<-- The Filter --> October 1999

October 13, 1999

No. 2.3  .  The Filter  .  10.13.99

Your regular dose of public interest Internet news and commentary from
the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School


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> You Stay in Your Domain, I'll Stay in Mine: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) reached a tentative agreement two weeks ago, removing a critical logjam in the ongoing process of privatizing administration of the Internet's IP address and domain name systems. The agreement, won through hard compromise on both sides, gives NSI a number of concessions in exchange for the company's long-withheld recognition of ICANN's authority. ICANN, meanwhile, is free to exercise that authority provided it doesn't overstep the complex and detailed boundaries specified in the document.



***Berkman Center affiliates are analyzing the agreement and encourage Filter readers to join them, in a new online forum linked below from DISPATCHES.

> NowIt'sCheaper.com: The long-delayed end of ICANN's testbed phase for registrars on September 30 heralded a brand new horse race for companies champing at the bit to enter the domain name business. Among the first out of the gate is NameIT, an ICANN-accredited registrar that is undercutting NSI's prices for registering names in the popular .net and .com domains.


> No Net Taxes (Death Still a Concern): A bipartisan effort is underway to make permanent the current three-year moratorium on taxing Internet sales, despite the pending official review from a Congressional commission appointed for that purpose. The moratorium was established by last year's Net Tax Freedom Act, which created the commission and charged it with the daunting task of determining whether and how e-commerce should be taxed. Now, presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has introduced a bill that would not only ban such taxes but also specifically prohibit future attempts to impose them. A second new bill, backed by Senator Ron Wyden (R-OR) and Representative Chris Cox (D-CA), would go even further, asking the World Trade Organization to adopt a permanent global moratorium.

      http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/09/cyber/capital/28capital.h tml

> But Just In Case...: A company called TaxNet Systems, Inc. has secured a patent on a new system for collecting taxes on Internet sales, using software that figures the appropriate tax according to the destination of the purchase. The system is a slight modification of that used to make ordinary credit card transactions over the Internet, re-routing tax monies from the merchant directly to the local or state government to which they are owed.

      http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/10/biztech/articles/04pate.h tml

> Paper-less Chase?: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made headlines last month when she spoke out against schools' offering legal degrees earned solely through online participation. Justice Ginsburg used Concord University School of Law as an example, warning that students learning "in isolation" at the all-Internet institution were missing something vital in the process of a proper legal education. Her comments touched a nerve nationwide, sparking fierce debate among law professors on the Jurist website about the quality and value of distance legal education. Now the American Bar Association, which accredits law schools, is planning a special meeting next month to address the issue.



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> ICANN—Issues Ahead: The recent onslaught of a series of complex ICANN agreements and policies has left many DNS watchers dazed and battle-weary as they struggle to digest the torrent of detailed specifications. The Berkman Center is hosting a workshop prior to ICANN's annual meeting to help clarify the issues and, we hope, add fresh perspectives and new insights to the discussions. Please join us in Los Angeles or participate online on Sunday, October 31. For more details, click on the link below:


> Berkman Center Seeds CyberTree Jamaica: How might a developing nation take advantage of the Internet to bootstrap its economy? The Berkman Center is working with local educators, regulators, technologists, and entrepreneurs to plan strategy for developing e-commerce in the Caribbean. Phase one of the CyberTree Jamaica project (formerly called "Cyberjam") involves the creation of Internet education programs in conjunction with several key partners, including Neighborhood Technology Center, the Jamaican National Youth Service, EduTech, TechSchool 2000 and the Jamaican Ministry of Commerce and Technology. Phase two will involve e-commerce projects such as the development of high-quality, low-quantity indigenous products marketed and distributed by local people using online channels.

To learn more—or to get involved—visit the Cyberjam conference site, where you can sign up to join the project discussion lists.


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Berkman Center affiliates are reviewing the recently-announced Tentative Agreements among ICANN, the US Department of Commerce, and NSI, posted September 28, 1999. The goal is to provide a useful roadmap to the documents, which, behind their legal language, amount to sweeping policy mandates for the legacy domain name system and the relationships among its current major parties. Join us to analyze the agreements in a new online forum on the Berkman Center site:


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* EduTech


A Jamaican foundation that uses technology for community development.

* TechSchool 2000

      http://techsch ool.hypermart.net/concept.htm

An innovative organization working to identify and nurture computer-gifted Jamaican youths and assist them to become trained computer specialists, supporting the growth of Jamaican technology and commerce.

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"So it's all either interrelated or built on air, depending on how you look at it."

—Guy Kawasaki, on the mysterious way business relationships happen in Silicon Valley, at the Boston Bootcamp for Startups Fall 1999.


"Open source [is] not a cure for world hunger."

—Linus Torvalds, father of Linux, on the more modest claims of the open source model, in CNET (via Ditherati.com).


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Comments? Questions? Opinions? Submissions? Send a letter to the editor at filter-editor@cyber.law.ha rvar d.edu

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Last updated

January 15, 2008