Monthly Archives: February 2010

Demand for internationalized domain names

Once a year or so ICANN holds a conference called ICANN Studienkreis.  This is another forum where one can get updated with various ongoing internet governance topics.  The last meeting took place earlier this week in Barcelona, but unfortunately there was no streaming of the event and I could not find any records or transcripts from it.  The only available record is the agenda with links to a number of PDFs of various presentation.  These are of course not very informative, but there is still something we can learn from them.

One presentation that caught my attention was by Andrey Kolesnikov from the Russian Coordination Centre for, which he gave in a session on internationlized domain names (PDF).  It caught my attention because I got recently interested in the debate surrounding this topic and hoped to learn about how things are going in countries that have already applied for a localized top level domains (other presenters on the panel were from Egypt and China). There is only so much one can learn from just looking at PPT slides, but here is an attempt.

Russia is the only country I know of that has already auctioned localized domain names, even though the approval of the top level domain in Cyrillic is still in the works.   As such, Kolesnikov was in a position to shed some light on the actual demand for localized domain names, as opposed to arguments about their great potential.  And if I read his slides correctly, I think he did.  Here is what he has to show:


The early registration process, or the “sunrise” period, is still going on, but these numbers are interesting.   There are currently over 369K domain names registered in Russia and according to Coordination Centre for, there are over 2.6 million domains registered under the .ru top level domain (RU).  In other words. we can see that the trademark holders and Russian domainers are either careful with grabbing this opportunity or skeptical of the entire enterprise.  Of course this is a very early stage in the process, but if it is indicative of a trend, than at least in the case of Russia, the skeptics might have a point.  Of course the situation may be different in other parts of the world and in other cultures, but Russian industry does not seem to be too excited.

Am I overanalyzing this?  Am I taking these number out of context?  What do you think?

CFP: Third International Workshop on Internet Governance

If you are interested in Internet Governance research, you may find the following call for contributions, issues by GigaNet, relevant.

Third International Workshop on Global Internet Governance: An Interdisciplinary Research Field in Construction

Montreal (QC), Canada – 30-31 May 2010

Organized by GigaNet, in cooperation with The Canadian Communication Association and Media@McGill

Co-sponsored by GigaNet, ACC-CCA, Media@McGill, LIP6/CNRS and UPMC

Preliminary Announcement and Call for Contributions

The Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet) invites you to participate in its third scholarly workshop to be held in Montreal (QC), Canada, on 30-31 May 2010. This workshop is organized in cooperation with the Canadian Communication Association and Media@McGill, during the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) 2010 Congress week in Montreal.

Building on the success of its first two editions, respectively in Paris, France in June 2008 and in Brussels, Belgium in May 2009, the purpose of this third GigaNet workshop is twofold:

The first day will be dedicated to outreach sessions aimed at increasing the interest in the Global Internet Governance field among both various academic disciplines and the civil society at large, including but not limited to NGOs and civil society groups active in related fields. These outreach sessions will include academic tutorials on Global Internet Governance as well as information and discussion led by experts in the field on current Global Internet Governance debates and their relevance to public policy making.   Detailed information on the outreach sessions’ program will be distributed closer to the event itself.

The second day will feature thematic presentations selected upon submissions made in response to this call for contributions. We invite scholars to present and discuss their work- in-progress in Internet Governance-related research, with the aim to identify emerging research themes and design a research agenda. Rather than featuring academic paper presentations, the workshop aims at providing a survey of current academic activities in the field, in order to share ideas and forge possible collaborations.

Submissions are expected to focus on presenting problematics, research designs, preliminary empirical results and conclusions in the aim of stimulating reflection and discussion amongst the audience. Submissions may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

involved actors and their interactions; Internet governance institutions and regimes; legal, socio-economical, behavioral and technical regulation means; Internet governance policy issues.

Submissions in view of thematic presentations should be sent by 20 March 2010 to Meryem Marzouki ( They should be written in English and include the name, affiliation, e-mail address and short bio of author(s), along with no more than 500 words of research work description. The program committee will notify applicants by 20 April 2010. To encourage knowledge dissemination, relevant submissions will be published on the workshop website. Authors of selected submissions will be invited to present their work in the workshop thematic sessions.

