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Obama formally hands internet over to UN

Kevin Murphy, October 2, 2016, Gossip

US President Barack Obama today formally signed over control of the internet to the United Nations.

At a ceremony in Washington DC this morning, Obama officially granted the UN, which is controlled by China, Russia and Iran, the ability to censor any web site that does not conform to strict standards of speech.

UN Secretary-General Banksey Moon, who is a foreigner, said that the first order of business under the new regime is to permanently delete the following web sites:

breitbart.com
infowars.com
rushlimbaugh.com
foxnews.com
heritage.org
nra.org
tedcruz.org

A longer list, banning a further 8,102,671 domains, will be published later this week, Moon said.

In addition to the web site deletions, the following new rules have come into immediate international effect:

  • all new web sites will be subject to monthly reviews by the Grand Mufti of Oman for compliance with Sharia law.
  • a proposal to force migration of all .com web sites to .ke will be considered by a panel comprised entirely of coastal liberal elites, many of whom may be lesbians.
  • registered Republicans only get 139 characters on Twitter.
  • pornographic content will be subject to Japanese-style genital pixelation, which nobody likes.
  • the emoji of the hanged black man has been banned.
  • all browsers will have their home pages hard-coded to hillaryclinton.com, with no opt-out.
  • everyone has to have the new U2 album on their phones.
  • all YouTube cat videos will be preceded by a three-minute infomercial from PETA.
  • “They” are coming to take away your guns.

Members of the Grand Unified Jewish Conspiracy can request an exemption from any of the new rules by showing the appropriate credentials at time of registration.

The new regime was warmly welcomed by all those still legally permitted to express an opinion.

“Today is a great day for freedom,” Senator Bernie Sanders, the new UN Special Envoy for Thought Compliance, said at a press conference.

“No longer will right-thinking internet users run the risk of coming across dangerous ideas as they go about their daily business online,” he said.

* * *

For avoidance of doubt: this article is satire. None of this stuff is going to happen. I’m merely gently trolling some of the coverage the IANA transition has received in certain media outlets and on the fringes of Twitter over the last several weeks.

Former GoDaddy VP apes Trump in Congressional bid

Kevin Murphy, May 4, 2016, Gossip

Former GoDaddy general counsel and apparent glutton for punishment Christine Jones is to run for political office for a second time.

She’s looking for the Republican nomination in Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, she said in an email circular yesterday.

In a video announcing the candidacy, it seems pretty clear she’s taking a leaf out of the Donald Trump playbook by playing the “outsider” card.

“She’s one of us, not a politician,” a talking head says in a totally unrehearsed, unscripted and utterly convincing soundbite.

Much like Trump, she’s also touting the fact that she’s “independently wealthy” and therefore not as reliant on big donors to fund her campaign.

According to Jones’ web site, the most important issues facing Arizonians are border security, Islamic State, abortion (she’s anti-), an overly complex tax system and gun ownership (she’s pro-).

It sounds ridiculous, but this is what passes for mainstream politics in the US nowadays.

The incumbent in the Congressional seat she wants, considered safely Republican, recently announced his retirement, but Jones will face at least three established local politicians in the contest for the nomination.

Jones stood for the Republican nomination for Arizona Governor in 2014, but came third in the seven-strong field, with 16.6% of the vote.

ICANN bans sandwiches from Helsinki meeting

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2016, Gossip

ICANN has announced that sandwiches have been banned from the forthcoming ICANN 56 public meeting in Helsinki.

The move has been made in response to recent controversies over the availability of “inappropriate” foodstuffs during coffee and lunch breaks at the thrice-yearly policy meetings.

“The board has listened, and the board has acted decisively in response to community concerns,” ICANN chair Steve Crocker said at a packed press conference today.

“Starting with ICANN 56, our meeting venues will be sandwich-free zones,” he said.

ICANN has had to take on new caterers to supply non-sandwich-based refreshments and will incur a one-time early termination fee of $242,000, according to its contract with its former supplier.

“It’s a small price to pay to make sure we only provide appropriate snacks for our valued stakeholders,” he said.

DI has obtained a copy of the proposed Helsinki menu, which has been approved as “100% fine” by ICANN’s board and Ombudsman, as well as the legal and compliance departments and external auditors.

You can read it here (pdf).

The unexpected sandwich ban surprised many community leaders.

“The ICANN board is totally missing the point here,” said GNSO chair James Bladel. “The PBJ-WG clearly and unanimously recommended that the prohibition should only apply to cheese sandwiches.”

“It’s just another example of top-down, unilateral regulation,” he said.

Critics noted that, due to pressure from the French government, the ban does not apply to filled baguettes.

But Crocker denied government meddling had created a loophole, noting that all baked goods containing fillings comprising over 32% dairy-based solids would still be captured by the ban.

“Naturally, we couldn’t ban all baguettes,” he said. “That would be a ludicrous thing to do.”

He advised all ICANN 56 delegates to show up early to sessions in order to speed up the new mandatory sandwich-screening bag checks.

Chehade tries to explain domain “hogging” comments

Kevin Murphy, March 30, 2015, Gossip

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has distanced himself from comments in which he seemed to equate domain investing with “cybersquatting”.

In January, Chehade said in a Huffington Post interview that new gTLDs would help prevent domain “hogging”, which was widely interpreted as his taking a dim view of domaining.

When asked about his remarks last month, he did not backtrack.

Now he has backtracked, responding to an angry letter from the Internet Commerce Association, which represents many of the largest domainers.

