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ACLU Takes on ICANN 133

Posted by michael
from the steel-cage-match dept.
c_honcho writes "Now the ACLU (and friends) is taking on the ICANN group for limiting our 'Net freedoms. I suppose it was only a matter of time." See the ACLU's letter for their concerns about ICANN's addition of new TLDs.
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ACLU Takes on ICANN

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...This is the same ACLU who thinks that E-mail spamming should not be outlawed. Granted, they seem to have done pretty well in other areas, but I'd feel a lot better about them if they'd stop putting "Frea Speach" (spammish spelling) over private property rights (as in server owners having the absolute right to say what traffic they will and will not carry).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If I have a gun and you don't, I have a certain degree of power over you. If the government owns guns and the people don't, the government has power over the people. If the government has power over the people, it's called Tyranny. I don't want tyranny so I'm going to vote against gun-control. That ok by you?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You're generally confused about Internet Protocols I see. A domain name would "map" to an IP address. Where this port number business you speak in comes from I have no idea. IP could care less what port it is sending data to or from. Individual hosts will worry about that. Good day, sir.
  • Yeah,then why is it that the EFF is the only one sticking up for DeCSS? Blatant assaults on fair use and decryption are far more dangerous to our liberties than ICANN.
  • I did.

    I wasn't impressed.

    Personally, I'd like to get a refund for last year's ACLU membership and give it to the EFF. The ACLU is simply behind the times. By the time they get "with it" Valenti and Sony Music will own us already.
  • by Luke (7869)
    c'mon people, it's time.

    there is NO reason a group of well-organized ambitious net users couldn't set up an "alternative" DNS system.

    then we could have .goatsex, like everyone wants around here. :-)
  • Yeah, because, as everyone knows, they support [aclu.org] hate speech rule son college campuses, fights unpopular name [aclu.org] changes, and support drug testing [aclu.org], I can see how they only support popular causes.

    Oh, wait, I'm sorry, they apparently were on the opposite side in all those cases, nevermind.

    -David T. C.

  • It's not a hierarchy if you just have a big lookup table of domainname => root server. Originally domain names were administered by a big list of IP address => hostname, but this doesn't scale very well for millions of hosts that move around daily. Hierarchical DNS allows you to only query the servers that you need to track down the IP address of the host in question. Distributing a big lookup table of "slashdot => a.root-servers.net, kuro5hin => leet.root-servers.net, mydomain => d.root-servers.net" runs into the same problem that distributing a big hosts file did in the first place.

    Or am I totally misunderstanding what you're proposing?

  • whatever trollboy. even someone with decidedly non-socialist leanings would take exception to all of your arguments.

    1. unborn children are a great source of protein. if you continue to make statements about unborn children being sacred and such nonsence someone might mistake you for one of those clinic-bombing pro-life wackos.

    2. the rich americans SHOULD provide for the poor americans! after all that is what our democracy was founded on! (under the established premises of corporate welfare being good for all people everywhere of course and that being under the thin veil of outright COMMUNISM) The poor people get jobs and become rich as a result, and thats good for everyone!

    3. racism is not a problem in our country at all! Affirmative action has been a tremendous success at helping people of color find a voice and acheive equality all across our great whitey-controlled nation! So you just shut your little pie hole while i keep dreaming of our great light brown future we are all breeding toward as we become one global and homogenous race! Your children will marry and have kids that are darker than your little aryan bowling league and i think that scares the poop out of you.

    pleas try to be more coherent next time.

    xoxo
    (posting anonymously to preserve my precious ass)

  • I'm not saying they, like many other respected brand-name NPOs, haven't done great things in the past.

    But this is just another sign of how every sufficiently old organization becomes infested with risk-averse bureaucrats who are more worried about keeping their paychecks rolling in than actually getting results.

    For instance, the ACLU has a clear record on wanting to limit police power. To me, the obvious flip side of this is making sure that the cops can't claim sole responsibility for defending the law-abiding populace, which implies armed citizens. If the citizens aren't armed, and the criminals are (and they are now and will be for the forseeable future, police-state or not), the police need broad, sweeping power to defend the helpless citizens. But the ACLU doesn't oppose gun control. Instead they support both tying the hands of the police and disarming civilians.

    Their justification? In their humble opinions, the second amendment means that the state has the right to bear arms, not civilians. [aclu.org] Regardless of practical or moral implications, they don't care about whether civilians can carry guns, because the law doesn't say there's a guarantee. And the law's always right, right? Of course, these people would never lobby to change an unjust law...

    An awfully thin reed, if you ask me. Perhaps a more honest answer is that their leftist contributors like gun control. Better to ignore a basic dilemma and screw everyone involved than alienate their income-source.
    ---
  • Canada's bill of rights has a clauses that let it be set aside whenever it is inconvenient for the state. The police are very powerful. There is also a far superior, gentle brain-washing process in the prisons which mean a much lower rate of repeat offending.

    Perhaps more importantly, it is cold in Canada, and it has a generous welfare policy, so nobody is truly desperate. You have to be pretty desperate to go running around in 40-below weather committing crimes. It isn't like Russia where a man might starve tomorrow if he doesn't steal today.

    Japan is similar. The police there have far more "see no evil" power than American cops. Most people assume that if the cops are after someone, he is guilty, and there isn't a lot of sympathy for a criminal whose right to not get caught except by certain rules was violated.

    Consider other places like Switzerland, where every household must have a weapon. Low crime rate there, too.

    On the whole though, looking at all countries, you'll probably see less crime where there are fewer guns, but the causality is reversed. People buy more guns when they are more fearful, and police-states, with low "real" crime but plenty of abuse from the government itself, don't allow citizens to have guns.

    Crime rates have never gone down after a mass weapon confiscation. You only get the guns from the law-abiding citizens. Burglaries shoot up, as they have in Australia and Britain.

    Conversely, when citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons, criminals become fearful.

    There are plenty of studies to support these conclusions referenced by the NRA [nra.org] (it takes a bit of searching). However, there are plenty of studies which oppose these views, too. You have to get under into the methods used and judge for yourself, applying your own logic. It isn't something we're going to settle to anyone's satisfaction in a brief debate on slashdot.
    ---
  • Did you post this back in the right story (I couldn't find it)? If you didn't, please do. I think the other story needs it. Nobody else has mentioned squat about EUV and other NGLs (next generation lithographies).
  • Thats why the ACLU exists. Because people are "Innocent until PROVEN guilty" and deserve to be treated and defended as if they are indeed innocent UNTIL they are PROVEN guilty.

    That is, unless you're a gun owner. Us gun owners are obviously responsible for all of the ills in society and thus we don't deserve protection. Sure, us hunters are using our guns in a legal manner now, but one day, each of us will snap and go on a killing spree so we need to be stopped before we do. The non-hunters don't have any justifiable use for guns so obviously, they're just going to use them to kill innocent people. As for the criminals using guns, they're a victim of society and should have their sentences reduced because if it weren't for the gun owners, they wouldn't be able to acquire guns to kill people. Maybe your freedom/rights defending ACLU and the ACLU I see attacking freedom/rights aren't the same people.

  • I agree with you in general BUT...

    The US does not control the domain name system because of litigation but because of technology and much of it being invented and deployed in the US. You might as well complain that it's unfair the US international telephone country code is "1".

