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The Internet Your Rights Online

Why ICANN Needs Fresh Blood 96

Posted by timothy
from the when-not-craving-blood-is-bad dept.
scubacuda writes "Akash Kapur of CircleID has written an editorial, Why ICANN Needs Fresh Blood: A Deeper View . Kapur writes, "ICANN was born amid the heady days of Internet euphoria. Its early promise to be the world's first global democracy (not to mention an entirely new form of governance) was a product of that euphoria. But like so many dot-coms, ICANN quickly succumbed to the hubris of its own vision. If ICANN has been a troubled organization from the start, then that is in no small measure because it over-promised at the start....What's needed is fresh blood -- new personalities, and new ideas to break the ideological impasse." Kapur lists cancelled at-large elections, the authoritarianism and secrecy of ICANN discussion, and the narrowing possibility that ICANN could represent a new model of governance as indicators that global democracy has failed."
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Why ICANN Needs Fresh Blood

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  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @04:03PM (#5627753) Homepage Journal
    ICANN needs fresh blood because it's a frickin' vampire!
  • Total reorganization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Blaine Hilton (626259) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @04:07PM (#5627772) Homepage
    I think the only thing that can help ICANN is a complete reorganization. Every rule and policy should be gone over by a 3rd party. The Internet is growing way to big and way to fast for ICANN to properly handle their job and they are falling very short. With their current policies I think they are hurting future growth of the medium.
    • is an international organization to oversee the administration of ICANN.
    • Ya know every once in a while an ICANN story pops up and its like 'icann is bad' 'icann is corrupt' 'icann kicks out xyz' 'icann is run by coroprate instrests'. well ya know these are all liek true and the thing is.. everyone knows it already. I dont think the stories are unimportant, but its kinda like a shadow of a dup post. It really just kidna the same stuff over and over. Im starting to think we need to take the Ripley approach to ICANN, nuke it from space, its the only way to be sure.
    • Reorganization won't help ICANN, because that was never the fundamental problem. ICANN publicized itself as having the goal of replacing Jon Postel, making the DNS system run well and perhaps managing other things like IP address space. But its definitions of "DNS running well" weren't about technology, and the IP they cared about wasn't the Internet Protocol, but Intellectual Property, and their definitions of "DNS running well" were about Intellectual Property Owners being able to control the ways that
  • ICANN (Score:3, Funny)

    by megazoid81 (573094) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @04:13PM (#5627798)
    If you think of ICANN as Institute for CANNibals, the title "Why ICANN Needs Fresh Blood" suddenly makes a lot of sense, but in a totally different way!
  • by hillct (230132) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @04:14PM (#5627802) Homepage Journal
    There is little debate among outsiders of the position that ICANN is in resperate need of being disbanded and redesigned from the ground up. The question is, - since there is little or no oversight of the organization - how would lawmakers go about tearing down the golem they've created. It's not simply a matter of U.S. law anymore. I'm not certain that ICANN could be disbanded and redesigned using anything less than an international treaty, but IANAL, so perhaps someone with expertise in this area could speak to the issue of how change would be brought about (which, is equally as interesting as what those changes would be).

    --CTH
    • by karl.auerbach (157250) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @06:03PM (#5628256) Homepage
      It's become pretty clear that the US Dep't of Commerce likes ICANN the way it is. The Dept of Commerce can pretend it has authority over the Internet via ICANN (despite having absolutely no statutory authority granting the DoC the ability to do what it is doing), and because ICANN is nominally "private", the DoC can do a shell game of exercising authority when it wants authority and evading responsibility when it does not want responsibility.

      The real shame of ICANN is not ICANN - although there is more than enough in that swamp alone - but, rather, in the way that the US government, in the form of the US Dept of Commerce, has abandoned principles of Constitutional and administrative law. Congress is only slightly less to blame for letting the executive branch (which is where one finds the Dep't of Commerce) get away with it.

