focus on human freedom, equality, dignity and rights. In subsequent parts, (to be published here), we will look at the remainder of the 30 UDHR Articles and conclude with an overall analysis of how the UDHR can inform policy development in the digital age. [3]

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. [4]


We are born to this earth. We had no part in the decision that made us human beings and citizens of planet earth. Today, even at birth, we are born with a digital identity and the start of the multi-faceted digital personas that are associated with it. Our digital presence may have started before our physical birth, when our parents announced and discussed online our imminent arrival with family and friends. Assembled from a myriad of sources, our digital personas consist of the digital data that is associated with us, each persona constructed by others, for their own purposes. Even for a person who never uses digital technologies, a digital identity and personas exist, based on data that has been collected by means that did not require a person's input. Within the Internet's data cloud resides more than just our deliberate digital actions (purchasing activity, banking, etc.). Our digital personas are built with a blend of observed behavioral data and ambient data that we do not control [5].

The data cloud that surrounds a human being and the digital persona, generated by algorithms from that data, are separate but inseparable. [6]

Freedom and Equality

There are two fundamental values that are inseparable from our physical and digital persona:

  1. We are free! Nobody has the right to enslaved us in the real world. Nobody should be enslaved in cyberspace as the consequence of others claiming our personal data and using it to construct our personas as their property.
  2. Furthermore, all digital personas are equal and must be treated equally.

Equal treatment as digital citizens mean we must ensure equal access to the cyberspace for all [7]. This means the creation of a digital infrastructure that does not favor the rich or privileged, a space where no one is prevented from access because of social or economic conditions. Digital access needs to be viewed much as a public good, with delivery like a public utility. [8]

Equality goes further than technical access. We must ensure that the technologies are not biased, and do not they favor one user over the other because of socio-economic status, age, gender, or other cultural characteristics. This requires equitable access to levels of digital literacy, and the non-discriminatory treatment of data flows on networks. For example, about Network Neutrality, the non-discriminatory treatment of data flows has been argued as both a basic human right of every digital citizen and essential to keeping the Internet an even playing field for innovators, service providers, and service users. [9]


Our dignity is a direct consequence of our freedom and equality. The dignity of a digital persona is violated when control is lost over the data that makes up one's digital personas, personas that link back to one's digital identity. This resulting damage to one's digital dignity results when opaque digital business process algorithms are used to produce digital personas independent of the wishes of the person. With opaque internal parameters that may reflect biases within the algorithm, the multiple versions of one's digital persona can result in abuse. This abuse can be minimized, if not totally avoided, if a person has complete control over one's personal data, and this data is being used.


Another consequence of our freedom and equality is that our rights are inseparable from our being as a person. How these rights are interpreted and manifest themselves can vary by context and can evolve over time, but the fundamental values expressed in the UDHR and guiding that process are unchangeable.

With rights come obligations. [10] Our personal dignity as a digital citizen depends on how well we exercise both rights and obligations. Our digital obligations are based on our digital rights and are (or should be) being established through proper policy making processes. Under no circumstances should policy making, or outcomes, negate or violate our fundamental human rights as expressed in the UDHR.

The lack of legitimate and effective policy making processes around digital rights leaves us in a position with limited control over our digital identity and digital personas. The loss of digital integrity restricts the exercise of our digital rights and duties. With surveillance technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI algorithms our digital data grows, and personas proliferate. Those digital personas created by others are not subject to permissions nor validation. One's lack of ownership of personal data violates the most fundamental of human rights.

Reason and Conscience

Article 1 talks about human beings which "are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another." It expresses what makes us, as users of digital technologies, different from the digital technology itself.

Digital technologies, and especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) [11], can learn, by which is meant an ability to process Big Data quickly, and aggregate data for various uses. Such learning has various dimensions, but much is based on pattern recognition, inference or deduction. As powerful as this will be for processing Big Data, it is still far away from the ability to reason or having a conscience. The promising claims that AI enthusiasts make, no matter how clever the machines they create, but never attain true human reason and conscience. They will always lack self-integrity and dignity, and empathy and respect for others.

Automated decision systems and AI are adopted for reasons of efficiency and often touted for their ability to do good. But, like any multipurpose technology, there is a real and dangerous downside. [12] Automated decision systems and AI algorithms are created in non-transparent and non-consultative ways. The prime stakeholder, the person whose digital identity is being fashioned into personas, is not consulted. Opaque algorithms, with unidentified biases, make decisions that profoundly affect human lives.

