From: Graeme Browning <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 5:01pm
Subject: Comments on Discussion Draft on Technical Management of Internet Domain Names, From Center for Democracy and Technology
Attached please find comments on the Discussion Draft on Technical
Management of Internet Domain Names, in a Microsoft Word 6.0.1 for Power
Macintosh document, from the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Department of Commerce
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Washington, D.C. 20230
In the Matter of )
Improvement of Technical )
Management of Internet Names ) Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
and Addresses; Proposed Rule )
COMMENTS OF THE
CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND TECHNOLOGY
The Center for Democracy and Technology ("CDT") respectfully submits these comments in response to the Proposed Rule regarding Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses published in the Federal Register of February 20, 1998.
CDT commends the Department of Commerce ("DOC") for the approach it has taken to create a plan for the improvement of technical management of the Internet. We believe these central management systems -- including the domain name system, the Internet addressing system, and the operation of root servers -- are essential to realizing the ultimate democratic and economic promise that the Internet offers. For this reason and others, there are strong civil liberties interests and strong individual user and consumer interests in the structure of these technical management systems. Given our concern to avoid governmental abuse of civil liberties and human rights through the instrumentality of the DNS, CDT supports the DOC efforts to create a private, non-governmental system, as opposed to a government-run entity.
Entrusting a private entity with such broad power over the Internet as is proposed, however, requires that accountability to basic human rights and individual interests be built into any new structure created. We are encouraged by the DOC's inclusion of individual and non-commercial users, and would encourage the Commerce Department to include more representatives of these communities. We believe that in the final structure of the new entity, these groups and human rights or civil liberties NGOs must also be represented in such as way as to assure that this non-commercial segment has substantial influence over the outcome of decisions taken by the entity.
Statement of Interest: CDT is an independent, non-profit, public interest organization in Washington, D.C., working to develop and implement public policies that protect and advance civil liberties and other democratic values in the new digital communications media. CDT has had a direct role in discussions of Internet governance since its inception in 1994, and in July 1997 co-sponsored the Forum on Internet Domain Names in Washington, D.C., with the Interactive Service Association and the Information Technology Association of America. (A report of the proceedings is available online at http://www.cdt.org/dns)
The Department of Commerce Process: Stable, open, and well-functioning technical management systems are essential to the continued well-being of the Internet and to realizing the promise that the Internet offers. To that end, CDT supports the process set in motion by the Department of Commerce to reevaluate the management of these systems. We believe that the DOC approach has the potential to create a broad representative, accountable structure. And, consistent with the desire to protect Internet users' civil liberties from government abuse, as well as consistent with the Clinton AdministrationÕs Global Framework for Electronic Commerce, CDT supports the ultimately global, non-governmental nature of the DOC approach.
Individual User Interests: The domain name system, addressing system, and other management functions occupy a unique, centralized role in the otherwise highly-decentralized Internet. As such, the structure and governance of these systems have important implications for consumers and individual users:
Civil liberties interests - The threat of government misuse: Centralized Internet management functions might easily be used by governments as a means for improperly limiting the freedoms of individual Internet users. For example, governments might choose to condition the granting of domain names or addresses on the content of an individual user's communications. Clearly, such conditions would be anathema to the free flow of information supported by todayÕs decentralized system. Similarly, governments might choose to use domain names or addresses as a tool to require strong identification mechanisms for all Internet users, threatening individual privacy, the right to freedom of association and the right to anonymous political speech guaranteed by the United States Constitution and international human rights covenants. Finally, influence or control over the basic Internet protocols -- mentioned as one possible role for the new non-profit corporation created in the DOC plan -- creates new possibilities for government surveillance or improper stifling of security and privacy technologies. (Such a plan to influence Internet protocols in the interest of greater government surveillance powers was already announced by the U.S. Attorney General at a December 1997 meeting of G-8 Justice Ministers. See International Cyber-SWAT Teams Planned to Fight Computer Crimes; Industrial Powers Say Terrorists Capable of Major Electronic Sabotage, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 11, 1997.)
Consumer interests and other user concerns: The market structure of the domain name registration system and Internet addressing create obvious cost and competitiveness issues that affect the interests of individual Internet users separately from the economic interests of registration system participants or even businesses using the Internet. Inasmuch as the proposed non-profit corporaton would have a substantial impact on market structure and conditions for domain name administration, it is essential that consumer interests (those of individual, non-profit, and for-profit users) be well represented.
For all of these reasons, it is essential that individual Internet users, consumers, and civil liberty groups be given substantial representation in the Internet governance process. We are gratified that DOC has already recognized the importance of individual and non-commercial participation, and urge that the commitment to this principle be strengthened as this proposal is implemented. We believe that substantial representation of these interests requires:
1. Inclusion of representatives of individual users, non-commerical users, and human rights or civil liberties non-governmental organizations: Each of these three communities have critical contributions to make to setting DNS management policies. None of the three are necessarily represented by the other two.
2. Substantial representation: While the final structure of the governing body is not yet clear, we believe that the communities mentioned above in (1) ought to have enough voting power in such a body that their assent to fundamental policy decisions is required, at least when these three communities are united and use their voting power in a coordinated manner.
Conclusion: The Need for Stronger User Representation -- CDT supports the approach of the Department of Commerce and believes it can form the basis for creating technical management structures for the Internet that are broadly representative and free from improper influence. At the same time, there are basic civil liberties and individual user issues implicated in the structure of these systems that must be addressed. CDT looks forward to working with the Department of Commerce and the Internet community to create a system that ultimately serves the interests of individual users and further realizes the democratic potential of the Internet.
Daniel J. Weitzner <email@example.com>
Alan B. Davidson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND
1634 I Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
March 23, 1998
[This document was also submitted in an ASCII text format.]
From: Ronda Hauben <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 5:09pm
Subject: Submissed comments for Proposed DNS Change Rule
Following is a comment I am submitting:
The Internet as a Communication Medium
and how that is not reflected in the proposal
to restructure the DNS
It is interesting to look at the proposal called "Framework for
Global Electronic Commerce" (hereafter referred to as "Framework")
that the U.S. government has created to look at at the future
of the Internet. This paper, we are told, is supposed to be
the foundation for the DNS (Domain Same System) rule change
proposal, titled "The Improvement of Technical Management of
Internet Names and Address: Proposed Rule"(1)
The document "Framework" fails to mention or consider that
the Internet is an important new *communication* media.
Instead the word *commerce* is substituted for the word
*communication* and the document sets out a framework
for making the Internet into an important new means of
commerce to replace the Internet as an important new
means of *communication*.
In two sentences at the beginning of this document, it says
that "the Internet empowers citizens and democratizes societies"
and then it goes on and spends the next 24 pages describing
changes that have to come about to make the Internet into
an electronic marketplace for business.
Nowheres in the "Framework" does the U.S. government discuss the
fact that Netizens are those who come on line to contribute
to the growth and the development of the Net. Instead the document
portrays the Internet as "being driven ... by the private sector."
If the "Framework" document has *no* understanding of the ways
that the Internet and Usenet contribute to and make possible
new forms of *communication* between people, then there is no
way that the proposed rule change for a new structure to replace
the DNS (domain name system) that assigns address and maintains
the lookup tables can help to facilitate the *communication* that
is so important as the essence of the Internet.
Instead of examining how this *communication* has been developed
and why it is so important, the U.S. government is rushing to
replace the current system (which was also developed without
adequate analysis of the importance of the communication aspects
of the Internet) with a "privatized" new form.
In this "privatized" new form, the document proposes creating
a "membership association" that will represent Internet users.
So Internet users are not to represent themselves, but the
U.S. government is proposing to create a rubber stamp organization
to promote its attempt to change the Internet from a media for
human-to-human communication into something that only conceives
of users as "customers" of unregulated advertertisers and other
forms of unregulated commerce.
This is hostile to the whole nature and development of the Internet.
The proposed rule claims that the "marketplace, not governments
should determine technical standards." This is contrary to the
lessons of the standards processes that made it possible to develop
the Internet. Tcp/ip was developed after a lot of exploration
and experience by government funded academic researchers who had
developed NCP. Tcp/ip was also developed as the result of funding
by the U.S. government and under government auspices. The proposed
rule to create a new structure for the DNS however, seems to
deny that government support for a standards process so it won't
be dominated by the most powerful corporations, is some of how
helpful standards have been developed. Instead the U.S.government.
in this document is trying to recast the standards development
process to mirror the unhealthy situation that develops when
the supposed "marketplace" is allowed to set standards.
The DNS rule proposes creating a supposed "not for profit" corporation
to take over the domain name system functions currently being
administered by IANA (the root system and the appropriate databases).
This new corporation is to have a board of directors which
will be made up of 5 members who are commercial users. There
are proposed two directors from "a membership association of
regional number registries", two members designated by the
Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and two members from an
association to be created representing domain name registeries
and registrars, and 7 members from the membership organization
it is proposing creating. (Of which the rule proposal says at least
one of those board seats could be designated for an individual or
entity engaged in non-commercial, not-for-profit use of the Internet,
and one for individual end users. The remaining (5) seats could be
filled by commercial users, including trademark holders.
