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Monday, January 24, 2011

Who is killing the Internet? Is this is because of a Wikileaks Effect and Post-Wikileaks Effect Syndrome?

Birth of the Internet plaque at the William_Ga...Image via Wikipedia
Only recently, the world witnessed two major information earthquakes due to the Internet. The first in the form of the confidential cable leaks from Wikileaks and the second in the form of removal of the Tunisian dictatorship. How do these two incidents impact the future of the Internet and its governance and how do global powers as well as country governments respond to such happenings. This is still an evolving debate and the blame game is going on all across the world with the affected reacting in ways that is amazing the world citizenry. I do not have to mention any specific country names or people since the global press and media is effectively doing that already but it is important to note here that how will the world react towards this feature of the Internet that promotes both transparency and disruption within the social, economic and political processes across the globe?

It can be observed that after what happened in Tunisia, with the the viral information spreading like a wild fire across the Internet, various nations with dictatorships in the continent of Africa have been reported to be fearing what I also consider as the Wikileaks Effect. After all that has happened so far, the Wikileaks Effect  can be defined as a phenomenon that causes an individual, group, gathering, community, organization, political party, government or dictatorship to rethink the repercussions that can be caused due to the leakage of any confidential information about them  as well as what can happen after another party gains free access to information that they cannot control on the Internet. Following this fear is the blame game phase that evolves as the leak of information occurs and causes the damage in whatever form it can. Who is to blame?

There is a duality in this discussion about who is to blame. The Tunisian's already knew about the corruption issues and the same goes with the citizenry of almost every country. Then why do these blame games erupt right after such information leaks? I call this the Post-Wikileaks Effect Syndrome where there has to be someone that has an answer detailing who did it or what we may call the finger-pointing phase. The following video report of the blame game over Wikileaks is an example of  the  Post-Wikileaks Effect Syndrome:


So what are we seeing here now? Is Wikileaks going to provoke governments across the world to kill the Internet or at least kill the access to information that they cannot control as defined in the Wikileaks Effect above? I am using the term ""Killing the Internet" metaphorically in the context of the global battle over information control over the Internet that may effect the norms and principles that enable the functioning of a single and sustainable Internetwork.

Totally out of context, let me just share a small example of whats happening with regards to data protection within the technology consumer markets. It is well perceived that the Wikileaks leaking of cables happened a great deal due to someone gaining access to unsecured data and information. According to ZDNet here, the Wikileaks incident caused 40 percent of their readers in the U.S. to at least think about better security procedures and 20 percent across the globe are also considering the same. The results can be viewed here.

This brings us to what Internet users consider as the attempt to kill the Internet and how to preserve the basic existence of the network that I once again can connect to the Post-Wikileaks Effect Syndrome because it is an issue of being paranoid that something may be happening to the Internet and only in the context of one country whereas the Internet today is perceived by the global citizenry to exist as a global asset not owned by anyone country or government. The following video by ZDNet is from a an event at the Churchill Club in Santa Clara where Neville Roy Singham, Founder of Thoughtworks made a case for why the core values of the Internet, including the freedom of press are possibly at risk amidst the WikiLeaks revelations (originally here):


So after the Wikileaks Effect and the Post-Wikileaks Effect Syndrome, can the Internet be preserved from being killed? Can the core values that are well perceived norms by the global citizenry still be preserved from a possible takeover? Can the lacking of controlling every possible tidbit of information over the Internet prevent countries from trying to control even those tidbits? There is no possible answer to these questions as one person cannot represent a global point of view but I would like to share an important insight into these issues through an interesting and eyeopening analysis here by Dr. Jovan Kurbalija of Diplo Foundation titled "After the deluge: Internet governance in the aftermath of WikiLeaks" that indicates a global battle that can possibly hurt, change or kill the way the Internet is governed. The following prediction about Internet Governance is worth noting:

"In 2011, we can expect that many national governments will adopt a two-track policy. On the one hand, they will continue reclaiming control of their national e-spaces, with the risk of fragmentation of the global Internet. On the other hand, they will accelerate pressure on the USA towards complete internationalisation of Internet governance and, in particular, of ICANN.

Paradoxically, the USA, which has resisted the internationalisation of Internet governance, may become one of its main proponents in 2011. With almost all major Internet companies based in the USA (Google, Facebook, Yahoo), and most Internet traffic passing through the USA, and with English as the main language, the main sufferer  of a possible Internet fragmentation could be the United States. For example, if other countries start creating their own national clouds, the main casualty will be companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook."

