ICANN Considers Relaxing Domain Registration Privacy; Automattic Objects

Transparency Report

We’ve said it time and time again: user privacy is important to us. We’re vigilant about protecting it on WordPress.com, and we’re always on the lookout, ready to weigh in on policy proposals that might curtail the privacy that we and our users value so highly.

Today, our focus turns to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization responsible for coordinating the internet’s naming system, such as domain names. ICANN is currently considering a proposal that would prohibit many domain owners from using privacy and proxy registration services.

What exactly does this mean? If you’ve ever registered a domain (and millions of you on WordPress.com have), you may have noticed an option to make your personal information, such as your name, address, and phone number, private. This is great for those who want to publish anonymously or those who simply value more privacy. However, ICANN is considering precluding anyone who uses a domain for “commercial” purposes from private…

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A perfect EFF score! We’re proud to have your back.

The WordPress.com Blog

Concerns about online privacy and illicit government snooping are at the top of users’ minds, now more than ever. We appreciate that you trust us to safeguard your sensitive information on WordPress.com, and Automattic has a long-standing commitment to defending your rights and holding firm against legal bullying and over-reaching government requests. We work to have the most stringent, user-friendly policies possible within the law, and to be as transparent as we can about information requests we receive and how we respond to them.

Our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization dedicated to defending your digital rights, recognized our efforts in their latest annual Who Has Your Back report, which evaluates the user privacy practices of prominent online service providers. We’re proud to receive a perfect score of five stars on the report, one of only nine (out of 24) companies to earn that honor. You can learn more about EFF’s evaluation criteria

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How Did I Miss This?

I can’t help but love jokes about tech and legal terms. From the “GryzzlBox” episode of Parks and Recreation:

Ron Swanson, with a massive stack of paper: This is the 27th version of the Pawnee-Gryzzl free wireless internet thing agreement. Check out the page I marked.

Ben Wyatt: Yeah, “Gryzzl is not allowed to collect and use customer data for any purpose.” It’s pretty clear. See? 

Ron Swanson: Look closer. Amendment C, addendum 14. It directs you to this appendix, which reroutes you to this one, which says, in a sub-footnote… [hands Ben Wyatt more stacks of paper and a magnifying glass].

Ben: It says here they can gather and use any information they want. …How did I miss this?

Join Us in the Fight For Net Neutrality

The WordPress.com Blog

“Net Neutrality” is the simple but powerful principle that cable and broadband providers must treat all internet traffic equally. Whether you’re loading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming House of Cards on Netflix, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your internet provider can’t degrade your connection speed, block sites, or charge a toll based on the content that you’re viewing.

Net neutrality has defined the internet since its inception, and it’s hard to argue with the results: the internet is the most powerful engine of economic growth and free expression in history. Most importantly, the open internet is characterized by companies, products, and ideas that survive or fail depending on their own merit — not on whether they have preferred deals in place with a broadband service provider. Unfortunately, the principle of net neutrality, and the open internet that we know and love, is under attack.

Net Neutrality under…

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The WordPress.com Transparency Report

Our first transparency report has been published! #nerdingout

The WordPress.com Blog

Automattic’s mission is to democratize publishing, and a fully informed citizenry is the foundation of any functioning democracy. Keeping our users and the public fully informed about our policies on responding to government requests has always been important to us — and now, more than ever, candor in this area is vitally important.

In keeping with these principles, we’re pleased to release our first transparency report. This initial report summarizes the number of government information requests, takedown demands, and national security requests that we received during the second half of 2013. In addition to giving our users full transparency about the volume of these requests, we also hope that publicly reporting our data will help hold all parties (including us) accountable.

A few highlights of our report:

Information Requests. For the second half of 2013, approximately 0.0001% of the 48 million sites that we host were subject to a…

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