Archive for April 2016

Chinese investors eye top Italian football clubs

Two of Italy’s top football clubs, Inter Milan and its rival AC Milan, said they have been approached by Chinese groups either seeking a stake or offering strategic partnerships.

In what could indicate the latest potential Chinese foray into European football, a 12-person delegation from Suning Commerce Group, one of China’s largest privately owned retailers, visited Inter Milan last Friday and Saturday. Club chief spokesperson Robert Faulkner said the visiting delegation was headed by chairman of Nanjing-based Suning, Zhang Jindong,

AC Milan, meanwhile, said it had received several expressions of interest in acquiring a stake, including from some Chinese groups. Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is chairman of the club and his company Fininvest is the holding company for AC Milan.

With further details of the potential deals yet to emerge, analysts said the recent moves on Milan clubs fit a broader effort by Chinese interests to invest in European football.

“As China pursues its sport industry vision and its football goals, it is highly likely that we will see more European club acquisitions,” said Simon Chadwick, Professor of Sports Enterprise at Salford Business School in Manchester.

Buying a European football club is a great way of learning how to run all aspects of the game and can also generate revenue, said Chadwick, adding “at another level, buying a club contributes to a diversified business portfolio, something that aligns with the conglomeration of some Chinese entertainment businesses.”

Strong Chinese interest in European soccer stems in part from the ambition heralded by President Xi Jinping to raise the quality of soccer in China, with an eye to winning a World Cup bid and perhaps one day winning the tournament.

The most prominent acquisitions so far are the purchase of a 13 per cent stake in the company that owns Manchester City football club, worth $400 million, by China Media Capital and CITIC Capital; and the 20 per cent of shares in Spanish football club Atletico Madrid bought by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda.

At Fininvest, spokesman Simone Finotello said no deal on AC Milan had been finalized. “There is still not a well-defined timetable; the dialog is ongoing. The decision to sell or not a share of the club and the definition of the size of this share will be taken by AC Milan’s chairman Mr Silvio Berlusconi,” he said.

Inter Milan’s Faulkner said the purpose of Suning’s visit was to discuss a potential strategic partnership between Inter Milan and Suning Commerce Group, including potential capital investment from Suning and opportunities for the club in China that might be related to the Inter Milan brand.

Different forms of partnerships have been raised, such as football and commercial partnerships, said Faulkner, who stressed that no decision was reached at the initial discussions.

As the Chinese group owns Jiangsu Suning football club, Faulkner explained, they are also very interested in the Italian club’s academy structure and its training centre.

Faulkner said Inter Milan has been in discussion with three or four potential investors, but “the discussions with Suning are probably at the most advanced stage as they came to visit us in Milan.”

Chinese interest in Italy’s Serie A clubs is inevitable given the country’s positive predisposition towards Italian football. Italian football was among the first leagues screened in China in the 1980s. Italian football clubs have in general suffered from underinvestment over the last decade, according to Chadwick.

“One of the key issues in Italy is that the clubs are inexpensive, so they’re relatively cheap to buy and the ownership is not regulated in the same way as it is in Germany,” said Chadwick, adding that outside investors are currently unable to acquire outright control of a German club because of the so-called ‘50+1′ rule.

“It means that the fans always have a majority share in their club and I think it’s an acknowledgment by the German football association and by the German government that football clubs play a special socio-cultural role,” Chadwick added.

Chadwick said one of the reasons that there has not been a significant interest from China in English clubs is because they are too expensive.

“For example, if you were interested in buying Manchester United you’d be looking to pay upwards of £1 billion. Whereas to buy AC Milan, which in global terms is arguably just as powerful as Manchester United, it is going to cost you considerably less,” said Chadwick.

Xi stresses science and technology

For the second time in a week, President Xi Jinping has emphasized the important role of science and technology in powering China’s development.

Speaking at a symposium on internet and cyberspace security on April 19 in Beijing, he called for China to make a breakthrough in next-generation internet technologies.

On Tuesday, at one of the events highlighted most by Chinese media during his field-study tour of Anhui province, Xi visited the University of Science and Technology of China, in Hefei, the provincial capital.

He visited the province from Sunday to Wednesday.

At the university’s Institute of Advanced Technology, Xi was shown achievements in areas ranging from artificial intelligence to public security, and from drones to alternative energy.

He visited the control center of the 2,000-kilometer Beijing-Shanghai quantum communication main network, due to become fully operational in the second half of this year, and the university’s Laboratory of Physic Science for Advanced Medical Application.

Talking to faculty members, researchers and students, Xi praised the university’s recent progress in innovation and new technologies.

He urged his audience to show a greater “sense of mission” by educating more people and making greater achievements in the new frontiers of science and technology.

An economy of China’s size would be unsustainable if it relied entirely on imports for its new science and technologies, Xi said.

Zhang Xiaojun, vice-president of Anhui Huami Information Technology, which has investment from Chinese mobile phone producer Xiaomi, was one of the high-tech company leaders who met with the president.