Thus this proposed rule is based on a to-be-created associations
that will not be based on the Internet, but created to provide for
commercial control of the domain naming system.
The proposal is an effort to change the nature and character
of the Internet from a means of communication to a means of
"commerce." It is almost like claiming that the advertisers in a
newspaper should have an organization that will assure their control
of the newspaper, and ignoring the fact that the newspaper exists to
present the news, editorials, etc.
The Internet has been developed and continues to be for most of
its users, a place where one can communicate with others, whether
by email, posting to Usenet newsgroups, putting up a www site, etc.
As such it is the nature of this communication that has to be
*understood* and *protected* in any proposals to change key
aspects of how the Internet is administered.
Also the Internet makes possible communication with people around
the world. Creating an association with a board of directors
where commercial businesses are the main controlling interests is
hostile to facilitating this communication. It is putting
power into the hands of commercial entities rather than protecting
the users who contribute to and are so important a part of the
communication that goes on on the Internet.
While this proposed rule to restructure the DNS has been made
available online, it gives no indication of where it
came from, and why it fails to be based on the most essential
aspects of the Internet. Why didn't the advisor/s making up such
a proposal ask for discussion on line and participate in online
discussion so as to be able to create a proposal that will
reflect the needs and interests of those who are online rather
than a narrow group of commercial interests.
The Judges in the U.S. Federal District Court in Philadelphia
hearing the CDA case (the Communications Decency Act) and the
Supreme Court Judges affirming the Federal District Court decision
recognized that the Internet is an important new means of mass
communication. The Judges in the Federal District Court case wrote:
"The Internet is...a unique and wholly new medium of worldwide
U.S. Federal District Court Judge Dalzell, in his opinion, wrote
"The Internet is a far more speech-enhancing medium than
print, the village green, or the mails....We should also
protect the autonomy that such a medium confers to
ordinary people as well as media magnates....There is
also a compelling need for public education about the
benefits and dangers of this new medium and Government
can fill that role as well."
However, there is no indication in either the longer "Framework"
proposal, or the specific proposal to restructure the DNS, that the
U.S. government is interested in or has considered the benefits of
the Internet for the public of the U.S. or elsewhere around the
world. Instead the proposed rule to restructure the DNS is only
putting forward the wishes of certain commercial entities
who want to grab hold of the Internet for their own narrow
purposes. By restructuring the domain naming system in
a way that can put it up for control by a few commercial
interests, the U.S. government proposal is failing to protect the
autonomy that the medium confers to ordinary people, as the
court decision in the CDA case directed U.S. government
officials to do.
The ARPANET and Internet (up till 1995) developed because
of an Acceptible Use Policy encouraging and supporting
communication and limiting and restricting what commercial
interests were allowed to do. As such it developed as an important
means of people being able to utilize the regenerative power of
communication to create something very new and important
for our times.
Pioneers with a vision of the future of the Internet called
for it to be made available to all as a powerful education
medium, not for it to be turned into something that would mimic
the worst features of a so called "democratic nation" which
reduces the rights and abilities of its citizens to those of so
called "customers" of unregulated and unaccountable commercial
The Internet and the Netizens who populate the Internet
have created something much more important than the so called
commercial online "marketplace" that the Framework and proposed
DNS rule are trying to create. Netizens have created an online
international marketplace of ideas and discussion which is
needed to solve the complex problems of our times. The process of
"privatizing" what is a public trust will only result in more
problems and fights among the commercial entities that are vying
for their own self interest, rather than having any regard for
the important communications that the Internet makes possible.
Both the government processes and purposes in proposing the DNS
restructuring do not ground themselves on the important and
unique nature of the Internet. Proposals and practices to serve
the future of the Internet and the Netizens who contribute to
that future, can only be crafted through a much more democratic
process than that which led to the current proposal.
There is a need to examine the processes that have actually
given birth to and helped the Net to grow and flourish, and to
build on those processes in creating the ways to solve the
problems of the further development of the Net. Sadly the proposed
rule has ignored that process, and thus we are left with a
proposal that doesn't reflect the democratic and communicative
nature of the Internet and so can only do harm to its further
development and cause ever more problems.
Comments and Discussion especially online needed!
The book "Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet
and the Internet" documents some of the important technical
and social processes and achievements that the hard work
of many Netizens has resulted in. A draft of the book
is available online at
And it is available in a print edition ISBN # 0-8186-7706-6
Also the paper "ARPANET Mailing Lists and Usenet Newsgroups:
Creating an Open and Scientific Process for Technology
Development and Diffusion" documents how utilizing mailing
lists and Usenet newsgroups leads to a more participatory
process to solve the problems of how to develop new forms
for the future of the Internet to strengthen its communication
The paper is online at http://www.umcc.umich.edu/~ronda/msg.hist
(1)This is a response to the Improvement of Technical Management of
Internet Names and Address: Proposed Rule by the U.S. government
to fundamental change to change the way that Internet domain (site)
names are given out, and administered and thus to
affect in an important way the future of the Internet.
The proposal I am responding to is at
From: John Leslie <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 5:24pm
Subject: Discussion Draft on Technical Management of Internet Domain Names
First, I wish to express my opinion that the need for action is far
> The Need for Change
> -There is widespread dissatisfaction about the absence of competition
> in domain name registration.
There _is_ competition in domain name registration. See, for example,
the ".to" (Tonga) top-level-domain.
> -Mechanisms for resolving conflict between trademark holders and
> domain name holders are expensive and cumbersome.
NSI has made monumental mistakes as relates to trademarks. We need
to be patient -- the next TLD may well learn from these mistakes.
> -Without changes, a proliferation of lawsuits could lead to chaos
> as tribunals around the world apply the antitrust law and
> intellectual property law of their jurisdictions to the Internet.
And _with_ any changes I can imagine, lawsuits will still proliferate.
Hopefully, Tongan law will apply to the ".to" TLD, and so forth. Clarity
of which law applies is the best we can hope for, IMHO.
> -Many commercial interests, staking their future on the successful
> growth of the Internet, are calling for a more formal and robust
> management structure.
... because they fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the Internet.
(They also, frequently, misunderstand the nature of international trade.)
> -An increasing percentage of Internet users reside outside of the
> U.S., and those stakeholders want a larger voice in Internet
There _is_ an honest problem about discussions usually being held in
English; I can imagine no solution to that, alas. But I can testify that
netizens in Great Britain, Canada, and Australia are holding their own
quite nicely in the discussions I have seen.
> -As Internet names increasingly have commercial value, the
> decision to add new top-level domains cannot continue to be made
> on an ad hoc basis by entities or individuals that are not
> formally accountable to the Internet community.
I have seen no evidence that "Internet names" have _any_ commercial
value. They cannot be bought and sold.
"Formally accountable" is a slippery phrase. Traditionally, the 'net
has depended upon public discussion for accountability. Usenet group
names are authorized by a public process including mandatory discussion
and a formalized "voting" process, where users publicly express their
feelings for or against the proposal.
More important decisions in the Internet have traditionally been made
via the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) process, which includes
optional meetings according to a known schedule and full discussion on
mailing lists open to any interested party.
It is my strong opinion that "formal accounability" according to the
model of traditional political governments cannot be successfully
grafted onto the Internet community.
> -As the Internet becomes commercial, it becomes inappropriate for
> U.S. research agencies (NSF and DARPA) to participate in and fund
> these functions.
"The Internet" is incapable of "becoming commercial". The Internet
is a "network of networks". Most of these networks are privately owned,
and many of them, as a matter of policy, reject commercial focus. The
Internet will remain primarily a medium of communication, with commerce
layered on top of it in the same way commerce is layered on top of
sound waves traveling through air.
It is _not_ inappropriate for US research agencies to participate in
a medium of communication! (It is understandable that Congress may
desire to reduce funding which may cross-subsidize commerce, though...)
You have laid out three good principles:
> PRINCIPLES FOR A NEW SYSTEM
> 1. Stability.
> 2. Competition.
> 3. Private, Bottom-Up Coordination.
and one bad one:
> 4. Representation.
The Internet has mechanisms already in place for every netizen to
have direct -- not representative -- input. It makes no more sense to
impose a Representative form of control on it than it would to impose
a Representative form on civil trials (i.e. voting for the attorney(s)
who would represent all defendents and/or plaintiffs).
> THE PROPOSAL
> The new corporation would have the following authority:
> 1. to set policy for and direct the allocation of number blocks to
> regional number registries for the assignment of Internet
There is no excuse to do anything _other_than_ allocate IP blocks
as needed. _If_ we ever run out, trading blocks by mutual consent is
the only reasonable alternative.
> 2. to oversee the operation of an authoritative root server
This is not a related function. If there needs to be a single authority
for root name-servers (which I doubt), it certainly should be an authority
with no other duties.
> 3. to oversee policy for determining, based on objective criteria
> clearly established in the new organization's charter, the
> circumstances under which new top-level domains are added to the
> root system; and
I reiterate, _if_ there is a single authority for root name-servers,
it should not exercise authority on the process for choosing new TLDs.
That process deserves to parallel the process for creating Usenet
newsgroups -- with public discussion and public votes open to all
> 4.to coordinate the development of other technical protocol
> parameters as needed to maintain universal connectivity on the
This should be a function of IETF.