    Fortunately, this should never become an international issue because country codes are controlled by each nation - don't like the litigious ways of US corporations with domain names? Fine, pass different laws in your country of Freedonia United, and let them rot whining about nike.fu. Dot-biz too expensive for rural agrarian Freedonia? Fine, milk.fu is available for cheap, if your nation has its act together.

    Unfortunately, your idea of pushing all non-country-code gTLDs into the .us domain isn't practical due to the immense cost of recoding applications; it's the right solution in most ways. It's NOT "fair" for the US to have privileged access to the no-country-code space, but, well, to the victor the spoils. Had France invented the internet, I'm sure we'd all be complaining about something else equally as arbitrary, like free speech implications. The only people who can't escape the consequences of the gTLDs are those in the US, who have to use dot-com et al, since dot-us isn't commercially available, or else subject our domains (and therefore our businesses as well) to the possibly arbitrary and unknown laws of a foreign nation.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • The ACLU focuses way too much, I think, upon making the justice system more permissive.

    Wrong.
    The ACLU doesn't want to make the justice system "permissive". It wants to keep the justice system *legal* and under the rule of law.
    Procedures and policies that violate our civil liberties are illegal. Period.

    All right-wing, Christian organizations that I know of are very pro-freedom.

    LOL...this is a joke? In the division of the Church into the Church of Love and the Church of Law, many characterizations could be applied to the Church of Law, but "pro-freedom" is not one of them.
  • Well, perhaps less of a technical mapping and more of a heuristic mapping? www.foobar.com... ftp.foobar.com... and with ISP's, they name their services so they can reside on the same machine, but later separate them as one service takes over the whole box... so there's ns.foobar.com and news.foobar.com and mail.foobar.com...
    --
  • Why do people continually equate control over DNS with control over speech? They're not the same thing at all. A DNS name is merely a guide, pointing the user at a service, in an easier-to-remember form.
    --
  • Controlling DNS' is like telling you what street you can stand on to give your speech.

    The problem with this analogy is that, on the net, all streets are equal. It doesn't matter whether your anti-GM diatribe is posted at gmsucks.com or someisp.com/~you/gmsucks. My anti-Ford diatribe at http://www.conmicro.cx/explorer.html [conmicro.cx] has been found by lots of folks, judging from the mails I've gotten over the years.


    In a world where people find content via search engines, the actual domain name that content is at is its least important feature. If you've got someething to say - or even if you don't - people will find you.
    --

  • ay, while your domain name is a .cx, it appears that you effectively control this domain name, which is a very different scenario that using "someisp.com/~you/gmsucks", where the ISP is an easy target for a trademark complain or other attempt at censorship, leaving the disgruntled consumer without the option to change the hosting to another ISP that will not be as easily pushed around.

    I do indeed own conmicro.cx. However, that's a relatively recent innovation; that page used to be at http://www.phoenix.net/~jmaynard/explorer.html and http://jmaynard.home.texas.net/explorer.html , and it was found as often there as at conmicro.cx. I would assume that Ford, had it been sufficiently willing, could have chosen to use the trademarked name Explorer to cause trouble.


    Now, honestly, I'm not sure if this whole ICANN/ALCU thing really is a problem that will turn into corporate control of domain names.... the reason I posted this, and I hope it was clear, is that if you're going to publish anything significant on the web, you need to be able to register your own domain name. Suggesting that others will find your site from search engines and not by remembering your name is only significant until the hosting under someone else's name ends and many links, bookmarks and stored search engine result all stop working.

    I can't argue this too much...but it does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that controlling the DNS to limit trademark infringement - even if you accept the worst possible interpretation of that - will inevitably limit free speech. To answer your objection about stale links merely requires that the user be able to register a name, not a specific name. Putting an anti-GM rant at http://www.pinkhorseshoes.org/gmsucks.html (assuming the ranter owns pinkhorseshoes.org) is as effective as http://www.gmsucks.com/gmsucks.html, and doesn't have the problem of getting the name revoked. (I don't know of any trademark registration that would be infringed in any way by the use of pinkhorseshoes.org; if there is one, pick any other random name.)
    --

  • You're right that .xxx would be better a better choice.

    But I don't understand why you think there was conspiracy?

    I had no problems to sign up, got the snail mail a few weeks later...

    Even one of the two canidates I thought who would be the best, was elected...:-)

    Of course, I will check now if he deserves that I gave him my vote.

    Perhaps, you tried to late, at the point where their servers got /.'ed. Which they could have easly avoided, but...?

    Michael
    What means this .ie in your mail, sorry I don't have a TLD list handy, and you know those severe hands, if you're this user with UID 0 on your job...
  • I think all those people who signed for ICANN membership should just decide it by their vote about new TLD's.

    Not that I'm in anyway conderd about that TLD's trouble, it's just for the money much people would make from all these new TLD's, that's what it's all about.

    Typing www.google.com in my NS-Crashicator is no problem for me and google finds what I search, why does anyone need those TLD's the only good would be .sex, presuming it is possible to move all that p0rn in this DLT, that would allow easy filter for children who should'nt see/click those links like sometimes even on /..

    This small bastard knows who I mean, I clicked on, asumming it would be something meaningfull, and I get those gay pOrn, just as my small son enters the room. Only good that a fast CTRL-ALT-F1 got me to the console, killing the netsape PID.

    I don't think it's possible, so I just go my way...

    Michael
  • that wasn't the main reason for the protest though. and they make the same point you do about limiting freedom of speech: "Any system that offers either one privileges in excess of what trademark law provides creates problems that should be avoided if possible." the point is to not give rights just to mcdonald's because they are bigger and more famous than mcdonald's farm.
  • >What proof is there that civilians carrying
    >weapons reduces crime?

    Who gives a shit?

    It's a freedom issue. It means you have to prove that reducing law-abiding citizens' access to guns substantially decreases crime in order to justify decreasing their freedom.

    Gun owners don't need to prove anything, any more than you need to prove that your right to speak is somehow beneficial to society to be guaranteed that right.

  • Nonetheless, laws are necessary to preserve our freedoms and safety. Neither a draconian justice system nor a permissive one serves the people best. The ACLU focuses way too much, I think, upon making the justice system more permissive. An adequate justice system is vital to our peace and safety, just as it is vital that it not over-step it's bounds. All right-wing, Christian organizations that I know of are very pro-freedom. We want a smaller government, as well as a more orderly society that can rule itself. Harsher penalties for harsh crimes, it is felt, will make people think twice about commiting them. The point of emphasis of these right-wing groups is probably one you'd agree with - we don't commit these crimes and we wish noone else would. It's just as much to the potential criminal's benefit as to the innocent potential victim that the crime be prevented. My opinion is, we need to get the justice system in shape. It's waay too complicated for the average individual to deal with. Make the laws simpler, more available, and easier to understand. Understanding of the law should not be restricted to the few people who can spend years studying. After all, ignorance of the law is not considered a valid excuse for breaking it. Also, complex, manipulatable laws breed incredibly rich, silver-tongued persons called lawyers, who just can't resist running for public office. When the justice system is more accessible to a regular person, the possibility of an innocent person being convicted of a harsh crime will be drasticly reduced. Then, we can easily have more harsh penalties for truly harsh crimes and the criminals will have less of a chance of getting away with it. Anyway, what I'm saying is, we need a more balanced approach.
  • No, I'm serious. We value our freedom to pray, freedom to homeschool, freedom to express our faith, freedom to meet peacably to study the Bible, freedom to take a day of the week off of work, etc. And maybe I'm talking about a certain brand of right-wingers you aren't familiar with. Most geeks here would agree with most right-wingers, and disagree with the ACLU, on the subject of the right to keep and bear arms.

