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United Nations and the Net: another round, and why root servers are key

United Nations and the Net: another round, and why root servers are key
United Nations and the Net: another round, and why root servers are key

Previous Politech messages: 

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: FW: [Politech] United Nations summit roundup, and why aren't 
bloggers interested? (3/3)
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2005 15:22:31 -0500
From: Gattuso, James  

Declan -- The Heritage Foundation is hosting an event on this issue next
Thursday... the invitation was just posted minutes before I got this
from you... 

Feel free to pass it on...

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Tim Wu replies on United Nations summit next 
week: Why it's important
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 06:21:39 +0100
From: Brad Knowles  
To: Declan McCullagh  
References: <> 

At 8:48 PM -0800 2005-11-08, Declan McCullagh quoted Tim Wu:

 >  Control of the root matters, I'm saying, because people think it 
 >  and also because it could matter.  The first point is a point about the
 >  legitimacy of government action.  My sense is that because much of the
 >  internet's infrastructure is still under American sovereign control
 >  (including the root) countries have a sense that regulating the 
internet is
 >  always to challenge the sovereignty of the United States.

	I think most people fail to fully understand how this aspect of
the DNS works.  Yes, ICANN may officially direct how things are to be
done, but the root operators are a group of people, many of whom
still remember the Postel days, and they have tended to be rather
suspicious of all types of government interference and quite

	I would not be surprised at all to find the root server operators
all deciding to change overnight where they pull their updates, if a
suitable non-governmental network organization were set up and
presumably supported by groups like the IETF, Internet Society,

	The link between ICANN and the root server operators is a tenuous
one, at best.  The real linchpin here is not ICANN, which I've
believed needs to be completely thrown away and a much more
transparent organization set up to replace it.  The real linchpin
here is the root server operators.

	Actually, the real linchpin is the Internet Systems Company, and
through them to the rest of the root server operators.

	If the root server operators did switch, then if ICANN wanted to
try to re-assert control, they would have to set up a parallel root
server infrastructure, and then get all the copies of BIND in the
world updated or replaced so that people know about the "new" roots
and not the old ones that have switched allegiances.

	Since replacing or updating all copies of BIND is not a feasible
task, at least not without the assistance of the Internet Systems
Company (ISC), which is the same company that maintains the BIND code
and also the same company that runs the largest root server instance
(, and they have a number of people on staff who
remember Jon Postel, I think that's the real key.

 >  What non-US countries are trying to do, then, is erode any 
perception that
 >  the Internet within their borders is the U.S. Internet.  The root 
remains a
 >  symbol, in other words, of persistent American interest, and they 
want that
 >  changed.

	As far as that goes, I think that's actually a good thing.  So
long as the new "owners" of the root are suitably distanced from the
political garbage, sanctioned by technical standards groups like the
IETF, and keep their focus on what needs to be done to manage the
Internet as a whole for the benefit of all netizens, then I'm all for

	Frankly, I find it hard to believe that they could do much worse
than ICANN.

	This would probably be a good topic to bring to the DNS MODA (see
). Now, an association of manufacturers 
and developers would not necessarily seem to be a logical first stop,
but keep in mind that these people probably have the most invested in
the overall process, and the most to lose if it gets seriously
screwed up by government interference.

	Of course, you would also want to talk to people at the IETF, the
ISC, etc....

Brad Knowles,  

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

     -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
     Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

SAGE member since 1995. See  for more info. 

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Kofi Annan: the United Nations won't "take over" 
the Internet
Date: 9 Nov 2005 00:19:20 -0500
From: John R Levine  
To: Declan McCullagh  
References: <> 

 > CHINA: "We feel that the public policy issue of Internet should be
 > solved jointly by the sovereign states in the U.N. framework...For
 > instance, spam, network security and cyberspace--we should look for an
 > appropriate specialized agency of the United Nations as a competent 

This is not an unreasonable position.  ICANN has defined nearly every
problem that people have on the Internet as not their job.  I can see why
they decline to address phishing, spam, and security (even if I don't
agree with the reasons) but that leaves a gaping hole in international
cooperation on security problems that needs to be filled.  There are some
bilateral and multilateral projects like the London Action Project on
spam, but there's no place other than the ITU where people from many
countries talk about topics like phishing and make plans to deal with


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [Politech] United Nations summit roundup, and why aren't 
bloggers interested? (3/3)
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2005 14:09:39 -0800
From: Sharif Ebrahim  
To: Declan McCullagh  