In March 24 letter (pdf) published over the weekend, Chehade said that he interpreted the HuffPo interviewer’s question to refer to the practice of registries holding back premium domains, rather than secondary market activity:

I regret that the ICA interpreted some of my comments in the interview as expressing a “disdainful view” of domain investing. As you might have gathered from the reporter’s questions, some people have asked whether the new gTLD program might have created an opportunity for “land grabb[ing]” by industry insiders. It was not my impression that the question being asked referred to established practices in the secondary market; rather, I believe the reporter was inquiring about some of the very practices by registries you cited in your letter. My response — that alternatives are available in different gTLDs — was intended to try to allay the concern that the program was creating artificial scarcity of domains, not to criticize participants in the marketplace.

Was this a fair interpretation of the interviewer’s question? Is this just a misunderstanding?

Watch the two-minute video above to make up your own mind.

Addressing the ICA’s concerns that he had equated domain investing with cyberquatting, Chehade wrote:

We are in complete agreement that there is a very important legal distinction between registering generically-termed domain names and cybersquatting.

Man escapes from prison by typosquatting

Kevin Murphy, March 30, 2015, Gossip

A convicted fraudster reportedly escaped from a UK prison by typosquatting.

Neil Moore was serving time on remand when he used a smuggled mobile phone to register a domain name that looked a lot like that of the UK court service, according to local media reports.

The domain, registered last March, was hmcts-gsi-gov.org.uk, a typo of the genuine hmcts.gsi.gov.uk.

Had Moore registered the name after last June, when Nominet enabled direct second-level .uk registrations, he would have been able to get a much more convincing typo.

He populated the Whois with the name of his case’s investigating officer and the address for the Royal Courts of Justice.

He then emailed the prison from his new domain with instructions for his bail.

Prison staff fell for it and he was released.

The scam went unnoticed for three days until his lawyers went to interview him. He handed himself back in to police hours later.

Moore was in prison for socially engineering over £1.8 million ($2.6 million) out of major firms by pretending to be bank staff.

He’s fessed up to several counts of fraud and one count of escape from lawful custody. He’ll be sentenced in April.

Domain Incite is five years old today

Kevin Murphy, February 27, 2015, Gossip

Five years ago Domain Incite published its first story, with the introductory line “Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?”

I went on to describe how I’d registered the name domainincite.com and thrown up a live, resolving web site in less than one hour.

But that wasn’t quite the beginning.

What I neglected to mention were the eight hours I spent sitting with my father that weekend, brainstorming domains that captured the slightly acerbic tone I expected to use and which were also available at a reasonable price.

That was also when we came up with the tag line “domainincite.com n. because all the good domains were taken”, which has sat at the top of DI’s “About” page since day one.

Dad died last October, and I’d be lying if I said I’ve had an easy time getting over it.

Watching somebody you love dying of cancer is, needless to say, traumatic. Many readers will understand this all too well.

It can leave you with their final weeks indelibly at the forefront of your memories, whereas you should be remembering the enjoyable times you spent together.

I wouldn’t dream of blaming Dad for my eventual choice of domain, but we had fun collaborating on its conception.

That was something we did together, which gives DI’s birthday this year a bittersweet flavor for me.

Crocker caught with his pants down, literally, at ICANN 52

Kevin Murphy, February 24, 2015, Gossip

Here’s your daily WTF moment, courtesy of ICANN’s official YouTube account.

If you’ve ever wanted to see ICANN chair Steve Crocker without his trousers — and let’s face it, who hasn’t? — now’s your chance.

Don’t ask. I’m just as baffled as you.

ICANN 53 will be in Buenos Aires

Kevin Murphy, December 8, 2014, Gossip

ICANN has picked Buenos Aires, Argentina, for its 53rd public meeting.

The choice of city was approved by the ICANN board late last week.

The meeting will be held June 21-25 next year, sandwiched between February’s return to Singapore and October’s first foray into Dublin.

The BA venue has not been disclosed yet, but it’s possible ICANN will return to the Sheraton hotel and convention center.

It’s the third time ICANN has held one of its public meetings in Argentina. It visited BA last year for ICANN 48 and the sleepy seaside town of Mar Del Plata in 2005.

Having attended both previous meetings, I’ve discovered that it’s possible for a vegetarian to quickly become seriously malnourished in Argentina, so it’s quite likely DI’s coverage of ICANN 53 will heavily leverage the excellent remote participation facilities.

BA’s great if you love steak, however.

Is this the longest and stupidest new gTLD name yet?

Kevin Murphy, November 13, 2014, Gossip

Thank goodness for the new gTLD program.

Without it, there wouldn’t be the opportunity for chaps like Guo Xiufeng to express themselves with names like ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo-oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.ooo.

Note, I was forced to add a hyphen to fit the domain into this column. It’s just a string of 63 Os, — the maximum length of a second-level domain permitted by the DNS — followed by the inexplicable .ooo gTLD.

The domain resolves to a site posing the question “Is Showfom sexy?”.

When I asked Google that question, I found this February 2014 tweet from Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling.

Bizarrely, the registrant of showfom.sexy appears to be somebody else entirely.

If you want the answer, you’ll have to click the link.

The long .ooo domain is currently the 1,303rd most-trafficked new gTLD domain and the 919,853rd most-popular domain on the internet, according to our Alexa-derived popularity stats.

Cowley, one foot out of the industry, joins Architelos

Kevin Murphy, October 21, 2014, Gossip

Former Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley has become a consultant for Architelos, as part of a raft of domain and non-domain industry positions she’s taken on.

Primarily, Cowley has become chair of the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency — a public-sector role with a vague conceptual relationship with domain names (ie, managing lots of unique identifiers).

At Architelos, a provider of registry management software and services, she will be a “executive coach and consultant”, Cowley wrote in a blog post.

She will also remain a volunteer with ICANN, where she’s the former chair and current councilor of the ccNSO.

Cowley has also been named a non-executive director of aql, a data center in Leeds, UK.

She announced her resignation in May, after 12 years as Nominet CEO. Her replacement has not yet been named.