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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 Now, it has been withdrawn, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) says that 'we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the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 MightyMartian (840721) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:44PM (#39314133) Journal

    All your bases are us...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think this clearly shows that U.S. government wants to control the internet and they aren't letting that control go away! This is a direct act of WAR! To the horses, people!

      • by crutchy (1949900)

        To the horses, people!

        just make sure they're genetically engineered cyborg horses with armor plating, rocket launchers, night-vision, etc...

        • by Sulphur (1548251)

          To the horses, people!

          just make sure they're genetically engineered cyborg horses with armor plating, rocket launchers, night-vision, etc...

          And lasers. This isn't shark week.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:49PM (#39314177)

    I Am Not A contract?

  • Misleading Headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by GeorgeK (642310) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:55PM (#39314209) Homepage

    The headline is a bit misleading. What NTIA did was withdraw the RFP. The IANA contract still stays with ICANN (contract extended until the end of September), and there will likely be another RFP.

    However, it is indeed a big rebuke, because in the NTIA Notice [doc.gov] they stated that " we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community" which is another way of saying that ICANN has not been acting in the global public interest.

    • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @06:04PM (#39314263)

      Beat me to it ;) The relevant part of this is here:

      On November 10, 2011, the Department of Commerce issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) SA1301-12-RP-IANA for a new IANA functions contract with a deadline of December 19, 2011. The government may cancel any solicitation that does not meet the requirements. Accordingly, we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community. The Department intends to reissue the RFP at a future date to be determined (TBD) so that the requirements of the global internet community can be served. Interested parties are encouraged to visit www.fbo.gov for updates.

      Apprently they requested some policy changes from IANA, and IANA never submitted that they had made the changes requested. The changes requested related to allowing countries to have a higher degree of latitude within their borders:

      Based on the input received from stakeholders around the world, NTIA added new requirements to the IANA functions’ statement of work, including the need for structural separation of policymaking from implementation, a robust companywide conflict of interest policy, provisions reflecting heightened respect for local country laws, and a series of consultation and reporting requirements to increase transparency and accountability to the international community.

      This seems reasonable, at least at this point. I suspect this is a non-issue, but worth watching.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The changes requested related to allowing countries to have a higher degree of latitude within their borders:

        Unless they have oil.

      • by game kid (805301) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @07:31PM (#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 Anonymous Coward

          ... 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 ...

          Meaning local laws can decide what TLDs are allowed. They can ban ".xxx" for instance. And there is the slippery slope. A government with power to ban one domain 'name' will ban another, such as "wikileaks".

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Saturday March 10, 2012 @11:38PM (#39315881) Journal
        Its the "heightened respect for local country laws" that has me worried here, as i wouldn't put it past the US gov to try to backdoor some nice great firewall of USA style crap for their corporate masters. Personally i think the net is just gonna end up more and more corrupted until we have to go to a darknet just to get back what we have. We got ICANN cranking out craptastic TLDs so their registar buds can make some cash trolling the corps, we got the US gov wanting to SOPA/PIPA the net, and we have dozens of countries that all want their own little control measures in place so they can make sure they don't get Arab Springed next.
        • Personally i think the net is just gonna end up more and more corrupted until we have to go to a darknet just to get back what we have.

          I am the US Gov'ment and I invented the 'net. So I can do what I want with it. If you don't like it, go invent your own.

    • The headline is a bit misleading. What NTIA did was withdraw the RFP

      Oh, I see. Did they at least extend any sort of QRTSP, or does the KLSMS handle that?

    • by jhoegl (638955) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @06:06PM (#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.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @07:56AM (#39317267) Journal
        Aside from the whole .xxx fiasco, where the only people to register domains in that TLD were people who already owned the .com version and didn't want to see squatters in it. A good rule of thumb for defining a new TLD: Who will buy domain.newtld who wouldn't buy domain.fucksgoats just to stop someone else using it? If this set of people is not the majority, then it's not a worthwhile new TLD, it's just a money grab. The new TLDs failed the fucksgoats test.
        • by Coren22 (1625475)

          .xxx TLD was for porn sites. The porn companies were asking for this, as they don't want children looking at their porn; just like the US government. The porn industry wanted an easy way for filtering companies to filter them out so that there is less accidental porn popping in on normal searches, and for web filters for schools and such.

