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FW: Esther Dyson Report (1of3)
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Subject: Esther Dyson Report (1of3)
Dear Dyson Report Participants:
Thanks for participating in this report to Esther Dyson.
You may agree or disagree with what the others have said,
but I believe you that will find this report worthwhile,
if only to see the divergence and convergence of views
from a representative sampling of DNS debate players.
This report is too long to post to the lists, I've realized,
so I plan to post it on my website within a day or two, and
invite list subscribers to read the report there. Please let
me know ASAP if you have any objection to being included in
that web posting, which the public will be able to read.
Thank you again for your fine spirit of cooperation.
If only we could resolve DNS conflicts so easily...
PLEASE CONFIRM RECEIPT
18 November 1997
New York, New York
Hope you are well where ever in the world this finds you.
Enclosed is the promised bundle of material on DNS
and Internet management, compiled from more than 100
pieces of email generated by requests for information
on your behalf (emailed directly to 18 known leaders
of various factions and posted on three key listservs).
Think of this report as a sampler from the "Committees
of Correspondence" before the American Revolution,
a snapshot of the daily evolving DNS conversation.
In this total bundle can be heard 21 diverse voices
representing the main factions and independent views.
In consideration of your time, I tried to cut each to
three or four paragraphs, but I've occasionally broken
that policy where deletions were not obvious or would
dearly cost meaning. I've aimed to stay impartial, and
so the folks below are presented in alphabetical order.
The reading time is 35 minutes at 250 words a minute,
yet I hear you read faster, which makes me feel a little
better about the length. So, enough preamble. Please let
me know if this report is useful and informative.
Thank you again for inviting me to help.
P.S. All words below in [brackets] are from me.
> > > REPORT CONTENTS < < <
(Part I of 2)
I. THE VOICES
Karl Auerbach - CaveBear
Gordon Cook - The Cook Report
Dave Crocker - Internet Mail Consortium (IAHC)
Jay Fenello - Iperdome
Jim Fleming - Unir Corporation
Ken Freed - Media Visions Webzine
Duane Little - American Assn of Domain Names
Perry Metzger - Piermont Information Systems (IAHC)
Carl Oppendahl - Oppedahl & Larson
Steven Page - Internet.A-Z.Name Registry
(Part 2 of 3)
Ellen Rony - Alexander Works
Tony Rutkowski - Next Generation Internet
Andrew Sernovitz - Assn for Interactive Media/OIC
Richard Sexton - VRX Network Services
Robert Shaw - Int'l Telecommunications Union
Richard Shu - Universal DNS Confederation (uDNS)
Dan Steinberg - Attorney
Donald Telege - Network Solutions Inc. (InterNIC)
Adam Todd - AURSC/Ah.Net (AuNIC)
Antony Van Covering -- NetNames USA (IAHC)
Richard Zare - National Science Board/NSF (InterNic)
(Part 2 of 2)
II. MAILING LISTS
IV. ALLIANCE & LEADERS
> > > THE VOICES < < <
[Karl Auerbach works at Precept Software developing
Internet audio/video products, and he runs CaveBear,
consulting and product development. Since the 70's,
he's worked on network protocol interoperability.
He produces "Dr. Watson, the Network Detective's
Assistant" for TCP/IP networks.]
Short summary [outline] of what is happening with
the NSF, NSI, and the domain name system. A crisis
in the domain name system *is* at hand....
1. The domain name system may start to float without
clear control as of April 1, 1998.
a) April 1 may be the Internet's Black Wednesday.
b) The DNS system may not fall apart on that exact
date, but it will start to deteriorate, balkanize,
and then become inconsistent.
2. NSF is abandoning all effective oversight of the
domain name database.
a) NSF has failed to comply with 5 USC 552a (The
Privacy Act of 1974) with regard to [selling]
the domain name database (including the "WhoIs"
database and contact records.) This can cause
major litigation (billions of dollars in
statutory penalties) against NSF.
b) NSF has not given NSI clear directions whether
and how NSI should return the domain name
database to NSF at the end of the cooperative
agreement. (What happens to registrations
received by NSI after March 31, 1998?)
c) NSF has not indicated whether, or how, it will
distribute copies of the database once it is
returned from NSI.
d) NSF has not indicated how registration fees
covering periods which extend beyond
March 31, 1998 are to be apportioned.
