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ICANN Ditches Public Participation

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  • by Performer Guy (69820) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:41PM (#4574293)
    Someone should hold them accountable.... oh wait!
    • Maybe the real question then, is "How can't they get away with this?" (Insert smiling vaudville danger with cane and jazz-hands.)
      • Exactly. They've just removed the last vestiges of accountability. Before now most of them weren't accountable, now they don't even want to associate with anyone who IS accountable. Now they need to be disbanded before they turn into the secretive and beaurocratic money pit they aspire to be.
        • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @07:23PM (#4574999) Homepage
          The election is a symptom not the problem.

          There are plenty of bodies like ICANN that are appointed indirectly. The problem with ICANN is that first they don't appear to want to be accountable to anyone at all and second their decisions appear to be utterly clueless to every consituency they might be attempting to please.

          One might think that they would work out a somewhat more cluefull approach to funding than to simply try to shake down the country TLDs for huge sums. ICANN has no credible threat to back its demands. If they drop .uk from the root the root moves for sure.

          In fact the whole business about who controls the DNS really comes down to the DNS root server operators and in particular the ones with the serious servers for the task. ICANN do not own the IP addresses, the root server operators do.

      • Danger => Dancer. I wish I cauld [sic] securely edit my posts.


    • As an ordinary member (?) of ICANN, I am sad to say that ICANN has officially voted itself out of any relevance !

      ICANN was started as an organization representing the Net users. Now, it has become just another word that meant nothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm not trolling, just asking what I think is a legit question.

    • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:54PM (#4574422)
      Well, I'll assume you mean this as a legitimate question. I am not the most qualified person to answer the question, but I'll tell you what I do know. The ICANN ultimately sets up procedures and policies for registering domain names and controlling the allocation and deallocation of all TLDs (top level domains, like .com). Why do they control this? Because everybody has always agreed that they do. So to say you are connected to "the Internet" you really need to be pointing to a DNS server that syncs up with the root DNS servers approved by ICANN.


      When does this get relevant? Well, when somebody disagrees about who owns a domain. It's nice that there are standard procedures for disputing these things. And remember when it used to cost some ungodly amount per year to register domains? Then along came OpenSRS and lots of registrars that pushed prices down, opening the web up to further colonization. This had to be approved and initiated by ICANN. The problem? ICANN already operates essentially without answering to any government or external authority, and the "citizens" of the Internet have no real voice in what goes on at ICANN. What if ICANN decides to go back to granting register.com a monopoly on new domain registrations? Well, they won't because the backlash would be huge, I imagine, but I am trying to give an example of what they theoretically could do.


      Also little issues like the transition to IPv6 are governed to some extent by the ICANN, and that matters too - I for one would like my toaster and household appliances to have IP addresses in my frigging lifetime. I'm sure you can find more things the ICANN is responsible for at their website. Or do a Google search. Then tell me if you think maybe the users of the Internet who ultimately pay for its growth and the taxpayers of the nations that set up the original infrastructure for its growth ought to have some say in how it is managed.

      • by Mnemia (218659) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:05PM (#4574518)
        Remember when it used to be free to register domains?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        One correction to your post. ICAAN does answer to the United States Government. Everyone likes to think we operate in this fantasy land that the internet is open and free. If the US government wanted ICAAN to make a change they would comply. Would the US do this? Probably not due to international flack but they do have the authority to do so. ICAAN was created by the US to get the US government out of managing the internet. As it became more global the Administration realized that for appearances the Government needed to take a step back.
      • actually it was Network Solutions who had the monopoly.
      • I'm curious as to what exactly would happen if ICANN vanished off the face of the earth or everyone simply started ignoring them. As far as I can tell:

        We'd need alternate root servers. This, at least, is easy, as OpenNIC [unrated.net] and others provide excellent, alternate systems (OpenNIC in particular is *extremely* democratic -- nearly the opposite of ICANN).

        We'd need a new centralized point for distribution of whois server information.

        We'd need a new group of people to agree on which addresses should be allocated in the IP address space.

        We'd need a new group of people to agree on well-known port numbers (and provide a centralized distribution point for this information) and a host of other numbers related to protocols. MIME types and MIBs fit in here. I've always thought it a shame that there isn't a centralized magic number registry, so if ICANN was replaced, I think it'd be nice to have a magic number database also available.

        Anyone see any other problems with just ignoring ICANN?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The last remnants of the old republic have been swept away...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      the emperor dissolved the senate! Geez! Get your shit straight before you try to be all cool.
      • No, the President dissolved the Senate!

        "Fear will keep the local systems in line." [cnn.com]

        "The Senate has got a lousy record on my judges. We need to change the Senate for a lot of reasons, and one reason is to make sure we've got a sound judiciary," he said Monday in Denver.

        "This comprehensive plan calls for a clean start..." added the President's lapdog, Ari Fleisher.

