------- Forwarded Message
Subject: IP: CLINTON ADMINSITRATION TO ESTABLISH PUBLIC AUTHORITY (NEW IANA
CORP.) TO RUN INTERNET Why I Find the White Paper Process to Have
Been a Fraud - Magaziner's so called open process is ending in
ultimatums and deals - A Shadow Government for the Internet
"[PUBLIC] Authorities constitute a permanent, expansionist government,
collecting and spending more and more public money, running up
more and more public debt, and making more and more critical
decisions on the public's behalf with each passing day. And
because authorities do all this out of site - and beyond the
control - of the general public, they constitute, finally, a
Shadow Government." J. William Semich's 1989 definition of public
authority which at the end of this article he shows the internet to be.
The Department of Commerce is in the midst of pushing the pedal to the
floor to get its way in reshaping the Internet. The White Paper process
has been derailed.... going from open meetings in July and August to closed
door non public bartering sessions in September. The consensus sought by
open means has, as the Clinton administration seeks to "devolve" the NSI
monopoly, been devolved into a closed-door series of secret 'u' turns at
the highest levels of the US government. I have been trying to follow
recent leads to get answers to questions, get a clearer picture and second
source material only to find that my sources have suddenly dried up.
Someone clearly has issued orders.
Since they are free to slam doors shut, I am free to summarize my knowledge
of the gap between the promise and reality of the so-called "open process"
behind the White Paper. That process I contend has been a sham. Started
possibly with good intentions it has now become subject to naked power
Consider Some of the Events of the Summer.
The DOC waited until the second week of July to sit down with NSI. When
the meeting occurred NSI was handed a 'terms sheet'. The terms essentially
informed NSI that it would be treated as a LEC and forced to unbundle its
services. And price them to competitors at the same prices as to itself.
The only problem was unlike the CLEC world where CLEC attorneys have to
negotiate endlessly with LEC attorneys, terms and conditions of
interconnection, NSI software systems would have to be given to the US
government with full warranties that they would work when placed on their
competitor's computers. What may never have occurred to Becky and Ira --
as they are imposing their public authority, top down model on the Internet
- -- is that the very reason unbundling was forced on the RBOCs was that the
RBOCs are big enough so that the alleged competitive solution would not
seriously effect them. NSI does not have the financial depth to survive if
it were forced to endure the bizarre solution of being required to warranty
and maintain on behalf of its competitors the systems that it developed.
The white paper called for "negotiations", which normally implies an
element of discussion involving some exchange of ideas.. NSI returned
comments on the "terms" to NTIA which said "no thank you. The terms are
NOT NEGOTIABLE" and returned the paperwork to NSI with the instructions to
dismember the 80% per cent of its business represented by the .com, .org
and .net registries. Ira asserted in a July interview with me that the
government aim was NOT out to deprive NSI of .com or put it out of business
but only out to ensure that it share .com registrations. What I am told
happened does not seem to me to be consonant with that assurance. When
NTIA refused to negotiate about any of the terms, NSI decided that the best
way it could maintain its fiduciary responsibility to its stock holders was
to simply refuse to sign the extension of the cooperative agreement that
was being demanded of it. Come September 30 it figured that the
cooperative agreement would expire.
As far as I know there has never been a situation where the holder of a
cooperative agreement was forced by the US government to continue the
cooperative agreement against its will. Only in a case of formal "takings"
under the doctrine of "eminent domain" (which implies an overriding
government interest that would appear inconsistent with the announced White
House intent to disengage from involvement) can the government compel the
use of private property for a public purpose and in such cases compensation
must be paid.
Consequently, NSI reasoned that if it simply declined NTIA's offer, it
could probably survive. After all, if NSI did not chose to cooperate,
could the Department of Commerce take over its database and resister and
bill for 140,000 new registrations per month? Not likely. Meanwhile the
government rested its case that since, during the cooperative agreement NSI
had always accepted the authority of the US gov't as exercised by the NSF,
all it needed to do was tell NSI that the gov't was now exercising its
authority that NSI dismantle 80% of its business and that it expected
Things dragged on until Monday September 28 when something new happened.