It is essential that there be transparency and accountability for that data use and those persona determinations. Without actual oversight, where is the cautionary check to test if automated decisions are wrong, discriminatory or biased? How are such mistakes corrected before citizens' lives are negatively impacted? Such decision systems, without full consent and information, can and has harmed citizens [13]. Attempts to appropriate personal digital data, in the absence of use transparency and owner consent, must be strongly opposed.

The call to test, validate and audit automated decision systems triggers intellectual property concerns. The secrecy around digital algorithms, valuable for increasingly questionable digital business practices, has prevented the scrutiny of business practice applications. This trade secret issue has been used to prevent diagnosing and fixing flawed systems and decision outcomes.

We might bestow authority on digital technologies, and we might grant them decision-making rights, but these will always be exercises in human intent. We will always have to recognize that it is our ability to reason and our conscience that are ultimately responsible for the decisions the machines make. Digital technologies cannot be used in ways that escape our reason and conscience. Situations, where digital technologies are given rights over fellow humans, is an abdication of our responsibilities and is deeply fraudulent and highly dangerous.

Spirit of Humanhood

Reason and conscience tell us that despite all apparent differences, we share a joint humanity. We learn early on that we live better when we learn to live together and care for another. Freedom, equality, dignity and rights are the elements that make up the spirit of humanhood. The challenge before us is to understand how the digital cyberspaces of the global Internet are to be used for good. While protecting our rights, we must learn that cyberspace must have digital integrity for us as humans to have personal and collective integrity.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 2 reinforces Article 1 by stating that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms of the UDHR. No distinctions can be made between any persons based on biological factors (race, sex, colour), on culture, (language, religion, political or other opinion), or on the circumstances of our birth (nationality, wealth, social status, class). Article 2 further states that equality is also not affected by "the country or territory to which a person belongs."

Based on the principle of separate but inseparable, this is equally valid for a person's digital identity, digital persona, and one's ability to exercise one's digital citizenship. No individual or stakeholder group should be able to deny the rights of another digital citizens with regard to privacy and ownership of personal data and base that denial on distinctions made for reasons of biological, cultural, origin, wealth, or country/territory affiliation.

Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.


In the context of digital technologies, literal and digital life are co-dependent. Digital life, liberty and security means access to and the right to control one's personal data and its uses. This, in turn, impacts one's literal life.

The right to life in the context of digital technologies consists of the free right to access, and our rights as a digital citizen with respect to the security, privacy and integrity of our digital being, and with regard to our rights to the digital personas constructed by those with whom we interact in business, governance, and in society.


Within the context of liberty in Cyberspace, we need to start with a discussion of access, a term that we will have to return to time and time again.

Access to cyberspace is a fundamental right of every person. It is essential to the exercise of digital citizenship. Free or affordable Internet access (libraries [14] telecenters, cell phones) are the essential foundations for a digital citizen's engagement to protect their literal and digital rights. Access requires an enabling policy environment that supports affordable access.

Policies that take restrict a citizen's Internet access (such as termination of "repeat infringers" of copyright; 3 strike policies) can violate digital Citizens' rights to life, liberty and security of person. Access to digital products and services has become integral to daily living and can be a question of life or death. For example, when vital medication is only affordable for a patient through online pharmacies, there are several policy and regulatory policy areas that require attention if the person's right to live is to be respected. [15]

Trade secret or non-disclosure language in third-party license agreements for automated decision systems or related software pose policy problems. Such provisions prevent the ability to access and test underlying operational methods that determine how decisions about personas and other data outputs are made. The public remains uninformed about how its private data is being used. Any underlying data derived from citizens (whether containing identifiable information or not) should only be available to others with the permission of the person, and when the person is fully informed of intended uses.

