[discuss] Possible approaches to solving "problem no. 1"

Mike Roberts mmr at darwin.ptvy.ca.us
Thu Feb 20 03:23:35 UTC 2014

Some weeks ago, George set us on our current course with an excellent problem statement, which included a list of criteria or attributes of the new "place," that IANA might occupy.

"5. Acceptable solutions for assignment of the IANA root zone function should meet several criteria: (1) protection of the root zone from political or other improper interference; (2) integrity, stability, continuity, security and robustness of the administration of the root zone; (3) widespread [international] trust by Internet users in the administration of this function; (4) support of a single unified root zone; and (5) agreement regarding an accountability mechanism for this function that is broadly accepted as being in the global public interest." 

Subsequently, there has been good progress on addressing the substance of his memo, and related issues.  With occasional forays into dead ends, which I think have been adroitly dealt with in the last day or two via the "conflated" notes.

As we near the dates for the Sao Paulo meeting, it is my impression that we have made more progress on the manner and process of IANA traveling from Point A - the status quo- to Point B - the new geotechnical niche, than we have in outlining the dimensions of the new home.  To push the metaphor, we have a street address, but at that location currently there is a pile of dirt.  

At the risk of (a) violating George's dictum to deal with issues in chewable bites, and (b) hazarding solutions to problems that have not been defined, or at the least not adequately vetted, I draw your attention to Patrik's post of today on the recent position statements of Swedish government officials on the matter before us.


To state the obvious, these are carefully constructed, diplomatically nuanced, statements by individuals who know what they are talking about.

I draw two conclusions from what I read here.

- the solution space for IANA, and IG generally, very definitely involves governments.  To those who might prefer something else, I offer three words,"Get Over It."  Years ago, Jon Postel said, "Governments do count."  Some things don't change.

- the destination space for IANA and ICANN, assuming they continue to be conjoined, must be superior in several respects to the status quo in order to gain the support of the IG stakeholders who hold veto power for one reason or another.  In particular, it must:

   - offer a legal structure that is no less robust against rogue litigation attacks than is the current arrangement, where the USG provides a solid backstop.  

   - be aligned with the Internet technical infrastructure in a way that supports innovative, technology based evolution of the DNS as good as or better than currently exists.

   - be a political "safe harbor" or "neutral corner" that convinces governments, with good motives and bad, to leave it alone to do its important job.

Finally, we should not underestimate the extent to which ICANN has, under recent management, solidified its support among important stakeholder groups.  As evidenced by submissions to this list, among other things, a number of them do not yet see a persuasive rationale for moving from Point A to Point B.  Until they do, not much is going to happen.


- Mike


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