Following the afore discussion, who can we really say is killing the Internet? Is this is because of the Wikileaks Effect or is it because of the Post-Wikileaks Effect Syndrome? I leave this to the readers to decide! This post may seem speculative but really, this is food for thought. It may be agreed to a great extent that Wikileaks has really caused the world to rethink issues pertaining to the governance of the Internet. No one had the idea that the Wikileaks ripple would go as far as this to stimulating a Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and then causing disturbance in the norms and principles of the Internet. Issues like creating Internet Policing and independent Internet Policy and Regulation body have emerged out of government discussions with regards to Internet Governance and this could have far reaching implications for the future and governance of the global network!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is Youtube.com killing its openness? Youtube users do not like corporate content flooding the website.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
I was recently surveying user comments on Youtube.com about productions, show inventories, videos by famous singers and music label promotion activities.

The situation about how users produce and access content on Youtube.com does seem a bit overwhelming especially when everyone across the globe is realizing both the fame and monetary benefits of using Youtube.com today while at the same time using the video sharing platform as a means to get heard, get the message out, archive and curate audio and video productions or simply remix public domain content. Everyone uses Youtube.com differently and perceive it differently as I found a couple of very interesting  comment posts being made by the usual users of the video sharing website and how happy they were with it but I also discovered how users were also using the website to produce some really neat stuff..

Just a few basics for the heck of it. YouTube, a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos, was originally created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005 (source:wikipedia). Youtube.com became very famous as a peer-2-peer personal video and audio sharing website before being bought by Google.com. As Google.com modified the website including the way people uploaded content and copyright protections, it continued to host videos from both the general Internet user audience as well as video sharing by corporate companies but with certain terms including removing audio of videos that were using someone else's intellectual property like audio or images etc.

Also a bit about copyrights and ipr protection. When a user attempts to upload a video to Youtube.com, they are shown a screen that says, "Do not upload any TV shows, music videos, music concerts or advertisements without permission, unless they consist entirely of content that you created yourself." to ensure reduction in copyright and IPR violations by users. Despite this, Youtube.com faced various lawsuits by companies and as a counter measure to such violations, it introduced a Video ID system that checks uploaded videos against a database of copyrighted content with the aim of reducing violations but this did not stop courts from ruling Youtube.com to handover data detailing the viewing habits of every user who has watched videos on the site. Thus Youtube had to reveal all user private data and when the Electronic Frontier Foundation protested to this, the court ruled out the protest as speculative. More criticism can be read here on a dedicated page at Wikipedia.

The following Youtube.com channel for singer Katy Perry by VEVO (KatyPerryVEVO Channel) shows such a distrust level by users here. The video titled "Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (Remix)." The video carries the following copyright notice:

"KatyPerryVEVO | 27 October 2010 | 4,845 likes, 887 dislikes
Music video by Katy Perry performing Teenage Dream. (P) (C) 2010 Capitol Records, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. Manufactured by Capitol Records, LLC, 1750 North Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028."

As you scroll further down after the video portion, the following comments are raising concerns by the users of Youtube.com:

"Dear Vevo, Let me start by sayin get your corporate azzes off youtube! Ever since these big companies started paying off youtube so they could post their friggin videos we can't post ours. We are flagged for infringement evry time we include a song we like in our videos. This is YOUtube, the place where we can post OUR videos. If we wanted to listen to music from you wed go to your damn website.To people who want greedy corporates gone thumbs up and copy this on Vevo vids.thx
robertdubai1 1 day ago 68  


Why is everybody copying the same saying?


Dear Vevo, Let me start by sayin get your corporate asses off youtube! Ever since these big companies started paying off youtube so they could post their friggin videos we cant post ours. We are flagged for infringement evry time we include a song we like in our vids.This is YOUtube, the place where we can post OUR videos. If we wanted to listen to music from you we'd go to your damn website.
Create your own!!!
AussieKatie12 18 hours ago 5 "


So what is really happening here? The usual Youtube.com user called a non-partner is allowed to upload with a limit of 15 minute content durations according to the concept of 15 Minutes of Fame. Partners on the other hand are allowed to upload content as long as they want as shown here for Katy Parry's Making of Firework song. Many companies have now started releasing their content for global viewers using Youtube.com like this example here by The A.V. Club that has uploaded its entire video inventory.