Nobody should be forced to give up their fundamental rights of equality and freedom in exchange for goods and services, or for the ability to receive the entitlements of citizenship and residency (e.g., welfare and succor). [16] The impacts of digital process decisions, for the individual and the community, need to be understood and addressed now, to prevent further social stratification and the creation of new digital poorhouse residents. [17]


Here we must ask: security, safety and protection from what? For our digital persona to operate as a functional and competent digital citizen requires, besides safe and reliable access, security from everything that corrupts or controls that personal data. Attacks that threaten our digital integrity result in serious harm to our physical body and literal life. [18]

Article 4: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Digital Slavery [19]

While physical slavery and servitude may seem quite distant from our digital presence in cyberspace, digital techniques are being used to violate literal human rights (sex trafficking, child pornography, etc.,) and result in human slavery. Digital slavery is at another level and digital citizenship needs to be protected from digital slavery. Digital slavery occurs when, without permission, a person's digital data is appropriate and digital personas are constructed for the particular purpose of influencing or manipulating the behavior of that person. One's digital persona is in the service of others and without permission or compensation. The exploitation of personal data, including surveillance and data mining, are digital practices on which the digital slave economy based itself. Increasingly a digital slave model of a manipulated and compliant voter is eroding the structures of democratic governance. The ongoing nascent development of the rules of digital governance should both be based on the UDHR and respect those rights in the digital ecosystem.

The right to privacy is an inalienable right of every digital citizen. Control must remain under the control of the literal person. Practices that seek access to and use of personal digital data (such as in user agreements) require explicit and clear terms of agreement if they are not to become instruments of a digital slave trade, with outcomes resulting in literal or digital slavery or servitude.

A person is subject to digital slavery when its data is collected, stored, and processed without its consent and/or knowledge. The result is digital control by an entity over the personal data of another person. A digital slave trade takes place when the personal data of digital citizens is traded between entities without the person's consent.

A state of digital servitude (near slavery) is also reached when a digital application's quasi-monopoly status means that to communicate, interact, or conduct business in the Internet ecosystem, the digital citizen is forced to accept digital slavery permissions as a condition for using that specific digital application.

Digital slavery also exists when a person that wants to access government services can only be accessed through digital means and require the person to provide personal data not relevant to the service been sought.

Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Digital Torture

It may seem a stretch to address the topic of digital torture, but a brief examination here is instructive. Think of digital torture as deliberate acts to stress one's digital identity and digital presence. A state of digital torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment exists when:

  • a person is prevented to access the whole or parts of cyberspace
  • there is no digital access to control the data, or if wished, to delete it
  • digital data technologies influence or harm the physical persona (a growing risk with the Internet of Things). [20]
  • When personal data is altered or deleted or used to deliberately create misleading personas that cause harm to the person.
  • When ransomware is used to take data hostage, with restoration only available by extortion (at a price)

Digital technologies, by their very nature, enable malicious behavior that subjects digital citizens to many forms of online cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The ability for mass online communication, often anonymous, is used to spread misinformation with the goal to harass and prosecute others. The development of digital governance structures will be charged with putting instruments and measures into place that prevent such behaviors.

In this brief review and reflection on the first 5 Articles in the UDHR, major issues regarding personal digital rights and obligations have been identified. In each case, guidance for good policy and good governance points back to the UDHR as a foundational cornerstone for the definition and elaboration of the digital rights and duties of digital residence (citizenship) in the Internet ecosystem. We suggest the inclusive properties of a multistakeholder approach to policy development here.

[1] The authors contributed this article solely in their personal capacity, to promote discussion around the UDHR, digital rights and digital citizenship. The authors can be reached at <> and <>.

[2] Part 1 is available at:

[3] This series of articles are presented a bit like preparing the foundation for a house, where the house is the "house of regulations and rights" in the digital age. An understanding of the desired digital rights, and the pitfalls from policy and regulation, is required to build a sturdy and relevant platform of digital rights.

These articles are also a contribution to the upcoming 75th UN UDHR anniversary and as a start of an Internet ecosystem-wide discussion around digital rights and policy development. Comments are welcomed. (Send comments with "UDHR" in the subject line to <a href=""> Comments will be used to update this digital rights discussion in subsequent articles. The goal is to kickstart progress toward a much-needed International Covenant on digital Civil and Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

[4] We note that the language of the UDHR does not conform to contemporary notions of gender-neutral language.

[5] Digital Persona is here defined as: Any assembly of transactions, behavioral, and ambient data composed to ascribe characteristics to the person, such persona to be used for economic, political, social or other purposes. Composition may be by simple data aggregation or by using artificial intelligence algorithms.