        (ok so it's not as bad as i made it sound, but it's still pretty funny, in context)
        • The scary thing is I fully expect Congress to grant the administration sweeping new powers if the Republicans win the Senate.

          Hopefully enough Democrats will object to filibuster most of this nonsense.
  • by Hayzeus (596826) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:45PM (#4574318) Homepage
    ...a move that critics complained could make the group indifferent to ordinary users and hurt innovation.

    Right. With this latest move, unresponsiveness now becomes a distinct possibility. I'd really hate to see ICANN become indifferent to ordinary users...

    • I'd really hate to see ICANN become indifferent to ordinary users...

      Too late.
    • What planet have you been living on these past few years? Something has to be responsive before it can become unresponsive!
    • ...a move that critics complained could make the group indifferent to ordinary users and hurt innovation.
      Right. With this latest move, unresponsiveness now becomes a distinct possibility. I'd really hate to see ICANN become indifferent to ordinary users...

      No sh*t^H^H^H^Hkidding. <sigh> Still, this change will mean that the public has even less access to the ICANN board. At least now, they have to listen when Karl Auerbach objects to some of their more idiotic decisions.

      While I'm disappointed at this, though, at the same time I can't say that I'm surprised. ICANN was set up as an essentially non-representative body from the outset. It isn't surprising that ICANN's real constituency has grown restless having to give at least some heed to what the elected board members had to say. :/

      I'm not sure whether the solution is a complete change in the ICANN charter and ground-up revamp of its mission, composition, and methods, or shutting down the organization and starting over from scratch. Since the two would probably be close to the same thing, maybe it doesn't matter.

      So, who wants to bell the cat?

    • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NoSPam.barbara-hudson.com> on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:14PM (#4574579) Journal
      Headline I'd rather see: Ordinary Users Ditch ICANN

      I'm sure I'm not alone.

    • by n9hmg (548792) <n9hmg@NOSPam.hotmail.com> on Thursday October 31, 2002 @07:48PM (#4575137) Homepage
      Here's the thread for this:
      Lynn and others said the group's former method of electing five of the 18 board members over the Internet bogged ICANN down in debates that held up its main work -- making decisions that affect everything from how Web sites are named to how e-mail is sent.
      Elected member: "We can't do that, it's wrong. They've been in business, since the great-great-grandfather arrived from Russia in 1830, and been shipping orders from their webpage since 1992!"
      Appointed member: "There he goes again, bogging us down, holding up our main work"
      A.M. 2: "We need to get on with transferring shapirosdelicatessen.com to Microsoft, since the new MS Delicatessen IDE is coming out next fall."
      A.M. 3: "And don't forget, we've got to transfer cerf.net from that cybersquatter, Vint Cerf, Verizon, for their new C(entral) E(uropean) R(adio) F(requency) wireless broadband network."
      Chairman: "Bailiff, remove him."
  • by Milo Fungus (232863) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:46PM (#4574336)
    Critics said the revisions were aimed at getting rid of dissenting board members who say the group is out of touch with Internet users.

    Did this line jump out at anyone else? They were tired of people telling them that they were out of touch with internet users, so they decided to stop allowing internet users to elect members of the board. Isn't that like cutting off your leg because of an ingrown toenail?

    Or am I just out of touch with the politics here?
    • by bleckywelcky (518520) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:54PM (#4574415)

      Not exactly. I would say it is more like having a lobotomy because your brain keeps telling you it's not good to eat toxic waste, but you happen to like the taste of it.
    • by mttlg (174815) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:56PM (#4574436) Homepage Journal

      Isn't that like cutting off your leg because of an ingrown toenail?

      Actually, it's more like cutting off your feet with a rusty pocketknife because they hurt when you walk barefoot on broken glass and rusty nails.

    • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:04PM (#4574503) Journal
      They never wanted public participation; it was always pretty much for show, and the way they treated Karl was partly because they never wanted public participation and partly because he'd not only been elected by the public to push them into letting *actual*Internet*users* have some influence over ICANN's directions, which (as I believe I may have mentioned) they didn't want, but went beyond that to actually *try* to have some influence over ICANN, or at least force some shadow of openness or accountability onto ICANN, which they also didn't want. So when they got rid of him, they made it clear they didn't want him to be replaced; this is just formalizing it.
    • by raretek (215909)
      "Or am I just out of touch with the politics here?"

      No, you've obviously have been hit way too hard by a clue hammer.

      Unfortunately, to understand ICANN, you have to be hopelessly without clue and/or possessed with the knowledge that whoever disagrees with you is wrong. It also helps to be on the corporate dole...

    • by sterno (16320) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:55PM (#4574855) Homepage
      Welcome to the future of transnational corporate governance ladies and gentlemen. Organizations get set up that are effectively untouchable by any national government, and are unbeholden to passe concepts like democratic representation. I mean right now this organization can pretty much do whatever it wants as long as they don't go far enough to drive all the network administrators in the world to start using a different root name server. And that, my friends, would be pretty damn far.
    • by schon (31600) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:56PM (#4574858)
      They were tired of people telling them that they were out of touch with internet users, so they decided to stop allowing internet users to elect members of the board.