> The board of directors for the new corporation should be balanced...
You are attempting to impose a nineteenth-century structure on a
twenty-first-century entity. It won't work. It can't work. No Board
can have the information to make good-enough decisions.
Look more carefully at the gTLD-MOU process. Step back and consider
the people who were appointed to the task force, etc. These were good
people! The _process_ forced them into decisions which a substantial
minority of the 'net considered premature. Soon, even the appearance
of consensus disappeared. :^(
I wish to commend you on the thoroughness of your draft. It _is_ a
far better draft than the gTLD-MOU. The processes developed by the US
government for public input are good policies. It shows in your work.
It's just the task you have set that is wrong. The Internet is _not_
a commercial network. It can never become just a commercial network.
Attempts to force it in that direction will be treated as damage, and
routed around. :^)
From: E.Anderson <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 5:36pm
Subject: NSI Involvement Sickening
Please address the Internet community when you set policy that will
affect us all and not just the corporate bigwigs of NSI. It is sickening
the draft was written by NSI.
I do not endorse your draft and I encourage others to voice their
criticisms of it.
Send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
"computers are useless, they can only give you answers"
Fast, Permanent, Free Email: http://www.flashemail.com/
From: "Herman Merlo" <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 4:25pm
Subject: GP commetns
I think your proposal does not go nearly far enough in breaking up the InterNIC monopoly.
The GP talks about "competition" but then goes on to give InterNIC an extension of
it's monopoly. I thought a monopoly is the exact oposite of competition. I think
your plan won't bring any new real competition because InterNIC will have a "full
house" and other companies won't have such as good hand since the dealer (USgovt)
Get your FREE, private e-mail
account at http://www.mailcity.com
From: Tele Danmark <Ole.Carsten.Pedersen@DK.net>
Date: 3/23/98 5:31pm
Subject: Comment from Tele Danmark
The U.S. Department of Commerce,
National Telecommunications and
In the Matter of Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names
and Addresses; Proposed Rule. Docket No. 980212036-8036-01.
Tele Danmark A/S is the national telecommunication company in Denmark.
For several years Tele Danmark A/S has pioneered Internet services and
usage in Denmark. We have with close interest followed the impressive,
internationally based, process of consensus building on the future
administration of global Top Level Domains. Tele Danmarks has itself
actively participated in the work done in the CORE group, and presently
Tele Danmark is accepted as one of the 88 chosen registrars for this
Tele Danmark recognises the Internet as one of the most important fields
of activity for us in the years to come. Therefore we wish to state our
firm conviction that the vitality of the Internet as a global
communications structure is tightly bound to the proven concepts of
self-governance as they are organised by the present Internet bodies -
ISOC, IETF, IANA etc.. We express the hope that governments will
continue to support these institutions and their work. This is an
important prerequisite for continued development of the Internet as a
unique, global structure for the exchange of ideas and products.
From: Barbara Dooley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 5:37pm
Subject: Comments by the Commercial Internet eXchange
Please accept comments (submitted in Microsoft Word 6.0) of the Commercial
Internet eXchange Association. If there are problems with this electronic
submission, please contact us.
Barbara A. Dooley
Commercial Internet eXchange Association
1041 Sterling Rd. Suite 104A
Herndon, VA 20170
COMMENTS OF THE COMMERCIAL INTERNET EXCHANGE ASSOCIATION
(CIX) ON THE PROPOSED RULE ON "IMPROVEMENT OF TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT OF INTERNET NAMES AND ADDRESSES"
Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
The Commercial Internet eXchange Association (CIX), founded in 1991, is the oldest trade association of Internet Service Providers and their Internet-related partners. CIX represents a diverse, global membership of companies in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions.
With the publication of its proposal on "Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses," the US Government (USG) embarks on a journey that will end with the termination of its last formal administrative responsibilities for the commercial Internet. Under the proposal, after September 30, 2000, management and administration of Internet domain names and IP addresses will pass fully into private hands. It will have no sovereign or legacy role in the supervision or management of IP numbers and addresses, nor will it have any policy oversight authority.
The proposed rule is, on the whole, fair, reasonable, practical, and well conceived. Subject to five major concerns, CIX believes that the draft proposal, together with subsequent management initiatives before the new entity assumes its full responsibilities, should accommodate a smooth transition to an expanded privatized DNS. Many details remain to be resolved or expanded. A significant amount of work has been accomplished by the USG and other stakeholders, though there remains a significant workload during the transition to a fully functioning successor corporation. There is a need to proceed quickly with a final plan if the corporation is to meet the proposed September 30, 1998 deadline, and to avoid further deadlocks in planning for the privatization of these crucial administrative functions.
CIX's five major concerns are as follows:
Commercial users and service providers would be seriously under-represented on the board of directors of the new non-profit entity even though they will be the critical factor in the success of electronic commerce on the Internet. An effort should be made to increase their board representation.
Should there be a need for an increase in gTLDs, the new corporation should first develop (1) a single set of standards and processes to measure market needs and (2) an open, transparent and accountable mechanism for reviewing and approving gTLDs. The interests of all affected stakeholders, especially the trademark and business communities, must be factored into a decision to expand the name space.
Reform of the ".us" top level domain is a high priority. As part of the reform, CIX recommends that the ".gov" and ".mil" domains, currently limited to US entities, be moved to the ".us" domain. Expeditious reform action may help alleviate the demand for existing and new gTLDs and mitigate the trademark dilemma in the short and medium term.
CIX has additional, less urgent concerns, such as the disposition of the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund, and they are also discussed below.
Globalization and the Law
Only the USG proposal addresses the broad range of issues involved in the privatization and technical management of the DNS and IP addresses, namely, the creation of new TLDs, transition of NSI's and IANA's functions as part of the privatization, legal authority of Internet institutions, and DNS-related issues like trademarks. The USG proposal is the logical point to begin to develop a final privatization and management plan. CIX takes it as a document -- and part of an extended process -- that was greatly needed to construct the framework for the second stage of Internet commercialization.
Pending legal actions underscore the need to transfer the USG's sovereign authority intact to the new corporation. CIX supports the USG's special role in DNS policy oversight, proposed to end definitely no later than September 30, 2000, after which management will be fully independent, commercial, and global. CIX supports the global role of the new corporation as evidenced by the fact that the proposal does not carve out a special board role for the USG or US representatives. Indeed, it gives permanent roles to non-US institutions such as RIPE and APNIC (representing Europe and Asian/Pacific respectively) and Latin America and Africa when these regions organize IP numbering bodies. While ideally it may have been better to organize a longer comment cycle so that international organizations and political bodies could have been consulted, such a process is hard to envision only six months before the cooperative agreement with Network Solutions, the current operator, concludes.
CIX is willing to accept that the new non-profit management corporation would be incorporated in the United States rather than, say Switzerland. By definition one could object, employing an exclusionary principle, to incorporation in any one country. Rather, the decision should be examined in terms of its practical effects. A US location would give it proximity and immediate access to the world's greatest concentration of Internet resources, the best Internet infrastructure, services, and applications and a legal system that is commercially-oriented -- just like the public Internet.
During the debate over new gTLDs, regional issues such as the concern of the European Union about Europe's role in Internet administration were expressed. That concern is understandable and should be addressed by the transition team or after the non-profit corporation becomes operational. After the entity is fully established, it should consider locating resources outside the US consistent with its business plan. Its human resource and procurement policies should be resolutely global, reflecting the fact that a growing number of Internet users are now outside North America.
As evidence of the US's commitment to this global transition, CIX suggests that the ".mil" and ".gov" domains, which are registered for US military and governmental agencies, be incorporated into the ".us" domain as is the current practice in every other country domain except the United States. This reform, which would not immediately create any new commercial name space, will address the perception of a US-centric DNS and dispute resolution mechanism. Together with other steps, such as an international management task force to handle the transition to a fully functional new corporation, the USG can and should undertake substantive steps to address international concerns about undue US governmental influence.(1)
The four fundamental principles in "Part V. Principles for a New System" are sound and deserve Internet community endorsement. These core concepts are Stability, Competition, Private, Bottom-up Coordination, and Representation.
Network stability is the overwhelming imperative of the privatization plan on which all parties generally agree but which is at risk in the names controversy. Complaints about the absence of competition in registry and registration services was one of - if not the - principle reasons for privatization and the demand for new gTLDs (with its attendant commercial registration opportunities). CIX strongly endorses the proposal's call for competition in all areas of the DNS services except where limited by current technology, and for shared registries open to all qualified registrars. It supports the major organization of technical management between coordinated and competitive functions. As proven technology becomes available such that a registry does not need to be coordinated, that is, operated by a single entity, there should also be competition in that sector.
The draft proposal appears to envision registries as for-profit entities and hence commercial monopolies. CIX believes not-for-profit registries may offer protection against pricing and other abuses, in the absence of name portability between registries. A the Internet evolves, and after the organization has been established and gained experience, this organizational structure may need to be reordered. The operating charter must accommodate occasional reforms.