When NSI was unwilling to accept nationalization by Magaziner and Burr, the
DOC and DOJ walked out of the room, left NSI cooling its heels for 2 hours
and walked back in handing NSI an ultimatum. NSI still didn't sign.
Therefore the crisis session spilled over into Tuesday and by Tuesday
afternoon Magaziner had used some kind of ace such that, rather let the CA
expire, NSI signed a one week extension. An act that most of it friends
considered unwise and an action that its enemies considered tantamount to
suicide if it refused. They did not refuse. One wonders what weapon the
White House and NTIA hung over their head? Of course it's also possible
that SAIC (a major government contractor) was willing for NSI to be
eviscerated to maintain their "good relationship" with the United States
Everyone agrees that if NSI doesn't sign and accept the government
"nationalization" of the 80% of NSI's business represented by .com, .org
and .net represented by the non negotiable "terms" that the two parties
will wind up in court. This is an action that will certainly destabilize
the internet. The question is what is NTIA's motivation? Why would the
White House be willing to take the internet to the brink of a split and
resultant chaos to end the "NSI monopoly" when it is effectively ended
already at the registrar level and other companies are selling thousands of
.coms per month? The response that one hears is a doctrinaire: "they
still have a financial advantage - one which we simply cannot permit." And
besides.... why the secrecy? What are NTIA and the White House hiding?
After I started revealing what they were doing to NSI I have never heard so
many doors slam in my face so quickly. Someone has been made very afraid.
It is clear that the intransigence is motivated in part by the Europeans
more on that in a moment. In the meantime the grade school level of
preparation on the part of the administration is made clear by the issue of
the root servers. Ira has made many statements as far back as last winter
that his goal was to find a new home for the root servers and to harden
them and enhance them. And yet in the final hours nothing has been
accomplished and NTIA asked NSI for documentation on how to run a root
server--presumably the A server. Told that no documentation existed, she
instructed NSI to write it and give it to her with a warrantee that it
would work! I ask what if the FCC had gone to AT&T in the 1984 divestiture
and said: develop an operations manual for your competitors?
Lets look at Becky further. I finally ascertained the source of the US
government involvement. In December 1996 the patent and trademark office
in DOC prevailed upon the agency to send to OMB a request for the
publication of an NOI on DNS from the point of view of trademark issues in
the Federal register. OMB had to follow the rules of circular A119 before
going forward. Consequently it assembled the interagency task force on
DNS. Ira became aware of the PTO concern in December and in January he
also became aware that NSF was unhappy with the turn that IHAC was taking
and that NSF was seeking internal authorization to end the Cooperative
Agreement on April 1, 1997. He decided that intervention was called for to
keep the internet from future destabilization. In one of the first
meetings of the interagency task force, a participant remembers that a
commerce department representative bragged that she had gotten the PTO to
recognize the importance of DNS and had also taken it upon herself to go to
WIPO and brief them in order to be sure that they staked their claim. In
1995, 1996, and 1997 the PTO aggressively pursued an agenda of expanding
trademark rights over domain names by working in lock step with WIPO. The
PTO work was done without any public notice or comment in the US. PTO
representative Lynn Beresford chaired the WIPO consultative meetings on
trademarks and domain names during 1997 in constant consultation with Al
Tramposch an IAHC member and the WIPO staff member responsible for these
issues. The December 1996 DOC/PTO draft notice of inquiry was essentially
Lynn Beresford's stacked deck in line with the agenda above.