      In other news, Vint Cerf was heard to remark "Let them eat cake!"
    • by WeaponOfChoice (615003) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @07:00PM (#4574879) Homepage
      Yet another Dilbert-Reality crossover. This really reminds me of the strip where the boss is explaining to the Engineers that due to the lousy results of the employee satisfaction survey (upon which part of management bonuses are based) the survey would be discontinued.

      On a more serious note I would have thought there'd be some legislation to stop a public services company ('cause that's what ICANN is, like it or not) from reducing it's public accountability...
  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:47PM (#4574337) Homepage
    They want public participation only as long as the public blindly follows what the board wants to do and not question their edicts.

    If ICANN had any interest in real public participation, then we would never had heard of Karl Auerbach as he would not have to file a lawsuit against ICANN [slashdot.org] to see the books.


    • They want public participation only as long as the public blindly follows what the board wants to do and not question their edicts.


      That universal statement applies to US Presidential elections, capitalism, protests, this very website, and many other aspects of the modern world.

      The only true way to freedom for any institution is continuous open revolt -- ICANN should be protested everywhere they go like the WTO and the World Bank are, as they are nothing but a dictatorial politburo posing as a public institution that must be overthrown.
  • ... for someone to start a parallel namespace run in true freeware style. ICANN is an abomination.
    • OpenNIC (Score:4, Informative)

      by yerricde (125198) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:49PM (#4574358) Homepage Journal

      a parallel namespace run in true freeware style.

      You mean like OpenNIC [unrated.net]?

      • I'm dismayed by the growing number of alternative (fake, incompatible) root servers such as OpenNIC and AlterNIC that are springing up these days. I get a continuous flood of spam trying to sell me domains in non-existent TLDs, or, rather, TLDs that DO exist, but only in one particular alternative root. You and I know better than to fall for these deceptive scans, but when an average person gets an e-mail saying "Buy an exciting .sex or .xxx domain today for just $199.95!" they won't know that their exciting new domain purchase will be inaccessible to 99.999% of Internet users. You might think that this kind of practice borders on fraud; I think that it is fraud.

        Let me tell you why I think that OpenNIC and similar entities are a bad and dangerous idea.

        Think of the phone system . . . when you dial a number, it rings at a particular location because there is a central numbering plan that ensures that each telephone number is unique. The DNS works in a similar way. If telephone numbers or domain names were not globally unique, phone calls or e-mail intended for one person might go to someone else with the same number or domain name. Without uniqueness, both systems would be unpredictable and therefore unreliable.

        Ensuring predictable results from any place on the Internet is called "universal resolvability." It is a critical design feature of the DNS, one that makes the Internet the helpful, global resource that it is today. Without it, the same domain name might map to different Internet locations under different circumstances, which would only cause confusion.

        When you send an e-mail to your Aunt Sally, do you care who receives it?

        Do you care if it goes to your Uncle Juan instead? Wait a minute...do you have an Uncle Juan? Then whose Uncle Juan received it? Do you care if it reaches Aunt Sally if you send it from work but my Uncle Juan if you send it from home?

        Of course you care who receives it . . . that's why you wrote it in the first place. Whether you're doing business or sending personal correspondence, you want to be certain that your message gets to the intended addressee.

        If at any point the DNS must make a choice between two identical domain names with different IP addresses, the DNS would not function. It would not know how to resolve the domain name. When a DNS computer queries another computer and asks, "are you the intended recipient of this message?", "yes" and "no" are acceptable answers, but "maybe" is not.

        This is where ICANN comes in . . . ICANN is responsible for managing and coordinating the DNS to ensure universal resolvability.

        ICANN is the global, non-profit, private-sector coordinating body acting in the public interest. ICANN ensures that the DNS continues to function effectively - by overseeing the distribution of unique numeric IP addresses and domain names. Among its other responsibilities, ICANN oversees the processes and systems that ensure that each domain name maps to the correct IP address.

        Behind the scenes, the story becomes a little more complicated.

        In an Internet address - such as icann.org - the .org part is known as a Top Level Domain, or TLD. So-called "TLD registry" organizations house online databases that contain information about the domain names in that TLD. The .org registry database, for example, contains the Internet whereabouts - or IP address - of icann.org. So in trying to find the Internet address of icann.org your computer must first find the .org registry database. How is this done?

        At the heart of the DNS are 13 special computers, called root servers. They are coordinated by ICANN and are distributed around the world. All 13 contain the same vital information - this is to spread the workload and back each other up.

        Why are these root servers so important? The root servers contain the IP addresses of all the TLD registries - both the global registries such as .com, .org, etc. and the 244 country-specific registries such as .fr (France), .cn (China), etc. This is critical information. If the information is not 100% correct or if it is ambiguous, it might not be possible to locate a key registry on the Internet. In DNS parlance, the information must be unique and authentic. Let us look at how this information is used.