He said he thinks Xi’s comments will greatly encourage technology companies like his, and he is more confident in serving the Chinese economy with smart wearable gadgets.

Yao Hongyu, CEO of Beijing-based cloud computing and big data company Yoyo Systems, said he thought the president was saying in Anhui that the next 10 years is the best time for China to build up its power in new technologies.

He said the country’s current scientific research capability still lags behind many developed nations, and most of the core components of China’s industrial robots are imported.

Yao added that it will be “a long and tough journey” for the country to improve its capability on core technologies.

He said State-owned companies and government departments should buy domestic brands to support the development of China’s science and technology, and the nation needs to develop core technology in fields such as cloud computing and big data.

During his Anhui trip, Xi visited the village of Xiaogang, which was one of China’s poorest four decades ago and took a lead in the country’s economic reform and opening-up in the late 1970s.

He also visited mountainous Jinzhai county, where many farmers are beginning to use solar power to change their lives under the government program to eliminate poverty.

The Internet Governance Forum-USA Needs Your Help!

The power of the multistakeholder model lies in the ideas that come from its participants. Now, stakeholders in the U.S. have the chance to have their voices and ideas heard as they shape the programming of the 2016 Internet Governance Forum-USA (IGF-USA).

The 2016 IGF-USA will take place on 14 July in Washington, D.C., at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In order to have an IGF-USA that best represents the interests of the community, the IGF-USA planning committee is asking U.S.-based stakeholders to take a brief survey about the subjects they would like to see covered this year. Completing this survey helps ensure that the issues you care about are covered in the program.

The survey can be taken at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MGMBBT2. It will remain open until 18 April.

The IGF-USA is a multistakeholder effort to illuminate issues and cultivate constructive discussions about the future of the Internet. It provides a forum for U.S. stakeholders to engage civil society, government, technologists, research scientists, industry and academia. It helps to create partnerships, coalitions and dialogues that demonstrate best practices and help move policy forward.

Regional and national IGF meetings are taking place all around the world. While these events are organized on a local level and have no formal ties to the global IGF, the United Nations’ IGF Secretariat recognizes the importance of these regional and national events, and reports from these meetings are shared at the international gatherings.

For more information about the IGF-USA, please visit www.igf-usa.org/.

David Vyorst is Co-Chair, IGF-USA and Executive Director, Greater Washington DC Chapter of the Internet Society

Joe Catapano is Program Manager, ICANN Global Stakeholder Engagement, North America.

Sowing the Seeds of Diplomacy: Striving to Meet the Demands of an Evolving Internet Governance Landscape

ICANN’s growth and continued globalization efforts have created many opportunities for internal and external cooperation and collaboration. These elements are the core of ICANN’s Development and Public Responsibility Department’s (DPRD) efforts to strengthen the multistakeholder Internet governance model by supporting, broadening and diversifying its stakeholder base.

ICANN’s global nature means that many of the issues it faces are multidimensional. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Often, ICANN must employ innovative approaches that take into account local needs, while respecting and balancing those of the broader Internet governance ecosystem. In pursuing innovation, DPRD serves as an incubator and testbed for new ideas. Many of these efforts take the form of pilot projects. DPRD also hosts ICANN Learn – an open, online learning platform designed to maintain institutional knowledge, provide connection with peers, and increase understanding about how the ecosystem works.

Broadening ICANN’s prospective stakeholder base requires understanding the importance and nuances of ICANN’s work in the local context. When viewed through this lens, it becomes clear that for ICANN to carry out its mission successfully, it must invest in contributing to a healthy Internet governance ecosystem.

Over the past two years, through targeted, collaborative partnerships with relevant actors, DPRD has enabled mechanisms to empower stakeholders. These mechanisms have led to greater participation in ICANN processes, particularly for stakeholders from developing regions. DPRD’s flagship programs, the Fellowship Program and NextGen@ICANN, have consistently delivered on this objective.

More recently, DPRD partnered with the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to hold the first Spring Institute in Internet Diplomacy, from 13–19 March 2016. The idea for this collaboration came from my own experience at the USC Summer Institute of Public Diplomacy four years ago. At this event, after years as a public diplomacy practitioner, I was reacquainted with the many public diplomacy strategies available to address a wide range of global issues. I also felt a need to inform decision-makers from across sectors and geographies about the challenges presented by the speed and international nature of the Internet. These issues will require increased, long-term cooperation from a multitude of actors and networks.

ICANN’s involvement in this project is a clear signal of its commitment to improving understanding about the multistakeholder model and to exploring synergies with other fields. The USC course was an opportunity to start establishing a new generation of global advocates for multistakeholder governance. Participants were supplied with the tools necessary to explore new channels for effective communication and collaboration.