    I don't see myself as having the civil liberty to kill someone without just provocation and get away with it. I don't see myself as having the civil liberty to perfom an abortion, even if I was a doctor, and get away with it. I don't see myself as having the civil liberty to look lustfully at pornography and get away with it, or post pornography for others to look lustfully at it. I don't see myself as having the civil liberty to sleep with or rape another man's wife and get away with it. I don't see myself as having the civil liberty to look lustfully at another person of the same gender. There's a lot of things I don't want to do and I don't want others to do. Because they are wrong, and they hurt society. And it's perfectly within the law to try to prevent people from doing these things. Require them not to? Well, it sure would be nice if that wasn't necessary, wouldn't it? Whether it's legal for the government to require them not to is open to debate.
  • Well, that bookstore should be using amazon.minneapolis.mn.us anyway.
    --
  • Like removing the abilitiy to truly be anonymous? so you can't hide behind an AC post?

    Totally regulate the internet.. give us all a ID number totally traceable(ie pass laws making the SS number that)

  • well said :)

  • The worse thing about all of this(i'm flamebait) is that mumia has never said he did'nt kill the guy... even when he had the chance.. bothers me a bit....
  • I'm a card carrying member and proud of it.. I love these guys, they are doing the perfect thing. Lets hope they actually make some progress with it, i think we all agree that the approved new names are horrible.. .aero ??? but not .xxx or not .union ???? great....

  • Yer a fool, ACLU is one of the few orginazations in this country that fights for rights of the people.. if they screw up once in a while its ok in my book when you consider all the good they've done.

  • The ACLU is a great organization. Hearing that they are taking an interest in ICANN makes me even more proud to be a card holding member.

    Now where is the EFF?
  • I have to agree here.

    In fact, Gun Control is the ONLY issue where I have had to disagree with the ACLU (so far). Normally they are right on the ball, and I support them 100%.... however this one issue is a problem for me.

    -Steve
  • How about the freedom of 2 men to love eachother and have sexual relations? What about the freedom of kids to not pray in public school (or more to the point, prayers to someone elses God).

    The freedom of a woman to terminate a pregnancy?

    The freedom of an individual adult to put whatever drugs he may wish into his body? The freedom of any group (including but not limited to Gay groups, the KKK, litterally anyone) to assemble and make public demonstrations?

    These are all things that the ACLU supports, and more (actually...do they support abortion rights or sit silent on the issue? I never can remember... so many issues, so little time). Unless "most right wingers" agree with them, then you can be sure at least this geek wont agree with "most right wingers".

    -Steve
  • And not only are they pandering to corporate money, but they're dragging their feet about it too. There's been talk about new TLDs for years, but where has it gotten us?

    The process for starting new TLDs should be an open one where everyone gets a vote. I suppose they tried to do that with the ICANN-at-large deal, but it doesnt seem to be working.
  • I agree with you. I was surprised when really useful TLDs weren't passed, like xxx and sex. Seriously. There are so many of those types of sites that they truly do deserve their own TLD.

    Not that I dislike .museum, but it seems like it's not going to be as widely used as some of the others.

    What I can never figure out is why no one uses a .us domain. Aren't they free? Maybe no one knows where to register them!
  • My thoughts exactly. While I am kind of partial to ICANN as I am a member, I do think that the ACLU is going about this the right way. Instead of making a hughe legal mess of this, they should instead go directly to ICANN itself and try to negotiate a compromize that benifits both organazations as well as the Intenet community. Yes, ICANN has a near monopoly on Domain Names, but it's not like they take the M$ course of action. The only reason that they are so powerful is that they are so well organized. Also, there is little competition.
    ------------------------------------ -----
  • The ACLU is great at defending internet freedoms against monopolists like M$, the gov, and ICANN. Now if they only processed mail fast enough to get my membership card to me before 2002 =)
  • Here's a thought, since you are already limited to what characters a-z, 0-9, and - I think, so how about you arrange the root servers based on the name of the site, ie Slashdot, Kuro5hin, etc. That way it doesn't matter what your TLD is, DNS will still work.

    Am I missing something, or is Occam right once again.

  • I tried for about half an hour each on about 4 seperate occassions spread out over a few weeks (can't remember at this stage exactly how spaced out they were, I didn't keep records :-(

    If it was the /. effect (a simple way to say excessive demand) that crashed their system then I would suggest they should have extended the enrolement period as there was obviously a demand they could not satisfy with the implemented system. If they were not doing this they should have produced some informtation to show what was happening. Anyway does it not strike fear in your hearts that the guys in charge of the primary internet access system (search in google and altavista all you like cause they refer to domain names not IP addresses for good reason) cannot setup a system to handle the interest from just the geeks (cause lets face it the public at large were not flooding their servers) to join their club? I REALLY would like to see any form of proof that the collapse simply was a lack of capacity and that the lack of capacity in no way biased the results (i.e. that there is no way any region was prone to have earlier access via publicity or that the servers were more accessable to any region/group than any other or ...). Let's face it, I am sure that plenty of us could figure out how to design a system which on near collapse would produce biased results.

    .ie = IRELAND

  • I submitted a story about this very subject the other day. There *are* a number of rogue Root DNS servers already in existance, and *lot's* of rogue TLD's served by them.

    May they will post it now? (hint hint).

    I want to see my first posted submission!
    (shameless begging)

    Going on means going far
    Going far means returning
  • Perhaps a more honest answer is that their leftist contributors like gun control.

    Before you get too deep into stereotypes (and red herings), many of us (the leftist ACLU supporters) are not in favor of gun control. I personally think gun control is poor social policy in America -- it can't be enforced and is not consistent with the culture of large portions of the country. But I do not believe gun ownership is a civil right, so it is not an issue for the ACLU to take up. The NRA covers that department sufficiently.

    Free speech, unlike gun ownership, is a civil right. The ACLU should get involved any time the government or a government-sponsored organization (i.e. ICANN) starts coming up with policies that limit that right. It is not for you, ICANN, the Greys, or anyone else to decide who should or should not be granted a domain name. You may not care about having your own domain for non-commercial purposes, but I do. I want to be able to run my own web server off of my own box and say whatever the hell I want to say without risking some hypersensitive sysadmin wiping out my site because someone sent him a nastygram. I can't do that without my own domain name. TLDs have value beyond commercial value, but ICANN is refusing to acknowledge that.

  • Well, there ARE other servers. The problem comes up when you have two different servers assigning different addresses to the same name. It's hard to 'touch base' with your friends when your slashdot.org leads here and their slashdot.org leads to rowdy muppet porn.
  • your bag over your shoulder and get on board with an alternate root.

    OpenNIC [unrated.net], where D in DNS stands for "Democratic," is your alternate root. Its TLDs include .oss (free software) and .parody (self-explanatory). And it runs just fine alongside ICANN's root.