On the contrary, Youtube.com also shows how to create content on short time scale as shown here in the "Creating a Hit: 8 Hour Challenge" also featured on Youtube Trends here. These two guys tried to make a Viral Video in 8 hours. I found this activity very interesting because the two guys also share thei concern that what it takes to produce a professional song and how what they did was not just exactly that. Why did they do it in the first place? Well I found the following reason the Viral Video's website here:


"Anyone else think that ‘pop’ music is just corny electronic beats with cheesy, meaningless lyrics? So do these two musicians. To prove that 90% of popular music on the radio is just pure garbage, they decide to make a pop song as fast as they can. In just eight hours, they create a pop Kesha-style song from scratch complete with original lyrics and beat. It sounds like it belongs on the radio. They are successful. The song starts at 6:00."

So far they have not done great in terms of viewership of their attempt on Youtube.com because they only received around 126,410 pages as of 22nd January 2011 ;o) Maybe my post will help them a bit :o).

So what was the conclusion of this activity so far? I am still trying to build up my perspective about this issue as to why users of a website that is owned by Google.com expect it to be open and liberal to remixed content made from copyrighted material. On one hand they hate it and on the other hand they still consume it. They produce content and attempt their 15 minutes to fame opportunity and on the other hand they complain as well. The partner option is available to everyone by Youtube.com but I really don't have an idea of how to get that facility but I don't need it either. One thing is for sure, I do not want any of my personal data to be accessed by anyone without my consent!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Gigantic Shuffles as Google's Eric Schmidt CEO gets replaced by co-founder Larry Page

Eric Schmidt in Buenos Aires, Argentina, durin...Image via Wikipedia
What happens when key product line offerings of giant Internet companies cannot be put through in the market like their competitors, well, we see some gigantic reshuffles as is happening in Google. Eric Schmidt has left Google after 10 years of serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Giant. Google doesn't need an adult's supervision now for the second decade was the feeling that came from his tweet here. He tweets, "Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" and points to the Google blog here. So the kids are back in the CEO saddle as Larry Page takes on as CEO.

What I feel is that the issues around Google misusing its search results to promote its own services and the recent product offerings from Google haven't really been doing so good and the pressure of all this does fall on the shoulders of a company's CEO. We saw what happened with Google Buzz that including launching and crashing because of Facebook's dominance on the social networking space, the issue with Google Books and the Authorship settlement, the inability of Google Android to really take over the market by gaining operator support or counter the Apple iPhone competition and the Google Street View collecting confidential data and EU's reaction over the issue leading it towards sort of an anti-trust situation.

Has Google grown too big for itself to be efficiently managed? I like the analysis given by Guardian here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bill Clinton to speak at ICANN's Silicon Valley Public Meeting in March 2011

Rod Beckstrom and Bill ClintonWilliam Jefferson "Bill" Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, with Rod Beckstrom, ICANN President and CEO. icannphotos
As the Internet community gets ready for participating in ICANN's 40th Public Meeting taking place in San Fransisco from March 13-18, 2011, there is confirmed news that President Bill Clinton will also be participating in the meeting as a speaker. Scott Pinzon at ICANN posted this news on January 13th, 2011 on the ICANN blog stating "Bill Clinton and the ICANN Silicon Valley Meeting." here.

Scott confirmed that:

"A few blogs and a swarm of tweets have announced that former President Bill Clinton will speak at ICANN’s Silicon Valley-San Francisco public meeting in March. Some are asking why ICANN hasn’t announced this yet. While it’s true that we have invited and he has accepted, we’re still working on a contract, and without it a formal announcement cannot be made. We are also aware that ICANN meetings are highly structured, work-intensive events, and we want to be sure that an appearance by President Clinton enhances the meeting’s outcomes rather than distracts from them."

The most important addition to this story were the rumors that ICANN, a non-for-profit organization and custodian of the technical coordination of the global Internet root and IP addressing was going to end up paying half-million and million-dollar figure to President Bill Clinton have all been declared false way out of line.

Antony Van Couvering has spin off information about this through an article he posted on CircleID here "Confirmed: Bill Clinton to Address ICANN Meeting in SF" on Jan 13, 2011. According to Antony, Bill Clinton's presence will generate inevitable tech press that will be really beneficial for both ICANN and the Silicon Valley.

