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[discuss] Re: [IDNO:250] [vcerf@MCI.NET: ICANN Commentary (Mike Roberts, David Post)]

Moving this to lists where it belongs.

What Mr Roberts fails to mention is that the INTERIM board has no
authority to be making MANY of the decisions it has been making under
the white paper and indeed its own charter.

This boards primary goal was supposed to be getting an ELECTED board
in place, and from comments from Ms Dyson, it looks like one more year
till then.  I blame this delay on ICANN itself, they have failed to
take the steps that would of led to an open ICANN membership, and
intentionally delayed the creation of an Initial Board.  They use the
delay as a means of justifying their taking actions beyond the scope
of their charter.

On Thu, 10 Jun 1999 17:33:54 -0700, Kent Crispin <kent@songbird.com>

>Since ICANN and ISOC bashing seems to be a major topic on this list, 
>here's some material to counterbalance:
>----- Forwarded message from "vinton g. cerf" <vcerf@MCI.NET> -----
>Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 19:55:11 -0400
>From: "vinton g. cerf" <vcerf@MCI.NET>
>Subject: ICANN Commentary (Mike Roberts, David Post)
>To: "ISOC Members Discussion" <isoc-members-discuss@lyris.isoc.org>
>Reply-To: ISOC Members Discussion <isoc-members-discuss@lyris.isoc.org>
>I thought this exchange was relevant to ISOC members.
>Vint Cerf
>From: Mike Roberts <mmr@darwin.ptvy.ca.us>
>Subject: Commentary on June 5 Essay re ICANN
>To: postd@erols.com
>Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 08:32:43 -0700 (PDT)
>Commentary on Professor David Post's Essay of June 5 Concerning ICANN
>As a member of the American university community for more than thirty 
>years, I have the utmost respect for its standards of open inquiry, but 
>I find myself in strong disagreement with the premises, the asserted 
>facts and the logic of Professor Post's recent essay on ICANN, which 
>opens with the statement,  "...my goal here is just to suggest that 
>notwithstanding the government's (and ICANN's) protestations to the 
>contrary, this is about nothing less than Internet governance writ 
>I definitely do protest to the contrary; the facts do not support this 
>conclusion. The truth of the current situation is that ICANN is pursuing 
>its work program as spelled out in the Government's White Paper on the 
>Management of Internet Names and Addresses and in the Department of 
>Commerce's Memorandum of Understanding/Joint Project Agreement with 
>ICANN that was executed last November.  The tasks set forth therein 
>include (extract from the contract):
>"a. Establishment of policy for and direction of the allocation of IP 
>number blocks; 
>b. Oversight of the operation of the authoritative root server system; 
>c. Oversight of the policy for determining the circumstances under which 
>new top level domains would be added to the root system; 
>d. Coordination of the assignment of other Internet technical parameters 
>as needed to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet; and 
>e. Other activities necessary to coordinate the specified DNS management 
>functions, as agreed by the Parties."
>In the interests of constructive dialog, I would like to submit 
>clarifications of some points contained in Professor Post's essay of 
>June 5.
>1. Control of the Root Server
>"... the root server, and the various domain servers to which it
>points, constitute the very heart of the Internet, the Archimedean point 
>on which this vast global network balances."
>The system of [currently thirteen] functionally identical root servers 
>set up by Jon Postel is operated on a voluntary basis by a disparate 
>group of international organizations with a common interest in seeing 
>the Internet function well. In addition to the checks and balances 
>inherent in this distributed functionality and responsibility, there are 
>the further checks provided by the fact that the major ISP's ultimately 
>have the power to determine what name servers are actually used in the 
>Internet. Various efforts to create a different root environment, such 
>as alternic, have thus far failed because the leaders of the ISP 
>industry see more value in a transparent and interoperable Internet than 
>in one in which multiple root systems vie for attention.  Beyond this, 
>the present voluntary system is based on a broadly shared understanding 
>that private collaboration in maintaining universal connectivity is 
>essential to minimizing government regulation. More than sixty years 
>ago, circuit switched routing in the U.S. PSTN (Public Switched 
>Telecommunications Network), which is the telephony equivalent of packet 
>switching in the Internet, was put under government control.  Any 
>significant evidence of the type of pathological behavior in the 
>management of Internet routing hypothesized by Professor Post in his 
>text almost certainly would lead to a similar type of government control 
>of the Internet, both in the U.S. and abroad.
>2. Support for ICANN's Budget
>"... ICANN has imposed the requirement that each accredited registrar 
>pay ICANN a fee of $1 for each new domain name they hand out - can 
>anyone say 'taxation without representation'?"
>The White Paper suggested that ICANN should be funded by name or address 
>registries, presumably by nomination of a portion of the fee charged by 
>those registries to fund ICANN expenses.  The ICANN Bylaws provide that 
>the budget be presented for approval annually, and that any fees and 
>charges be presented to the community for comment. This period was held 
>prior to the recent Berlin ICANN Board meeting without substantial 
>comment on the proposed fee, which was explicitly stated to be no more 
>than $1, because it is not clear exactly what ICANN's costs will be or 
>how many names will be registered. Since ICANN is a non-profit, cost 
>recovery vehicle, the fee will be adjusted over time to produce revenues 
>that fund expenses - no more or less. The comment period did not produce 
