Last week, I visited Budapest to deliver a speech at the ICANN Studienkreis, an annual conference where experts study and address some current issues relating to Internet governance. I discussed how the Internet is on a slippery slope. Starting with the legitimate concern over how to deal with cybersquatters, we have moved to an unreasonable focus on legal control of Internet content and the domain name system. I strongly believe that the Internet should maintain its openness and encourage freedom of expression.
Historically, the technical community has provided the basis for adherence to these principles, but now the principles are in danger of being weakened due to governmental and private entities’ attempts to control Internet content for their own purposes. In the United States, there are proposals for legislation that would require registries, registrars and service providers to block or take down domain names alleged to violate intellectual property rights. The technical community is almost unanimously opposed because of adverse effects on Internet security and openness, but these objections may not be enough to prevent one of these proposals from becoming law. To learn more on this very important topic, click here for my speech in its entirety.