Meanwhile in January 1997 someone, whom I have not as yet been able to
identify reached out and grabbed Beckwith Burr from the FTC. Burr was
brought first into OMB where in February and March she worked for Sally
Katzen before being shipped on to NTIA in the spring where she and Brian
Kahin took charge of the interagency task force. It is not hard to imagine
that big corporations liked the idea of taking an enforcer from FTC and
moving her to Commerce to be their agent for trademarks. However, for me
it is an interesting discovery to hear from a trusted inside source that
when Ira Magaziner got involved and started working with Becky Burr at
NTIA, the combined effort of these two people did take the process from the
closed door bias of PTO into NTIA, which is a somewhat more neutral forum.
And at NTIA they began to look at a wider set of issues. With the result
that in the summer of 1997 NTIA did issue the well known NOI which garnered
widespread public input.
At any rate, for the Patent and Trademark Office there was the smell of
big bucks in the air. For WIPO the payoff was a seat at the table of
Internet governance to protect their traditional publishing interests.
Remember WIPO as the source of the "database treaty" and demand of payments
for browser hits. In comparison DNS can be seen as trivial. DNS was a tool
that WIPO could use to embed itself into Internet governance. Furthermore
the Europeans like WIPO dispute resolution process. WIPO is another UN org
like ITU. The administration, in it's enthusiasm for WIPO and their global
economics model is siding with huge businesses who are eager to protect
their vested interests against upstarts like NSI, IO Design, Iperdome and
the Open Root Server Coalition.
By September of 1997 Becky and Brian Kahin had bought the socialist ITU
model of DNS as a public trust. Having done that made them see IAHC as the
only game in town. (Some readers may remember my FOIA battles with Kahin
last winter over his and Becky's meetings with ATT, IBM, Oracle and DEC.)
Feeling an ally in Becky, CORE moved forward and collected its $900,000 in
fees from its would be registrar's. However, on December 10, Ira informed
Jon Postel that he would not put the seven core domains in the rootservers.
On the morning of January 26 1998 with Christopher Wilkinson of the EC
looking and George Strawn of the NSF, I heard Ira explain to Scott Bradner
his concern that if Jon Postel gave into the folk who were pushing him to
defy the US gov't and put the CORE domains in the root servers he, Jon,
would go to jail because "when you are in control of a scarce resource, you
had better have a scrupulously neutral policy for the distribution of that
resource." Yet the irony of all this is that nearly a year later The white
House has bought the essentials of the POC/CORE/ISOC solution. The only
difference is that an IANA Board of people who will likely be sympathetic
to this way out is being chosen and so what was illegal in 1998 will likely
become legal in 1999.
The IANA Negotiations
After the CIX and AIM and ISOC announced the termination of the IFWP
process at the end of August it seemed that IANA and ISOC, which had not
given an inch (see Larry Lessig's Standard article) had won. Then
suddenly, after Ira, in an interview, had complained to me that he wanted
IANA and NSI at the negotiating table ASAP, IANA and NSI found themselves
in face-to-face talks in early September.
A joint Draft 4 resulted and was published on September 17th and for the
first time those of us who were not acolytes of IANA and who had been
angered by how Jon issued pronouncements from Olympus, had reason to hope
that the White House would insist that the consensus points of the IFWP
meetings be respected. Postel had ignored them but NSI had drafted a set
of bylaws that were admired by those of us not happy with Postel, and now
it seemed that NSI had gained an opportunity to negotiate and force Postel
into a more open and democratic position. The IANA - NSI Draft 4 was
admired. It was the only draft that paid serious attention to the
consensus points of the IFWP meetings -- meetings which many people took
seriously but which, I now suspect, were intended by the White House as
'window dressing' to legitimatize what was already planned and is now
On Monday the 21 Ira Magaziner, in an interview with me, called the draft
progress but said the two sides had to keep at the table and produce on
more before the requisite consensus would be there. However, during the
week of the 21 the Australian government and EC exploded. (The Australians
whose anger had been less well known were having fits because of Adam
Todd's rogue Australian root servers.)