Several elements are essential to a successful plan for a private sector mechanism to assume control over the current DNS and IP and essential infrastructure administrative structures. First, a plan must not adversely affect Internet stability and ideally should promote network stability. Second, it has been clear ever since the USG announced its intention to withdraw from name and address administration that an entirely new institutional and policy arrangement was needed to replace the outmoded NSF model. Also clear was that the adoption of a broadly accepted framework must precede decisions on substantive matters like new gTLDs since it was not clear who had the authority to act and in what areas.
Third, a new plan must be comprehensive and try to address several discrete but important issue sets: for example, the claim that there must be additional name space, new gTLDs and registries, and registrars. Another discrete issue set involves sustaining current gTLD registry functions after the cooperative agreement ends and institutionalizing IANA's role. Still another separate matter is DNS-related trademark.
Fourth, the transition plan must have political credibility and broad support. Key stakeholders must feel that (1) decision-making processes are open, transparent, and responsive and (2) decision-makers are accountable. The USG has conducted a highly public and open comment and drafting process, and the new corporation must also conduct its business in a like manner.
Fifth, the transition must be actively managed. The first phase of Internet commercialization involved the transformation of NSFNET into today's Internet in 1992 through 1995. That process required between two and a half to three years from planning to completion. There is an enormous amount of remaining work that must be managed by a transition team, including determining the details of policy decisions.
Sixth, it is critical to transfer unequivocally to the new management company the USG's current legal authority for Internet domain name and addresses so it can minimize costly and unnecessary legal complaints. The role and authority of the USG regarding key Internet resources is unique, as legal authority has flowed out of its investment in Internet infrastructure, research, and institutional support.
Process and the Role of Government
The USG has played the central role in bringing the DNS dispute closer to a peaceful resolution, initially through an interagency structure that resulted in last year's Request for Comments and then in this draft proposal.
The USG is playing two crucial and appropriate roles: first, as a referee among various contending parties; and second, as a policymaker, as it reaches conclusions after evidence has been collected and analyzed. The USG has played another important historic role that will be desirable even after privatization of technical management. It and other governments should be the stabilizers of last resort in the event the Internet is threatened. In this manner, with private sector leadership and control but with limited though important public sector support, the Internet can continue its outstanding record of enhancing growth, innovation, and productivity.
The final plan should explicitly prohibit a government official from serving on the new corporation's board of directors unless that individual promptly and permanently severs his or her official ties. This restriction should also include employees of multilateral and intergovernmental organizations. While there is no question that talented and knowledgeable individuals are in public service, there is a distinct danger to the corporation's independence and objectivity if a government representative were perceived as exercising undue influence on the corporation.
Of particular concern to CIX were incursions by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) into Internet governance matters and its assertions that the name space is a public resource, which argument could become the pretext for international governmental coordination and control of administrative infrastructure functions. The DNS was established as a tool and a convention, and alphanumeric names are, in fact, not limited like spectrum. Name space can be created or otherwise cleverly manipulated so that it is not a limited resource which requires intergovernmental management. Eventually, as the report suggested, it is likely that in the future domain names will be joined by unified network directories since directories will provide precise locational and other data for people, corporations, and network devices.(2)
There is at best only a limited role for governmental bodies like the ITU in Internet governance. Its current bureaucratic, government-dominated organizational structure is the antithesis of the Internet's consensual and cooperative foundation and represents a distinct threat to the Internet as a source of innovation.
I. MAJOR CONCERNS
A. Representation of Commercial Users and Providers on the Board of Directors Should be Expanded
Of the 15 directors on the proposed new non-profit corporation's board, only seven seats would be set aside for users, of which two would be for individual consumers and non-profits, leaving at most five board seats for all commercial users, trademark owners, and service providers. The suggested board composition may undervalue the needs and importance of commercial customers, trademark owners and commercial ISPs in the development of electronic commerce. Commercial customers could ultimately originate the bulk of Internet traffic, pioneer applications and services, and ultimately finance much of the Internet's development through business traffic.
The draft rule expressed concern that it is difficult to identify representative business groups for the board of directors. The allocation of seats to represent diverse views and identifying appropriate business sector members may be difficult, but every effort should be expended to create a fair, open process that will encourage wider commercial participation in the board selection. No one group can credibly claim to represent the diversity of vendors, customers, and service providers. Therefore, board representation must change regularly to prevent stagnation, maximize representation, and, withstand domination by one group or faction. The selection process must also reflect the wide diversity of Internet users and not be dominated by a single person, group or stakeholder interest.
The exact process for board selection for the initial board should be determined by the
transition team, but it should be open and transparent and encourage input from all
stakeholders interested in participation.
CIX believes that these board members should serve as individuals rather than as specific representatives of companies or associations even if they have current or past corporate affiliations. They will provide the board and the new corporation with vision, experience, managerial talent, and relationships to the business environment. While it is crucial for the board to have adequate Internet technical expertise, most of the technical knowledge should be provided by the staff, which will manage day-to-day business. An overemphasis on scientific expertise risks creating an insular entity at the very time when the Internet is becoming more global, commercial, and diverse. The most crucial need is to formally increase commercial representation and then to proceed with the selection process.
B. The Addition of New gTLDs Should Reflect Users' Needs and Proceed in at a Rational and Measured Pace
The draft proposes to create up to five new gTLDs, with one allotted per registry, before
the new entity assumes full responsibility over numbering and DNS administration. There is no
technical reason for the proposed limit of one TLD per registry and this limitation should be
examined by the new corporation.
The costs of new top level domains must be carefully balanced against their competitive benefits. The decision to increase the name space must be driven fundamentally by customers' use and market requirements especially since the DNS may be supplanted by network directories in the medium-term. Arbitrary new domains could compel trademark owners to register in the new name space, increase costs for all stakeholders, and likely result in greater consumer confusion over the difference between competing gTLDs. CIX recommends that that the USG assign the transition team the responsibility for developing a (1) methodology for determining when the market needs such domains, (2) cost/benefit analysis, and (3) processes for adopting these names.
The task of adding new names and developing subsequent policy can be assumed by the successor corporation. The transition team and new corporation should move deliberately and thoughtfully by first laying out guidelines and standards. The new corporation should be responsible for adding additional TLDs unless its formal establishment is unexpectedly delayed. In addition there remain significant questions regarding dispute resolution and registration processes and procedures which must be resolved before the expansion of the gTLD space.
C. Reform of ".us" Domain Should Be a Priority
According to the draft, comments on reforming the ".us" domain will later be requested by the USG. The draft correctly notes that this space is not widely used for commercial purposes, and indeed sites employing this domain may not be much frequented. It is widely acknowledged the ".us" domain suffers from structural deficiencies and requires extensive reform. The lack of a commercially viable name space for the US contributes directly to the demand for ".com" SLDs and the alleged critical shortage of gTLDs. Therefore, reform of the ".us" may help alleviate the need for gTLDs, be more consistent with international practices of using country TLDs, at least in the short and medium term.
As part of the reform, the US should consider incorporating the ".mil" and ".gov" name space into the reformed ".us". Presently these two domains are limited to US entities. It would be appropriate for these domains to be registered in the ".us" space, which is the practice in every country except the United States. While this action would not create additional commercial name space, it would represent an acknowledgment of the changed international environment.
Within recent years major reforms in the organization and administration of their domains have been adopted in other countries, most notably the UK and Canada. The US, home of the Internet, should be just as willing to undertake fundamental changes, including amending the geographical divisions, if necessary.
Plans for reforming the ".us" space should be solicited immediately through a process
or request for comments supported by the USG.
D. Immediate Steps Must Be Taken to Ensure Stable, Professional Root Server System Management
The report correctly identified Internet stability as the first core principle.(3)
It also found that as it is currently organized, responsibility for the system is scattered among several organizations on a voluntary basis. The distribution of responsibility once served its purpose, but in today's world businesses must have confidence in the Internet before they entrust mission critical tasks to it. Moreover, the server system is exposed to increased vulnerability from terrorists, hacker hobbyists, and natural disasters at the same time that the general public is coming to rely more on the network.
The transition team should be responsible for a study of how the current system can be made more secure and responsive to public and commercial needs. As things now stand, much of the root server system is cared for by dedicated and talented individuals but without sufficiently consistent principles or practices, coordination or sufficient safeguards.
E. Trademark Issues Will Require Further Government Attention
The DNS was created in the 1980s as an additional identifier and initially had no commercial purpose or value whatsoever. The clash between the current DNS and trademark interests is a relatively recent phenomenon and may escalate as the Internet attracts new consumers. CIX understands the concerns of both trademark owners and consumers regarding consumer confusion over trademark ownership and the danger of potentially fraudulent practices by unscrupulous registrants which must be addressed before the expansion of gTLD space. While CIX supports continuing and building on the work begun by other groups, it believes that changes in the current system should be undertaken only when safeguards are in place and operational stability can be assured.
CIX agrees generally with most of the proposals in The Trademark Dilemma section of the draft. With regard to the draft's suggestion that registries resolve disputes within a specified time after a trademark complaint is filed,(4)
it is unlikely that they would have sufficient competence or knowledge to perform that task effectively. The registries' core competence is to provide database services, and resolving trademark disputes would simply distract them from their primary mission. Furthermore, delays would only complicate the use of DNS names for time sensitive marketing efforts. CIX believes that as part of the transition that continued work on a uniform dispute settlement process standard which can be adopted by all registries should be pursued, and in place, if possible, by the creation of the new corporation.