        Scattered across the Internet are thousands of computers - called "Domain Name Resolvers" or just plain "resolvers" - that routinely cache the information they receive from queries to the root servers. These resolvers are located strategically with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or institutional networks. They are used to respond to a user's request to resolve a domain name - that is, to find the corresponding IP address.

        So what happens to a user's request to reach our familiar friend at icann.org? The request is forwarded to a local resolver. The resolver splits the request into its component parts. It knows where to find the .org registry - remember, it had copied that information from a root server beforehand - so it forwards the request over to the .org registry to find the IP address of icann.org. This answer is forwarded back to the user's computer. And we're done. It's that simple! The domain name icann.org has been "resolved"!

        Why do we need the resolvers? Why not use the root servers directly? After all, they contain essentially the same information. The answer is for reasons of performance. The root servers could not handle hundreds of billions of requests a day! It would slow users down.

        It is important to remember the central and critical role played by the root servers that store information about the unique, authoritative root. Confusion would result if there were two TLDs with the same name: which one did the user intend? The beauty of the Internet architecture is that it ensures there is a unique, authoritative root, so that there is no chance of ambiguity.

        Anyone can create a root system similar to the unique authoritative root managed by ICANN. Many people and entities have. Some of these are purely private (inside a single corporation, for example) and are insulated from having any effect on the DNS. Some, however, overlap the authoritative global DNS root by incorporating the unique, authoritative root information, and then adding new pseudo-TLDs that have not resulted from the consensus-driven process by which official new TLDs are created through ICANN. The alternate root operators persuade some users to have their resolvers "point" to their alternate root instead of the authoritative root. Others (New.net is a recent example) also create browser plug-ins and other software workarounds to accomplish similar effects. The one uniform fact about all these efforts is that these pseudo-TLDs are not included in the authoritative root managed by ICANN and, thus, are not resolvable by the vast majority of Internet users.

        There are many potential problems caused by these unofficial, alternate root efforts to exploit the stability and reach of the authoritative root. These efforts are often promoted by those unwilling to abide by the consensus policies established by the Internet community, policies designed to ensure the continued stability and utility of the DNS.

        For example:

        First, the names of some of these pseudo-TLDs could overlap TLD names in the authoritative root or those that appear in other alternate roots. Our familiar friend icann.org could appear in two different roots. Your e-mail to Aunt Sally could end up with my Uncle Juan.

        Second, the unknowing users might not be linked to one of these alternate roots and not be able to reach these pseudo-TLD addresses at all. Your e-mail to Aunt Sally could end up as a dead-letter.

        Third, those purchasing domain names in these pseudo-TLDs may not be aware of these and other consequences of the lack of universal resolvability. Or they may be under the impression that they are experiencing universal resolvability when in fact they are not. They may be very upset to learn that the names they registered are also being used by others, or that a new TLD in the authoritative root will not include those names.

        These problems are not significant so long as these alternate roots remain very small, that is, house few domain names with little potential for conflict. But if they should ever attract many users, the problems would become much more serious, and could affect the stability and reliability of the DNS itself. Users would lose confidence in the utility of the Internet.

        ICANN's mission is to protect and preserve the stability, integrity and utility - on behalf of the global Internet community - of the DNS and the authoritative root ICANN was established to manage. ICANN has no role to play with alternate roots so long as these and other analogous efforts do not create instabilities in the DNS or otherwise impair the stability of the authoritative root. But ICANN does have a role to play in educating and informing about threats to the Internet's reliability and stability.

        ICANN is a consensus development body for the global Internet community, and its focus is the development of consensus policies relating to the single authoritative root and the DNS. These policies include those that allow the orderly introduction of new TLDs.

        There are those-including operators of commercialized alternate roots-who pursue unilateral actions outside the ICANN consensus-development process. Many hope to circumvent these processes by claiming to establish some prior right to a top-level domain name. ICANN, however, recognizes no such prior claim. ICANN will continue to reflect the public policy consensus of the global Internet community over the private claims of the few who try to bypass this consensus.

        In Short . . . . . .

        Just as there is a single root for telephone numbers internationally, there must be a single authoritative root for the Internet, administered in the public interest. OpenNIC is a serious threat to the future survivability of the Internet.
        • The problem is that "our familiar friend" ICANN is not behaving in any consensus-driven way, nor are the policies it promulgates in the public interest of most Internet users. The problem wouldn't arise if they were the omnibenevolent organization you seem to feel they are.

          So what's the worst that could happen if one or more of the alternative roots gained significant mindshare from ICANN and there was a forking of the Internet? Some method might have to be worked out whereby you specified which root you patronize.

          That would be inconvenient, certainly, and it would certainly be better if that could be avoided (which ICANN could easily accomplish, were they at all genuinely interested in doing so), but accomplishing it would not be all that difficult. It certainly doesn't rise to the level of threatening the entire ball of wax.