    Or you could just use some BIND exploit to root the root nameserver :-)


    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? [pineight.com]
  • cry me a river...where are the servers? There a physical and monetarial burden on maintaining all of this. Nothing is stopping a country from starting its own dns system. This is like complaining that the us only gives food and supplies and money to certain govts. Sorry, its theirs to give. Not yours to take. There are no rights here to give.
  • yes...they are fucking up..they are supposed to be serving the peoples purpose and not theirs...but still...ANARCHY? Jesus. How hard a concept is this. There are physical things involved in this. It isnt magic. It isn't as simple as allowing anyone to make up a tld or a domain. It costs money, physically. Someone has to run those servers, someone has to be responsible enough and liable enough for them. That said, nothing is stopping ANYBODY from starting their own root servers, nothing is stopping anybody from subdomaining...in fact, lotsa hosting companies do it. Its very common. And I highly doubt you use ips now do you? You use urls every day, all the time you are online. Dont act like you are magically above it. Thats why its serious. Its a huge part of the net, a basic part of its functionality. And it isnt going away. As much as its 'just a label' for a bunch of numbers is bullshit. And those numbers are just a label for a route for packets. Maybe we should start routing packets by hand? Ya! Fuck ips! I wanna send it from device to device! URLS are EASY and simple to comprehend. Same reason there is 1800COLLECT. Yes, the registration system is fucked. The concept behind urls and domain names is not however, and it will not suddenly change.
  • until YOU are the innocent man put away.
  • They're nothing more than a label for a TCP/IP address & port number.
    The last time I checked, port numbers were not included in FQDNs. It'd be a great feature, don't get me wrong, but it simply doesn't exist.
  • Let them know.
    I would like to see the EFF become part of the ACLU.
    The ACLU has "name recognition" and money. The EFF has a good focus on what going on in the Tech side of things. They could make a powerfull team.
  • How about going to www.aclu.org and looking under cyber rights?
    while your there, why don't you look around at what there doing? I think you may change your mind about the ACLU avoiding the "real problems".
    Please don't jump to these kind of conclusions without doing a little research yourself, you only make yourself look lazy,ignorant, and foolish.
    Again, go to there site and lok around. Maybe you won't change your mind, but at least you should be able to state your opinion without looking stoopid.
  • Im afraid I'm not quite sure what you're referring to. If you're talking about the capital costs of setting up the network infrastructure then my previous point stands: much of the internet was paid for by non-US governments and by US and non-US private interests.

    If you want to talk about the expenditure in developing the technology behind that infrastructure, by no means all of it is American. Packet switching was at least partly invented in the UK, the web, famously, was invented at CERN. Linux, an OS used on many internet servers, was initially and primarily written by a Finn. Ethernet was invented by Xerox, a private firm.

    These are just a few examples which demonstrate that at every level from abstract research through engineering to actually running the networks, there have been significant contributions by non-US Government parties both in the public and provate sector. The idea that the US taxpayer paid for everything to do with the internet and hence the US government has the sole right to regulate the internet is a myth. The US government is and has been a large important contributor to the internet, but its certainly not the only one and the rest of the world, which also contributed, has every right to demand a say in the running of the system.

  • URL's are somewhat like phone numbers, especially since one can dial a letter string. Yet, we don't see companies suiing each other over 1-800-4-AMAZON or 1-800-PHONE-SEX. Why not? URLs are more tied to brand image than a phone number is? IP litigation has only now become the rage? Are URLs somehow more legally protected than phone numbers?
    I can think of several reasons...

    It is annoying to have to dial a letter string. I don't have the letter to number mappings memorized.

    Company/organizations often don't naturally map to a fixed length string. In 1-800-4-AMAZON, you still have to remember the 4.

    Many phones have a phone book within spitting distance. If not, directory assistance is available. This is DNS for phones, but without fighting over anything other than the real-world name already belonging to the company.

  • It makes sense that they should take that side on spam. I just don't think they have a _case_ there. They can back the 'spam == speech' side all they like and still be wrong, and still lose. Just because they are sometimes right doesn't require them to _always_ be right. It's good to see them getting involved in situations where they _DO_ have a case, because they're a terrific opponent for ICANN. In that area, their concerns are exactly addressing the problem, and there's no gaping hole in their argument.
  • This was flamebait? Maybe (-1, Obvious Already). Hardly flamebait.
  • There is a technical reason, it's called "knowing which root server to go to for that domain name". DNS is hierarchical; you can't just add things at random spots in the hierarchy without considering what that will do for the performance of the whole system. If you add the .blah TLD without sufficient preparation, DNS lookups for blahblah.blah will go nowhere, and may clog up the system for those of us just looking for /. or porn :)

  • Yeah, why not, that worked just great with .alt

    The answer is that the root servers don't hold all of the DNS entries, they point you at other servers that either have the information you need or will refer you to another server that does.

    If you request the .ca domain, the root server tells you which server to go to look up a .ca. That server will tell you where to get the blah.ca domain and that server will do the rest of the work pointing you to ftp.blah.ca.

    If you request a .uk, the root server will send you off in another direction.
  • Friends don't let friends use the wrong DNS roots.
  • Go home. Quit trying to use your employer's computer and your employer's net connection to do private surfing unrelated to your work. If you don't like it, find a new employer. O become an employer so you can kick out the net nanny and let your workers waste their time on slashdot.
  • Yeah, let's show those phonies by getting our own real free speech impediments!

    CLISP [cons.org]
    CMUCL [cons.org]
    ---
  • Actually, when 1-888 started, owners of 1-800 numbers were given first refusal over the equivilant 1-888 number. Totally stupid, and the reason why 1-888 filled up so quickly.
  • The US Domain [www.nic.us]
    Here you go. There are links to each individual spot from this page. The registries are controlled in a strong hierarchy for the .us - you usually end up at your local city.

    At this page [www.nic.us] you can find most of the local contacts.
    --
  • No, but Amazon.com isn't the complete description of the store. The complete description is more accurately and uniquely something like Amazon-USBased-Online-Bookstore. **

    Since Amazon.com is still a representation and not a globally unique mark, it seems as ludicrous to litigate over Amazon.com as it seems to litigate over 208.216.182.15.


    Actually, it's now more accurately Amazon-USBased-Online-Bookstore-cum-Electronics-To ys-Music-DVD-Auction-Used-Store, but I didn't want to get into that above.
    --

  • Many phones have a phone book within spitting distance. This is DNS for phones...

    Actually, I'd say that Google is more analogous to a phone book.

    A phone book allows you to search by some name you remember, and then if there are several that match, to use the the information attached to each entry to figure out which one you want. DNS does not allow for this.

    As such, Amazon-the-Bookstore finds it necessary to be THE Amazon.com even though the user might have really been looking for Amazon-rainforest-trinkets or something else.
    --

  • The assignment of Top Level Domain names affects the whole world, not just America. They impact me, though I've never been to America. The United Nations is probably the only "Judicial" body that has the appropriate juridiction.

    It is in the long term interests of America to make the process truly international, before China eclipses it on the world economic stage. The rest of the world is growing increasingly impatient with the arrogance of the USA in deciding global issues.

