From: "Weaver, Gregory P CTR DLA DAPS" <greg.weaver.ctr@dla.mil>
To: <DNSTransition@ntia.doc.gov>
Date: Mon, Jul 3, 2006 12:18 PM
Subject: An opinion on the politics behind the DNS transition

Dear Ms. Alexander and members of the NTIA:

I am writing you in response the request for input on the
issues facing the upcoming meeting regarding the transition of DNS
authority to the private sector. I do not wish to address the technical
needs, as these have been thoroughly addressed by persons far more
knowledgeable about the inner workings of the system than I. I would
rather address the political aspect of maintaining our near-sovereign
control of the root system.

The global internet has become a far larger entity than perhaps anyone
could have anticipated 15 years ago. That the global economy,
communications, and indeed even international politics would be as
radically affected in such a short period is astounding.

Now we are again at a crucial point in the shaping of the
future of the internet. The United States, being the initial founder of
the World Wide Web (notwithstanding earlier, limited networks), has
traditionally had what amounted to nearly complete control. However,
the outreach of the network into nearly every nation in the world has
necessarily changed many aspects relating to who should have ultimate
authority over it.

Unfortunately for our country, the only rational way to
resolve this is to allow a neutral, international body to have ultimate
authority over the root DNS. Any other alternative, while preserving
our overriding authority, will ultimately lead to fractioning of the
internet into smaller, incompatible networks. We've seen what countries
like China have imposed upon the network- blocking access at the borders
of their country to many sites, under the guise of "protecting their
citizens". Imagine this scenario played out worldwide, with each
nation-state having their own separate servers pointing to whatever they
feel is appropriate for their citizenry. The internet as we know it
will collapse into chaos, shattering global communications and heavily
impacting the world economy. The security of the root DNS system would
no longer be an issue because there would be no root system. It would
essentially be a regression of 20 years, only it would be practically
impossible to rebuild due to the political squabbling that would infest
any attempt to re-link the global network.

The internet as it stands now is also a vehicle for social
change. Repressive governments seek to deny access to it out of fear
that their citizens may influenced by forces outside their realm of
control. This may seem like a utopian ideal, but could you imagine the
Taliban attempting to enact a theocracy in a nation where 90% of the
people had unfettered access to the internet? How long would Kim Jong
Il's "eternal sunshine" last if the citizens of North Korea could see
how the outside world lives, and what the international opinion of their
nation is?

If we, as a nation, truly believe in our stated goal of spreading
freedom and democracy throughout the world, we must be prepared to
loosen our own grip on this global resource. Although there is no way
of creating a truly neutral and dispassionate international governing
body (look at the UN for an excellent example), retaining our near
absolute control can only foster ill-will and resentment, and ultimately
lead to the destruction of the global network.

With that, I implore the NTIA to continue its transition toward a
privatization of DNS control, with greater focus on freedom from
corporate and governmental interests.. The ICANN should be allowed to
continue, and also brought to accountability for their dealings with
corporate interests in opposition to the egalitarian principles it was
founded on. It must be brought to task for its failure to remain
neutral; unfortunately, this is a classic example of, "Who polices the
police?"

In addition, a comprehensive plan to deal with the scourge of
cybersquatting, SPAM, cyberterrorism, malware, and other pitfalls hardly
envisioned in the infancy of the internet must be developed and
implemented with international agreement; else it will be impossible to
ever come close to mitigating these problems. As long as any one rogue
state can harbor the perpetrators without repercussions, we will never
be free of them. Only an international body can have any effective
means of forcing a rogue state to be accountable for the actions of its
citizens. With the inextricable linking of the internet to the global
economy, denying access to the external network could easily become the
preferred means of embargo for the 21st century to enforce compliance.

Thank you for your time and your consideration of public
opinion regarding this matter.

Greg Weaver

Information Security Engineer