Program Committee:

Laura DeNardis, Yale U., USA; Meryem Marzouki, CNRS & U. Pierre et Marie Curie, France; Milton Mueller, Syracuse U., USA & Delft Technical U., The Netherlands; Claudia Padovani, Padova U., Italy & McGill U., Canada; Jeremy Shtern, Ryerson U., Canada.

Local Organizing Committee:

Juliana Dalley, McGill U., Canada; Becky Lentz, McGill U., Canada; Daniel Paré, U. of Ottawa, Canada; Claire Roberge, McGill U., Canada.

There is no registration fee for this event. A registration form will be circulated with the program.

Workshop website:

GigaNet: – ACC-CCA: – Media@McGill:

To receive further workshop updates, and other GigaNet news, please subscribe to the information dissemination mailing list: info-giganet (

Digest #24

There is a lot going on, so here is another digest.  It starts with some feedback from the recent open consultations for the upcoming IGF.  Then it includes links to some studies, including the recently released Berkman report on broadband policy and then to some interesting opinions about the role of content piracy in technology adoption and about the link between net neutrality and job creation.  And of course, as usual, some fun stuff 🙂

  • Recent news related
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  • Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions
  • Digital Divide
  • MICT regulation
  • MICT business
  • “New” media
  • Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff
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    The external voting question

    This is somewhat a detour from the usual MICT stuff, but I hope you forgive me as I think the topic is interesting.

    The Israeli political scene seems to be very disturbed recently.  No, it is not about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is not about Iran, and it is not about about the recent tensions with Syria.  The debate is about a proposal by the government to amend external voting in the law or in other words to allow Israeli citizens abroad to vote in the election (HE).  I’ve heard this idea floating before, but I have never seen such a vibrant debate about this issue, which has recently become very close to my heart.

    The situation today is that anybody holding an Israeli passport can vote in the Israeli election, but this person has to be physically present in Israel on the election day.  If you are studying, working, or simply on vacation abroad during the election day, you cannot go to the consulate and vote.  The only people entitled to vote remotely are diplomats and sailors.

    The debate is happening on two levels.  On one level, it is a purely political debate, because some believe that the voters living abroad tend to vote to the right and thus the government is pushing for the change of law and the opposition is vigorously opposing it (HE1, HE2, HE3).  On another level, which constitutes most of the rhetoric, the debate is about values – should people who are not living in the country, particularly such country as Israel, be able to decide for those who will actually have to live with the consequences ? (HE1, HE2, HE3, He4, He5, HE6, HE7, HE8)

    Deciding on big issues - poster calling for release of Gilad Shalit in Tel-Aviv

    Some context may help understanding the later facet of the debate better.  Ever since the establishment of the state, people moving to live in Israel were referred to as “olim” or people who are “coming up” to live in and build the country.  On the other hand, people who left Israel to live elsewhere were referred to as “yordim,” meaning people who “stepped down,” left, deserted or abandoned the enterprise of building a Jewish state.  Traditionally, it was completely unacceptable to leave the country.  People who did that, and in fact their entire families, were frowned upon and looked down at.  However, in the past decade or so the criticism softened and in fact Israel is experiencing a brain drain (there are about 500-700K holders of Israeli passports currently living abroad).  The argument of those opposing the law thus resonates with the old sentiment and claims that the people who decided to abandon the not-so-luxurious Israeli realities have no right to decide for those who stayed.  In Israel, they say, election are not just about social issues, which are also important, but they are also about existential topics like war and peace.  If you are not going to live with the consequences of the vote, you shouldn’t have the right to vote, in the first place.  If it is important for you to vote, you can invest in coming to Israel once in four years to do that.

    And this is where it is getting personal for me I guess.  It is getting personal because I couldn’t vote in the last election and given the frequency with which elections happen in Israel, I most probably won’t be able to vote in the next one as well.  The issue I am taking with this situation can also be viewed on a couple of level.  First, there is a financial  and logistic concern.  As a student, I simply cannot afford a random visit to Israel.  No matter how much I care about the democracy, the Maslow principles are getting in the way (not to mention the fact that my life is pretty much dictated by the academic calendar).  Second, there is a more substantive argument about my right to influence the reality of my country.  At the end of the day you can take an Israeli out of Israel, but you cannot take Israel completely out of the Israeli.  It starts with the fact that even though I am physically not in Israel at the moment, I am still influenced by the political decisions of its leaders (whether these are some of the taxes I am still paying or protests I encounter on campus, on  street or anywhere else).  But even more that that, as someone currently living abroad on a student visa, I think I should be able to influence the realities I am supposed to come back to upon completion of my studies.  I may decide not to go back to Israel after I finish my PhD, but then it will be a totally different story; right now I don’t have any tools to influence the reality I am supposed to return to, which I think is counterproductive for the country if it wants me back (somewhat related HE).