          If non-porn companies are buying up the .xxx domain name of their .com domain name, they are frankly retarded.

          • The porn industry wasn't asking for this, because there was no incentive for putting porn on .xxx. First, there is no global definition of what constitutes porn (compare Sweden and Saudi Arabia's definitions for extremes, most of the world is somewhere in the middle). Second, if .xxx is filtered then this gives a strong incentive to have a .com domain. If you're ad-supported, then you don't really care if children see the site - as long as there's some kind of 'click here if you're over 18 thing you're c

    • by mbone (558574)

      FWIW, that was not the original headline.

    • by awehttam (779031)
      It also says that no one else met the requirements. If ICANN is in the same boat as everyone else, either everyone isn't on the same page as the NTIA or the NTIA is on the wrong page as everyone else. Sensationalistic headline - perhaps there's some cause for concern about a less transparent organization (like the ITU) replacing ICANN but I don't see how this means ICANN has somehow failed to meet up to "community standards" given that the rest of the global community "failed" too. Not that I've read the
    • by nashton (862797)
      +1 on the misleading headline. There are already some fairly hysterical posts on the Internet about this announcement, more inaccuracies are not helpful.
  • More like (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Haedrian (1676506)

    ICANNT amiright?

  • ICANN is a big joke (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    'Nuff said. [kimmoa.se]

  • by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @06:53PM (#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 Ihmhi (1206036)

      What ICANN could be doing -- but isn't -- is to reign in the epidemic abuses.

      But that would cost money, not make money. That is heresy in the Church of the Almighty Dollar.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:00AM (#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 Rich0 (548339)

        I have mixed feelings on your proposal. I think the fundamental issue with DNS is that it doesn't scale well.

        I hear the objections already. From the technical standpoint of being able to convert names into IPs and other records it scales VERY well indeed - that is its big strength. From the standpoint of being a distributed and maintainable database it also scales well.

        However, what is the whole point of DNS? It was intended to make it easy to remember globally-unique host names. That hasn't scaled wel

        • I have mixed feelings on your proposal. I think the fundamental issue with DNS is that it doesn't scale well.

          And it's vulnerable to interference. Distributed DNS and scaling of that are separate problems that need solving.

          At some point as population grows and the number of sites grow, the DNS names will be as hard to remember as IPs

          Humans seem to be pretty good at remembering name pairs...

          People will just use bookmarks and google as they already do, and virtual hosts will just have to stick sites in their

        • So, adding many more TLDs could help make the stuff on the left of the dot shorter, but only if you don't allow existing domain holders to get preferential access to the new domains.

          Presumably in this proposal, businesses would only be allowed to apply for names under TLDs that match what their business does, much the same as how trademarks work. i.e., until a few years ago, apple.computer would point at Apple Computers and apple.music would point at the record company that made Apple Computers agree that they would never go into the music business. If you have 2 companies after the same name under the same TLD, you have got a trademark dispute (2 companies in the same line of busine

  • So why should we just go ahead and capitulate ownership? I mean, seriously? I'm all for helping out the world and all that, but I'm getting just a little sick and tired of everybody else trying to steal all our stuff.

    • Perhaps, but it's an idea/tech that is worldwide now... Much like the freeway, postal service, and telephone service.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, USA are much less trusted now that they used to be before. USA used to be good guy, now they are "hard to tell" guys. The internet originated in american universities, which are still top of the world. They used to keep it free and nice and internet became important.

      But the USA politician and business took over and the friendly period is over. People used to like to have USA in power, now USA in power is a scary proposition.

      It is not about stealing your stuff, it is about being afraid that you will st

    • by Unoriginal_Nickname (1248894) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @07:34PM (#39314809)

      A Brit invented HTTP. I wish you'd stop stealing it.

