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US Government Withdraws IANA Contract From ICANN 140

Posted by timothy
from the can't-they-just-keep-them-in-numerical-order? dept.
mbone writes "The 'no cost' contract between the U.S. Department of Commerce and ICANN over hosting the Internet Assigned Names and Number Authority (IANA) was supposed to be re-let this March. Now, it has been withdrawn, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) says that 'we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community.' This is a pretty stunning vote of no confidence in ICANN by the U.S. government, on the eve of the 43rd ICANN meeting in Costa Rica. Speculation is that this is related to the attempts of the ITU-T to take over Internet governance, but it also could be over the new global top level domains. I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about this in the weeks to come."
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US Government Withdraws IANA Contract From ICANN

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  • by jhoegl (638955) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:06PM (#39314271)
    I think you mean to say "global private interest".
    Because quite frankly they have been doing a great job of keeping the internet where it is and there is no significant reason other than all of the legislature that has been out there to fundamentally kill the internet for everyone but corporations.
  • ICANN is a big joke (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:36PM (#39314421)

    'Nuff said. [kimmoa.se]

  • by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:53PM (#39314525)
    ICANN has been rolling out TLDs in order to profit its core constituency: the registrars.

    Nobody needed .xxx -- except the registrar who pushed it and is now using extortion tactics to pressure people into buying domains in it, e.g. "get yours...before someone else does".

    Nobody needed .info -- what, domains in other TLDs don't contain "information"? (Well...alright...spammers needed it, and quickly overran it. It's been a best practice in anti-spam engineering to block *.info and whitelist what you need for many years.) But registrars stood to profit, especially from the spammers buying domains by the thousands, so it was created.

    Nobody needed .biz -- because we already had .com. But it was a chance to sell the same thing twice, always a great business opportunity for registrars, so ICANN made it happen.

    And nobody needs hundreds of additional TLDs, either. There is no clamor of voices among the billion people on the Internet for .pepsi or .google or .dell.

    It's not an exaggeration to say that the majority of domains in existence today are used for abusive purposes: spam, phishing, typosquatting, search engine manipulation, etc. Yet ICANN wants to do whatever it can to explode the number, to keep the cash registers ringing at the registrars.

    What ICANN could be doing -- but isn't -- is to reign in the epidemic abuses. There are registrars that are owned by known spammers, for example. Another thing it could be tackling are domain confiscations (by the USG) without due process: ICANN can and should push back hard against that. But none of this will happen: ICANN is corrupt to the bone, a textbook example of regulatory capture, therefore it will do whatever maximizes the profits of its masters.
  • by game kid (805301) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @06:31PM (#39314789) Homepage

    provisions reflecting heightened respect for local country laws

    This is the scary part for me, at least to the extent that it takes the sort of country-specific blocking that Twitter and Blogger are doing, and the sort of The Pirate Bay blocking that countries are doing, and bakes them into the requirements of doing any sort of business with a domain name on the internet.

    Otherwise, yeah, seems reasonable.

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @12:06AM (#39316147)

    I am somewhat puzzled by this story. Checking out the IANA's site, looks like they are responsible for coordinating some of the key elements that keep the Internet running smoothly. Whilst the Internet is renowned for being a worldwide network free from central coordination, there is a technical need for some key parts of the Internet to be globally coordinated – and this coordination role is undertaken by IANA.

    Aside from the TLDs, the IANA also gets things like Internet Addresses from the IETF, which it then doles out to the various Regional Internet Registries, such as ARIN, APNIC, et al. While these organizations are not subsidiaries, they do get their number resources from IANA, which ensures that resources are properly managed.

    So the thing that surprises me is - how does the US government get involved in IANA and various TLDs? The only TLD they should be bothered about is .us. I guess one could make an argument for .com, .org, .net and others, but there too, they are assigned to non-US organizations as well. While the US may have 'invented the internet', its management as a worldwide resource has to be free of any country's government, even if the bulk of that organization's activities happen within that country.

    Which is why it puzzles me that the government should be in any way involved in the relationship b/w ICANN and IANA.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday March 11, 2012 @01:00AM (#39316353) Homepage Journal

    And nobody needs hundreds of additional TLDs, either. There is no clamor of voices among the billion people on the Internet for .pepsi or .google or .dell.

    Dozens or hundreds of additional TLD's are indeed a dumb idea. But thousands is a great idea - it would put an end to squatting and most WIPO domain disputes. Really specific ones like .coop and .museum are a step in this direction. They need to continue with .plumber and .geek.

  • by mbone (558574) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @10:19AM (#39317953)

    So the thing that surprises me is - how does the US government get involved in IANA and various TLDs? The only TLD they should be bothered about is .us. I guess one could make an argument for .com, .org, .net and others, but there too, they are assigned to non-US organizations as well. While the US may have 'invented the internet', its management as a worldwide resource has to be free of any country's government, even if the bulk of that organization's activities happen within that country.

    Which is why it puzzles me that the government should be in any way involved in the relationship b/w ICANN and IANA.

    It has always been involved, and there has always been this connection. IANA was set up by Jon Postel under a US Government contract and transferred to ICANN under a US Government contract (the one with the canceled RFP, to be specific).

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