I just got an e-mail from someone currently attending the IGF meeting in Geneva . The e-mail ended up in my spam folder because the IP address used for the WLAN at the meeting is on a spambot/virusbot blacklist, namely cbl.abuseat.org. Apparently some guy there has his computer infected by a spambot or a virusbot. Because the local host uses a NAT, all the computers share the same public IP address. This means that all the attendees to the meeting risk seeing their e-mails blacklisted somewhere.
Funny this comes from the very people who would like to set up strategies to fight cybercrime …
Lesson to be learned:
One: NATs are a nuisance. They are responsible for collateral damage.
Two: In a hostile networking environment, never ever trust the local network and fire up your ssh or IPsec tunnel to a machine you can trust.
Three: give us IPv6 as soon as possible to get rid of NATs
The European Commission has released a communication on IPv6, in time for the IPv6 Day in Brussels next 30th May. It goes in the same direction as the report presented at the OECD Ministerial meeting on “Future of the Internet Economy”, that was held in Seoul, Korea earlier this next month. At the same time, the Commission committed to make its own web services available on IPv6 by 2010.
It is good to see that intergovermental organizations take the lead on this, after 10 years of failure of the private sector to actually deploy IPv6. This is a good example of why governments are needed in the Internet governance arena, be it the IGF or the GAC in ICANN.
Quick and dirty fixes like NATs allow for small investments and high short-term returns. This is what most CEOs in the Internet industry are concerned with, because they risk to get fired if they do not provide a good and quick return to shareholders. When a long term and societal vision is needed, governments become key leading partners.
It is true that these governments also include a bunch of “supreme guides of the people’s revolution” and other sorts of autocrats and dictators. Indeed, they censor and control their local Internet. These are the same people who control other media like TV or the written press. There is nothing new under the sun, and I still do not understand some in the Internet community who like us to think the Net is different from other media and that the (bad) rules do not apply.
This is why we need the increased presence of democratic governments in Internet governance circles. Unfortunately, the current ideology in democratic countries is to let the private sector do whatever it wants, with little political support. Not-so-democratic governments, on the contrary, tend to be very active. The end result, as we see in the IGF, is that the latter come up with requests that neither the private sector nor the “civil society” (whatever that means) can counter, because they lack the political weight. A good dictator knows the best way to silence the private sector is to become one of its customers, because no company wants to loose business. Which leads us back to paragraph 3 above.
Veni Markovski has an excellent article on his blog about Civil Society Professionals in Internet Governance. You know, the people you meet each and every time in IGF, ICANN and other related meetings. Quoting from his post:
– we may be seeing the emergence of a professional class of civil society activists (”CS professionals”).
– the CS professionals are alleged to have specific private interests. Their careers, income, and status depend on the Internet governance process.
– the CS professionals are alleged to have a biased world view, based on easy access to the Internet, full command of the English language, and personal origins in USA and Western Europe.
– representatives from less affluent, non-English-speaking societies may find themselves marginalized by this CS professional class
The ever excellent Internet Protocol Journal, published by Cisco has an article this month by Steve Gibbard about the distribution of the Internet root servers. The press often writes there are only 13 of them. There are actually 117 at the time of this writing, and most of them outside the USA. This article will tell you where and what the remaining issues are. The study goes on to examine the geographical location of the gTLD and ccTLD servers.
<unpaid ad>The IPJ is a free publication of Cisco. Contrary to many manufacturer funded publications, this one is not a collection of advertisements and self-glorifying articles. Quite to the contrary, it is open to all contributors and is of a very high standard. Cisco should be commanded for providing this useful service to the community. In the end, this black and white publication benefits more to their image than expensive, flashy coloured ads. It is free, as in “free beer”. There are no strings attached. If you wish a paper copy subscription, just fill in the form on the web site. </unpaid ad>
The online registration for Internet Governance Forum in Athens, Greece, from 30th October to 2nd November 2006 is now open at http://www.intgovforum.org/register/index.php.
The IGF’s hosting provider, Net Access, has also hosted spammers, which means the IP address of their server (22.214.171.124) is on several black lists. In case you do not receive a confirmation message of your registration, this may be the reason. Check your spam filters.