      I have suggested reforming ICANN - not the pseudo reform that ICANN has gone through. See my notes at http://www.cavebear.com/rw/apfi.htm [cavebear.com]
    • Internet is just a part of the global problem that the humankind meets today. Let's face it: the borders between countries are obsolete. The restriction to cross the border based on nationality is against democratic rules. Mega-corporations have already crossed all borders as much as they could at this level of the international laws, but that won't stop them from further international integration. Internet brings very important technological basis for such integration.

      At the same time Internet existence

      • Let's face it: the borders between countries are obsolete. The restriction to cross the border based on nationality is against democratic rules.

        Where did you come up with a chestnut like that?

        The only thing preserving democratic rule are borders that establish boundaries within which at least some of humanity to govern themselves. There is no trans-national organization that enforces any kind of democracy on the world as a whole. The United Nations is a body with representatives appointed by the vari
        • The only thing preserving democratic rule are borders that establish boundaries within which at least some of humanity to govern themselves.

          Your place is in prison where your rules will be very "preserved". Perhaps you had never chance to live in Soviet Union, otherwise you won't be so blind. But I guess that deep inside you care more to preserve your fat ass from the poor people who can flood your country.

          There is no trans-national organization that enforces any kind of democracy on the world as a wh

    • They will exist exactly as long as the root servers take orders from them and not a moment longer.

      What is really needed is a more decentralized structure to hole them in check. I would rather see an organization for each TLD. That way if one gets too out of hand, the damage is limited. Such a split would also emphasize that the internet is decentralized and by nature anti-authoritarian. The leaders of the organizations would be able to plainly see that their authority is limited.

    • Here we have two interesting subjects: 1) the much-lampooned ICANN, and 2) our writer Akash Kapur himself. In 2000, Kapur conducted an interview with author VS Naipaul, the transcript of which is intensely -- and unintentionally -- humorous.

      Naipaul tells Kapur that all the questions Kapur has faxed him for the interview are inane. Naipaul further instructs Kapur to go read Naipaul's books instead of wasting the author's time by asking him to repeat himself. Much of this transcript also ran in the UK new
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2003 @04:15PM (#5627804)
    Just look at the United States. The first time through, they put together the Articles of Confederation. After a few years, it was clear that wasn't working. They reorganized the government in the form of the Constitution, and it's worked fairly well since.
  • by rice_web (604109)
    Their site is almost as bad as their service.
  • by La Temperanza (638530) <temperanza@softh ... t minus caffeine> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @04:23PM (#5627845)
    I remember when I used to enter "billing@internic.net" as my e-mail address for every service (before they started requiring confirmation) and signed them up for all the free offers. :)
  • If that means ICANN's blood, then I entirely agree. ;)
  • (in)action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scubacuda (411898) <.scubacuda. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @04:36PM (#5627903)
    I can remember the first time I started using the Internet my freshman year in college. Wow...here was the perfect manifestation of all my libertarian (then Randroid-ian) ideals. How could unfettered access to information NOT topple over all oppressive regimes?

    It took me a long time to realize this, but the Internet qua Internet will NOT change the world for the better.

    If you were part of the upper echelon in the Soviet Union, would YOU want democracy? Would you give up the security--your nice apartment, caviar dinners, and KGB contacts--to live in a country where you didn't know what your lot/role in life would be?

    Once you look at it this way, everything from the way that closed regimes limit netizens' access to information makes to the way cable and software companies (namely, Microsoft) "act strategically" makes sense.

    People/governments/regimes have worked hard to make their way to the top. They're not about to put in place policies or architectures in place that threaten that hegemony.

    My question to the /. community is: what do we do to change this? We are arguably the biggest nerd gathering on the planet. Individually we might not have clout, but with the right direction, collectively we might...

    • My question to the /. community is: what do we do to change this? We are arguably the biggest nerd gathering on the planet. Individually we might not have clout, but with the right direction, collectively we might...

      Probably nothing. It will all boil down to International Treaties. All the geeks on the planet will be able to do precious little.

      I'd love to see it differently however....
    • Let's see what does ICANN actualy do, well what does it do that we actualy need?
      It assigns numbers, IP numbers that's realy all we need from them. As far as names anyone can do names, it would take the average unix/linux sysadmin what about 15 - 20 minutes to put their own Domain Name Server online? All they have to do is poll other name servers, example someone types in .aol and the root server says to AOL who is this, its no biggie.