Day after day went by without the publication of a new draft. Don Telage
was trying to handle both the negotiations with the IANA and DOC. I was
given the impression that negotiations went on during the weekend of the 26
and 27th. Then in the late evening of the 28th IANA dropped a bomb shell
and put out draft five alone.... with clauses d and e of section 4 Powers
of the by laws removed. These clauses were critical to NSI's interests but
also protected the interests of other (smaller) U.S. players such as IO
Designs and Iperdome.
Postel in his solo introduction to draft five said: "NSI is actively
engaged in the final negotiations with the United States Government over
the transition of its contractual relationship with the United States
Government. That is, understandably, its highest priority at the moment.
Given the shortness of time, it as not possible to wait for the conclusion
of those negotiations to release these new drafts. Many of the changes
contained in these new drafts have been discussed with NSI, as they have
been with many other stakeholders, but NSI bears no responsibility for
I and others accused Jon of hi-jacking the process. And taking out what
NSI had fought for when NSI's back was turned. Joe Sim's Postel's attorney
would only tell me my conclusions were erroneous. Sims was correct. I
have since ascertained that Sims and Postel were ordered to remove clauses
(d) and (e). I state this unequivocally. What I infer from this
information is that since NSI had not yet been sufficiently compliant with
the wishes of DOC and Becky Burr the US government retaliated against
Telage and NSI by telling Sims to go forward with draft five as an IANA
When the the open process was followed, clause (d) and (e) were put in the
document. When foreign governments and inveterate NSI haters screamed, any
last shred of openness disappeared. What the main stream press failed to
note was that ripping out (d) and (e) also deprived other (smaller) U.S.
entrepreneurs such as (IO Design's .web and Iperdome's .per of any standing.
I asked both to comment:
Christopher Ambler, founder of Image Online Design has pointed out that
"removing IV-1(e), the section that many have called "NSI protection" also
removes any protection that Image Online Design and other prospective
registries (like Iperdome and CORE, for example) might have, and tramples
the rights that Ira assured would be there."
Ambler continued that he felt that
"IV-1(e) being removed now clears the way for the ICANN board (a board
about which we know nothing, and the selection process of which is still
undefined) to make arbitrary decisions about how new TLDs will be created
without taking into account existing work. IANA gave the direction to a
number of entities, including Image Online Design and CORE, to create
systems and infrastructure for new registries. Without IV-1(e), the ICANN
board need not take this into account, and can, instead, choose to ignore
these existing entities. This can cause direct damage to these entities,
which have been relying on the original directives of IANA since 1995. For
a system that is supposed to promote competition and fairness, my view is
that it seems to have none of either."
Jay Fenello, president of Iperdome added:
"I concur with Chris. In addition, the failure of the Clinton
administration to abide by the goals as stated in the White Paper will
surely result in Congressional intervention. At this pace, we'll be lucky
if we ever see new TLDs -- or complete this transition process."
White House Spin picks up Speed
At 6:15 pm eastern time, September 30 news.com posted an article by-lined
by Courtney Macavinta. "We expect to receive the [IANA] proposal tomorrow
for the new organization. We'll post that for comment for a week,"
Magaziner said today. "Then we will consult with other governments in that
period. If there is just one proposal, we'll negotiate recognition of that
organization and then we will begin transitioning to it," he added.
Now I find this statement quite fascinating. "If there is just one
proposal" It wins he says. I say that he has every reason to understand
that there are three proposals. The first is the officially blessed
proposal from Jones and Day - that is to say draft 5 of September 28, 1998.
(With Jones and Day as a Washington law firm I wonder if it was doing
probono for Jon Postel, as had been assumed, or in reality was it on the
job at the behest of the White House? Consider the strange differences
between the FAQ that Jon wrote and the legal drafts that were supposed to
support it and didn't.)