With regard to the proposal for "clearing" trademarks, it is likely that this proposal would only further delay registration and deployment of SLDs to the detriment of Internet users since there are at present no foolproof systems that would achieve this goal. While work should proceed to determine if such a system is possible, at the present time the protocols for checking and clearing do not exist.
F. The Intellectual Infrastructure Fund Should be Dedicated to Support Internet Domain Name and IP Activities
CIX supports the April 1, 1998, termination of the fee that is deposited in the infrastructure fund. Individuals throughout the world created the fund through their payments to register domain names. Assuming that the current litigation is settled, the remaining $23 million should be dedicated to support global Internet infrastructure improvements. Specifically, in the near future, there will be a need for regional IP registries for Latin America and Africa. Funds could be employed to support those activities.
A small portion of the infrastructure fund may also be needed to support the new management corporation's start-up expenses and the transition expenses prior to the corporation's commencement. CIX recommends that the new non-profit corporation assume control over the fund to support these new registries and related-infrastructure projects. It must further be fully accountable to Internet stakeholders for its management of these funds by adopting appropriate accounting standards.
G. The Transition Must be Actively Managed With Sufficient Resources and Flexibility to Achieve the Goals of the Report
The draft rule envisions the creation of a management corporation by September 30, 1998. The USG has also decided to terminate its policy oversight role by September 30, 2000. That deadline is an appropriate limitation. The plan should contain sufficient flexibility for the transition team in the event that the September 30, 1998 operational objective for creation of the new corporation is not achieved.
There are several options for handling the large workload during the transition period between the adoption of the final plan and full establishment of the new corporation. One option might be to create a diverse representative or transition team, including the IANA, to assume responsibility for managing the transition. A second option might be to leave transition formally with the USG supplemented by the private sector and non-US government representatives. There are advantages and drawbacks to both approaches, but on balance, it would appear to better to establish a fully functioning transition team as determined by a review of comments in this process and using criteria as expressed in this document. It should be financially supported by the Information Infrastructure funds, if available, or by the USG during the transition, and be accountable to its diverse stakeholders and its successor. There will be a need to reach out to the general public, communicate with the Internet community and engage stakeholders as the final plan is implemented.
The draft rule describes its goal as being "to seek as strong a consensus as possible so that a new, open, and accountable system can emerge that is legitimate in the eyes of all Internet stakeholders." It also notes that the "[t]echnical management of the Internet should reflect the diversity of its users and their needs." - not simply those of a single group.
The draft proposal is a compromise that reflects the interests and needs of many stakeholders while ensuring that the administrative infrastructure remains robust and stable when it is privatized. When the interagency team undertook its effort to develop a transition plan, it encountered a contentious public dispute that threatened to fracture the Internet. CIX believes that this document has surmounted these difficult challenges in this document even though it retains serious reservations about individual issues. The draft candidly admits that it does not have all the answers, but its release is an important milestone as Internet institutions continue to grow, change, and evolve.
Barbara A. Dooley
Public Policy Director
Robert D. Collet
Chairman of the Board
Commercial Internet eXchange Association
1041 Sterling Rd. Suite 104A
Herndon VA 20170
1 See below at p.8 .
2 Federal Register, February 20, 1998, p. 8829.
3 Federal Register, February 20, 1998, p. 8827
4 Federal Register, February 20, 1998, p. 8830.
From: Ronda Hauben <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 5:29pm
Subject: Comments on Proposed Rule on DNS
I am submitting this into the record of the comments for
the "Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names
and Addresses: Proposed Rule" to provide an example of
how there could and should be a more democratic process
that utilizes the potential of the internet when trying
to determine how to determine its future.
P.O. Box 250101
New York, N.Y. 10025-1501
The NTIA Conference on the Future of the Net
Creating a Prototype for a Democratic Decision Making Process
By Ronda Hauben
In Spring 1995, a special issue of Scientific American appeared
exploring the advance that the computer and communications revolution is
having for our times.(1) In the introduction to the issue was a cartoon.
The cartoon shows several palenthologists on the trail of a major new
discovery. The caption reads: "Well, I don't see any point in looking any
further. It was probably just one of those wild rumors." The cartoon
shows they are standing in the midst of a huge footprint. However,
because it is so large, they do not see it.
This cartoon is a helpful analogy to our situation today.
There have been very significant computer networking developments
in the past 30 years, but these advances are so grand that it
is easy to miss them, and to begin to turn back, just like the
palenthologists. It is important to understand what these
advances are, so we can recognize them, and learn what
direction the footprints point in, rather than turning back.
Today we are at a turning point in terms of what the future
direction of the Global Computer Network will be. Changes are being made
in U.S. policy and in the policy of countries around the world regarding
the Net and Net access and thus there are important issues being raised
about what the new policy will and should be.
In response to criticisms in the U.S. that the on-line
community was not being involved enough in the setting of the new
policy, an on-line conference was held November 14-23, 1994, by
the U.S. National Telecommunications Information Administration
(NTIA). The NTIA virtual conference was co-sponsored by the
National Telecommunications Information Administration and the
Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF), as part of the U.S.
government's National Information Infrastructure Initiative. The
conference gave people both in the U.S. and around the world a
chance to discuss their concerns about how to expand access to
To take part, people needed a computer, either their own or
one at a limited number of public access sites that were set up
around the U.S. in public libraries and other public places. The
on-line conference was available via a mailing list, where all
the posts were sent to the email mailboxes of those who
subscribed, or as a Usenet newsgroup available at a limited
number of sites. Also a World Wide Web site was set up where a
netuser with access to a browser could read the posts, but could
not participate. There were several forums on different topics,
two of which discussed increasing access to the Net for a broader
sector of the population. At the end of the conference an archive of the
proceedings was to be available via the World Wide Web.*
One paper posted to the on-line conferences described the
social and technical advance for those who participate in the
Global Computer Commmunications Network. The author of the paper
"Welcome to the 21st century. You are a Netizen, or a Net
Citizen, and you exist as a citizen of the world thanks to
the global connectivity that the Net makes possible. You
consider everyone as your compatriot. You physically live in
one country but you are in contact with much of the world
via the global computer network.
"The situation I describe is only a prediction of the future, but a
large part of the necessary infrastructure currently exists...Every
day more computers attach to the existing network and every new
computer adds to the user base -- at least twenty five million
people are interconnected today..."
"We are seeing a revitalization of society. The frameworks are being
redesigned from the bottom up. A new more democratic world is
This paper was one of the many contributions in response to
the NTIA statement welcoming participants to the on-line
conference. The NTIA listed several purposes for the conference.
Among those purposes were:
"1) Garner opinions and views on universal telecommunications
service that may shape the legislative and regulatory debate.
2) Demonstrate how networking technology can broaden participation
in the development of government policies, specifically,
universal service telecommunications policy.
3) Illustrate the potential for using the NII to create an
4) Create a network of individuals and institutions that
will continue the dialog started by the conference, once the
formal sponsorship is over."
"This conference," the NTIA explained, "is an experiment in
a new form of dialog among citizens and with their government.
The conference is not a one-way, top down approach, it is a
conversation. It holds the promise of reworking the compact
between citizens and their government."(3)
What was the response to the call?
In the process of the week long discussions a number of
voices complained about the commercial entities that were slated
to take over the U.S portion of the backbone of the Internet. Many
expressed concern that government intervention was needed to make access
to the Net broadly available. They gave experiences and examples to
demonstrate that leaving the problem of expanded access to commercial
entities would not solve the problems that expanded access required be
solved. For example, one participant wrote:
"I want to add my voice to those favoring greater, not less,
government intervention ... to protect the interest of the
people against the narrow sectarian interests of large
telecommunications industries. Why the federal government
gave up its part ownership in the Internet backbone is a
mystery to me. An active interventionist government
is essential to assure universal access at affordable prices
(for)... people living in (the) heart of cities or in the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan."(4)
A number of people from rural and remote areas participated
and explained their concern that they not be left out of the
on-line future because connecting them to the Net would not be
profitable. In response to a post from someone in Oregon, a librarian
from a remote area of Michigan wrote:
"I'd like to hear more from the Oregon edge of the world. Being
from a small, rural library in the Upper Penisula of Michigan,
with a very small tax base...faced with geographical isolation
and no clout...how do we get our voices heard and assure our
patrons equal and universal access to these new and wonderful
services..we have no local nodes..every hook up is a long
distance call. What are you doing over there?"(5)
A participant working with a scientific foundation echoed this concern.
"When faced with the resources and persuasive power (legal and
otherwise) of enormous multinational corporations with annual
incomes that are orders of magnitude greater than some of the
territories they serve, only a capable and committed national
guarantee of access, and a national cost pool can provide access
to these new technolgy resources."
"And THE INTERNET IS SPECIALLY IMPORTANT to areas with
limited access to technical and scientific resources. As one of
the leading non-profit educational foundations devoted to the
environmental problems of small tropical islands, we (Islands
Resources Foundation) are amazed at the richness of the Internet
resource, and terribly concerned that our constituents throughout
all of the world's oceans are going to (be) closed off from access
to this resource because of monopoly pricing policies."