Antony also showed his skepticism over the overall issue of having an ICANN Public Meeting in the Silicon Valley, where all those companies reside including giants like Facebook that are changing the global Internet landscape and how the world uses the Internet. Well I don't blame him, ICANN really has been moving at a snail's pace with on-going issues like the ten year delay in launching IDNs' Internationalized Domain Names and now the trouble with launching Generic Top Level Domains. I won't go with the claim about the GAC and its pressures on ICANN, I still cannot recognize that as to exist because what the governments did with the Internet Governance Forum improvements issues upon the renewal of its five year mandate tells a whole different story.

I personally believe that its time for ICANN to actually announce and launch the new gTLD program at with what ever the state of the gTLD applicants guidebook because unless you don't test the ground, how do you know what worked and what didn't and improvements can take place on an on-going basis for the intelligent!

Zodiac Signs Changed? New zodiac sign dates change rumors drive the Internet world crazy!

Astrological signsImage via Wikipedia
The recent rumors about Zodiac Sign changes drove the world crazy online. The Google trends for hot searches had the "zodiac signs changed" and "new zodiac sign dates" were listed as one of the top searches in the past few days.

The zodiac change rumor that went viral on the Internet causing paranoia for Zodiac fans across the world was possibly triggered by the post on Minneapolis Star Tribune launching the chaos theory that zodiac is off by about the month. An astronomer named Parke Kunkle had claimed that that due to changes in the Earth's alignment the dates of many zodiac signs have changed with the possibility of a 13th Zodiac sign called the Ophiuchus.


According to this article post (Sign of the times: Astrology story soars like a comet) Kunkle claimed thatthe Earth and Sun slowly move the signs gradually change and this did not happen in one night as the 12 signs were designated to different periods of the year almost 3,000 years ago. The Star Tribune also gave the following diagrammatical representation of this situation analysis.

The "New" Astrological calendar according to StarTribune.com


CNN reported the issue about the Zodiac changes here and dispelled the myths surrounding it. Zodiac lovers actually thought that they were running their lives around a zodiac sign that wasn't actually their's anymore. CNN reports that there are two zodiac methodologies in practice in the East and West called  the tropical zodiac and the sidereal zodiac.


The sidereal astrology practiced in the East follows the constellations whereas in the western part of the world, the astrology methodology is seasonal and thus the tropical zodiac is therefore unchanged.

But things really did not stop at this point as a 13th new zodiac sign called the Ophiuchus has also been reported but this has been claimed by astronomers and not astrologers. The 13th Ophiuchus sign is believed to be originally discarded by the ancient Babylonians. There really are no links to any personality traits or proof of it as being recognized as a zodiac.

I was also reading on Nowpublic here that in the event that anyone is considered  to be a member of the zodiac of Ophiuchus that ranges from the dates of November 29 to December 17 then the personality traits will resemble with those of Sagittarius or Capricorn and there are some people that have come with the personality traits for this particular zodiac space.

In my personal view, the rumors about zodiac changes hold no value or substance and was just a crazy viral frenzy that benefit a handful from all the crazy online marketing and chaos that comes with such crazy ideas in the first place.

The Huffington Post here really gives the accurate account of the situation and also published the update from the guy that made the claim that the Associated Press reported Friday evening that Kunkle (the guy that made the claim) has since clarified his earlier statements, emphasizing "this is not new news," and "Astronomers have known about this since about 130 B.C."

Wow, thats a relief isn't it ;o)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Internet Governance Forum Renewal Information from the United Nations

United Nations General Assembly hall in New Yo...Image via Wikipedia

I have been able to track down the following in press communication from the United Nations on the GA adopted resolutions. The references can be found here and here whereas the main press communique here states that:

"By a resolution on information and communications technologies, the Assembly extended the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum for five more years and stressed the need for it to improve its working methods and functions."


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kenya to host the 6th IGF Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi in September 2011

Swedish minister for Communications, ├ůsa Torst...Image via Wikipedia
Finally an official statement has been made by the Information and Communications PS, Dr Bitange Ndemo for the Government of Kenya as reported here that Kenya will host the Sixth Internet Governance Forum in September at the United Nations offices in Gigiri, Nairobi. This is the first meeting of the IGF after the recent renewal of the five year mandate by the United Nations General Assembly.

Kenya will be the first African state to host the official meeting of the international Internet Governance Forum which is now the 6th its series after the World Summit on the Information Society held in Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005.

Dr Bitange Ndemo shares that hosting the 6th IGF will raise the stature of Kenya within the technology world as the forum will share insights into the potential of the Internet and its governance. The IGF is a a follow-up of the World Summit on the Information Society, which took place in Tunis in 2005.