          In short, no, OpenNIC is not a serious threat to the future survivability of the Internet. To the extent that it threatens to inconvenience Internet users, the blame lies squarely on ICANN's doorstep for failing to meet the needs of its constituency.

    • Perhaps, if all profit oriented corporations are abominations. But, that's another discussion.

      The problem isn't ICANN, it's the fact that we let the thing be run by ICANN in the first place.
  • Wired ICANN take (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Badger (1280) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:48PM (#4574355)
    If you read the Wired article [wired.com], they have some interesting points:

    1. I love how the European representative is much more sanguine about this move than Karl. Makes me laugh them /. trolls whine about how ICANN is a US puppet.
    2. If you take this article seriously, ICANN dies a painful death come June. What will replace it is another question.
  • Are they on crack? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2 AT anthonymclin DOT com> on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:50PM (#4574366) Homepage
    "This will make ICANN a much more efficient and effective organization that will get things done better and faster and be more plugged-in to the community than we are now,"

    Uh? How does getting rid of publicly voted board members, and then buffering yourself from the risk of being voted out make one "more plugged-in to the community"???

    Do they actually believe the bull that they are shoveling? Do they actually expect us to believe it?
    • by zapfie (560589)
      "This will make ICANN a much more efficient and effective organization that will get things done better and faster and be more plugged-in to the community than we are now,"

      Uh? How does getting rid of publicly voted board members, and then buffering yourself from the risk of being voted out make one "more plugged-in to the community"???


      Two words:

      Propaganda

      ...ok, maybe one word.

    • war is peace.
      freedom is slavery.
      ignorance is strength.
  • Shanghai (Score:5, Funny)

    by csnydermvpsoft (596111) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:50PM (#4574372) Homepage
    Shame they had to have it in China - dang dictatorship must be contagious.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:51PM (#4574378) Homepage Journal
    Lynn said he would recommend adding three new Internet domain names, though he said there were no plans yet on when to create them or what they would be called.

    hmmm, how about

    .cant .touch .this

    or
    .we .the .man

    or
    .out .of .touch

    or
    ....
  • For more information about the elimination of the five publicly elected seats on ICANN's board, please refer to this article on Slashdot [slashdot.org].

  • Well, now that the naming conventions of the internet are in the hands of big business, and there is no recourse us 'ordinary' users can use to fight it, does this mean that we have to go offline and go outside?

    It's cold out there.

    Granted, it just got a whole lot colder in here. It is too bad that an alternate registry cannot gain enough momentum to actually compete versus ICANN.

    So long .free, we'll miss you. Certainly .regime won't be so bad, it will be 'efficient', and 'autonomous'. It's quite ironic that they held the meeting in China.
    • No, China is a fitting place for the meeting.
      Gopher Gulch (or whatever Ayn Rand's utopian place was) would be an ironic place for the meeting.
  • Rumbles and grumbles (Score:4, Informative)

    by No_Weak_Heart (444982) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:53PM (#4574399)

    Some related items: there are rumblings of possible alternatives [idg.com.hk] and here is a paper [cdt.org] presented by the Centre for Democracy and Technology [cdt.org] to the Shanghai conference yesterday, which outlines a few suggestions as to how things might be improved.

  • by 3-State Bit (225583) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:53PM (#4574403)
    or democracy, ICANN begins the process of subverting the Internet toward its own nefarious private goals.

    In keeping with these changes, ICANN announces that it will be changing its name to reflect its new mission to become:

    Universal Controller of All Network Traffic.

    (Headline: ICANN changes name to UCANT).

    Credit. [slashdot.org]
  • Crooks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dh003i (203189) <dh003i.gmail@com> on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:54PM (#4574411) Homepage Journal
    Really, how are they any different from Saddam Hussein? Rised to power through illegitimate means; eliminate true public elections; now organize these scam elections which are just like the elections in Iraq.

    ICANN has no legitimacy. If they did, ALL of their board member's would be publicly elected. Unless ALL of their board member's are publicly elected, the entire organization is a illegitimate crock.


    "This will make ICANN a much more efficient and effective organization that will get things done better and faster and be more plugged-in to the community than we are now," Lynn said


    What a fucking moron. How the fuck is it possible to be more "plugged-in to the community" by eliminating public elections? It isn't. The only possible reason for eliminating public elections is to dodge all responsibility, so you can never be held accountable.

    As for more efficient, yes, it will be more efficient at making immoral decisions; just like Saddam Hussein is very efficient at quickly deciding how to execute his enemies. Its really tough to make immoral decisions when you have to worry about public elections. Much easier to just cave in to business demands when you don't have to be held accountable to the public at large.
    • Re:Crooks (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984)
      Really, how are they any different from Saddam Hussein?
      Saddam retains power through force. ICANN retains power through apathy and inertia.
    • Really, how are they any different from Saddam Hussein?