Speaking to the NTIA, he urged, "we ask careful attention to the equity
issues of access, and a federal guarantee of access and availability."(6)
Recognizing that people without computers or net access
would not be able to participate in this conference because they
did not have computers and modems already available, a limited
number of public access sites had been set up. One participant
from San Francisco explained why making such access to the Net
available was so important:
"I am sitting in the corner of the card catalogue room at the San
Francisco main library,(...) doing what I hope I will be able to do
for the rest of my years: use computers freely. Internet, on-line
discourse, rather is invaluable; the role of the computer-friendly
mind is becoming ever greater and the need to communicate within
this medium needs to remain open to all. If not, we will fall into
the abyss of the isolated world....We could become isolated in a
cubicle existing only through our computer....I would choose
otherwise. Keep computers part of the schools and libraries, and
definitely make (the) Internet free to any who wish to use it.
Otherwise we are doomed."(7)
Another user expressed support for library access and
participation. He cautioned:
"If things go as it looks they are going now, libraries will
lose out to business in the war for the net. Yes, this means that
we will be drowning in a deluge of what big business tells us we
want to hear and the magic of the net will vanish in a poof of
monied interests. Some estimates that I have read say that it
should cost no more than $10 a year per user for universal
access to the national network, including library sites so that
those without phones or home computers have access. The NSF has
decided against funding the internet anymore and all the talk of
(...)(late) is about the privatizing of the net. No one seems to
get the point involved (or, worse: They *do* get the point.). The
backbone of the net should be retained by the government. The
cost is relatively inexpensive and the benefits are grand. Paying
large fees (some plans call for charges based on the amount of
data consumed and others by time spent net-surfing) defeats the
nature of the net. We have possibilities for direct democracy. At
the very least, for representation of mentally distinct groups as
opposed to physical. That is, now we are represented in Congress
by geographical area, not what our opinions support...."(8)
Several people complained how Net access was not only
difficult because of the cost of modem connections, but that for
many people it was a financial hardship to even own a computer. As one
user from Virginia explained:
"As a newcomer to the net, I don't feel I have much relevant to
say. All this chatter about Info Superhiways strikes me as so
much political doubletalk. The hiway exists. But to drive on the
damn thing you need a car. Computers (macs or pcs, etc.) are not
items that someone making 6 or 7 dollars an hour can easily
Others described the efforts in their areas to provide
public access to the Net. In Seattle, we learned that the Seattle
Public Library and the Seattle branch of Computer Professions for
Social Responsiblity had set up a system that made email access
and an email mailbox available to anyone in Seattle who wanted
We learned that in Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S. government funds had
helped to set up the Blacksburg Electronic Village by installing
fiberoptic cable to all new apartments being built so the people would
have direct access to the Internet.(10)
Canadian participants described how the Blue Sky Freenet in
Manitoba Canada was providing access to all of Manitoba with no
extra long distance phone charges to small rural areas. We were told that
in Manitoba, "They have basically a hub in each of the different calling
areas...some places will be piggy-backing on CBC radio waves, others on
Also proposals were made to provide access to other
forgotten segments of the society like the homeless. A user
from San Francisco proposed that terminals with network access be
installed in homeless shelters. The person explained:
"Provide homeless shelters with online systems frozen into
Netnews and email, or email and gopher. A 386 terminal running
Linux, Xwindows and Netscape, and linked into a user group such
as email and gopher, etc., would permit defining the lowest level
of involvement. People need communication to represent
themselves, and email for that reason, as well as Netnews."(12)
People from other countries also contributed to the discussion
providing a broader perspective than might normally be available in a
national policy discussion. For example, from the Netherlands came the
"After attending the Virtual Conference for two days now, I would
like to give my first (contribution) to the discussion.
Since I work for the government of the Netherlands, at the
Central Bureau of Statistics, which is part of the Department of
Economic Affairs, the question of availability of statistical
figures intrigues me. As a result of safety-precautions there is
no on-line connection possible with our network. There should,
however, be a source for the public to get our data from, we get
paid by community-money so the community should benefit (from) the
results of our efforts. I am wondering how these matters are
regulated in the other countries who participate in the Virtual
"With kind greetings," he ended.(13)
And a Psychology Professor from Moscow State University in Russia wrote:
(He explained how he had subscribed to only two mailing lists
dealing with network access because he would only have time to read
the few messages he expected there.) "I'm glad I'm wrong," he
admitted. "I can't follow the massive traffic of discussions.
Sometimes my English is too poor to grasp the essense, sometimes I
don't know the realities, legislation etc. Some themes I'm greatly
pleased with...I agree gladly with Larry Irving -- (of the NTIA who
had said he was-ed) thrilled with the volume of traffic & quality of
discussion. I am, too. Perhaps I'll find more time later to read the
messages more attentively.I shall not unsubscribe, though."
"The people in the 2nd & 3rd worlds," he continued, "are just
now trying to find our own ways to use the Internet facilities &
pleasures. I am interested in [the] investigation of these
ways, in teaching & helping them in this kind of activity.
Besides, my group is working on bibliographic database
construction and letting...remote access to it. For several
days only we got an IP access to the WWW, we are not experienced
yet to access. So I use ordinary e-mail. Good luck to all
subscribers," he ended. "I wish you success."(14)
Also, as part of the discussion several participants discussed how
they felt the ability to communicate was the real achievement represented
by the Global Computer Network, rather than just the means provide
In her message, "Not just information -----------> Communication,
a participant from Palo Alto, California wrote, "... the NTIA is
building a one-way highway to a dead end when they take the word
Telecommunications out of their rhetoric." She listed several
points for people to consider, among which were:
"1. Information is always old already
2. Telecommunications, properly algoritmed, provides dynamic
information about who we are as the human race....
3. Telecommunications is the road to direct democracy and a
future for this planet.
4. Downstream bandwidth is just another broadcast medium.
Upstream bandwidth is power for the people."(15)
In a similar vein, another participant wrote:
"To start off, I take issue with the term `service. As I have
stated...the terminology being used is being adopted from an out-
dated model of a Top-Down communications system. The new era of
interconnection and many-to-many communication afforded by
Netnews and Mailing lists (...) brings to the forefront a model
of bottom-up rather than top-down communication and information.
It is time to reexamine society and welcome the democratizing
trends of many-to-many communication over the one-to-many models
as represented by broadcast television, radio, newspapers and
other media. Rather than service, I would propose that we examine
what "forms of communication" should be available. So instead of
talking about "Universal Service" we should consider "Universal
Interconnection to forms of communication."(16)
These were just some of the many concerns raised in this
week long on-line conference supported and sponsored by a branch
of the U.S. government. The people participating, raised serious
questions as to whether the real issues needed to make access
available for the many rather than limiting it to a multimedia
plaything for the few, would be considered and examined. Many
were concerned for those who did not now have access to the Net,
either because they did not have modems or even more
fundamentally because they could not afford computers. Thus there
was a significant sentiment that computers with network access be
made available in public places where people could have
access, like public libraries.
One participant noted that current policy was favoring a
few people having video connections rather than the many having
email capability. He requested that the U.S. government:
"Redirect some of the funding for high end technology into
getting the mainstream public onto the net. Instead of funding an
hour of video between two users, we should use the money to let
100,000 users send an email message."(17)
Summing up the sentiment expressed during the conference,
a participant wrote:
"I find it hard to believe a state can function in the 21st
century without a solid information infrastructure and citizens
with enough technological savvy to use it."(18)
The conference was a very significant event. From cities to
rural and remote areas, people made the hard effort to express
their concern and commitment to making access available to all
and to protest the U.S. government policy of giving commercial
entities the Net as a policy that is in conflict with the public
and social goal of universal low cost or free network access.
Despite hardships that people experienced to participate --
mailboxes got clogged with the volume of email that people
could not keep up with, newsgroups appeared late on Usenet and at
very few sites so it was hard to get access to them, the lack of
publicity meant that many did not find out till the conference was
almost over, etc., the people who participated did what they could
to contribute to and speak up for the means for everyone to be
able to be part of the Net as a contributor not just as a listener.
A new government form was created which is very different
from what has existed thus far. This on-line conference made clear that
the hard problems of our time can be solved only if the most advanced
technology is used to involve the largest possible number of people in
the decisions that will affect their lives.
The NTIA conference, using mailing lists and Usenet newsgroups, to
have broad reaching on-line discussion, created a prototype for how
ubiquitious networking access can be achieved within the U.S. and
elsewhere. The NTIA conference demonstrated that only in the involvement
of the many can the important problems of the times be analyzed so they
can be solved. And the Internet and Usenet, vital components of the
global computer network, are providing important means for people to
contribute to the needed discussion to determine what decisions will be
helpful or harmful concerning the future of the Net.
Even though the NTIA conference meant a much broader sector of the
population than ever before were able to participate in the policy
discussion over the future of the Net, one of the participants
explained why this process was only a prototype of what was needed.