(Issue of tens of millions of dollars.)
3. Current policies of NSI give trademark holders
extraordinary power over non-trademark holders.
These powers are at odds with any traditional
powers of trademark holders.
4. NSI is an unregulated, worldwide monopoly.
a) It has created this monopoly, a large revenue and
profit stream, and a strong brand name using
NSF's lack of oversight.
b) When NSF allowed fees to be charged, it was
only to recover costs NSI incurred due to the
unexpected expansion of .com, .edu, and
.org. It is patently clear that the fees being
charged go far beyond cost recovery, yet NSF
has never revived their fee schedule.
5. NSI benefits from continued uncertainty and
appears to be actively contributing to it.
6. The US Federal government is acting like a chicken
with its head cut off. It's my feeling the NSF is acting
to simply walk away from the situation, leaving it
among the contestants, NSI being the strongest, to
duke it out, to the pain of the network's users.
- - - - - - - - -
Santa Cruz, California
(408) 423-8585 (home)
(650) 845-5223 (office)
[Gordon Cook publishes The Cook Report on Internet.
This is from a listserv posting, used with permission,
plus contributed material at the end.]
We followed up last night's post with a phone call to
Ira Magaziner's office. He returned the call about 90
minutes ago. We stated our concern about allegations
that the Interagency Working Group would be
announcing policy tomorrow, and that according to
Dave Crocker's conversations yesterday with Chuck
Gnomes, NSI's front line manager for DNS, IANA,
would very soon be asking for the inclusion of the
seven CORE gTLDs in the root servers. That according
to Crocker "there is nothing unknown about the
request that will be issued, except for the precise date
and we know that date is approaching quickly."
We restated our concern about the harm that would
come from such a disruption of the status quo adding
that people who knew the Internet far better than
Brian Kahin and Becky Burr and Mike Nelson were
convinced that there was no crisis of any immediate
nature that demanded any immediate action on the
part the Clinton Administration to disrupt the status
quo which we understood to be that the National
Science Foundation had, with the full approval, of the
Inter-Agency Working Group last summer instructed
Network Solutions *NOT* to add any new gTLDs to the
On record, Mr. Magaziner said that there are lots of
discussions going on among lots people both inside and
outside of government. There is a lot more discussion
and consultation that has to take place before any
decisions are made about what the government should
or shouldn't do, and that there is nothing on the
immediate horizon that will in any way change the
status quo. Moreover these discussions are going to
need to ripen and take place over the next weeks and
perhaps even months before any decisions are made
that disturb the current situation.
>From Magaziner's statement we can assume that --
other press rumors to the contrary -- neither Kahin,
nor Burr, nor Nelson, nor NTIA, nor DOC will have any
new policy to announce on behalf of the Clinton
Administration any time soon.
[PLEASE NOTE --
Cook filed an October 7 Freedom of Information Act
request for communications between Mr. Brian Kahin,
Ms. Becky Burr of NTIA, Dr. Mike Nelson (former OSTP
analyst and currently at FCC) and any other relevant
government officials, trying to establish their dialogue
with media companies. Reply is pending. On November
14, Cook published a leaked November 13 memo from
Crocker about the CORE implementation schedule and
governmental support, which said the US government
"crew" (Magaziner, Kahin, et al) aren't getting "the point"
that the "requirement" for adding seven new TLDs is
"imminent," that other national governments are not
"sanguine" about the US claiming DNS control.]
[Addenda:] You might mention that last night's full
report went out on Farbers IP list, which I am sure
she gets. Also that the latest take is that they have
given up on the idea of the seven gTLDs going in root
for now. I have gotten some anguished complaints from
the other side about THAT! Because, of course, that
means a lot of CORE registrars may loose some money.