    I'm not saying the United Nations is appropriate to decide on all global issues, but it would be better for the USA to cooperate in setting up a truly international body to adminster TLD's.

    The world should not be held to ransom by changes in the government of the USA and associated commercial interests.

    Remember, more internet activity takes place outside of the USA, and the USA component is decreasing in percentage terms.

  • Is it?

    Your assumption is that it is the overall number of violations, or people whose rights ar eviolated that is whats important.... thus my statment is not logical, because we have made different base assumptions.

    My assumption is simply that violating anothers rights is wrong. Wrong is a boolean. It is JUST as wrong whether I violate 100 peoples rights, or just one. (the magnitude of the needed correction may be different, but thats another issue).

    If the state punishes an innocent man, then the state is just as guilty of violating peoples rights as ANY criminal that is in jail (with the exception, of course, of the innocent ones).

    > determining anything with 100% certainty is
    > impossible

    What is the instruction given to a jury? They should say guilty ONLY if there is "NO REASONABLE DOUBT". If they have ANY REASONABLE DOUBT AT ALL, then the intruiction is that they are to find the person NOT GUILTY.

    Punishment is a harsh thing, any way you cut it. As such the bar MUST be set high. It MUST be weighed more carefully than ANY other decision that our society makes.

    There is always talk of making law enforcement "easier". The problem is that the risks are high, the dangers are high. It is suposed to be tough, it needs to be tough. It needs to be stricly controlled and monitored.

    -Steve
  • I don't think the ACLU should be getting involved. I puked just as much as everyone else did when I saw the new TLD's, and hope very much that there will be some way to ammend their choices, but I don't think that the ACLU that should be getting involved in anyway whatsoever. These TLD's, although stupid, do not encroach on our rights in any way, and the ACLU is makign a fool of itself to go hunt it down. What next.... IP addresses are infringing on the God-given rights not have to use Arabic Numberals?

    What the ACLU really should be doing is investigating the problems of domain name arbitration, and looking at the rights of those people who are brought to the WPO, like the owner of Madonna.com. Now there is a relavent and important issue to investigate, not stupid choices by ICANN.

  • In this case, I would tell the ACLU to back down. The internet does not need defending. The internet needs to defend itself, and if it does not, it deserves to die. I would not care to see it any other way. We either fight for it or give it up to someone else who is fighting for it.

    Fixing this problem is very simple, and it has been said by others so many times. But, the ACLU can not fix it. The users of this network must fix it. Use different DNS servers.

    Go check out http://alternic.org/ [alternic.org]. Put 208.130.10.122 and 208.130.10.123 in your DNS list.

    Damn, Alternic even has a howto, though it needs work;

    http://alternic.org/howto/ [alternic.org]

    What excuse do you have now lazy ass?

    You are giving ICANN their power by using them. If you do not like them, knock it off!

    So, what am I doing to help this situation? I would like to try and talk my superiors into adding some alternative DNS servers in our network for our customers. This may yet happen after some time, but someone has to speak up or it will never happen.

  • Trust in ICANN is not enough to permit debate within the confines of its own structures. North America and Europe elected strong critics to the ICANN board, and the board stalled on giving them seats; it has taken numerous other steps to perpetuate its nontransparent reign. So the next natural step is back to the U.S. government, which, like it or not, created ICANN and still has oversight. That is the significance of this ACLU initiative. (CPSR, which I support, also signed on.)
  • I think all those people who signed for ICANN membership should just decide it by their vote about new TLD's.

    That would be ok if it wasn't for the fact that the sign up was useless! I suggested before that it was possible that the entire process was rigged, and unless and until someone proves otherwise that conspiracy theory will stay alive with me anyway. The number of successful applicants were very few, and the reasons why people failed to sign up? I don't know, do you? Could it be possible that the signup was controlled to provide an unbalanced membership?

    Having read the ACLU piece I have to say that I am dissappointed but not surprised that they continued tha arrogance of assuming that the fact that these domains are controlled by the U.S. is fine! /. is not the place I know to voice these sorts of opinions as /. itself is a U.S. centric forum. Even your suggestion that .sex should be used shows problems, .sex is english, .xxx would be international however wouldn't it? Come on people, do we want a net where the US has it's choice to make as many TLDs as it likes while the rest of the world can divy up their own TLD alone, or do we want an internet where each country has a TLD and the remaining potential name space is controlled by some international authority who decides on a world basis whether or not extra domains are appropriate (forget the issue of whether the entire TLD idea is right or wrong as unless you think that the root servers should be open for anyone to add their own domain someone must control it)?

  • to feed a troll?

    The US created the internet...fine. The US owns the root servers....no, they setup the original root server system and controlled the master system, but the actual root servers lie all over the world I believe. So the US does control the top-level domains....why pretend it is an international system then? Why should the US control the top level domains? Why are they potentially allowing some TLDs to be controlled outside the US (for example the .pro TLD will be controlled by an Irish company, if anyone would like to suggest a good reason why these guys deserve some protesting I volunteer my services :-) but my anger is not really with them but with the people who are creating them! If I don't like it create my own root server....oh yeah like that is a smart idea! split the net! despots and communists.... the trolling is given away! The domain name system is a merely a convention, but I ask you, how many IP6 addresses are you going to be able to hold in your head? It is a necessity that another layer of abstraction is added after MAC -> IP otherwise it would be a nightmare to create systems as we have (imagine trying to move your site to another host and NOT lose hits). The fact that anyone can create a domain name system does not mean they should. People could clone themselves (with enough money) does that mean they should? One system provides a hell of a lot of convienience. The only workable system I can think of would depend on none of the existing TLDs (excluding countries) being included on the current .us domain, in which case the rest of the world could create a new top level server system where all existing TLDs would become Second level domains to .us (slashdot.org.us). Even then it would take a lot of effort to ensure that all clicked links from US servers would be translated to the correct address for your own DNS server. I am whining that the internet, a system of freedom is being controlled by the most litigious and commercial nation on the planet. I don't want to control it, I just want it controlled by something with a potential to be unbiased and balanced and that will reflect the opinions of all the nets users...not just the US->English speaking->First world. How expensive will the .biz be to a third world company and if they are at all successful with that TLD then it will just be another way to keep the poor down. IMHO this is all completely anti the spirit of the internet. So what if the US started it...it's not yours whatever you want to believe, it is everyone who pays to be a part of it, whoever they are and wherever they come from.

  • Responding to some of your points:

    I would never complain that the U.S. has the code 1 and certainly do not feel this is in any way analogious, if everyone everywhere else in the world HAD to dial their country code unless they wanted the US, then the analogy might start to make sense.

    If the French HAD created the internet and initially controlled the DNS system I VERY much doubt they would have had the ego to try to maintain this control a few years down the road (and as they probably would have run it by government instead of a commercial entity this would have happened as soon as it started becoming a large adminstrative burden).

    The only poeple who can't escape the TLD consequences are NOT the US! I cannot get my name as a domain in ireland UNLESS I am willing to either place at least a 2 digit number into the domain OR stand for political office (this may have changed in the last few months, but even clarifying that is a nightmare). If you do NOT wish to be part of your own countries TLD for any reason (or because of a rule which prevents you using it for the puropse you require) then you are subjected to the US controlled TLDs if you want a second level domain.

