From: George Sadowsky <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Jul 7, 2006 2:25 PM
Subject: Comments on DNS Transition, Docket No. 060519136-6136-01
Control of the Internet has become a hot topic internationally.
Perhaps not by accident, it has been the power of the Internet
improve the lives of people, both in developed and developing
countries, that has excited the developing countries to raise
sharply the issue of "Internet Governance" and to
state the need for
representation in such a regime.
Much of the focus of Internet Governance has been upon
the only organization that can be identified by many
as central to
the functioning of the Internet. In reality, however,
principally focuses upon the technical coordination of
naming and numbering schemes, and while this has turned
out to be a
more complex undertaking than may have been originally
ICANN has very little to do with the day to day functioning
With regard to the governance of the Internet, there
are many other
organizations involved including national governments,
effect have much more of an impact on their inhabitants'
be empowered by the Internet that any collection of other
organizations. This is conveniently ignored in many discussions
The DNS has been through a number of transitions, not
all of them
helpful. The privatization of gTLDs by the National Science
Foundation to Network Solutions in 1993-4 was a blunder
proportions, and we are all still suffering mightily
well-intentioned but quite horrible decision. The creation
in 1998 was in part an attempt to recover from the unintended
consequences, unforeseen by NSF, of this action.
During its 8 years of existence, ICANN has managed to
substantial competition into the DNS arena and has cautiously
expanded the name space. It has had to walk through legal
fields to do so. Its community has actively involved
discussion and debate on a variety of subjects, the members
voluntarily of their time and energy to do so. ICANN
restructured itself twice, each time after realizing
that its own
governance model needed reform. In general, this has
been an open
process, open to participation to anyone who wanted to
ICANN has not been without problems. I disagree substantially
some of the things that it has done in the past, as well
as some of
the things that it is doing today. It is not perfectly
but i would argue that total transparency may be an ideal
neither attainable nor always desirable.
There is no doubt in my mind that ultimately the Internet
to evolve to some kind of status that has a greater degree
international control than it does now. However, given
state of ignorance with respect to the Internet in international
circles, I am convinced that internationalizing its control,
especially through the UN System, would be a very big
would substantially blunt both innovation and empowerment
of users in
the future -- in fact, those very users, in developing
for whom the Internet represents a way to break down
divide, would be hurt most. Perhaps in 10-20 years the
community will be ready to be a steward to this unique
resource, but it is not ready now.
I would recommend that the U.S. Government adopt the
1. Renew the Memorandum of Understanding with ICANN
for a medium term period.
2. Support the possibility of ICANN's Governmental Advisory
evolving into a stronger role within the organization.
3. Both directly and through industry associations and
support educational efforts to inform the international
about the Internet and how it works, especially at the
level where it is most needed.
4. Take strong measures to assure governments that the
committed to a free and open Internet, and that it will
disconnect a government from the network (as if it could
5. Begin discussions to determine if there is any form
organization that exists of could be created that would
acceptable transition to greater international control
in the future,
and not necessarily the near future.
While I do not know how much of the opposition to the
generated by uncertainty regarding possible U.S. Government
I believe that it is important to recognize this as one
source of discontent, and to send as many signals of
possible to counter it. To make the point, Assistant
Gallagher's statement of last summer assumed an unnecessarily
provocative tone that did nothing to reduce any such
could and should have been worded differently and it
would have made
the same point.
This debate will continue; it is guaranteed to continue
establishment of the Internet Governance Forum and its
of 5 years. The U.S. needs to be involved in this discussion;
an opportunity both to educate and to move toward shared
mush as is possible.
Involvement is such discussions also a way in which
policy can support the benevolent use of the net to help
countries achieve economic and social progress and reduce
and poverty. That, after all, is immeasurably more important
who "controls" the root. We should be reminding
others of that
whenever discussions of the DNS and ICANNN assume an
measure of self-importance.