The second proposal is draft four the NSI/IANA draft - the one that many of
those who could tolerate NSI liked. This draft was removed from the IANA
web page when it was disqualified by the alleged "open" process. The third
draft is the Boston working group draft, a final version of which was
published on web pages today. This draft prefers the NSI IANA draft but
feels that it is too favorable to NSI in some ways. Ira presumably
considers the NSI/IANA draft. But Ira has no right to consider the Boston
working group draft dead. The drafters say that they have informed Ira
that they wish him to recognize its existence. The irony is that the
Boston draft is the product of the *only* fully open process that occurred
this summer. If Ira ignores it and declares the Postel draft five the
winner he will make a complete mockery of a process that is already clearly
Consider the Board
Courtney Macavinta writes: "The ICANN board is supposed to be neutral and
include people who have not been involved in the ongoing heated debate over
the future of the domain name system. There will be four members from the
Americas, three from Europe, two from Asia, and a representative-at-large."
Ira told me on September 21 that he expected to see a slate of board
members floated by the 23rd when I published my most recent issue. They
would be nominees only. The purpose would be to find out whether there was
consensus for them. It didn't happen. What was pervasive was a deep
distrust of board members that Postel was felt to have chosen. An a fear
that they would be presented as a fait accompli. This fear was heightened
when EFF issued a press release saying that one its board members had
agreed to serve on the new IANA board. An announcement that astounded
those of use who had been assured that NO invitations had been made.
However last week a POC/CORE supporter met a colleague on the east coast
and told the colleague that a board with a heavy international
representation had been chosen sometime ago. This remember the US
Department of commerce alleges is an open process. I find it to be a fraud.
Courtney Macavinta writes: "It is likely that the ICANN board will be set
up, however. Names being floated in closed circles include the following:
Ron Bolger, a Telecom Eireann board member; H. Brian Thompson, a Qwest
Communications board member; Ray Smith, chairman of Bell Atlantic; Esther
Dyson of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Dennis Jennings, formerly of
the National Science Foundation; Jun Murai, a Net guru from Japan who
advises the Asia Pacific Networking Group; and Nii Quanor, a high-tech
entrepreneur from Ghana."
It seems that leaked to Courtney we now have many of the inside choices.
The EFF's Board Member Esther Dyson is there. As promised but not
identified in the press release. Bell Atlantic's Ray Smith is there
another person whose name I have heard floated. The old line phone company
representation is impressive. Telecom Eireland and Qwest. Now Qwest is
not old line but H Brian Thompson is the CEO of LCI the bell head IXC that
Qwest recently purchased. Jun Murai runs the Japanese root server and is a
close friend of Jon Postel. Nii Quanor runs the Ghana country code domain
for Jon. Dennis Jennings originated the NSFnet that Steve Wolff vastly
expanded. I am told that Dennis is Irish and is living in Ireland. It is
exceedingly unlikely that Ray Smith, Esther Dyson or H Brian Thompson have
much knowledge of the technical or historical details of the issues of
names, numbers or protocols and the stature of the board as extremely busy
non retired business people...(except for Jennings) makes it very likely
that the ICANN staff will be able to shepherd policy to suit itself.
Now Courtney does present a single very interesting dissent from Bill
Semich: "The latest set of proposed bylaws for the new IANA corporation are
completely devoid of any provisions to create any type of fiscal
accountability for the Internet's first all-powerful, government-sanctioned
independent authority," said William Semich, president and chief financial
officer of .NU Domain Limited. "Nowhere in the bylaws is there any
provision for any kind of independent fee-setting review process or for any
kind of independent budget review or hearing mechanism or approval process
for the budget, borrowing, or any other fiscal decisions," he added.
Cook: Such is the half baked pie that the pseudo open White paper process
has given us. Here is Semich's well-argued piece. HE OUGHT TO HAVE A
SEAT ON THE IANA BOARD. Consider his background. Consider also that he is
the Nuie Country Code TLD manager. Consider that the White House would
like Nii Quanor, the Ghana country code manager instead.