      The biggest thing that ICANN seems to be doing is promoting an artificial
    • If you were part of the upper echelon in the Soviet Union, would YOU want democracy? Would you give up the security--your nice apartment, caviar dinners, and KGB contacts--to live in a country where you didn't know what your lot/role in life would be? and then ...

      My question to the /. community is: what do we do to change this? We are arguably the biggest nerd gathering on the planet. Individually we might not have clout, but with the right direction, collectively we might...

      If you understand freedom

    • Form the Geek Union. This one won't be administered by the Mafia, though. Imagine how scared shitless authority would be if over 600,000 geeks threatened a general strike. We could wield more power than every lobby group in Congre$$ if we chose to.
      • Or...a nerd version of Fight Club. We wreck havoc on the world for our own (dubious) political ends...

        [evil laugh] muhahahahahahahaha [/evil laugh]

    • You're right. We're a huge group of nerds! We have the power! Collectively, we could do anything, if we only had a little direction and organization to guide us toward a goal! Sure, we all disagree a little on things, but surely a noble cause could be the target that sets a huge nerd tidal wave into action, toppling this oppressive regime! We can do it!

      PLEASE. You'd have better luck organizing the sand of an entire beach into a nice tidy pile using a rake.

      The only thing hackers can do to change the
  • by aphor (99965) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @05:15PM (#5628088) Journal

    The design of the DNS system makes ICANN unnecessary. The whole idea of ICANN was founded by people who did not understand how this was so for the purpose of establishing privilege ( as in from Latin privilegium, a law affecting one person : privus, single, alone + lex, leg-, law ) for certain minorities to exert control over the DNS namespace.

    Large corporations and cadres of lawyers are just as happy as the rest of us about domain squatting. They are even less happy about the whole somethingSUCKS.com court decisions which (by interpereting the US Constitution 1st Amendment) allow people to set up very spiffy parody sites to lampoon their hard-fought corporate images. How are they going to get control of this nasty thorn in their side?

    The correct way for those people to solve their problem is to "fork" the DNS root and create their own set of root servers supervised by their lawyers. They could then begin boycotting the original root servers' registrars, and require end users to use DNS servers that submit to their authority. The first problem with that is how so many corporations will fail to agree on enough details to let that happen. The second problem is that anyone could selectively forward queries to their servers for some lookups, and forward queries to other peoples' servers for other lookups. Each DNS server decides who to delegate what authority to. Each end-user could theoretically run their own DNS server without ever needing to query a root server.

    The bottom line is that DNS is anarchy, but there is a de facto consensus to trust several root server operators to be cool. The first step to accomplishing what the IANA wants to do is to convince people to revoke trust in the existing root servers. Instead, they keep trying to bully the root server operators, who roll their eyes and sigh..

    The real risk that the IANA faces is that the DNS root server authority gets institutionalized in a widely publicised and debated way. If they can't weasel their way into control quietly, they risk the door being be slammed in their face by a new consensus formed out of "informed consent". It's like the UN where everybody has a veto, and it is terribly uncertain how the vote will go.

    The real reason the ICANN is such a joke is that the tootpaste is out of the tube. People are widely aware of the attempted power grab, and the important people know how futile that is once it is widely known. ICANN would only be allowed to operate if it behaved identically to the current system, which begs the question: why are we fixing it if it isn't broke?

    Pay attention to Verisgn.com (who bought NSI). They will attempt to leverage DNS authority with their x509 business. Look at how BIND9 signed-zones are supposed to work. It isn't just ICANN we should be worried about.

    Learn PGP keyring management. It is complicated. It is very worthwhile though. The PGP trust management system is our defense. We should seek to protect the right to that system in the Supreme Court of the US under the Bill of Rights.