      They aren't developing weapons of mass destruction?

      Oops, I forgot about the .info TLD. Never mind.

  • by Black Art (3335) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @05:54PM (#4574419)
    Does anyone else find it ironic that this announcement was made in Shanghai?
    • by SirSlud (67381) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @07:33PM (#4575035) Homepage
      Oh no. It was the G8 that came up with the brilliant idea of holding a meeting in a location where public protest is illegal (Quatar, I believe it was.)

      Funny thing, huh? Its almost like countries themselves have become conference halls, each with its own set of convenient or inconvenient services (er, laws) for the planners of our future.
  • Good (Score:1, Troll)

    by drhairston (611491)
    For things like nations, elections may be all well and good (though I fail to see that that's been proven yet) but for small institutions on a limited budget, elections are a monumental pain in the arse. I hope my local Board of Regents follows suit. Putting University funding and appointment behind close doors would stop a whole rash of problems, from students smearing us in their rag of a newspaper to inquisitive alumni attempting to get their shills elected.
  • if you want one, might be that without direct elections the might manage to make up a board of directors which actually can face a consensus on matters. In some sense, the result of the previous mechanism was partially a competition for getting the most press coverage... a big percent of people just don't even consider unknown individuals as a candidate.
  • So... What can we do about it?

    It seems like theyve shut us out of all legit, legal options. Time to break out the brass knuckles and get ready for a serious physical beatdown.

    Im kidding of course.. but seriously, what do we do now?
  • Its the plan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TerryAtWork (598364)
    This is a part of the long term plan of the business community to appropriate the Internet after it flew in totally under their radar.

    They want to turn the whole digital thing into push technology in the hands of a few - like TV.
  • You know what? I am tired of hearing about ICANNs bullshit.

    I am still confused as to why an American company can possibly be allowed to control the Internet. I know the history so don't tell me about ARPANet and the rest, the simple fact is, the Internet is no longer an American institution, it has gone global.

    Why not set up an International body to take over from ICANN? A body with full participation of the Internet Community from the start.

    Ah forget it, why would they do that, it would only give power to the people.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:01PM (#4574476) Homepage
    Okay, this situation has become quite surreal. There isn't even any sneaking around on this thing they're doing. They're clearly going well outside of what they were created to do... way out of bound on this.

    Frankly, I do not want to see people writing their senators on this one though. I want to see an internet-elected system that everyone has dreamed of and then MAKE IT HAPPEN. Once we have a respected and responsible internet name counsil created along with a good base set of servers, then we simply persuade everyone to switch over.

    Okay... I see the first hurdle that will be difficult -- getting people to switch. It can be done people. If there is no interruption in normal usage, it can be done. Further, once we have a good strong and accountable body in place with all the rules and regs ironed out in such a way that everyone agrees it to be a fair system, THEN we start crying to our senators and stuff. Show them that not only is ICANN screwed up, but we have something created to replace them today. Once they see that we offer more than a complaint, but a solution, how can they easily say no?

    We can make a huge petition to push this thing through. They have to listen.

    Complaints alone will not correct this problem. If you leave it to someone else to fix it, it will not be fixed in a way you will appreciate.
  • "Now that LACNIC (the Latin and Central America Registry) has signed up with ICANN there is pressure on the Africans to double their efforts to finalise AFRINIC."

    Shouldn't they really call themselves "AFRICANN"? Come on, that seems like a no brainer.
  • by rjstanford (69735) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:03PM (#4574497) Homepage Journal
    This will make ICANN a much more efficient and effective organization that will get things done better and faster ...
    Efficient and effective are not always the same thing. After all, something humming away in an idle loop and not trying to do anything else can be 100% efficient...
    ... and be more plugged-in to the community than we are now
    Nothing like removing community input to increase reactiveness to the community. Er, well, sort-of...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I mean, there wasn't any public participation for most of ICANN's history, and then when they decided to have publicly elected board members they only made 5 of 18 seats elected. The public members would always be a minority and outvoted by the vested interests.

    I don't see this as any big loss. Just more honest.
  • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:10PM (#4574551) Homepage

    The Earth shifted even further in it's orbit, as Jon Postel continued spinning madly in his grave.
  • by Yobgod Ababua (68687) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:11PM (#4574561)
    Universal
    Corporation for
    Assigning
    Names and
    Numbers via
    Totalitarianism
  • eliminate direct elections to its board of directors.

    You mean "Board of dictators", right?