[6] Incorrect data can have dire consequences in terms of one's virtual persona, but even correct data can be problematic in a literal sense. For example: A child diagnosed at birth with a serious health defect can face health costs without the benefits of the pooled risks of health insurance. The existence of this data and its use in non-transparent algorithms available to insurers, governments, schools and employers (whomever regulations will allow) will affect every aspect of the person's existence, from birth to death, and possibly beyond.

[7] This will be discussed further in Article 3 below.

[8] This is an area for policy deliberation. Public utility theory supports large scale infrastructure at regulated prices in order to achieve economies of scale without concentrating monopoly power. Public goods theory assumes additional users at near-zero marginal cost, a situation that is increasingly approximated with cloud storage and 5G technology.

[9] Network neutrality — the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks fairly, without improper discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services — is a principle that must be upheld to protect the future of our open Internet. It's a principle that's faced many threats over the years, such as ISPs forging packets to tamper with certain kinds of traffic or slowing down or even outright blocking protocols or applications. See Electronic Frontier Foundation

[10] Digital obligations and digital duties are used interchangeable here.

[11] We differentiate between Artificial Narrow Intelligence or "ANI", which are basically smart algorithms that make decisions based on data input they receive, and Artificial General Intelligence or "AGI," where machines are basically smarter than us. Today most AI is ANI and AGI remains mainly a dream (or nightmare) about the future.


[13] Massachusetts learned that big data was not always trustworthy in 2013 when volunteers used Boston's "Street Bump" app to report potholes. Data indicated more potholes in wealthier areas than poorer ones. The reason for that false result was that wealthier residents were more likely to own a smartphone and use the app. See The Boston pothole example is a cautionary tale. Automated data systems elsewhere in the country have already harmed citizens in critical areas such as child welfare, education and housing. In 2015, Indiana awarded a lucrative contract to IBM to automate the state's welfare eligibility requirements, which wound up erroneously kicking disabled people off Medicaid. In 2016, Arkansas began using an automated decision system that harmed hundreds of disabled residents by improperly restricting their access to home health care services. Legal Aid sued the state, and the court found such a system unconstitutional and flawed. Even today, the U.S. federal government is promoting rules that are antithetical to the protective goals of H.R. 2701 and S. 1876. HUD is considering adopting new rules that would insulate landlords, banks, and insurance companies from liability for the use of algorithmic models, regardless of the discriminatory consequences. See



[16] This is of relevance in the context of AI. See footnote 9 above

[17] As the saying goes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Our rich history of well-meaning social welfare projects in Massachusetts can be an instructive lesson in addressing the risks from AI and automated decision systems. For example, Boston established the first U.S. poor house in 1662. Over the next two hundred years, poor houses sprouted up all over the country as a way of "managing" poverty. Citizens signed a "pauper's oath" giving up their fundamental rights, including the right to vote. Although well-intended, poor houses became known for their squalid and inhumane conditions. Families were reduced to "cases" to be managed. The risks presented by automated digital decision systems and AI need to be understood and addressed now, to reduce both digital and literal disempowerment, and to prevent the creation of new digital poorhouses.

[18] As mentioned before. See footnote 3 above

[19] It is important to note here that the authors are not trying to compare the incomparable and set slavery on an equal footing with digital exploitation. Despite all sufferings of digital exploitation, they can never be an equivalent, nor are they comparable. Nevertheless, we can take history as a warning and inspiration and use the lessons learned as navigational and interpretive aids.

There are many joint characteristics of slavery and digital exploitation that justify the use of the phrase: digital slavery. Both see human beings as commodities and ignore basic human rights. Both form the basis of an economic ecosystem to justify exploitation. It is reminiscent to the situation in the US before and during the American Civil War. The South, reaping the economic gains, condoned the exploitation and enslavement of humans while much of the North outlawed the practice. Similarly, today we have corporate and government stakeholders that pursue digital exploitation, arguing it as necessary for digital innovation and prosperity, while other stakeholders argue that such practices are exploitive and should be prohibited.

Both earlier human exploitation and contemporary digital exploitation present economic benefits as a justification, and effectively ignore what should be the labor or data rights of the provider. Similarly, then for anti-slavery and now for digital rights, the growth of leadership to champion the rights of one's digital properties has been slow, as has general engagement in the protection of digital rights. Much of current, almost ad hoc, digital governance represents mechanisms appropriated by special interest groups. The mechanisms give no voice and no power to those whose digital rights are appropriated and whose digital citizenship is compromised.