Hi Declan, Frankly, I don't know what the fuss is about, when it's
perfectly clear from his recent comments that Ed Whitacre w/ SBC already
owns the Internet... -- Sharif

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Politech] Kofi Annan: the United Nations won't "take over" 
the Internet (2/3)
Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 21:58:36 +0000
To: Declan McCullagh  

So Declan -
the UN, that spastic global mastrabatory fantasy created here in our 
very "City by the Bay", is supposed to manage the disposition of TLD's 
and IP Addresses how? and why? - I just dont get it... can you explain 
to me why the Internet is the property of the world? I thought it was 
mechanically peering agreements between the Tier-1 providers and nothing 
more than that today... So how is that a global resource?

Anyone who has a legitimate border can easily setup their own domain 
naming space and IP addressing scheme - and all it takes is nationalized 
NAT... And as to the China Government's reply - They can f*ck off - 50% 
or more of the SPAM I get is from CHINA sites including about 30 PENNY 
STOCK ad coming straight out of Chinese IP Addresses...

... and gee - I was actually fired from CISCO for coming up with a 
solution to the multi-billion dollar CHINA Black Market Theft problem 
several years ago - and as much as I love the Chineese people (big 
time!) their Government is about as corrupt as any global power, making 
the US's look like it walks on water IMHO... and since I am suing GWB 
for control over the US's timebase and a quarter billion dollars RIGHT 
NOW this is probably a reasonable commentary for me to make.

So let me ask this, you are a heavy hitter so let me ask you, what is 
Koffy going to do for ICANN? make it more easily abused

Todd Glassey, an obviously unimpressed technologist

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: About the Digital Munich
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 11:12:09 +1200
From: Franck Martin  

The Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society published this
media release which fits in the perspective of the Digital Munich
article published on the Wall Street Journal. You may find another
interesting aspect of having closed meetings, it stops small nations
from truly having access to information.



Pacific Islands Regional Advisor banned from major World IT Meeting

At a preliminary meeting in Geneva preparing for the World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS) meeting next month, the Pacific
Islands Regional Advisor on this major global initiative was last
week excluded from observing proceedings.

"Two incidents this week have dampened spirit of civil society and
private sector representatives," the advisor, Ms 'Apisake Soakai,
told members of the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society
(PICISOC) in an e-mail from Geneva last Tuesday.

"On Monday morning before session started members from the private
sector were told to leave the room. On Tuesday afternoon civil
society representatives were also told to leave the room because the
negotiation session was a private meeting only for government
delegations," Ms Soakai said.

"These incidents were embarrasing, humiliating and discouraging for
individuals concerned, not to mention the organisation they
represented," Ms Soaki said.

PICISOC explained that sending Ms Sokai to represent the Region at a
lead-up meeting to the major WSIS summit was a very effective use of
scarce finances as her reports were being widely circulated and
studied by governments, the developing Pacific IT industry, and many

Her exclusion denied the Pacific valuable information needed to
prepare for the looming WSIS summit in Tunis in November, 2005.

PICISOC Chair Rajnesh Singh said that excluding Ms Sokai and other
civil society representatives, particularly those from developing
regions, from WSIS meetings was outrageous and a denial of the
principles of transparency and good governance the WSIS process is
supposed to facilitate.

"The WSIS and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the
organiser, has claimed multi-stakeholder approach and transparency,
but who are we kidding?" Mr Singh said.

"We are not requesting to be able intervene at all sessions but at
least to be able to know what is happening in a free and transparent
process so that government delegations are fully briefed for the WSIS
Tunis meeting.

"Is this the model that is been created for the 'Internet Forum' that
the ITU through the WSIS process is trying desperately to promote?"
Mr Singh said.

"The Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC)
certainly do not support any model where openness, transparency and
good governance is not entrenched in its charter," Mr Singh said.


Rajnesh Singh, PICISOC Chairman, 

Franck Martin, PICISOC Vice Chairman, franckhlmartin


PICISOC is an organisation encompassing 22 Pacific Islands Countries
and Territories with a goal to promote "Internet for Everyone". As
such, the board reflects this philosophy with people from 5 different
countries and from the government and private sector.

PICISOC has over 350 individual members in the Pacific Islands
representing also the diversity of this geographical area.

PICISOC web site is located at and is 
affiliated to the Internet Society ( which is the 
organisation in charge of the Public Internet Registry (.org domain
names), which also provides support and a legal framework to the
Internet Engineering Task Force (, the 
organisation in charge of making open Internet Standards.

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