  • by airrage (514164) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:14PM (#4574574) Homepage Journal
    Lynn states, "We want to welcome and bring to the table all that are interested in issues that concern ICANN," Of course, the other half of this sentence is, "..without really taking your comments seriously."
  • Broadcast Spectrum (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OzPhIsH (560038) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:14PM (#4574581) Journal
    Now I'm just wondering how long will it take for the board our our Government or someone to sell out vast proportions of available internet bandwidth or addressing to large media companies "in the spirit to increase the public benefit" much like what happened to another of our 'public' resources, the television broadcast spectrum. The last thing I want to see is "internet TV brought to you by MSNBC" and the rest of us getting 5 minutes of public access... The public should be involved in what direction public resources take, either directly or indirectly. Getting cut out of the loop means we're gonna get screwed somehow, somewhere down the line.
    • by Rich0 (548339)
      How does "our Government" (not sure which one that is) sell out the "available internet bandwidth". Governments selling licenses to use broadcast spectrum at least makes sense - two people can't use the sample frequency at the same time without cooperating. On the other hand, internet bandwidth is not a limited resource - all you have to do is lay down another fiber optic line to add more.

      As far as access to bandwidth goes - if you're willing to pay for it, the numerous companies who own fiber optic lines running around the world are more than willing to sell it to you. Of course, commerical sites tend to have more of it, since they can afford to pay for it.

      Unlike broadcast, you can have as much bandwidth as you want from point A and point B. Of course, you may have to lay down more fiber if it isn't already there, and that is reflected in the pricing. Nobody regulates this area (well, beyond regulations that deal with running wires around cities in general) and there is competition.

      Bandwidth isn't a public resource. It doesn't need to be, as it isn't nearly as much a natural monopoly as last-mile telephone is.

      Of course, you might argue that DNS roots are a public resource - so if you are really talking about meaningful DNS addresses going to big multinationals that is a different matter...
  • by avgjoe62 (558860) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:20PM (#4574619)
    "This will make ICANN a much more efficient and effective organization that will get things done better and faster and be more plugged-in to the community than we are now," Lynn said

    That's right. Mussolini got the trains running on time and Hitler got the Autobahns built. I guess we need a dictatorship to get stuff done efficiently and effectively...

  • Calm down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sevensharpnine (231974) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:22PM (#4574635)
    All the fear mongering here is somewhat misplaced, at least considering the long term. ICANN simply generates a bunch of policies that people *voluntarily* choose to abide by. ICANN has little in the way of enforcement. What legal settlements have transpired have been caused by contracts/agreements (AFAIK) and not laws stating ICANN owns/controls anything. ICANN has no teeth. This is nothing that can't be solved by an alert internet populace. See also: openNIC.
  • Why not?
  • this page [icann.org] simply says "GET BENT" in 72pt type?

  • by seldolivaw (179178) <me@sel[ ]com ['do.' in gap]> on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:42PM (#4574762) Homepage
    Seriously. The time to stop a bad organization like ICANN is before they become too big to be feasibly replaced. The longer you leave ICANN in its unelected position of power, the more power it will consolidate and the more responsibility it will assume, until it becomes impossible to replace ICANN -- because nobody but ICANN will understand how to do all the things they do. Apathy towards a bad organization simply because it is not yet being malicious is exactly the attitude that has brought some of history's worst tyrants to power.
  • by mindstrm (20013) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:47PM (#4574794)
    yes... we've all heard it a million times before, right?

    Let's just re-cap what it means though:

    The RFCs, ICANN, the DNS system, and so on, none of these are definitive authorities on anything. The reason the internet (a large collection of networks) works is because we all follow roughly the same standards; we all agree to follow what icann says with regards to who owns what IP addresses, and we all agree to use the current DNS system. Nothing FORCES anyone to follow any of these with their systems, other than the desire to obtain the benefits that go along with playing nicely with others.

    If ICANN gets too far out of whack, they can be ignored. For instance: IF a bunch of major networks get together and decide that they no longer want to follow icanns regulations regarding ip address allocation, and that they are all going to start using some space that icann refuses to allocate, nothing will stop them. IT's their network, their business; if they all agree to route this traffic to each other, all the better.
    The same goes for dns; if the dns system gets too crazy, a new standard can emerge, and peopel can follow it.

    Of the RFCs that are relevant to the modern internet, we don't use them strictly. We don't use all features of IPv4, for instance.. it's a guideline, not a rule.

    It's all about cooperation; if icann stops being a benefit to the internet at large, it will simply be let go.
  • Artificial Scarcity (Score:2, Informative)

    by Elentar (168685)
    DNS is flawed. When designed, it no doubt made sense to limit the system to a fixed set of TLD's and root servers. Technology wasn't available at the time to allow for much else. Creating an artificially limited namespace was a necessity driven by the cost of implementation. And as a balance to that, there was no fee to register a domain.

    That was a long time ago. Today, this artificially limited system has resulted in an entire commodity market driven solely by the decision to allow companies to profit by controlling the growth of the system.

    It's privateering, plain and simple. Those administering the system have no incentive to expand it. ICANN and the other groups act as thugs enforcing the status quo, while users are forced to deal with the inflated costs created by artificially limited supply. The thugs occasionally throw a few improvements out to appear generous and justify their existence.

    Let's review: The change to a laissez-faire market resulted in DNS being subject to normal economic pressures. With a focus on profit instead of service, DNS suppliers quickly recognized the potential in encouraging demand while not providing for any growth in supply.