- - Director of Financial Analysis for the City of Boston
- - Chairman, Finance Committee, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority
Advisory Board (The MBTA's Budget Review and Approval body)
- - Financial Adviser to the Mayor of Boston for Tax Policy and Planning
- - Assistant to Collector-Treasurer, City of Boston
- - Deputy Director and Executive Secretary to the Board,
Boston Economic Development and Industrial Commission
- - Co-author, "Inside the Shadow Government," Boston Magazine, November,
1989, selected as one of the "Top 10 Magazine Investigations of 1989,"
by Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE);
- - Lead investigator and financial consultant, WBZ-TV Boston's "I-Team,"
in-depth 1995 investigative report on the Mass. Turnpike Authority's
actions over a ten year period to extend it's life using fiscal
- - Co-author, "The Money Pit," Boston Magazine, September, 1986,
investigative article on abuses by the Mass. Convention Center Authority
in its redevelopment of the Hynes Convention Center
New IANA that US Government Wants to Incorporate Has no Fiscal Accountability:
"If the bylaws are approved unchanged by the White House as the basis for
the Internet's first independent governance mechanism, the new Internet
Authority would be able to set a wide range of Internet-related fees of any
amount without constraint, float bonds of any amount which must be funded
by future revenues, as well as collect additional fees of any amount to
invest for undefined possible future needs, all such to be paid for by you,
me and our children, the Internet's users of today and tomorrow, without
their review, approval or control.
The new version of the proposed bylaws for the new Internet Authority will
likely be submitted today to Ira Magaziner of the White House, under the
terms of the White House "White Paper" released last January, to create the
replacement for the US Government's current contractual arrangement for
management of the Internet, which is set to expire today ( Sept. 30, 1998).
But the new bylaws are completely devoid of any provisions to create any
type of fiscal accountability for this, the Internet's first all-powerful,
government-sanctioned independent Authority.
Although the new bylaws make it clear that the source of the new Internet
Authority's revenues will be the Internet's end users and service
providers, it leaves all spending, borrowing, investment and other
financial decision-making solely in the hands of the Corporation's board of
directors, who's members specifically "have the duty to act in ... the best
interests of the Corporation and not as representatives of their Supporting
Organizations, employers or any other organizations or constituencies."
(Article V, Section 8)
Nowhere in the bylaws is the Board of Directors required to consult with
any outside groups, experts, or other interested parties on how best to set
its fees or plan its budget.
Nowhere in the bylaws is there any provision for any kind of independent
budget review or hearing mechanism or approval process for the budget,
borrowing, or any other fiscal decisions;
And nowhere in the bylaws is there any provision for any kind of
independent fee-setting review process or approval mechanism, either by
those who must pay the fees (the Supporting Organizations, who represent
the consumers of the services to be provided by the new Corporation) or by
any independent body of fiscal experts.
All these fiscal decisions are made solely by the new Internet Authority's
own Board of Directors. [Remark by Gordon Cook the in ordinate power given
the ICANN board of directors has been a steady criticism that has fallen on
deaf ears all summer long.]
The relevant language in the proposed new bylaws makes this absolute power
of the Board clear:
FIRST, it gives the board absolute control over any spending or borrowing
"Article IV, Section 1 (a)
"the powers of the Corporation will be exercised, its property controlled
and its business and affairs conducted by or under the direction of the
Board." SECOND, it gives the board absolute control over the fee setting
"Article IV, Section 2. FEES AND CHARGES
The Board shall set fees and charges for the services, rights and benefits
provided by the Corporation to the Supporting Organizations and others,
with the goal of fully recovering the reasonable costs of the operation of
the Corporation and establishing reasonable reserves for future expenses
and contingencies reasonably related to the legitimate activities of the
And THIRD, it gives the Board the sole authority and absolute control over
setting its annual budget, with no requirement that it actually meet that
budget or that the budget pass any kind of review process, all this in one
simple line of the new Bylaws:
"Article V, Section 25. ANNUAL BUDGET
The Board shall prepare an annual budget, which shall be published on the
These three phrases are the total extent of any language in the new bylaws
that might be construed as setting ANY spending, fee setting and raising,
budgeting, borrowing, investing or any other fiscal constraints on the
board of the new Internet Authority which will be the primary manager of
the single most important communications resource in the world.