      (by which I mean I wish you would stop posting.)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I daresay TCP/IP are a bit more crucial, but I understand that's a personal opinion.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          TCP/IP wouldn't be terribly effective without packet switching, invented in the UK.

          Or we could stop playing this silly "we invented it so we own it" game before we get to Babbage.

    • by unixisc (2429386) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @01:06AM (#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 Anonymous Coward

        The IETF only does standards, not policy, so they don't really have anything to do with this.

        Essentially, the root DNS as it is now is only recognized as such because so far, ICANN did a pretty good job with it. Sure there have been some bumps and complaints, and a number of them were valid, but overall, it was Good Enough.

        But if the US (or any) government *really* tries to get involved, it's only a matter of time before an alternative is found. Technically, anyone can be The Root. One only needs to get eno

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

        • by unixisc (2429386)
          I understand that that's how it started, but as things evolved and the internet resources became more international, shouldn't things like ICANN, IANA, IETF, et al have become less tied to the US government? I recognize that all these things happened in the US, but as it's spread, it should be something like a consortium setup.
          • by Coren22 (1625475)

            If it was to move, it would have to be determined where it lived. Would you want it under NATO? The UN? Some other country? It is where it is because it always was, with these items there is no reason to change it unless something better comes along.

            So far, the US has never abused this. The US has only gone after domain names in the US TLDs (.us, .com, .org, .net, .gov), not other nation's TLDs. If you don't want to fall under US law, then don't have a US TLD. If you run a site for people who like fr

            • by unixisc (2429386)
              My point is that things like TLDs should be under the RIRs, like ARIN (for .us, .gov - it's still arguable whether .com and .net are US TLDs or not), not under ICANN or IANA. Just like the RIRs issue IP address blocks and autonomous numbers, they can issue these as well, w/ the IANA only getting involved if 2 RIRs happen to be competing for the same TLDs - something unlikely to happen. Things like ICANN or IANA wouldn't be touched b'cos they wouldn't even own the things that the US government is intereste
    • by toriver (11308)

      So since cars were invented in Germany, you would let Germany decide over car manufacturing worldwide? Radio was an Italian invention, should they decide frequency allocations in America? The list goes on.

  • I wonder if this has to do with the US authority over the Internet. We've already seen .com TLD takeovers, but maybe they want to do it in every country for the RIAA and friends. I have a feeling this is related to some new power grab.

    • It's about time that the Internet cut it's ties with a government that has shown to have no respect for it's International character. If I had a vote, I'd vote for both ICANN and IANA to be distributed over several well informed, democratic countries that have no real political or economical ties to each other, or to single large other countries. Sure, it's hard to find those, you may have to compromise, but anything is better than to have a corpocracy rule the Internet by yanking domains and deciding what
      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        You may not like the laws in the US, but that doesn't mean you break US laws when in the US. When someone buys a .com domain name, they are submitting to US laws, if you don't like that, don't break US law, or don't use a US TLD.

  • I suppose now the US will form a shadow imperial government dedicated to it's own dark deeds while publicly displaying a facade of pro-Democracy and anti-Authoritarianism until they amass total power over the world economies. Oh, wait...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ICANN has been bowing to pressure from the US government to allow the overtake of .COM domains. Whatever the details, it is excellent news that this corrupt organization is loosing.
    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Losing to the US government. How does that make things better?

    • by Desler (1608317)

      You do realize that the US government owns the .com, .net and .org TLDs, right?

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        .gov .mil .edu and .us are the United States. .com .net and .org are international.

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:24AM (#39316451) Homepage

    One point in that RFP is that the contractor cannot create new gTLDs without permission of the U.S. Government. All they can do is recommend them.

  • What are they actually good for?
    Beats me...
  • by AdamWill (604569)

    "Speculation is that this is related to the attempts of the ITU-T to take over Internet governance"

    I'm not sure who with a modicum of knowledge would speculate that, given that the ITU and ICANN are utterly separate bodies and don't like each other very much. Not re-signing with ICANN is not going to annoy the ITU at all.

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