    Now, for a great many of you reading this, capitalism and democracy mean the same thing. A lot of you DO know the difference, however, and haven't really thought about whether you consider yourselves capitalists or not. And a few of you, who undoubtedly read Kuro5hin, have strong opinions one way or the other about capitalism.

    Me, I hate it. While capitalism _is_ true to human nature, it does not encourage noble behavior. There is no incentive for suppliers to produce more simply because it serves the common good, and no incentive for purchasers to pay more money simply because the supplier's values are more respectable. The government attempts to simulate these things by taking money from everyone and using it to reward those individuals and organizations whose values coincide with those of the bureaucrats in power. Values like multiple children, home mortgages, a spouse without a career.

    Enough ranting. If you actually read this far, then you can surely find more drivel like mine - just Google for 'Libertarian'...

    -Elentar
    • by mpe (36238) on Friday November 01, 2002 @04:26AM (#4576934)
      DNS is flawed. When designed, it no doubt made sense to limit the system to a fixed set of TLD's and root servers. Technology wasn't available at the time to allow for much else. Creating an artificially limited namespace was a necessity driven by the cost of implementation. And as a balance to that, there was no fee to register a domain.

      The problem isn't with with the DNS, it's with misusing the DNS as though it is a flat namespace. Thus you get www.someadvertisingsloganwhichwillonlybeusedfor3mo nths.com and the like. DNS names are the equivalent of addresses or telephone numbers. There is no one demonstrating outside the UN for more countries so they can get a postal address or banging on the ITU's door that more country codes are needed so they can get a phone. Country names and country codes are the equivalent of TLDs
  • by btempleton (149110) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:52PM (#4574830) Homepage
    It just has de facto power because every nameserver in the world is configured to point at ICANN's set of root servers, and it is that way because the name servers all come configured that way out of the box.

    There is a good reason for this, we don't want a fractured net where different people get different answers to a DNS query.

    At the same time, if we truly have the will to dump ICANN, and we all do it at once (or at least the most commonly used nameservers do it at once) their power can be totally stripped from them.

    I outline how at this page [templetons.com]
    • Once the root server tells your system where the master ".org" server is, your system asks it where "eff.org" is. In particular, it gets back the raw internet IP address, the low level "phone number" of the internet. With that answer, your computer can talk directly to the computers at eff.org

      Actually, the root server will tell them to ask the .org server for the DNS servers for eff.org, and then it'll ask those servers for what eff.org should translate into.

      just being picky!

      Of course, root-servers.net is ICANN of course, and then gtld-servers.net is Verisign/NetSol, so we have two levels of evil to replace :)
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @06:52PM (#4574835) Homepage Journal
    As has been stated by many people many times, ICANN's power comes from people using their servers. Their power is not backed up by government or guns. It's sheer persuasion and inertia: don't rock the boat, don't change anything. If you break from the herd, you will only isolate yourselves.

    Over the years, idealists and dreamers have talked about the Internet like it's a new country or community, and that We The People own it. [uiuc.edu] Well, here's a test for that assertion. Now we have to get off our lardasses and go through the strenuous exercise of typing new numbers into our /etc/resolv.conf files. I know, it's hard.

    When we throw off ICANN's rather loosely-bound chains, then maybe those Internet "Declaration of Independance" ideas will be more than mere pretentious and immature daydreams, and we'll be Real Men, like our forefathers who had the courage to implement the 1986 Usenet renaming. ;-) Until then, though, ICANN and others like them, have no reason to pay attention to rants on Slashdot. At most, they might look down into our little field and idly wonder what we are "baaah"ing about.

    As for some ideas on how to get from here to there, I recommend Brad Templeton's essays on DNS. He has put some thought into this that goes deeper than, say, the OpenNIC project.

  • Shanghaied! (Score:4, Funny)

    by SwedishChef (69313) <craig&networkessentials,net> on Thursday October 31, 2002 @07:42PM (#4575085) Homepage Journal
    Clipper ship sailors used to talk about roving "press gangs" who would round up all able-bodied men they could catch and force them to serve as crew aboard a sailing ship. The term for this was "shanghaied". How appropriate that ICANN has announced, from Shanghai, that they have shanghaied the Internet.
  • by quantum bit (225091) on Thursday October 31, 2002 @08:14PM (#4575290) Journal

    The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.

    Anonymous Coward: "But that's impossible. How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?"

    The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line.

  • I know everyone thought this would be a bad idea a few years ago, but it couldn't be any worse than the current ICANN mess. At least there would be more representation.

    The downside is ITU is extremely bureaucratic and not known for public participation. Their standards process also leaves much to be desired compared to the IETF RFC process.
  • Is there anything that anyone can throw that has their offical opinions and their reasons why this is happening? All I hear is bad things about ICANN and while it could be true I would like to see another biased source so I can have atleast 2 slants on the same problem.

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