We are seeing interesting changes in the namespaces that people use. No, I do not mean XML namespaces (that really would be a bit geeky to post even on my blog). I mean more generally.
On the internet we are familiar with the idea of domain names. They are used for web pages and email and so on.
Domain names have a number of challenges. The fact there are many top level domains and not just one that applies for a specific application. The original concept was to segregate the different uses, e.g. .uk for UK domains, .org for non profit organisations, etc. But the whole think has got complicated. Some countries exploit (why not?) their country code, e.g. .tv for TV shows. Some people get domains in the wrong top levels (e.g. non ISPs using .net domains). And then I even see normal companies with domains within .uk.net which is so wrong I don't know where to start.
What is also interesting is the way domain names have changed from a simple entry in a register and the associated NS record in the DNS system, to a valuable resource which comes to the attention of governments. The UK has recent legislation governing the way domains are managed so that they can, if they wish, step in to manage people like Nominet (who manage most of the .uk space).
But it is moving too quickly for governments, and in fact, government meddling just confuse things more. If the .uk name space gets tinkered with by government it will simply means people will move to other name spaces.
We are seeing them emerge already. People use twitter tags, and facebook names, and so on.
I even saw, today, a TV advert for a car. A Toyota Highlander. The obvious web site name to quote would be something like www.toyota.com/highlander. In fact, it is the right web site for details of that car (I just guessed it). On the TV advert they have youtube.com/highlander. It has a slightly amusing extended advert as a video.
So this shows that the advertisers decided the youtube namespace was the one to use for their advert not the domain name name space. Yes, you have to use domains to get to youtube.com (for now). I have also seen adverts saying to search for X or google for X rather than quoting a web site. The number of people I see typing a URL in to a google search box is scary (I bet google have stats for that).
The government has no control over all of the namespaces. They may legislate to get involved in Nominet, for example, but so what. They cannot control all of the namespaces that will be used, and become important resources for UK industry. So one wonders why they even try...
But then the government want to snoop on our internet traffic anyway and you wonder why they are bothering with that anyway.