    Thank you for stating that the .us domain is not available even to people in the US as I had always thought this was simply an ignored domain and not a restricted one. If the US did not control the TLDs and their creation I imagine that this domain would be treated VERY differently. The key point here though is to note that I never mentioned .gov, .mil or any of the other TLDs which the US enjoys.....these spoils I allow to the victor. However .com, .net, .org where NEVER intended (AFAIK) to be specifically US domains, and the new domains are not intended to be so either.

    The fact is that the intnernet in the english speaking world is extremely focused on the .com (net and org to a lesser degree) and ANY company outside the US must risk subjecting themselves to a small degree to YOUR system and laws, something you state you do not feel is possible for you! It remains to be seen if any of the new TLDs will gain even the slightest recognition, but if they do anyone who wishes to address the english world will have another problem on their hands. To make it simple, a recent post of mine recieved a response which included the request to know what country .ie is. If it is .com, no-one cares but as soon as you venture onto a country TLD people can be suspicious UNLESS they already know which country it is!

    The net is an international resource and I guess the bottom line is that I do not believe any other nation would be attempting to control some of its resources the way the US is.

  • "Themashby" really summed it up and cut right to the chase:

    Controlling DNS' is like telling you what street you can stand on to give your speech.... If all the good streets (recognized and traveled by most people) are owned by major corporations then your right to speech is effectively denied.

    It is critically important to be able to register your own domain name. Even if every web visitor finds your page from a search engine, if your speach offends someone with clout, all they have to do is threaten whomever is nice enough to host your pages under their domain name. You get censored very easily.

    In the present example, you are unhappy with GM and create a GM-sucks page, and of course being a free-speech example, someone (probably with GM) doesn't like the page. You're not going to be an easy target, but whoever has been nice enough to host your page under their domain name probably is. Afterall, they're a business (in the theoritical world of corporate-only well-known TLDs), and your page isn't in their mission, and even one cease-and-desist letter with words like "confusingly similar to our regsitered trademark" is going to make the decision to stop helping you a no-brainer.

    If you don't have your own domain name, you're screwed. All those links and bookmarks to your old URL now dead. Eventually the serach engines will index your page at the new site, but old links continue to propagate for a damn long time [useit.com]. My site was once hosted at a university web site, for about 3-4 years, and hundreds of links were made and all the search engines indexed it. Now, nearly 2 years after the move, still about 2000 hits/month (about 10-15% of my traffic) comes from a redirect that the old site was nice enough to leave in place, despite many all-night sessions resubmitting to all the major search engines and emailing to hundreds of web masters (often times taking considerable time to find out who's responsible for a page with the link). It is very important to have your own domain name.

    It will take quite some time before your speech is as effective as before, and in a world where the only well-known domain names pander to corporate interests, you'll have to choose between registering a domain name that labels your page as having no valuable content, or hosting on someone else's site.

    Jay, while your domain name is a .cx, it appears that you effectively control this domain name [conmicro.cx], which is a very different scenario that using "someisp.com/~you/gmsucks", where the ISP is an easy target for a trademark complain or other attempt at censorship, leaving the disgruntled consumer without the option to change the hosting to another ISP that will not be as easily pushed around.

    Now, honestly, I'm not sure if this whole ICANN/ALCU thing really is a problem that will turn into corporate control of domain names.... the reason I posted this, and I hope it was clear, is that if you're going to publish anything significant on the web, you need to be able to register your own domain name. Suggesting that others will find your site from search engines and not by remembering your name is only significant until the hosting under someone else's name ends and many links, bookmarks and stored search engine result all stop working.

  • Sorry, that's just not true. The US government payed for the original network which is now just one of the interconnected networks which makes up the internet. For example if I traceroute slashdot.org I find that my packets traverse AARNET (payed for by Australian Universities, which is to say be the Commonwealth Governament), Optus (majority Australian owned Cable+Wireless affiliate), Cable+Wireless (private US company) and Exodus (likewise, a private US company). In fact I find that the only taxpayer involved in that stream of packets is the Australian Taxpayer.

    The internet is a HUGE project which has been payed for by public and private money from all over the world. Funnily enough, the rest of the world doesn't see why one of the contributors (albeit a large one) should have all the say.

    To use your example of Micro$oft and AOL, it would be like them saying "Thank you for your investment in our operations, now get out of our shareholders' meeting because you're not American".

  • I'm sorry, but you are way off base here. Domain names are EXTREMELY important for any company or organization that needs to be reached over the net.

    I don't know about everyone else, but I jump from machine to machine, browser to browser, OS to OS, all the time. I can never count on having bookmarks handy when I want to find information. I use two strategies to find what I want.

    First, I remember a few key URLs: www.yahoo.com, www.deja.com, www.google.com, and a few others. (Of course, www.slashdot.org falls into this category. ;-)

    Second, I guess! Some URLs I have guessed recently are www.dictionary.com, www.bridge.com (Bridge Information Systems), www.xml.com, and www.map.com.

    Try remembering the IP address for your favorite Linux site! Then prepare to track it down when they move the site to another IP address.

    Offtopic: What URLs should I add to my memorized list? (Hehe...bet no one has any opinions on that!)

  • Remember that names and numbers are NOT a one to one relationship. idiotsRus.com and moronhouse.com
    could point to the SAME IP address, but totally different web sites. This is one of the things HTTP 1.1 did for us. It helps conserve IP addresses that are in short supply. www.butthead.com can also map to many different IP addresses too.

    Of course some of the REASONS that IP addresses are in short supply are stupid - large corps hogging class A's & B's that don't need them... But I digress.

    But don't worry Simon, soon you will have lots of IPv6 numbers to remember!!!
  • I have to admit, I'm glad someone's going after ICANN, even if it's too little, too late. $50,000 for ".museum"?? Apparently, ICANN isn't too familiar with existing museum nomenclenture. Taken from the .us doman page (http://www.nic.us/overview/special.html [www.nic.us]):

    e. MUS - Museums
    This branch is used for museums. For example:
    <museum-name>.MUS.<stat e-code>.US.


    If this wasn't a scheme to bilk people and honest (if not very clued-in) groups out of a bunch of cash, I don't know what would be. I say let the ACLU sue 'em until the cows come home.
  • "I may be the only person who feels this way...but I still think that URL's (and top-level domains) are basically a hack. They're nothing more than a label for a TCP/IP address & port number. People take this stuff WAY too seriously. " that idea is great for techs, but what "average person" would hear "152.5.123.7:8080" and remember it, let alone be inspired to visit it? imagine a store that could only put its phone number on its sign, have no advertising outside the store, no windows... would you be inclined to call them and see what they do? didnt think so.


    NEWS: cloning, genome, privacy, surveillance, and more! [silicongod.com]
  • "So shouldn't the same thing be happening?"

    But just because they added 888, whatever, Amazon (to keep the example going) didn't also get issued 1-888-4-AMAZON, nor would they sue someone who registered 1-888-426-2066. This is what ICANN was trying to provide from the start with .com, etc., but the registrars allowed companies to register whatever they wanted just to make money.

    BTW, did I get the phone number right? I seem to have no Z on my phone at work.