- - - - - - - -
The COOK Report on Internet
Ewing, New Jersey
(609) 882-2572 (phone & fax)
New Special Report: Internet
Governance at the Crossroads
[Dave Crocker operates the Internet Mail Consortium
out of Sunnyvale, CA. He is a principal ISOC/gTLD-MoU
participant. The text below from his posting on the list
"gtld-discuss" is used with permission. On request, he
can email to you his latest Powerpoint presentation.]
We are fast approaching a critical moment. The process of
reaching it has been extremely public, so there will be no
surprise when the event occurs. The moment is the
request by IANA for addition of the new generic TLDs
(gTLDs) to the root DNS servers. The request will be
issued when the gTLD-MoU's CORE project plans require
it for testing, prior to live registration operation of these
gTLDs. Nearly 90 companies have committed significant
funds and effort to this activity, so it's rather more than a
theoretical exercise. It is a bottom-line matter for these
NSI is in an unfortunate position of being faced with
open competition by this enhancement and, at the
same time, physically holding the master root server
to which these new TLDs will be added. In some
circles, having control over a resource which enables
the creation of competition for one's organization
would be called conflict of interest.
So there is considerable import to the basis by which
NSI chooses to claim that it can add ISO (national)
TLDs (nTLDs) but not add others, namely gTLDs. As a
constructive member of the Internet community, NSI
surely wants to makes its position completely clear, as
well as the basis for that position. [snip]
Further, NSI has often cited the directive from NSF
that it not add TLDs without approval from the US
government, yet the text in that directive is not
constrained and NSI has been continuing to add nTLDs.
The directive does not distinguish gTLDs from nTLDs.
Instructions to add nTLDs have been coming from
IANA and the additions have taken place immediately.
Is there documentation of NSF approval for each one
of these changes? If there is not, then NSI has been
showing selective interpretation of its instructions and
is not merely the mechanical participant it claims.
The moment that is approaching is the result of more
than 1 year of open discussion and debate, including
many individuals, organizations and countries all over
the world. Ninety (90) companies are now engaged in
producing fully competitive registration services. It
will do the Internet community no good service to
refuse to take a directive from IANA and thereby
create an administrative crisis on the net.
There is nothing unknown about the request that will
be issued, except for the precise date and we know
that date is approaching quickly. If NSI is planning
to refuse that request, it is time to tell that to the
community and explain the basis.
- - - - - - - - -
Internet Mail Consortium
phone: 408 246 8253
fax: 408 249 6205
[Jay Fenello operates Iperdome for registering names
under the ".per" TLD. Jay's been linked with AlterNic.
He recently said that when IANA requests NSI to add
their seven gTLDs, this will be the "line in the sand."]
What I find truly ironic is the chaos the entire IAHC
process has created in the Internet community. Their
arrogance about their dominion over the root, and
their claim to rightful ownership of such valuable
properties like .com and .web have created the
conflicts we are now experiencing.
A fundamental question is why the IANA, a U.S.
Government funded contractor, should be allowed
to "give" seven new gTLDs to its self-selected
representatives (especially when it negotiates
behind closed doors, sets up a Swiss-based cartel,
ignores prior Internet precedents, and is generally
regarded as an inappropriate power grab). Why
should the IANA be allowed to *exclude* already
operational [alternative] TLDs and registries?
Consider for a moment if Reed Hundt, as head of the
FCC, had decided to allocate a portion of the radio
spectrum to a group that he formed, supported,
appointed members to, and had an ongoing and
permanent role in. Imagine if this group met behind
closed doors, came up with an impressive sounding
plan, and got all of his friends and associates to sign.
Imagine if this new plan took radio spectrum away
from already operational entities, and excluded all
other applications for radio spectrum. Imagine if this
new organization was set up as a Swiss-based cartel,
beyond recourse to U.S. interests. Well, this is similar
to Jon Postel's arrangement with the IAHC. It was
wrong when it was announced, and it is still wrong
If the IAHC plan succeeds, much of what has made the
Internet great will be lost. No longer will free-market
competition drive new products and services. Instead,
a great engine of change in our lifetimes will be
relegated to the dark ages, where a small group of
people who are accountable to no-one control major
aspects of the Global Internet Infrastructure.
- - - - - - -
President, Iperdome, Inc.