The immersive week-long course brought together distinguished speakers to exchange views and examine the socioeconomic and political implications of Internet-related issues. A considerable amount of class time was taken to discuss public diplomacy and public engagement issues and approaches. Academics explored topics beyond their own areas of expertise, promoting greater understanding and exploring commonalities. The program drew 20 participants from 13 different countries – from civil society, government, the private sector, and technical and academic communities. The group benefitted from learning about proven methods and frameworks. This was also an opportunity to create a network of academics and practitioners that could further collaborative efforts for years to come.

The Spring Institute is a good example of a pilot program with tremendous potential. In addition to serving as a springboard for future collaborative efforts among diverse stakeholders, programs like this can also promote a better understanding of the complexities and benefits of multistakeholder governance. Internet diplomacy remains a largely uncharted territory. The infusion of public diplomacy tools into the Internet governance space could encourage new partnerships and strengthen existing collaborations – with a goal of addressing current and future Internet issues. Innovative approaches that transcend traditional models of cooperation are imperative to meet and adapt to the needs of an evolving ecosystem.

With this in mind, we are exploring the option of holding another Institute on Internet Diplomacy sometime in 2017. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months!

Please email questions, suggestions or general feedback to dprd@icann.org.

Documentation is Key to Recovering Hijacked Domain Names

When victims of domain name hijackings contact our Security Team for guidance, we will ask about the circumstances relating to the attack. We’ll ask whether they have contacted their hosting provider, registrar, or law enforcement. We next ask, “do you have any way to demonstrate to your sponsoring registrar that the registration or use of the domain is rightfully yours?”
Sadly, many parties who contact us haven’t considered that they will have to prove that the domain is theirs to use. Some parties contact us only after they’ve already experienced difficulties when they’ve tried to recover their domain names. They’ll ask, “Why is the recovery process so hard?”
In this post, we discuss domain name hijacking or domain registration account hacking and identify documentation that you might use should you or your organization fall victim to either of these attacks.
The Threat Landscape
Domain hijacking, theft, or registration account attacks typically result in one of two types of consequences: (1) the attacker changes DNS configuration, so that name resolution for the domain is performed by a name server not operated by (or for) the victim, or (2) the attacker alters registration contact information and effectively takes control of any domains registered under the compromised account.
In cases where the attackers want to keep the name, domain thieves may alter the registration data (WHOIS) associated with a domain name, because this is the immediate, most accessible “proof.” They may alter payment information. They may transfer the domain name to a new registrar: the new registrar will have information about its customer, but may not have any registration activity history. Any of these factors can make the recovery process long and trying.
Recovery Procedures
You should first contact your domain registrar. You can use ICANN’s WHOIS service to identify your registrar and the accredited registrar list to obtain additional contact information. Additional information is available at the Domain Name Holders FAQ. In other cases, procedures for resolving domain name disputes are well defined; for example, you can submit a complaint regarding an unauthorized transfer of your domain name to another party, a trademark infringement, or a dispute between you and your registrar.
You will need to provide documentation to registrars or dispute resolution service provider that proves an association existed between you, the complainant (the one who has legitimately registered the domain name) and the hijacked domain name or account, prior to the incident. (Note that the UDRP is a forum for trademark disputes.)
Documentation is Key
Some or all of the following “paper trail” can serve as proof that you have a prior claim to the rights to use a domain name over a party or organization identified as the registrant in a hijacked domain name registration record:
A domain history, i.e., copies of registration records that show you or your organization as the registrant of record for the hijacked domain.
Billing records or email receipts demonstrating that you or your organization has maintained account currency.
System or web logs, or archives illustrating that the hijacked domain name has been associated with content published you have published on a web or other form of hosting site.
A history of financial transactions that associate you or your organization with the hijacked domain name. Increasingly, credit cards or bank statements provide purchase details: merchandise– along with the merchant name, business address and contact phone numbers. The hijacked domain name may appear as the merchandise, and the registrar as the merchant name.
Telephone directories (Yellow pages), marketing material, etc. that contain advertising that associate the hijacked domain name with your organization.
Correspondence from registrars relating to the hijacked domain name; for example, the annual WHOISreporting notice, renewal notices, notices of DNS change, telephone call records, etc., or generally any correspondence sent or placed to email or postal addresses or telephone numbers of you, your employees or your legal agents.
Legal documents, for example, a contract for the sale of a business that contains a clause such as “as a condition of sale, seller agrees that the domain name shall be transferred to buyer”.
Tax filings, business tax notices, etc. that associate you or your organization with the hijacked domain name.
This list is representative of the type of information that might be useful. Some or perhaps all of these documents might require corroboration from other parties (i.e., credit card companies, tax collectors/IRS etc.) or a notary stamp or equivalent. Presenting these kinds of documentation to the current sponsoring registrar of the hijacked domain may be sufficient to justify a return of the domain or restoration of correct DNSconfiguration data.
If you haven’t prepared for the possibility of a domain hijacking by gathering proofs of your rights to use, we encourage you to do so now.