Such an all-powerful and fiscally unaccountable organization as would be
created by the new bylaws is a classic textbook "Public Authority" in its
structure, and that is the crux of my problem with the fifth set of IANA
bylaws released on Sept. 29.
WHITE PAPER GIVES US A "PUBLIC AUTHORITY" with ABOLSUTE POWER AND WITHOUT
ANY ACCOUNTABILITY (my sub heading - Gordon Cook)
Look closely at any publicly-funded independent Authority in the US and you
will find a self-perpetuating, quasi-governmental organization whose
spending decisions cannot be challenged, who spends the public's money like
water, who has absolute power over its particular area of activity, but no
accountability to the public. In the present case of the bylaws for the
new Internet Authority, there is minimal accountability for its policy
decisions, and that is cause enough for concern. But there is NO
accountability for its borrowing, spending and fee-setting structure.
There needs to be some kind of mechanism in the new entity that will create
a counter-force to the typical Public Authority's inevitable desire to grow
and to spend more and more money and increase its sway in the world. .
The counter-force to spending increases could be a Budget Review Committee
solely comprised of the groups that will fund the new Internet Authority.
Or it could be a Finance Committee made up of independent, world-renowned
fiscal experts who have no vested interest in the new Internet Authority or
the Internet per se. Or it could be a committee of government finance
experts with experience bringing public spending into line. Or it could be
some combination of the above.
It would be a real tragedy if, in its first efforts at self-government, the
Internet community were to hand over management of the Internet to yet
another quasi-public Authority, who's essence is perhaps best defined in an
article I co-authored nearly ten years ago:
"Authorities constitute a permanent, expansionist government, collecting
and spending more and more public money, running up more and more public
debt, and making more and more critical decisions on the public's behalf
with each passing day. And because authorities do all this out of site -
and beyond the control - of the general public, they constitute, finally, a
"Inside the Shadow Government," by John Strahinich and J. William Semich,
cover article, Boston Magazine, November, 1989.
Conclusion ISOC (or at least Don Heath) is Delighted
Courtenay concludes: Still, other groups are hoping that the ICANN gets
pushed forward so that the long-awaited domain name governance changeover
"They have walked in a mine field and presented something that works," said
Don Heath, president of the Internet Society, which had proposed its own
plan for the future of the domain name system and for setting up worldwide
registrars." "The plan is committed to an open process," he added. "We are
not producing a constitution; it is setting up a corporation to do the
mundane task of assigning names and numbers. But this will set a precedent
for Net governance in the future, and this is a corporation that could
decide who can be a registry--which some say translates to big dollars."
Note that barring another sharp reversal -- a miracle I would say -- The
White House is on the verge of giving Heath possible access to a money
stream for ISOC which always hovers near bankruptcy. No wonder Heath is
happy. With ICANN's unfettered ability to tax internet users not only for
names but for new IP v6 numbers, Heath has been handed a gold mine. ISOC
will no longer have to be worried about going out of business while the
Clinton administration has lied to the rest of us -- promising openness and
delivering a back room deal. (Note that a reliable source assures me that
the ISOC Board and Heath are by no means necessarily of the same mind.)
The International White House Big Corporate Political Pawn Game
Is the US government ramroding through the IANA corporation formation as a
pawn in meeting its own goals in negotiations and development of an
international electronic commerce policy ?
What we find interesting is that the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) and the Government of Canada are hosting a
ministerial conference on electronic commerce in Ottawa from 7 to 9 October
1998. The conference will "address key issues surrounding the evolution of
electronic commerce and to develop together a set of measures to promote
electronic commerce on a global basis" and has as its theme "A Borderless
World - Realizing the Potential of Electronic Commerce".