[Jim Fleming at Unir Corporation worked on 32-bit
addresses as a network identifier, and the C+@ (cat)
programming language. Since a 1995, he's worked
almost full-time on breaking the NSI monopoly.
Jim also favors having thousands of TLDs.]
Please send my regards to Esther Dyson and
let her know that as far as I am concerned the
IPv4 core transport is progressing about as expected
and that the IPv8 frontier is the place where new
expanded ideas will be allowed to flourish. She
is welcome to explore those frontiers anytime
and play with C+@ and other serious developments.
I would point out to her that Affirmative Action
and Money are the key topics to explore in the
InterNIC and NSF situation. She might be
surprised at what she finds.
The past 20 years have been useful in getting the
Internet to the level of DOS. It is now time to move it
to the level of Windows or NT, and then beyond.
- - - - - - - -
Senior Vice President
One Naperville Plaza
Also: Tortola, British Virgin Islands
[Ken Freed is a writer and speaker specializing in new
media technology and the social effects of interactive
networks. He publishes Media Visions Webzine.]
Cyberspace domains are a "fiction" that hold virtual and
actual value only via a social contract. We find it useful
to speak of domain names in cyberspace as akin to
parcels of real estate available for development in the
Old West. Once any DNS expansion plan is implemented
(whether the system established is the IAHC proposal OR
some global Internet constitution, as I prefer), look for a
mad push to register domain claims that will make the
Oklahoma land rush look like a calm Sunday cakewalk.
The battle between gTLD-MoU and competing plans is
the contest to become the land office collecting fees on
every claim filed by the eager settlers of cyberspace.
Because this land rush will effect each one of us here
on network earth, we *all* qualify as "stakeholders."
Those who control the DNS root control the Internet.
Great effort is being expended to modify the IAHC
plan to make their version of DNS governance more
representative and more accountable. I believe this
effort is misguided because the IAHC players have
shown by goading arrogance how they crave power,
absolutely, and their attendant corruption is evident.
As it stands now, trying to make the MoU democratic
is like trying to teach a goat to sing. It wastes your
time and it annoys the goat. To reference another
barnyard metaphor, dragging a horse to water is
pointless when the critter has no thirst for truth.
Because DNS governance has a direct influence on the
character of the Internet, which increasingly exerts a
strong influence upon our culture, and so upon our
private and public lives, if we are to evolve any habits
of responsible self rule growing from a global sense of
our interactivity, we all need network democracy.
- - - - - - -
Editor & Publisher
Media Visions Webzine
Denver, Colorado USA
Our Visions Shape the Media as
the Media Shape Our Visions
[Duane Little, freelance computer consultant, runs
The American Association of Domain Names, which
provides information, advice and attorney referrals
to domain name owners. ]
Our position with respect to the gTLD MoU and its
resultant organizations (POC/CORE) is that they are
making opportunistic forays into law and Internet
governance which are unnecessary to the essentially
simple task of remedying the dearth of TLDs and the
NSI monopoly. IANA and ISOC (who ultimately derive
their status from the service of US Government
contracts), by way of the IAHC, have created an
alliance with intellectual property interests and the
ITU, whose interests are obviously being unduly
served -- in some ways to the detriment of the
majority of Netizens, both commercial and individual.
Under barrages of protest, they have backed away
from a long series of overtly outrageous propositions.
Surviving aspects of the plan continue to show a strong
bias for trademark interests in particular, well in
excess of existing legal standards.
The MoU appears to promise that its organizations will
honor national court decisions (even as they remove
themselves from those courts' reach and contractually
obligate domain name registrants and registrars to
abide by their rules). There is apparently nothing to
bind them to those promises. There's no reason to
believe that when it is free of American legal fetters
and in control of its own TLDs and registries, it will not
continue to violate good sense and others' rights in
favor of its exclusive members' interests.
We have only one chance to do this right. A much
better consensus can be readily had, and a far more
balanced and representative approach can be taken
with the time available to us.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Duane Little, President
American Assn of Domain Names
Lake Chelan, Washington
[Perry Metzger, owner of Piermont Information Inc., is
a libertarian activist and active participant for ISOC in
Internet standards bodies. He is a key gTLD-MoU player.