A cautionary tale here is the era of "Jim Crow" in the post-emancipation United States where, for more than half a century, the proponents of exploitation used the law to undermine emancipation and restore human discrimination. Efforts for emancipation from digital slavery will require vigilance. The high stakes require awareness, inspired leadership, and capacity building for good digital governance, integrity in digital business practices, and respectful digital behavior. This will require the will of the digital citizen to be strong, inspired leadership, unrelenting awareness and capacity building, ethical, economic alternatives, and political processes that put what's right before what's politically expedient. Today the defenders of digital rights and integrity have the additional strength of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a foundation for their struggles to advance digital rights and digital citizenship.

[20] This raises the difficult situations of false news, vaccine deniers, and the like.

Written by Klaus Stoll, Digital Citizen

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The Power of Data in Smart City Developments

Domain industry news - Mon, 2020-01-06 17:28

A few weeks, I attended a one-day conference at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) at the occasion of the launch of their new $7.5 million Centre for Data Science. This laboratory is also the lead node of a new Australian Data Science Network, bringing together data science organizations from across the country.

The new center aims to support data-led decisions across key areas like health, environment, business, government and society — in short, data for the good.

There was also an interesting link to my work with smart cities. One of the new center's flagship projects is a first-of-its-kind study into Queen's Wharf Brisbane (QWB), a $3.6 billion integrated resort development in the Brisbane CBD. The QWB development will contain hotel and residential accommodation, a casino, retail and entertainment areas along with a new public space.

A longitudinal benefits and impacts study (LBIS), jointly initiated by QUT and the Queensland Government, is monitoring the social and economic effects of the QWB development from the outset. The intention is to record these outcomes over a significant time span, allowing decision-makers to plan, coordinate, manage and improve the development proactively.

Key areas of the study include connectivity, safety, public sentiment, finance and construction, as well as tourism and business returns — forming the basis of an analytical framework that could be readily applied to other significant multi-purpose developments.

The study is a unique and critical strategic framework for evidence-based monitoring and decision-making that can be applied where any large-scale infrastructure projects are being considered.

I discussed this project with Professor of Statistics, Kerrie Mengersen, the Director of the Centre. There will be plenty of opportunities to explore the latest smart city developments within this project. There are several councils within the greater Brisbane that have well-developed smart city strategies and plans in place, and it would be good to bring the various developments together and share insights and learn from each other.

During the conference, various other interesting developments were presented in relation to the power of data science.

Still, on smart cities, the Sunny Street project that started in the Sunshine Coast and has since been further extended into Brisbane gives valuable data on where and when to provide services from the GP and nursing mobile outreach service, with healthcare for those experiencing homelessness and vulnerability.

Other projects discussed included an initiative with the United Nations to help countries use satellite data for agricultural development. This study prompted me to look back in history at the time in the 14th century when the first city-states started to emerge in Italy and what is now Belgium. The power of these cities totally depended on the region around them to supply food, raw materials, and labor that allowed growth. The interaction between the cities (megacities) and its regions is an understudied element, and the African study will also be relevant for megacity developments elsewhere.

Other fascinating big data developments that were presented included estimates of conflict casualties. This is based on thousands of data points partly based on historical data, population estimates, death records from various lists, historical memories, stories from the field, and so on. A different set of data points allows organizations such as the UN to forecast genocides. A key input here is data from 18 known genocide perpetrator countries.

Together with AI, data science is also used to build machine learning tools to better predict society changes and the effect this has on social services in relation to homelessness and healthcare requirements. These tools are already used by various city authorities and also organizations such as Google.

Amazing results were presented to use an enormous variety of totally different data sets to assist in the development of public policy. Data that is included comes from environmental data, healthcare, coal train management, and water resource management, just to mention a few of those data points.

Mapping cancer outcomes identifying addressing inequality led to the production of the Australian Cancer Atlas — an interactive, online atlas showing how the burden of cancer varies across small geographical areas for the whole country.

It clearly showed the power of data for the social good; in general, we are only receiving news on the negative effect of big data. However, it is important to realize that there are plenty of developments that are greatly beneficial to our society.