The homepage for the conference is at:
Also note according to:
That Plenary Session 3 of this conference is entitled
ESTABLISHING THE GROUND RULES FOR GLOBAL ELECTRONIC COMMERCE - THE ROLE OF
INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION Leading up to the Plenary Panel Session on the
work plan of international organizations, This Session provides an
opportunity for the conference participants to consider and discuss the
potential role for global co-operation, based on visions and perspectives
from governments and business. Moderator: Mr. Donald Johnston,
Secretary-General, OECD Speakers: Mr. Martin Bangemann, Commissioner,
European Commission Ms. Maria Livanos Cattaui, Secretary General,
International Chamber of Commerce Mr. Ira Magaziner, Special Advisor to the
President, United States Mr. Kaoru Yosano, Minister of International Trade
and Industry, Japan
Now here's the catch, in the introduction to Draft 5 of the articles and
bylaws <http://www.iana.org/intro5.html> Jon Postal cites input from the
International Chamber of Commerce. Where did they come from? Why weren't
they heard from before? Postal also does not cite that he received input
from the European Commission, yet Chris Wilkinson's letter that I published
recently shows that he received input from them. Next consider the press
release from the government of Canada. It is a Statement of Principles
Changes to the Domain Name System (DNS) will have an important impact on
the emerging global framework for electronic commerce, a rapidly growing
area in which Canada is positioned to become a world leader. As part of the
international debate on reform of the Internet Domain Name System, Industry
Canada today released a paper entitled Reform of the Domain Name System:
Current Developments and Statement of Principles. The Statement of
Principles is available on-line at
http://e-com.ic.gc.ca/english/documents/dns.html (to be updated).
What's going on? Is DNS a topic of discussion at this ministerial
conference? If so, why can't one find it explicitly on the agenda?
What We Need is a Solution which Fosters Stability.
It is interesting that the OECD`s plenary session 1, a plenary session with
Lou Gerstner, CEO of IBM, Secretary of Commerce Daley, among others,
building trust is the key theme. Quoting the agenda:
PLENARY SESSION 1: ROUNDTABLE BUILDING TRUST FOR USERS AND CONSUMERS Trust
is central to any commercial transaction. Developing new kinds of
commercial activities in the electronic environment largely hinges on
assuring consumers and business that their use of network services is
secure, reliable, and verifiable.
But on the new IANA Corp (ICANN) issue, THERE IS NO TRUST. What we have is
distrust among the Europeans and the US, distrust among NSI and Dept of
Commerce, and distrust among ISOC and many others. What we need is HONEST
leadership, and unfortunately I haven't seen any one organization or person
rise to the occasion.
Authority Lies at the Edges
In short Internet old timer and wise man Einar Stefferud got it right when
he wrote on September 29:
It just occurred to me that if there is no resolution of the authority
situation as of 1 Oct, that there will no longer be any existing
authoritative central control over the DNS, and that authoritative control
will simply devolve to the edges, and that the Internet will keep right on
running without IANA controls.
So, the Open Root Server Coalition should continue in its efforts to
install its Staging Root as part of an effort to sort out the conflict
issues with the collection of contending new non-ccTLDs in support of a
collective comprehensive root service that will be edge controlled.
So, while disavowing support for the current attempt to subvert due
Internet processes, I support efforts to self organize outside the confines
of the White Paper process which appears to have has lost its integrity,
and its consensus support.
This does not at all mean that the Internet will collapse, as no one wants
to pull the plug on the current DNS servers, or stop assigning IP
addresses, or shut down the IETF processes. All these things are already
locally supported and can functional just fine without central authority.
I know that many people do not believe this is possible, but I believ we
are about to witness a global experiment in how the Internet can run just
fine without any central authority;-)...
So, Let The Show Begin;-)... Cheers...\Stef
If the administration doesn't bend, let the affected parties go to court.
NSI would be foolish to sign the dictat from the White House - Gordon Cook
The COOK Report on Internet New Special Report: Building Internet
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Rohit Khare -- UC Irvine -- 4K Associates -- +1-(626) 806-7574 http://www.ics.uci.edu/~rohit -- http://xent.ics.uci.edu/~FoRK