Beyond the Dot: Featured Speaker Scott Bradner discusses GDPR

author portrait

March 28, 2018

By jbourne

Mr. Scott Bradner, Harvard Extension School professor and former ARIN, IETF, and Internet Society Trustee is widely recognized as one of the few first-person historians on the creation and development of the Internet.


FairWinds Partners is pleased and honored to have Mr. Bradner as our guest speaker at our next Beyond the Dot luncheon and networking event at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, MA later this month.


2018 is off to a fast start with ICANN’s efforts to comply with the European Union’s new regulations on the use of personal data, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). There are many views of the GDPR’s impact on the domain industry and they vary widely from registries, registrars, and global corporations.


We took the opportunity to ask Mr. Bradner some questions about the impact of the GDPR on the broader area of Internet governance.


What are your thoughts on how the ICANN community is preparing for GDPR enforcement?

ICANN has had its head in the sand until very recently. Now we are seeing them run around in chicken-with-its-head-cut-off mode trying to figure out what to do. May 25th is a couple of months off now. ICANN should have been preparing more than a year ago to determine what was going to be needed to comply so that they had enough time to work through the details.

How do you think the Internet will change as a result of GDPR?

In theory, the Internet will be a better place for users, but because of the vast disparity of how U.S. corporations treat the activities of their users and how GDPR expects users to be treated, there will be serious problems.


Is there anything creators of the Internet or ICANN could have done differently to anticipate privacy concerns?

It is not to do with the creators of the Internet or ICANN; it is the business model of the U.S. companies that most Internet services are predicated on – paying for a service by letting more and more information about your activity to be analyzed to determine the ads to provide the highest likelihood that you will respond– that is incompatible with GDPR.


Some of this was predicted when the original IETF RFC for cookies was debated. The idea that a telephone company could record every URL you visit would be unthinkable in Europe… GDPR makes the model of the surveillance economy unviable unless the service provider is positive that none of its customers can be EU citizens, not an easy thing to be positive about.

Continue the Conversation

Please join us on April 12 to continue the conversation with Mr. Bradner as he recounts the early days of the Internet and describes how the last 5 decades explain today’s Internet and where it is heading.


We will also hear from domain name insiders on the latest updates from ICANN61 in Puerto Rico, as well as the evolution of cyber security threats and enforcement strategies to combat them.


This is a private event with limited space available.  If you would like to attend, please contact us at to request an invitation.

Share on Social

Author portrait

About jbourne