"I think this conference was accessible to more than just `elite
technocrats.' I, for instance, am a graduate student at the U of
MN. I have access because everyone who attends the University
has access, and can apply their access via numerous computer labs
that are open to all students. I think a lot of people don't
realize that we're at a very critical point with determining the
future of resources such as the Internet. I join you in hoping
that no irreversible decisions are made on the basis of this
conference -- there needs to be a much wider opportunity for
What was the significance of the NTIA conference toward helping
to determine what direction government policy should take
regarding the future of the Net?
When the NTIA conference was held in November 1994, many
of the participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the plan
of the U.S. government to turn the backbone of the U.S. portion
of the Internet over to private and commercial interests by May
1, 1995. Despite the serious questions raised about the objectives of
U.S. policy by those participating in the on-line conference, and
despite the fact that the stated goal of the conference was to
involve citizens in helping to formulate policy objectives, the
U.S. government ignored the concerns and voices raised during the
on-line conference, and went ahead with their plans to privatize
the U.S. portion of the backbone of the Internet. At the same
time, the NTIA scheduled a new on-line conference on May 1 - 9 to
discuss, among other questions, electronic democracy. During that
on-line conference, the discrepancy between the stated objectives
of opening policy decisions up to public discussion and input and
then carrying out government policy by ignoring these concerns,
were raised. Also, on May 1, 1995, there was a program at the Mid-
Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library. The program
was about the importance of what the Net represents to people
around the world and about the future potential of this new means of
communication. At that meeting, people expressed their concern that
the U.S. government would try to impede access to this important resource,
rather than help to make it more broadly available. Also, people
at the meeting insisted that another meeting be set up to
discuss what to do to make this important new resource available
to a broader sector of the population.
One of the difficult dilemmas of our times is how to deal
with the disparity between government words that they want input
into policy decisions, and their actions of ignoring that input.
Looking back at a similar turning point in the development
of the computer can provide some helpful perspective. At a
conference at MIT in 1961 on the Future of the Computer, one of
those present pointed out that no one knew what that future
would be in the short term or the long term. Therefore, he
recommended that it was important to decide what type of future
it was worthwhile to encourage and to work to make that future a
Thus the NTIA conference achieved two important results. It
clarified that when people have on-line access and are invited to
participate in a public policy discussion on an important issue,
they will contribute in a way that identifies the principles to
shape that public policy. The second result was that it
demonstrated that the U.S. government policy of privatizing the
U.S. portion of the Internet is at odds with the principles
clarified during the NTIA on-line conference called to provide
public input into that policy. Therefore, the on-line conference
demonstrated that there is a need to take up the challenge to
make the future one that will serve the principles of broad and
ubiquitous access clarified by the NTIA on-line conference. The
on-line conference established the principles, but there is a
need now to determine how to implement those principles.
Notes for CHAPTER 11
(1) "The Computer in the 21st Century," Scientific American, Special
Issue, 1995, p. 4. (Cartoon by Charles Addams, The New Yorker
Magazine, 1952, 1980.)
(2) From: Michael Hauben <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 00:49:16 -0500
Subject: Netizen Speech
(3) From: NTIA Virtual Conference <ntia>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 09:07:56 -0800
To: avail, intellec, opnacces, privacy, redefus, standard
Subject: NTIA Virtual Conference KeyNote Address
(4) From: James McDonough <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [AVAIL:42] Re: my question
(5) From: Cynthia S. Terwilliger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Nov 15 20:42:07 1994
Subject: Re: [AVAIL:32] Re: Key Issues of Affordabilityand Availability
(6) From: Bruce Potter <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 1994 00:27:42 GMT
Subject: Need for Federal Oversight of Access and Availability
(For Island Resources Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org)
(7) San Francisco Public Library, "SFPL::NTIA_PUB"@DRANET.DRA.COM
(8) From: Sean <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [AVAIL:41] my question
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 1994 00:33:24 -0500 (EST)
(9) From: Jamie Dyer <jdyer@Hopper.ITC.Virginia.EDU>
Subject: Internet Broadcasting Corp
Organization: University of Virginia
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 1994 11:25:00GMT
(10) From: Bob Summers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed Nov 16 19:59:39 1994
(11) From: Paul Holden <email@example.com>
Subject: Universal Access and the Feds...
Date: Wed Nov 23 22:01:42 1994
(12) San Francisco Public Library, "SFPL::NTIA_PUB"@DRANET.DRA.COM
(13) From: Frank D. Bastiaans, Statistical Analyser, Division Trade and
Date: 16 Nov 1994 16:35:56 MET
Subject: Availability of statistics
(14) From: Alexander Voiskounsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> (Psychology
Department, Moscow State University)
Subject: Re: [AVAIL & REDEFUS]
Date: Sat Nov 19 09:24:42 1994
(15) From: Marilyn Davis <email@example.com>
Subject: Not Information ---> COMMUNICATION
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 17:11:07 -0800 (PST)
(16) From: Michael Hauben <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Need to stress concept of active communication and
Date: Tue Nov 22 05:03:13 1994
(17) From: W. Curtiss Priest <BMSLIB@MITVMA.MIT.EDU>
(18) From: Lew McDaniel <MCDANIEL@wvuadmin3.csc.wvu.edu>
Organization: WVU Computing Services
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 14:55:34 EST
Subject: Re: [REDEFUS:15] Pilot Projects
(19) From: Chris Silker <email@example.com>
*The NTIA Virtual Archives are available via the World Wide Web at
Last Updated: October 15, 1995
This article is a draft chapter from Michael Hauben's
<firstname.lastname@example.org> and Ronda Hauben's <email@example.com> netbook
titled "Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet."
The book is available in draft for at
The book is also available in a print edition "Netizens: On the
History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet" published in May 1997
by the IEEE Computer Society Press. ISBN # 0-8186-7706-6
Please send us any comments about this draft. Send comments to
both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
To: dns <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3/23/98 5:37pm
Subject: I See One Gap in the Proposal
To Whom It May Concern--
Comments on the "green paper":
Overall, a rational approach to a sometimes fractional/factional
debate. I feel like someone is really listening and trying to put
together the best solution under the circumstances.
(Why am I slightly surprised at this?)
* * * * *
To the point "The Need for Change":
Referencing the quote: "There is widespread dissatisfaction about
the absence of competition in domain name registration."
The one large opening I see in this proposal is not addressing
competition at the registry level. I feel the consensus about NSI's
astronomical fees (now $35 a year) is that we are out-and-out
victims of a monopoly.
But even that does not provide an excuse. The cost of registering
a trademark, a far more "mechanical" (paper driven) process, is only
$200 spread over ten years. Done electronically, the fee might
economically processed for a far lower cost--maybe $5 or ten dollars,
if on an annual basis.
I have no doubt that registry competition will drive that cost to
a reasonable--if not a bargain-priced--level. But without competition
at the registrar level I fear the total cost may be as high or higher
than it is now.
Let me get specific, and talk about NSI. There is no doubt that in
business, for many years to come, the prime domain will remain ".com."
If they are allowed to retain their monopoly over this domain they will
have no incentive to lower their "costs." They could say registrar costs
are $48, and registry costs are $2; basically driving out any real
competition in the most important domain forum. Any registry would have
to try and make profit on the $2--an unlikely scenario.
If registrars (even if there were only five, or whatever) were able
to cover all domains, the above could not simply be the case.
Competition would ensure fair pricing.
I do hope you can address this concern!
Thanks for all your efforts
Date: 3/23/98 5:29pm
Subject: Comments of Bell Atlantic on Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses, Docket No. 980212036-8036-01
Attached please find the comments of Bell Atlantic Corporation in response to the NTIA Request for Comments on Improvement of Technical Management of
Internet Names and Addresses. These comments were also filed in hard copy today at your offices. The attached document is formatted in Microsoft Word
for Windows 95, Version 7.0a.
Haywood Torrence, Jr.
(See attached file: NTIA Domain Name Proceeding Comments 3.23.98.doc)
[View attached file]
From: Pam Alger <email@example.com>
Date: 3/23/98 5:41pm
Subject: comment - Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses
There are several areas of concern for me with this document:
1. The Internet does not belong to the United States. Rather it belongs
to International Electronic Community. The issue of management of Internet
names and, by the underlying premises of this management, the future of
the Internet should be conducted by an International body - not a
2. The implicit, or perhaps explicit, notion that the Internet should
serve "commerce" is antithetical to the history and practices of the
Internet. The Internet is primarily - and should remain primarily - a
communication system ... not a commerce system.
3. Organization of mechanisms for Internet management by educational
rather than governmental or commerical entities would better serve users.
4. The not-for-profit notion by its very cumbersome nature would be
maneuvered by "professionals" who have the time, money and visibility to be
involved. This being so - educational rather than commericial or
governemental agencies should take the leadership function.
5. Better ways to ensure the *communication* function's primacy on the
Internet *must* be established in any proposal for management.
There are other comments I would like to make - but as the deadline looms -
these will suffice.
Thank you -
From: "Paul M. Kane" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 7/2/97 5:46am
Subject: DNS Management
I would like to thank the Interagency Task force of the United States
Government for preparing the *Proposal Document to Improve the Technical
Management of Internet Names and Addresses".
The New Corporation.