“We proudly look forward to hosting yet another significant Internet governance process in Kenya,” says Alice Munyua, chair of the Kenya organising committee.

Kenya hosted the hosted the 37th ICANN Public Meeting last year in March 2010 where I also had the opportunity to participate and experience all that Kenya had to offer. So far five IGF meetings were held in Athens Greece, Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Hyderabad India, Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt and in Vilnius Lithuania.

The IGF will provide Kenya the opportunity to display it growth in the ICT sectors and share its innovations including the well know crisis monitoring tools like Ushahidi and M-pesa mobile money transfer service. Kenya has also invested in deploying fibre optic cables a proposed technology city.

I would like to thank Tracy Hackshaw for sharing this information from the Daily Nation Kenya. See you all in Nairobi at the 6th Internet Governance Forum 2011 during the third quarter of this year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Internet Governance Forum IGF Mandate Renewed from 2011 to 2015 - UN renews the IGF mandate for another five years!

Picture taken at the IGF, Internet Governance ...Image via Wikipedia
The IGF mandate renewal news has yet to be formally confirmed and announced by the United Nations but I suppose that this delay is due to the holiday season  but it stands accurate and stakeholders should hear about it in a day or two.

The United Nations General Assembly has approved the renewal of the IGF Internet Governance Forum mandate for a period of another five years from the year 2011 to 2015. This year in 2011, the IGF will probably be hosted by Kenya at the United Nations office in Nairobi in September 2011 but there is no official announcement from the United Nations headquarters in New York on this.

The 2011 IGF Open consultations and MAG meeting will be convened in Geneva on 23 and 24 February 2011. The MAG meeting will be open to observers in accordance with a MAG decision taken during November 2010's last meeting while all its proceedings will be webcasted and made available as real-time transcriptions.

The final meeting within IGF's first mandate was hosted by Lithuania in the city of Vilnius during the third quarter of last year in September 2010 where a strong level of support was made for IGF's mandate renewal and its continuation in its current format with a certain amount of improvements in terms of what could be possible outcomes or ways it could affect global Internet Public Policy making. The issue of being able to make recommendations in some form remain as one of the key weaknesses of the IGF mainly due to the pressure from certain stakeholder groups participating in the IGF process.

IGF with the support and cooperation from its multistakeholder participation model has been successful in finding an innovative format for meetings bringing together all stakeholders to discuss public policy issues in a climate of trust of confidence. The annual meetings during its mandate's first cycle from Athens to Vilnius emerged as a platform to exchange ideas and information while sharing experiences and good practices. The IGF has been able to attract considerable attendance as well as attempted to improve increased remote participation but the challenge of getting the real voices from the developing world remains one of its greatest challenges.

The renewal of the IGF mandate for another five years from 2011 to 2015 brings a new set of issues and challenges that have already struck IGF multstakeholders and the global Internet community as is evident from the recent news and activities within the United Nations circles. It was believed for five years that this forum's new model of cooperation where governments accept non-governmental stakeholders as equals continued to evolve but many stakeholders believe that the concept of multistakeholderism was mulled during the December 2010 CSTD consultations in New York and Geneva were taken over by intergovernmental forces. This issue is still evolving but I have described this in detail in previous posts but the fact remains, there is no such other Internet forum at this global scale.

There is a smaller non-treaty and non-governmental model for only one function of Internet Governance, i.e. the technical co-ordination of the Internet Domain Name System, Root and IP Addressing, present independent of the IGF. This model is convened by a non-profit global multistakeholder model in the form of ICANN Public Meetings.  that take place thrice around the globe and are open to all internet users, technical community, governments, research, academia, civil society and private sectors, literally to anyone and everyone.

As the General Assembly extends the IGF mandate for another five years, we the stakeholders of this important global forum are to witness a bumpy rocky road trip. Various stakeholder groups that have always attempted to prevent the IGF and the MAG from reaching consensus to approve issuing some form of outcome, recommendations or messages (the EURODIG - European Dialogue on the Internet Governance issues messages as an outcome) found that they had shot themselves in the foot when the governments suddenly ruled out participation of other stakeholder groups from the New York consultations.

This was a message to the world and the IGF community that Internet control is what some and most governments want as well as see the IGF to take that form and there has to be a renewal of strategy by all stakeholders to counter this perception if we want a sustainable, open, inclusive and neutral Internet to exist for us and our future generations.