Speaking personally, and not in any official capacity, he
asked for the item below to be sent to you verbatim.]
Thank you, but no thank you. You've assembled a
circus, including lunatics and at least one person under
arrest for wire fraud. I'm not particularly interested in
participating in an environment in which Ms. Dyson
has no way to distinguish between the couple of sane
people on your list and the large mass of con men,
fraudsters and near convicted criminals you've put
together. If you want to interview me and/or Dave
Crocker on the subject by phone, thats fine, or if Esther
Dyson would like a few minutes of my time, that's fine,
but I'm not putting in effort to look like a fool. Ms.
Dyson certainly deserves a better briefing than the
one you are putting together, but if she doesn't get
one, that isn't my problem. You are doing her a
complete disservice, but that is between you and her.
As for myself, I have more dignity than that.
If Dave wishes to participate, that's up to him,
but I discourage him from doing so either.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Perry E. Metzger
Piermont Information Systems Inc.
160 Cabrini Blvd., Suite #2
New York, NY 10033
[Carl Oppendal is an intellectual property lawyer with
the firm of Oppedahl & Larson in Frisco, Colorado.]
I'm not a special interest group, but instead a
concerned member of the Internet community. I have
seen, first-hand, harm to and destruction of dozens of
businesses due to NSI's extremely flawed trademark
domain name policy. I have published papers and
given lectures in an effort to influence the situation, at
first with an (evidently futile) desire to assist NSI in
correcting the flaws, and now with the aim of averting
monopoly control by NSI of the COM domain.
The most important task facing the Internet community
in the next half-year is doing whatever it takes to avert
that monopoly control. COM should be a shared space, just
like the space of North American toll-free numbers that
are freely transferable between telephone carriers.
- - - - - - - - -
Oppedahl & Larson
[Dr. Steven Page, a part time optometrist who studied
the intricacies of network architecture, was principal
investigator in a DARPA study, "U.S. Data Highway."
Steve disrupted "eDNS" dialogue through suggesting
the use of single-letter A-Z TLDs. He's coined a term,
"innerNET," to discuss DNS design for human benefit. ]
DNS Governance is about language and freedom of
expression. The present Internet's addressing system is
immature, illogical, and non-sensical because it ignores
the *structure* of language, which is stored in the brain.
This structure influences one's ability to locate things in
the physical world. Similarly, DNS' structure influences
one's ability to locate things in the cyberworld. Therein
lies the problem: The present DNS system is linked to a
small vocabulary of suffixes (top level domains or TLDs)
of the hierarchical addressing system called DNS, which is
really structured as a *human brain*. DNS is to the
Internet what language is to the human brain. The DNS
structure represents a map or "blueprint" of all of the
potential "virtual" street and apartment locations for
people and businesses locating in the cyberworld.
The DNS issue, at its heart, is an electromagnetic
frequency freedom vs. control issue, applied to the
economic "use of language" (which is an individual
freedom issue), which is inter-related with issues of
*evolution of systems*, applied specifically to freedom of
expression (What do I call my identity?), and freedom to
choose (Where do I locate my identity?) in the context of
economic freedom (Am I able to do business?).
Re: Eugene Kashpureff
At the highest level, Mr. Kashpureff represents the
antithesis of governmental control over commerce,
which is most visibly represented by the IAHC
process, controlled by the ITU. He represents self-
organization, freedom of commerce, freedom from
over-regulation, freedom to use language for
commercial benefit (which is rooted in the precedent
of individual freedom to own "marks" for commercial
purposes). His arrest represents the frustration of
anyone who values creativity and entrepreneurship.
At the lowest level, he represents a person willing to risk
breaking antiquated rules in order to push the Internet
from its traditional "old boy network" system of doing
business, under the cloak of rules sanctioned by the
National Science Foundation's contracts, into the future.
- - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Stephen J. Page
Principal Investigator: U.S. Data Highway (DARPA)
Respondee to Dept. of Commerce' NTIA RFC on DNS
(continued in part 2 of 3)