InfoNetworks is an international technology firm, providing information services and consulting to businesses and professionals worldwide. InfoNetworks’ founders, Michael Palage and Frank Cona, have been engaged in online legal, policy, governance, and technology issues for over twenty years.
The modern public Internet has transformed how people interact and has become the common medium for virtually all types of transactions. Recognizing the Internet’s potential, Frank and Michael first joined together in 1996 to create solutions for critical issues facing this new medium.
At that time, they created a suite of intellectual property related solutions. The IP DragNet was a search and reporting tool that leveraged their proprietary “meta-engine” technology to enable organizations to conduct business intelligence (such as tracking the use of their brands and other intellectual property) on the Internet. The IP DragNet was one the earliest fully automated tools for capturing brand information and processing meta data online. With patented web site verification technology, their Cyber Registry system was a precursor of today’s site verification seals and tools.
As thought leaders in adapting the law and technology to the online world, Frank and Michael have consulted and presented extensively for businesses, universities, and professionals on many “critical issues in cyberspace.” This has included a number of lead edge projects like The Virtual Magistrate, developed by the Cyberspace Law Institute, the American Arbitration Association, and the Center for Information Law and Policy under grant from the National Center for Automated Information Research (NCAIR). The Virtual Magistrate was one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) platforms.
Their resulting article for the Buffalo Law Review, Focus on Cyberlaw: Applications of Online Systems in Alternative Dispute Resolution, 45 BUFF. L. REV. 975, 990-91 (1997) is regularly cited in professional articles discussing ODR systems.
With the formation of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in 1998 and the establishment of the current domain name system, InfoNetworks also became one of the original ICAAN-accredited domain name registrars. This enabled InfoNetworks to provide a full range of online services, from domain name management to brand monitoring and enforcement solutions.
In 2001, Frank and Michael each turned to new challenges facing the Internet and online systems.
As the founder and president of Pharos Global, Michael is deeply involved in ICANN, providing consulting services to various registration authorities within the domain name ecosystem: gTLD registries, ccTLD registries, and registrars. These registration authorities have included for-profit and not-for-profit companies in the private sector as well as governmental and inter-governmental entities in the public sector.
During his twenty years of engagement within ICANN and the domain name community, Michael has held numerous leadership positions, including a three-year term on the ICANN Board of Directors. Michael has also lectured and participated in various panels internationally on a wide range of complex Internet governance issues. He has testified before the United States Congress on multiple occasions and has served as an expert witness in numerous state and federal court proceedings.
In 2016, Michael began to see that the evolving legal and governance issues surrounding distributed ledger technology (aka “blockchain” or “DLT”) paralleled the evolution of the domain name space and ICANN. Over the past two years, Michael has written and spoken in various forums on the potentially transformative nature of “blockchain” technology and emerging legal and governance issue that will need to be resolved. In particular, Michael has become deeply involved in client compliance efforts surrounding the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Leveraging the unique characteristics of blockchain / DLT, Michael has explored how this technology could potentially solve some of the challenges involving GDPR and Privacy by Design.
Frank is the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for ADT, a leading provider of monitored security and home automation technology for the “Internet of Things,” and was previously Managing Intellectual Property Counsel for Tyco International, the former parent of ADT and a worldwide leader in providing fire protection and electronic security (now part of Johnson Controls).
With over twenty years of experience in the legal and business practices of global Fortune 500 companies, Frank has had the opportunity to drive innovation, technology partnerships, and technology transactions with ADT, and with Tyco before that. In particular, Frank has been actively involved in driving Security and Privacy by Design for the Internet of Things, and in working with leading “IoT” organizations on policies and standards for IoT devices and systems.
With ever-growing concerns over security and data privacy, there is currently a paradigm shift happening in digital identity and data privacy, and “blockchain” and other technologies have the potential to transform the online world in much the same way as the Internet itself.
Recognizing this, InfoNetworks was reborn in 2017, with a particular interest in fostering solutions that best address the legal and other challenges arising from the use of digital identity on a global, cross-border basis.