    I had a feeling you were going to say that.
  • You don't seem to understand the difference between massive R&D expenditures and operational cost. Paying for the cost of getting data to and from the Internet is far different than undertaking a massive R&D effort to design, develop, and implement the Internet. Years of work by countless people went into the Internet and it was funded, throughout its development by the U.S. taxpayer. Now that we were generous enough to welcome your country into the Internet, you seem to feel that we should also grant you control of it. Why should we? Because you would like it better if we did?

    Your country didn't invest in the development of the Internet. They are just paying the costs associated with using it. It's like buying a copy of Windows and then insisting that you have a right to attend the Microsoft shareholder's meeting.

    To carry the analogies further, it's like asserting that your expenditures for gas, oil, maintenance, and repairs on your Ford car entitle you to a seat on the Board of Directors of Ford Motor Company.

  • What I can never figure out is why no one uses a .us domain.

    I can tell you why I don't: I do not want to tell every nut-case on the net where I live.

  • Yeah, DNS is such a waste of time. God forbid we use anything other than 32bit numbers or conserve the limited number of IPv4 addresses with HTTP 1.1 host headers (aka virtual hosting). I liked the olden days of Compuserve, when everybody was 7112313,342423413. user@12.34.56.78 works just fine for email... do you know how many things depend on DNS?

    People need DNS, and they want their own TLD's. I don't think it's unfair to ask for them. All the dictionary and Latinesque TLD's are taken, and considering how much Business.com went for, a sufficiently descriptive TLD would cost even more than lobbying ICANN to get off their fat fucking asses, anyway.

    --

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 19, 2001 @12:26PM (#495040)

    My employer does not allow the employees to see the ACLU [aclu.org] link. The net nanny software displays a message that threatens with termination if I don't stop trying to violate the company policy.

    Is this message off topic?

    Marko [mailto]

  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv,vadiv&neverbox,com> on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:05PM (#495041) Homepage
    How the hell does this qualify as 'improvement'? It's much worse!

    The problem isn't that the heirarchy exists, it's that it's too flat. People fight over blah.com. Removing .com doesn't help anything, except it would stop the inanity of getting .net and .org for all .coms. But that's not anywhere near the main problem in DNS. The main problem is that Michael Blah, Blah Computers, Blah Moter Company, and Blah's Ole Time Family store all want blah.com.

    The obvious way to fix this is to make a lot more gTLDs. Something like michael.blah.name (actually, I think this idea is stupid. People shouldn't be able to get domain names off their name. Way too many people have the same name.), blah.computers, blah.cars, blah.general.store, would be best. Somewhere out there, the trademark office *has* a list of trademarks for all catagories. Let's, right now, make a .trade, and put the catagory in front of it, and whenever you get a trademark, you can pay 10 dollars more a year and get a domain name too.

    That completely removes all confusion. I want to reach Apple Computers, I type 'apple.computer.us.trade'. I knew Apple Computers is trademarked in the computer catagory, and no other computer company can call itself 'Apple', or 'Apple Computers', or 'Apple Computing' or anything having to do with apples.

    I think it would also be a good idea for licensed businesses to get a .license or something. You know, if they're at franksroofing.build.ga.us.license, then, hey, they have a building license in Georgia. And so on and so forth. There are plenty of legal identifiers businesses have, and we should let them use them in a regulated system on the net.

    Then, make a prefix for purely personal use, and one for informal organizations that aren't actually registed, and maybe a seperate one for pages put up my individuals that are intented to be a general resource (as opposed to those 'homepages' that people have, which go in the first). And completely and totally remove .com, .org, and .net. They have been completely screwed up, and just need to be trashed.



    -David T. C.

  • by double_h (21284) on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:47AM (#495042) Homepage

    What I can never figure out is why no one uses a .us domain. Aren't they free? Maybe no one knows where to register them!

    You're not supposed to register "yourname.us", but only "yourname.city.state.us". And "cybertron.podunk-city.co.us" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

    More info on .us domains (including how to register them) can be found straight from the horse's mouth [www.nic.us].

  • by TheDullBlade (28998) on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:15AM (#495043)
    This is the least important thing they could possibly be putting their efforts into.

    How about legal bullying to steal or silence websites? How about legislation supporting such legal bullying?

    Domain names are really not important. I know plenty of great sites without their own domain. Easily-remembered domains are only really important for people who advertise on TV.

    The ACLU is just another money-sucking "cause" which makes noise to attract cash, and carefully avoids actually affecting the real problems that justify its funding.
    ---
  • by Slimbob (35316) on Friday January 19, 2001 @04:43PM (#495044)
    NPR was interviewing some ICANN members the other morning. One of the callers reported that there is currently a measure being debated within ICANN to do away with publicly-elected seats. Karl Auerbach and Esther Dyson, who were guests on the show, confirmed this. (Side note: apparently Vint Cerf couldn't/wouldn't come unless his company was allowed to oversee the format and content of the interview!)

    This dissolution of public representation is just plain wrong. The public votes in a member of the Chaos Computer Club and suddenly the corporate board of ICANN has the gall to discuss the removal of public representation?
  • Just brainstorming here, but what about newsgroup like names, such as comp.os.etc etc? Only reversed. Or whatever works.

    That seemed to work for a large number of groups because the individual control was not at such a high level in tree. What I mean is, all we have is .com. From there, everyone fights about what comes before that. Why not split that into several groups? For instance, resturaunts.com. Then the resturaunts can fight over just that level.

    It's kinda like a b-tree. It's time for a split.

    Jason
  • About halfway into the letter, the ACLU discusses some generalities and then provides some specific examples. Unfortunately, the examples are not compelling and do not address the most onerous of possible outcomes that the generalities imply. Here is their generalities paragraph:

    We believe that there are several major issues at stake in addition to which gTLDs are selected and who gets to run them. Many will emerge from the fine print of contracts currently being negotiated between ICANN and the prospective registry operators. These contracts may impact free speech rights and property rights by either extending ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and/or providing additional pre-emptive rights to trademark holders or holders of existing domain names at the expense of the public at large. We believe that it would be a violation of federal law, and of due process, for NTIA to consent to any plan that required individuals to consent to the UDRP as a condition of enjoying a government benefit such as registration in a new gTLD. Each of these issues will require careful consideration in a public process before any decision is made.
    The subjection to UDRP means that a popular web site that espouses non-mainstream views could be taken down by simply finding a close name that happens to be trademarked and pressing the case pro bono on behalf of the company or organization with the trademark. I am thinking specifically, of course, of the Corinthians [slashdot.org] case, but more nefarious than the facts in that case. In that case, there was no legitimate web site at corinthians.com, and there was no intent to specifically squash free speech.

    The ACLU should have provided a fictional example along those lines to illustrate the Sword of Damocles the UDRP is.

  • by Dirtside (91468) on Friday January 19, 2001 @04:10PM (#495047) Journal
    ...and leave the internet to those of us who don't mind using dotted quads. :) I'm only half-kidding.

    Here's an idea. How about we remove top-level domains entirely? Why not have a system where instead of browsing to "http://www.slashdot.org", I just go to "http://slashdot"? One obvious problem is what do you do about all the situations where there's x.com, x.org. x.net, etc. Well, the answer is, they all stay as they are, but we stop using TLDs for all new domains. So you could be just slashdot.