    • If someone forked the DNS is there anything ICANN could do? For example, in the intermediary steps could ICANN deny requests from the "forked" name servers? Lame question, I'm sure, but I'd like to know.
      • If ICANN tried to do this (they are a committee of random people who do not run all the root servers), it would require the cooperation of all the root namserver operators. A fork in the DNS authority means some root namserver operators will gladly serivce those requests.

        The dissenters would update their root zone to delete NS records pointing to noncooperative root DNS servers, and the root dns servers who got removed from that zone would prolly do the same. The rest of the internet would be split based

  • It's not that global democracy won't work, but those with the most to loose from this arraingment didn't just keel over and let it happen. Now that it might take "work" to make the vision happen, most are bailing on the process.
  • Everyone hold hands. This spell is going to be creepy, but it's got to be done. Whatever you do, don't touch the sacred vessel---static discharge, y'know. Everyone's shovels ready? Ew. I just horked up Esther Dyson. Okay, here we go. Remember, as soon as the spell's complete, we go dig up Jon Postel.
  • Why ICANN Needs Fresh Blood: A Deeper View

    Clearly, this has nothing to do with internet governance. I don't need to RTFA to know that it is a bizarro Barbarian at the Gates moment where Carl Icahn kicks his heroin habit with help from Keith Richards and Lestat and then goes on to do a leveraged buyout of AOL.

    GF.
  • Kapur lists cancelled at-large elections, the authoritarianism and secrecy of ICANN discussion, and the narrowing possibility that ICANN could represent a new model of governance as indicators that global democracy has failed."

    Sounds like someone else purchased too much into the dot.bomb foolishness. Come on, ICANN as a government model? A failure of democracy? He should stop smokin whatever he is smokin.

  • Nolo Contendre (Score:2, Interesting)

    by inode_buddha (576844)
    Meaning, "No argument" with the idea that ICANN needs fresh blood. However, I do question the idea that a global democracy is even possible, due mainly to global corporate interests and not geo-political interests.

    And no, I *didn't* RTFA.
  • by coaxial (28297) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @08:21PM (#5628837) Homepage
    Everyone seems to know that ICANN is ineffective and corrupt, so why do people even bother with them. What would happen if a (suitably large enought) group simply refused to recognize ICANN's authority? I'm thinking something organized along the lines of realtime blacklist.
  • Oh, you mean NEW blood.

    Sorry, but sometimes you gotta nitpick the English usage..

  • ICANN should just go away and the U.S. Government should take direct control. The internet in its earliest incarnations was funded and created by and for the use of the U.S. Government through DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project). The interet is now essential to the American economy and the economy is a matter of national security. At least half of internet traffic runs through Northern Virigia alone. The USA made it, we administer most of it, and it is essential to our well-being. Consequently, the A
    • And now a reasoned and well though out response to this comment:

      rack off nimwad

      And now for my supporting arguments. The Internet is no longer an American owned idea. It now belongs to the world, and as such any move by the Americans to try and regain any sort of control they had over it would probably result in the US being cut out of the picture.

      It is now the year 2003, we have moved beyond the original project that was the ancestor of the Internet, while it would be a pain to replace the hardware we
    • On the other hand, US should give up using electricity, since that was not invented in US. That's about it.
    • Cool. You do that. And watch the rest of the world (and American anti-proprietry types) start their own network.

      If you want the American control of the net to remain, just keep things the way they are.
  • Seeing as this is Domain Resolution without Representation.
  • Because there is only ~80 comments to this article 20 hours after posting?
  • Firstly, I presume you know where ICANN money is going - to their Lawyers, JONES, DAY, REAVIS & POGUE [slashdot.org].

    Next - I have no doubt that ICANN are corrupt - that they violate Trademark and Competition Law with Sunrise Process and UDRP.

    Fact: They know how to identify all registered trademarks on the Internet - yet hide this.

    The solution has been ratified by honest lawyers.

    More facts for you:

    You can legally use any word, words or initials to start a new business without registering a trademark - providing y
  • It's not a dupe of another article on Slashdot, but speaking logically, it's kind of redundant. We all kno that ICANN needs fresh blood, policies, ideas, ideals, morals, intelligence....

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