>any proposals for a more equitable means of supporting ICANN's 
>activities.  In the idiom of the ICANN Bylaws, consent of the governed 
>is obtained through the operation of the public notice and comment 
>provisions.  If there is a better way, let us hear it.  Among its other 
>virtues, the ICANN levy supports the administration of a new system of 
>competition in the assignment of domain names that will undoubtedly lead 
>to much more than a $1 per name reduction in registration fees, so the 
>net impact on the names consumer will be highly positive.
>3. The WIPO Report
>"...ICANN, having now adopted the WIPO Report referenced earlier, is 
>about to impose a requirement on all domain name registrars that they
>collect and make available 'accurate and reliable contact details of 
>domain name holders,' and that they agree to 'cancel the domain name 
>registrations' wherever those contact details are shown to be 
>'inaccurate and unreliable' - a move with grave consequences for the 
>continued viability of anonymous communications on the Internet."
>(a) As is clear from reading the resolutions adopted in Berlin, which 
>are posted on the icann.org website, the ICANN Board did not "adopt" the 
>WIPO report in its action on May 27; instead, it took a series of 
>detailed steps which included referring the majority of the report to 
>its newly constituted Domain Name Supporting Organization for analysis, 
>review and recommendation. It took these actions after five months of 
>study and comment by members of its constituencies and its staff and the 
>actions reflected the consensus comments it received in the public 
>notice and comment periods of both the March (Singapore) and May 
>(Berlin) Board meetings.
>(b) At its March meeting in Singapore, acting on proposed guidelines for 
>accrediting competitive registrars for the .com, .org and .net domains, 
>after extensive public comment, the ICANN Board adopted a series of 
>requirements for the relationship between accredited registrars and 
>those wishing to obtain domain names, which included a requirement for 
>the initial submission of accurate contact information and for the 
>maintenance of accurate contact information as a condition of continuing 
>to hold the assigned name.  As I pointed out in the public meeting in 
>Singapore, this requirement for open access to the identity of those 
>responsible for operating a domain name in the Internet goes back to the 
>very early days of the American academic Internet and has been a 
>mainstream attribute of Internet culture for many years. It seems to me 
>and to many others to be a useful principle worthy of being continued.
>(c) The issue of anonymity was extensively discussed by the ICANN Board 
>and staff at the Singapore meeting, with reference both to the [upside] 
>value of protecting citizens from unfair harrassment and to the 
>[downside] potential of facilitating unethical and illegal activities.  
>Neither the previous NSI guidelines nor the current ICANN guidelines on 
>contact information inhibit the legitimately anonymous use of domain 
>names. They do require that those interested in so operating find a 
>trusted intermediary to register and hold the domain name and furnish 
>accurate contact information [and to be responsible for any use of the 
>domain name which violates the law].  This has been done in the past and 
>it can be done in the future. ICANN explicitly took no action that would 
>disturb the status quo on this issue, although it heard from advocates 
>of both strengthening and eliminating anonymity in the use of domain 
>4. Scope of ICANN Activities
>"Now, some, or even all, of these may be good ideas.  But this is 
>already way beyond the realm of technical 'standards-setting,' and we 
>really must ask whether we really want or need this kind of global 
>Internet policy and whether this is the way it should be put together."
>This comment is an indication of the extent of the gulf between the 
>premises of Professor Post and those of ICANN and the U.S. Government.
>ICANN not only doesn't set technical standards, it is specifically 
>enjoined from doing so by its chartering documents.  After extensive 
>discussion between Ira Magaziner and members of the Internet technical 
>community in 1997 and 1998, ICANN's role in this area is limited to 
>"coordinating the assignment of Internet technical parameters as needed 
>to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet."  That is one of the 
>historical functions of the IANA organization under Jon Postel and it 
>has been continued under ICANN management. The Internet Engineering Task 
>Force does an excellent job in the standards area and neither they nor 
>we think change is needed. 
>The ICANN Board and staff are very interested in academic participation 
>in our work and in a robust critique of our performance. However, ICANN 
>doesn't do Internet technical standards and it doesn't do Internet 
>governance. Misperception on these critical points presents a serious 
>obstacle to constructive dialog and to contributions to our work from 
>the academic community.
>It may be useful in the abstract to debate how we might behave under a 
>different set of assumptions, but that's not a current reality for a 
>group of hard working individuals, aided by many equally hard working 
>volunteers from the Internet community, who are in the middle of 
>creating a new DNS management entity under challenging circumstances.
>[N.B. The views expressed herein are those of the author.]
>- Mike Roberts
>- Interim President and CEO, ICANN
>Join the Internet Society and help to make it so.
>See you at INET'99, San Jose, CA, June 22-25,1999 
>----- End forwarded message -----
>Kent Crispin                               "Do good, and you'll be
>kent@songbird.com                           lonesome." -- Mark Twain

William X. Walsh
General Manager, DSo Internet Services
Email: william@dso.net  Fax:(209) 671-7934

The Law is not your mommy or daddy to go crying
to every time you have something to whimper about.