The Proposal suggests the responsibilities currently under taken by the
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, be absorbed by the incorporation of a
not-for-profit company in the United States of America. This approach
needs considerably more consideration, both in terms of how the new
corporation obtains its representation and management, but also in terms of
its legal scope. The current proposal of 15 seats is too small to be
representative of a global system. I would like to draw your attention to
the Country Code Top Level Domains Administrators within the RIPE area
proposal called *CENTR*. Having participated in the inaugural meeting of
the CENTR-RIPE may I recommend members of the Interagency group consider
carefully the Proposals made by this authoritative group of Regional
There are certain merits in separating the technical and non technical
elements currently administered by IANA. Technically the Internet*s
progress has been as a result of rough consensus, (*If it works, let*s use
it*) which is functional, responsive and above all consensus building. Any
attempt to regulate technical development is likely to fail and trigger the
fragmentation of the *net as technology will not be constrained by
Whilst I consider it ineffective for the New Corporation to determine
technical advances, I believe, it is very appropriate for the New
i) oversee the operation of an authoritative Root Server system;
ii) to oversee the policy for determining the circumstance and conditions
under which new Top Level Domains are added to the root system.
The TLD system.
I believe all gTLD registries should be administered on a not-for-profit
basis, with independent oversight. This includes the existing .COM, .ORG
and .NET. I note, Network Solutions have already taken steps to separate
their Registry and Registrar functions. This action should be commended.
The US Government by virtue of the contractual relationship with the
InterNIC has the authority to demand the Registry be run as a
not-for-profit, public resource, with NSI providing service subject to
Please bear in mind, that once a domain has been acquired and brand
association established the company holding the domain is *locked-in* to
the TLD Registry. As a consequence, *for-profit* registries could hold
their customers to ransom, without providing any justifiable *value-added
The GP suggests the addition of 5 new monopoly gTLDs administered by the
New Corporation. Whilst I acknowledge new gTLDs are to be introduced, is
it not premature to introduce the new gTLDS before the New Corporation is
Reference is made to undertaking a study to determine the appropriate
criteria for resolving domain names disputes. I would like to recommend
the Arbitration Centre of the World Intellectual Property Organisation
undertake such a study. We administer a number of ccTLDs and consulted a
number of leading institutions to assist us develop our Dispute Resolution
Policy. WIPO have demonstrated unprecedented flexibility in ensuring the
rights of both the Domain Name holder and the Claimant can be respected.
Recognition of Trademarks
Trademarks are fundamental and need protection to safeguard both consumers
and future product/service development. The non-exclusive nature of a
Trademark (multiple entities share the same name) is in direct conflict
with the traditional domain name system which relies upon the exclusive use
of a name by one entity.
If one considers the telephone network, the arrangement of numbers that
comprise a telephone number is an irrelevance. The primary concern is
that consumers can obtain the correct number with certainty and
authenticate that number is indeed the legitimate entity being sought.
Traditional Domain Names, will never offer consumers that *degree of
confidence*. What is the alternative to a traditional domain name? One of
our clients employed us to design a non-exclusive name-space to which
consumers could refer with a high degree of confidence. Their objective
was to unite the Internet by giving Trademark holders, both Registered and
Common Law, a domain in which to reside with confidence that any
infringement can be resolved expeditiously and inexpensively. This
approach enables consumers to receive enhanced confidence that an entity in
the virtual world is who it claims to be in the physical world and a
hyperlink to the corporations legitimate web site. INternet ONE*s approach
is being well received in the market with over 3,000 domain names being
registered since its launch on February 3, 1998. Their web site is located
at http://www.io.io with domains available through any Domain Registrars,
ISPs, or *on-line* Attorneys.
In appreciation of the opportunity to discuss this most important issue.
Paul M. Kane
PS: Reference is made to my previous submission made on the 15th August 97,
and the summary from which is attached below.
Summary of Comments made on 15th August 1997 remain relevant to this
discussion document in my view:
1. The global nature of the Internet implies that any one government should
not have supra-national control of the medium. Each of the United Nations
Organisations, other than WTO, represent the interests of a particular
market sector, and the Internet governance needs to remain non-partisan and
conscious to the dynamic technology that underpins the Internet.
2. IANA is respected as the *guardian* of TLDs and the *dot*. Constitute
IANA as a international treaty organisation, with direct funding from
Internet constituent members, namely APNIC, ARIN, and RIPE, and ISO 3166
member countries. IANA has already developed a stable, consensus-based
self-governing mechanisms. Develop this role by directly involving the
private sector, with input from governments through ISO 3166 registries.
Unfortunately the ROOT Servers are operated on behalf of IANA by InterNIC
which also hosts the .COM, NET, ORG TLDs. Invite IANA to take the
operation of the ROOT in-house and InterNIC to host their gTLDs on servers
directly funded by them rather than from the NSF funding resources. As
time is short, it may be necessary to extend InterNICs contract, under new
conditions, to ensure smooth transition to the new management structure.
Top Level Domains.
3. The DNS architecture is monopolistic by nature and consequently the
number of gTLDs should be increased, with competition amongst shared and
4. The March 1998 deadline has focused many entrepreneurs minds* as all
proposals ultimately result in a single entity having exclusive power over
a specific gTLD namespace.
5. InterNIC has built a market for Domain Names in one gTLD in particular,
namely .COM. They have been successful and after many years of problems
now operate an efficient registry. InterNIC has been a victim of its own
marketing success. Companies have sought a .COM domain because it is
perceived as the *most likely* domain for *international* companies to be
found. Browsers automatically insert .COM if the user just types a known
trademark as an address. Domain Names are not Trademarks, the DNS is not a
directory system and never will be. The direct association of a Trademark,
Registered or Common Law, with a Domain Name has caused conflicts to arise.
Increasing the gTLD namespace may dilute this conflict if administered
correctly, conversely it could exacerbate the problem if mismanaged.
6. As an organisation InterNIC should reappraise its flawed Domain Name
Disputes policy although there recently seems to have been a change of
policy. The Prince US v Prince UK dispute seems to signal the policy is
being substantially reviewed. Their billing system was chaotic, with long
standing Domain Names potentially being cut-off, although new registrations
seem to be OK. The 30% Internet Structure fund payment for each Domain
registration has inflated InterNICs registration fee above its true cost of
$35/year. This Domain *rental* fee is not particularly excessive, when
compared with say a standard telephone line rentals. As they are a
monopoly with relatively static expenditure downward price pressure should
7. InterNIC*s current monopoly position must be concluded and replace with
competition but the mechanics for its replacement are yet to be evaluated,
tried and tested. Stability is of paramount importance. If InterNICs
involvement in the industry is to be concluded, a view I do not support,
the six month *wind-down* provision in the existing contract assists the
gentle tranfer to a new system.
8. The IAHC proposal merits support in my view and its introduction should
not be delayed. However, I am unable to substantiate the justification for
7 new domains in one introduction as opposed to one or two at a time. If
seven ( some inappropriately named) gTLDs are to be introduced they should
be implemented one-by-one based on performance and effectiveness of the
system, once proven. If their Domain operation is successful why limit it
to seven. Once a domain has been designated it is extremely difficult if
not impossible to retract it.
9. The rationale for increasing gTLD was to give Trademark Owners the
opportunity to identify themselves using their mark. I remain to be
convinced that existing Domain Name Owners will not be compelled to
register in each parallel domain *to protect* themselves against
passing-off or dilution. In which case increasing the domains in small
numbers will have little effect and the proposal of say 150 gTLDs becomes
more and more appropriate. There have been a number of Domain Name
conflicts involving the .COM domain, until the IAHC system is tried and
tested in the market there is no evidence to suggest that the additions of
new gTLDs will not just compound the number of domain name disputes. Yes
we need the IAHC to compete with InterNIC, but stability and public trust
is of paramount importance.
10. Try ONE (or at a push two) new IAHC gTLD initially, to establish
operational effectiveness and verification that domain names disputes do
not dramatically increase. This incremental route has been envisaged by
the gTLD MoU as IAHC have offered no guarantees as to when (if) their
proposed gTLDs will be entered in the Root. In addition, Incremental
introduction, gives late entrants to the Registrar business the necessary
incentives and the ability to sell *choice* names in competition with
*first wave* Registrars. This gives the IAHC the opportunity to obtain
greater consensus / participation in the registry process.
11. I welcome WIPO making its Mediation and Arbitration service available
to resolve disputes as National Courts remain a more expensive alternative
option. The ACP process could be used to address disputes in the InterNIC
name space as well, for consenting parties. WIPO is not a signatory to the
gTLD MoU specifically and remains *neutral*.
12. Evaluate the other gTLD proposals over a longer time frame, exclusive
and share gTLDs can co-exist providing a firm basis on which to stimulate
competition in the Domain market.
13. For Electronic Commerce to gain and retain public trust, security is
the key to build public confidence. Domain Names do not offer any security
because one can navigate the Internet without using a Domain Name (using IP
Address) and where domain names are used, traffic can be redirected to a
spoof site without consumer awareness.
14. Consumers need to know that they are communicating in the virtual world
with the company known to them in the physical world. Consumers and
existing Consumer Protection Authorities must be able to identify and
marginalise counterfeiters, pirates and passing-off/diluting Internet
sites. As a company, ICB has developed a number of technical solutions to
reduce the opportunity of fraud in the world of Electronic Commerce.