    I may be wrong, but at this point of my life it somehow makes sense (and apparently not just to me – HE1, HE2).  Many of the arguments I read are dismissing any variation of making voting accessible to Israelis living abroad (here is an article in HE stating that 66% of Israelis oppose this idea).  It is “either you are with us or you are against us,” which I find both outdated and counterproductive.  There was a study triggered by this debate, which compared the external voting arrangements in other countries and showed how most of the world has reacted to globalization and to the fact that citizens who live abroad are still citizens of the country (PDF in HE).  In fact, one of the proposed versions of the law is taking a moderate approach that limits the period when one could vote abroad to six years, subject to spending at least 40 days over that period in Israel (HE), but the public discourse neglects the details and focuses on the principle.  This situation is similar to the arrangement in New-Zealand for example.  To be fair, some people do say that students should be given the right to vote (HE), but I think that if such an arrangement will be accepted, let’s say with the conditions similar to what is stated above, it should cover not just the students, but everybody else as well.

    I wonder if you have any thoughts on the subject and what the situation is in your country?

    On discourse and shaping of the information society

    There was a very interesting talk at the Berkman Center back in January.  Julie Cohen, a law professor from Georgetown University, talked about her upcoming book “The Networked Self: Copyright, Privacy, and the Production of Networked Space.”

    What I found particularly interesting about this talk is her attempt to introduce sociological literature into a predominantly legal debate.  Her point of departure is the gap between the rhetoric of law and policy aimed at shaping the information society and the realities on the ground.  For example, she points at the language of economic liberties as fueling the information society governance debate, but at the same time there are laws and regulations that significantly restrict those liberties being that through strong copyright or weak individual privacy protections.  She also highlights that while the policy discourse is usually abstract, the individual’s interpretation of the law and his or her interaction with information and technology is very concrete and situated in a particular physical reality.  Although she focuses on the policy debate in the US, I think her framework can be helpful in thinking about discourse and policymaking elsewhere.

    Reaching across the disciplinary isle is not a trivial task and during Cohen’s talk at Berkman it was interesting to see how, during the Q&A, the lawyers in the room took her presentation to different directions from where I think it would go has she been giving her talk in a Communication or an STS departments.  Yet, I think she did a very good job linking the abstract thinking of sociologists about the concrete actions of people to the concrete thinking of the legal scholars about the abstract concepts of the law.  I view it is a part of a very important interdisciplinary dialogue we should have in the field and on purely selfish grounds it helps me to think about communicating the relevance of my dissertation research to the more “hard core” policy debate.

    You are invited to watch the talk as well as to read its coverage on Ethan Zuckerman’s, David Weinberger’s, and John Palfrey’s blogs.  In addition, I found a recent paper written by Julie Cohen, which provides an outline of her book (in case you don’t have the time to watch the video).



    Digest #23

    This time the digest is rather dense and lengthily. You will find links to writings about the recent Googlle-China clash, some responses to the launch of the iPad, some stats about broadband and young people online, discussions about ICT4D, information about some interesting initiatives, and more…

  • Recent news related
  • Interesting reports, numbers, and visualizations
  • Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions
  • Digital Divide
  • MICT regulation
  • MICT business
  • “New” media
  • MICT in politics
  • Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff
  • Enjoy!

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    Opportunities with approaching deadlines

    Just a couple of updates that can interest readers of this blog:

    • Diplo Foundation Internet Governance Capacity Building Prorgam (deadline: Feb. 12)
    • Berkman Center Summer Internship (deadline: March 5)

    I was lucky enough to experience both of those opportunities and I am warmly recommend them.

    More details and links for each of those opportunities can be found below.

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