Written by Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

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Another reverse domain hijacking finding against DePenning & DePenning

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2020-01-06 16:36

Law firm is behind another reverse domain name hijacking case.

DePenning & DePenning, a law firm in India, has filed another UDRP that was found to be reverse domain name hijacking.

Previous reverse domain name hijacking findings against the firm’s cases include and In the latter case, the panel found that the Complaint included manufactured evidence.

The latest case was filed by silk retailer and manufacturer Nalli Chinnasami Chetty against the domain name The panel determined that the case was filed in bad faith despite the domain owner not responding.

Canadian television producer Anthony Nalli, host of The Aviators, owns the domain name. Once the registrar verification was concluded after the original UDRP was filed, the domain owner’s information was made available to Nalli Chinnasami Chetty and DePenning & DePenning. At this point, it was clear that the domain owner had a legitimate interest in the domain and did not register it in bad faith. But the Complainant went ahead without changing its argument.

Panelist David Bernstein thus found the Complainant guilty of reverse domain name hijacking. He wrote:

The conduct in this case falls under the category of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. Once the privacy shield was lifted through the Registrar Verification, the Complainant and its counsel knew that they could not possibly succeed on any fair interpretation of the facts in this case. By filing an amended Complaint and repeating the same arguments that were in the initial Complaint, the Complainant and its counsel abused the WIPO administrative process in an attempt to obtain the disputed domain despite the inconvenient fact that the Respondent was Mr. Nalli. Rather than address that point, the Complainant and its counsel simply repeated the same arguments, baldly asserting that Mr. Nalli could have no plausible reason for registering the disputed domain name other than to usurp the Complainant’s goodwill. The Complaint was therefore completely devoid of any facts or arguments that could support a finding that the Respondent lacked rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Complainant and its counsel also provided no evidentiary support whatsoever to support their argument that the Respondent must have registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith. As such, they completely ignored the requirements set out in the Policy for establishing bad faith registration and use of a domain name..

© 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact editor (at) Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

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The domain sales lander OG – DNW Podcast #267

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2020-01-06 16:30

Here’s what you need on your domain sales landers, according to someone who’s been helping domainers created them since 2006.

My guest this week is kind of the OG of domain name sales landers. Tom Klosowski created a script back in 2006 that let domain investors create their own marketplaces and ‘for sale’ landing pages. This is before hosted services were all the rage, so he later turned this into a hosted service called Domain Market Pro. On today’s show, Tom explains the origins of his service, important things to have on your domains lander, and answers the question: does creating your own domain marketplace actually work?

Also: Where to eat and what to do in Austin during NamesCon.


Subscribe via Apple Podcasts to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, view on Google Play Music, or click play above or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)

© 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact editor (at) Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

Related posts:
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  2. Buying with Tim Campos – DNW Podcast #252
  3. What to expect at NamesCon 2020 – DNW Podcast #261
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This company’s domain name is a ten digit domain!

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2020-01-06 14:11

A Chinese company uses its phone number as its domain name.

This Chinese company uses a ten digit domain name.

I enjoy reading venture capital news. I also study some of the startups highlighted in the news to find out what domains these future business leaders are using and also what domains they may need to acquire. Seeing from the perspective of a domain investor, this information also allows me to identify potential domain buyers who can afford to pay for expensive domains.

A few days ago, I noticed a startup named Yun Cai Yuan (云菜园) in the news. Founded in 2015, Yun Cai Yuan provides a platform to connect farms directly with consumers online. In September 2019, the startup also expanded to offline by opening a chain of fresh food convenience stores – at the pace of 10 to 20 stores per month. It plans to reach 140 to 150 stores before the Chinese New Year.

Performance of the company has been outstanding, which is reflected in its ability to raise rounds of funding every year since 2016. In 2019 alone, Yun Cai Yuan received more than $5 million in Series A+ funding. So, the company can definitely afford to pay for expensive domains.

Yun Cai Yuan uses as its corporate domain. What is special about this long 10-digit number? It just happens to be the telephone number customers can call to contact the company. Unfortunately, the company does not seem to own the domains matching its brand: and The former is currently for sale and the latter has a message indicating it’s managed by a domain brokerage house.

Certainly, Yun Cai Yuan can afford to acquire the much needed or to become a major player.

© 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact editor (at) Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

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