IGF Day 3, Backdoor Censorship – Open Standards – founder of W3C – ISOC IL and IDNs – one of the fathers of the Internet November 16, 2009Posted by GuySoft in Crictor, Hamakor, IGF, ITU, open source.
Tags: IGF, internet censorship, isoc, ITU, w3c
Today is the third day of my trip and the first day off the IGF conference.
Today was full and exciting as expected!
Scroll down to the subject that interests you.
In the morning we went to the main opening session of the IGF, where I met (thanks to Dima) Robert Guerra who among other things, did a large evaluation of the policy in freedom of expression around the world. I asked him if the latest Israeli phenomena, where pressure is put on the governments to pass censorship laws for the Internet that are disguised as laws against child pornography. He told me this is terribly common. I am actually quite alarmed, as someone against Internet filtering. It seems the only solution that people can come up with for stopping child pornography and other illegal activity on the net, is to block the Internet in a way that might turn it to just another corporation and government tool.
Open Standards and Microsoft
After the main generic session, a new friend of mine called : Jeremy Malcolm, told me on the #igf chat channel on IRC to come join the open standards workshop. I just walked in time to hear Microsoft’s response about a claim (that I missed) that government document formats need to be open source. Quickly I found that no one was listening to each other: Microsoft said what they think (closed source solutions), Sun said what they thought (They actually coined the term semi-open solutions) and so did the human right person too (they like open source). Here is an example: There was a mention on the panel that in a certain country there was a voting system that was only working in “some browser”. Microsoft would never support such a claim, they just changed he subject.
Its a shame because the issues raised where interesting, mostly about e-goverment policy – Should they support more than one standard? or should the government impose standards on others. There was also a talk about the fact that a lot of existing solutions are in most cases sing closed protocols because those tools were mostly developed by companies in the private sector.
I am worrid about what is going to happen in 30 years, with no standard how could we open historical documents from the archives if we can’t open them?
Main Session with Tim Berners-Lee, founder of W3C
The opening session had quite an number of important people. the ministry of communication in Egypt, followed my the Prime Minister, this was quite an honor.
The lecture after them was smart and with a nice prospective - Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of W3C gave this talk. He started talking about how the http protocols were written, and how the count of web pages grew to be about the same amount of brain cells he has (joking that the difference is that the number of web pages is rising, and his brains cells number is going down) . Then he continued to tell how W3C had developed its agenda where everyone should be connected. They started working on multilingualism followed by attending the needs of people with disabilities, who actually find the web a lot easier to use for certain daily things. He continued to talk about the new mobile web and how most of he people I the world today are going to encounter the Internet for the first time in their lives via a cellphone and not a PC. His final statement was that W3C is launching a new organization called W3F, he tweeted this on stage, Sadly I could not re-tweet this because the Internet just crashed at that time.
Israelis in the IGF – ISOC IL and the Embassy
As I exited to the lobby I was approached to my surprise by someone talking to me in Hebrew. This was Oren Marmorstein from the Israeli Embassy in Egypt, who came all the way from Cairo to visit us. Apparently the Ministry of Communication told him about us. At the same time we finally found Rimon Levy, the head of Israeli Internet society (ISOC-IL), and all of a sudden there were 4 of us speaking Hebrew in the lobby.
A talk with Rimon on ISOC-IL and the new localized domain names
One of the hot topic in IGF this year is that they are launching this week what they call international domain names or IDN. This means we will have domain names in unicode supporting not only Latin characters. I asked Rimon if we are going to have those in Israel and how they will work.
He told me that the Israeli domains would actually be right-to-left. So the parsing of the links will go in the opposite direction (even when combining with English). There is also the question of who will be the IDN register in Israel. It seems important that we will make sure in Israel that the IDN control will not fall in to a commercial company hands, because this would mean the money spent on domains would not go back to the community.
Another thing I asked was how the Israeli domains are going to look like, ICANN who is in charge of domain registration requires that the county domains would contain something related to the country, although “. ישראל” Is quite long to be added to every Internet address. ISOC-IL did not come with a solution yet. So I would love to pass ISOC-IL suggestions for Israeli domain names here if you comment!
By the way, I asked Rimon why a few weeks ago there was a lot of criticism made by bloggers about the management of ISOC-IL and he said he is not really sure himself, so if any of you bloggers are reading I would like you to comment on this (flame responsibly).
The Big Dinner and a talk with one of the founders of the Internet
Dima is among other things trying to compile a biography of Jon Postel, one of the key people during the founding of the Internet, at a certain time he was the person you had to give a phone call to register a domain. At the dinner, we were introduced by Walda (that I met in ITU Telecom 2008) to a person called Robert Kahn, who knew John and actually passed the domain registration work to him after he found it to be too annoying.
Robert told us all along the dinner stories on how the Internet was formed. It was fascinating! I was peculiarly fascinated by the fact that he is the one that invented the format of IP addresses where you have to separate the bytes by a dots (like 127.0.0.1). He did that to distinguish between Internet IPs and the ARPANET addresses. He told us how they tried to implement other communication systems before they Internet that did not work (using radio and satellites among other things), how finally they arrived to Internet and how they got it bridged with other networks that existed at the time. He told us how slowly the world took interest in the Internet and that it became all of a sudden a worldwide network, interesting organizations like the ITU, UN and countries.
Tomorrow is my last day, so I hope I will manage to blog