    This means that your web browser would go to the A.root servers for the old TLDs, and instead of having a top-level server for each TLD, we'd have one for each letter of the alphabet (or whatever other characters in whatever other languages can start words, so that the language you're using is irrelevant and it isn't US-centric). Then we have a big ole distributed system of servers, each one of which serves a particular letter (or even group of letters, I dunno how fast those big-ass servers are).

    So you've got a box that serves 'A' and 'B', one that serves 'C' and 'D', etc. That way, TLDs are a thing of the past.

    The biggest problem of course is, who decides who gets which domains. And what about domain speculators (or people who are just rich jerks) who buy up hundreds or thousands of domain names?

    How about a system where any given entity can only register one name per day? And it would cost something small, or maybe it would just be free.

    Obviously this has a lot of work to go into it, but it certainly would be an improvement. Hierarchy is nice, but is it necessary? You could still of course register a name like "cia.usgovt" if the "usgovt" name wasn't already taken.

    Maybe I'm just rambling. Oh well.
  • by yerricde (125198) on Friday January 19, 2001 @01:13PM (#495048) Homepage Journal

    "yourname.city.state.us". And "cybertron.podunk-city.co.us" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

    If Colorado (.co.us), Nebraska (.ne.us), and Oregon (.or.us) would take the "city" field out of their domain patterns, they could get some business that would have otherwise gone to .com, .net, and .org, respectively. (Compare .co.uk and .org.uk.)


    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? [pineight.com]
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Friday January 19, 2001 @01:15PM (#495049) Homepage Journal
    For those Americans who will remind me that the 'Internet' used to be a DARPA project (etc etc): Whats your point?

    The point is that it was funded at the expense of the taxpaying United States' citizens. Instead of thanking the U.S. for opening up access to the net, you (as a Canadian) want all countries to be equal partners with no compensation to the U.S.

    The U.S. invested the money and took the initiative (and risk of failure) to build the Internet. Why don't you try telling Microsoft, Netscape, and AOL that you want to be an equal partner in their now successful net ventures and see how they react?

  • by rw2 (17419) on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:22AM (#495050) Homepage
    ICANN is wrong for thinking that they have the right to define the standards.

    ACLU is wrong for thinking the ICANN can define the standards.

    The internet community is also wrong. Throw your bag over your shoulder and get on board with an alternate root. Better yet, if you have the skills, propose a more open standard so that rooting doesn't need to be done in the homogenous way that it is.


    --

  • by Ded Bob (67043) on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:17AM (#495051) Homepage
    The letter from the ACLU and its allies, addressed to outgoing Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta, argued that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) placed artificial limitations on the number of generic top-level domains that threaten freedom of expression for individual Internet users and noncommercial organizations.

    What are they talking about? Just because a TLD does not exist places NO RESTRICTIONS on what a person wants to say. Freedom of expression is NOT threatened by not having a TLD for a specific purpose. If no new TLD's were made, would they also sue?

    I am sorry if this offends people, but I really think the ACLU should calm down and focus.
  • by TheCarp (96830) <`ten.tenaprac' `ta' `cjs'> on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:38AM (#495052) Homepage
    So what your saying is....

    "You will love the ACLU, until something happens which effects you in a way that causes your emotional feelings to overrule your logical judgement"

    The ACLU is pro-freedom. There is a very simple concept here. "It is better to let 100 guilty men go free, than to convict one innocent man".

    I firmly believe that this is true. 100, nay even 1 million convicted criminals does not undo the harm of putting an innocent man in prison.

    To go even farther, forget about conviction. If a practice of law enforcement or other arms of the government has the potential to infringe upon the rights of an innocent party...then that practice DESERVES to be attacked, even if it means a guilty person going free.

    You can catch a criminal the next time they commit a crime, you can't undo their crime, nor can you undo the damage that can be done by unchecked government.

    Thats why the ACLU exists. Because people are "Innocent until PROVEN guilty" and deserve to be treated and defended as if they are indeed innocent UNTIL they are PROVEN guilty.

    -Steve
  • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Friday January 19, 2001 @12:37PM (#495053) Journal
    The internet needs to be seperated from the American government. Every country in the world should be able to 'share' the ability to add TLDs. Every country (I mean all countries - not just the ones the American Government likes) should be given the right to add as many TLD as they like... the present system is ridiculous what the hell does the US Dept. of Commerce have to do with the Internet..

    For those Americans who will remind me that the 'Internet' used to be a DARPA project (etc etc): Whats your point? Times change. Only hubris and selfishness would keep you from putting yourselves on equal footing as the rest of the planet...

  • by themashby (203334) on Friday January 19, 2001 @01:14PM (#495054)
    You're an ...you're not thinking clearly. Controlling DNS' is like telling you what street you can stand on to give your speech. All that will be left if corporate America gets its way will be alleys and swamps. If all the good streets (recognized and traveled by most people) are owned by major corporations then your right to speech is effectively denied. Think of it this way, how much free speech is there in a mall? No, there is no free speech in a mall. Its not a public space. People may falsly beleive they are public but they are not. There are no homeless in a mall. Malls are great places to feel safe and to consume while ignoring the truth of our society. And that's what corporations would wish to do to the internet. They don't want those pesky people gathering to discuss why GM cars are unsafe at GM.sucks.
  • by S1mon_Jester (223331) on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:16AM (#495055)
    I may be the only person who feels this way...but I still think that URL's (and top-level domains) are basically a hack. They're nothing more than a label for a TCP/IP address & port number. People take this stuff WAY too seriously.

    That said, I think there's a LOT more room for anarchy (a good thing, in this instance) with regard to top-level domains and URL's. The ICANN is imposing artificial limitations (which is their right) that don't need to exist.

    If the ACLU wants to fight them...go for it. But it's sillyness in the extreme. What happens if someone where to take the 'standard TLD' from ICANN and add additional TLD's at the 2nd level? (In effect, adding additional TLD to the TLD that ICANN registers)

  • by interiot (50685) on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:57AM (#495056) Homepage
    Yes, I've been thinking about this a lot recently.

    URL's are somewhat like phone numbers, especially since one can dial a letter string. Yet, we don't see companies suiing each other over 1-800-4-AMAZON or 1-800-PHONE-SEX.

    Why not? URLs are more tied to brand image than a phone number is? IP litigation has only now become the rage? Are URLs somehow more legally protected than phone numbers?

    I wonder if URLs would have had arbitrary limitations put on them... such as being 6 characters long at maximum, and 2 of the characters have to be numeric... if companies wouldn't have become so attached to a string of letters that they find it necessary to spend tremendous amounts of money to purchase or litigate.
    --

  • by Walter Wart (181556) on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:07AM (#495057) Homepage
    As electronic communications become more regulated and "more like" other aspects of life it was inevitable that the ACLU would become concerned with them. High time. We could use an experienced and effective advocate like them
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Friday January 19, 2001 @11:22AM (#495058) Homepage Journal
    When the ICANN extorts $50,000 from an "applicant" just to consider a 3-7 letter long TLD, something is very wrong. When the users of the Internet are excluded from the TLD selection process, there is something very wrong. When ICANN releases TLDs like .coop and .museum, I think that something very crooked has taken place behind closed doors.

    I applaud the ACLU for getting involved.

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