Viewsdesk - chasing the global public sphere

March 2007

Internet Governance03:56, March 7, 2007

We all know that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a bureaucratic organization, but reading this post from a (now former) member of the At Large Advisory Commitee (ALAC), the group charged with representing the interests of ordinary Internet users within ICANN, shows us just how complex it really is. John Levine writes:

I thought hard about what I might accomplish if I spent several more years on the ALAC. Maybe we could get retail domain name prices to be $10.50 rather than $11 […] or get ICANN to fix the loophole that permits domain tasting. […] Or we might not. In the big picture, how much effort is this all worth? Not much. Certainly not almost a month each year.

Personally, I think ICANN’s work is invaluable to the decentralized structure of the Internet. There have been much ado about that the UN should get more control over the organization, but I’ve been hesitant to agree considering that some countries, who would then have some control over the Internet, can be said to have a less-than-perfect track record when it comes to protecting openness and free speech. However, this post by John Levine worries me also. What happens if ICANN gets so complex and opaque that no – or very few – idealists get their hands dirty? If the representatives with the stamina to go on are all paid lobbyists, lawyers and trade mark representatives?

Recommended reading for anyone interested in a inside report on internet governance. Read the full post at John Levine’s blog (also published on Circle ID).

Uncategorized12:36, March 2, 2007

Using the site The Great Firewall of China, it is possible to check which sites are blocked or not by the Chinese Government. The flash application connects to a test server within the country, tries to access the site and return the status of the page. A great resource, if it weren’t for one thing:

Message: Your URL is BlockedThe test methodology seems a bit flawed or there are discrepancies between various Chinese ISP’s, because according to the site, this blog is blocked from access within China, however I have had one report saying that it is indeed accessible – at least from within the network operated by China Telecom. Any more reports on this would be appreciated. (If this blog is indeed blocked, it would be ironic. My guess would have been that Iran, who is not blocking me, would have more reason to be upset than China?)

Iran17:32, March 1, 2007

While the Iranian’s are trying their best to change the world’s perception of them as a breed of inhuman terrorists by posting heartwarming movies on the internet, depicting a completely different Iran than you would see on Fox News, popular culture in Israel is going another route.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a pretty big deal, and this year Israel’s entry in the competition is a political song, where the band Teapacks sing about the Iranian nuclear program and how Ahmadinejad is going to “Push the button” and destroy Israel. Tasteless? You be the judge:

Read the lyrics here, listen to the song here (windows media). Or see the performance on video here (windows media).