A month ago, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration ruled that dot.us domain names can no longer be registered anonomously
using proxy services. There was no warning and no public discussion. Now, the U.S. Commerce Department has issued orders to domain companies, telling
them they will lose their .us business if they don't comply. In the House, Lamar Smith (R-Texas) wants Bush to sign the Internet and Intellectual
Property bill S167/HR357 before the Supreme Court decides the big Grokster case. In the courts, a lawsuit involving Apple and the Electronic Frontier
Foundation could have "wide-ranging implications for the future - and even the definition - of online journalism."
The U.S. Commerce Department has ordered companies that administer internet addresses to stop allowing customers to register .us domain names
anonymously using proxy services. ...The move does not affect owners of .com and .net domains. But it means website owners with .us domains will no
longer be able to shield their name and contact information from public eyes.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center said the move violates First Amendment rights to anonymous free speech. And the representative of one of the
largest domain-registration companies is concerned that customers who have been victims of stalkers won't be able to protect their privacy without
changing their web address to a domain that offers anonymity.
Wired News has learned that the edict came a month ago from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Commerce Department
agency that advises the president on telecommunications and information policy. The agency ruled with no warning and without any discussion with the
companies accredited to sell and register .us domains. The domain companies were told they would lose their right to sell .us domains - the official,
top-level domain for the United States - if they didn't comply.
The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property passed S167/HR357, known as the Family Entertainment
and Copyright Act of 2005, with little debate. The full Senate passed its identical bill on a voice vote on Feb. 1. ...The legislation would
essentially affirm the legality of software such as ClearPlay, which automatically edits supposedly objectionable scenes out of popular movie
Some Hollywood directors and studios have complained that such filtering violates their copyright by altering their works without permission.
S167/HR357, however, would sanction the practice. ...Proponents see the bill as empowering parents to protect children from an onslaught of
objectionable movie content.
(Lamar Smith (R-Texas)) said the goal is to get the bill to the White House for signing before the Supreme Court decides the big Grokster case.
Censor Services Push Forward
Lawyers for Apple Computer and a trio of Mac enthusiast Web sites met in court here Friday in a case that could have wide-ranging implications for the
future - and even the definition - of online journalism.
Lawyers for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing several of the Apple-themed Web sites, say allowing Apple to force the sites to
divulge their sources, or forcing the sites' e-mail providers to give up records of their e-mails, would be deeply destructive to journalists' ability
to cover business.
Judge delays decision on Apple trade secrets case
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On the surface, the Commerce Department ruling and Internet and Intellectual Property bill S167/HR357 seem like harmless good ideas. But scratch the
surface and it looks like the net is tightening on the Net.
More and more routinely, this administration is creating all-new, often unnecessary legislation and usurping law enforcement powers from established
agencies to camouflage secondary objectives.
The results of the Apple lawsuit will be important too. If Apple can use the courts to force sites to divulge their sources, or force the sites'
e-mail providers to give up records of their e-mails, the writing will be writ large upon the wall. Jumping in on the action, US ally Australia just
froze Kazaa's assets.
No doubt it will take a while to figure out how all these laws work together, and what the full implications will be. Meantime, any bets where it all
Domain Owners Lose Privacy
Feds Catching Up With Proxies
Coming Crackdown on Blogging
Kazaa Assets Frozen in Australia
ATS: Kiss Your Internet Goodbye!