[discuss] P1 version 3: Added detail and a request for useful background information

George Sadowsky george.sadowsky at gmail.com
Mon Jan 20 04:50:02 UTC 2014

Purpose of this message

A. I have sharpened the problem definition somewhat as a result of some suggestions received, resulting in version 3 of the problem statement.  If any reader has contributions to make to improve the problem statement, please suggest them.  If we don't start from the right problem statement, any solutions are not likely to be useful.

B. In addition, in a recent post Ben Fuller has raised some pertinent questions relating to the background of the problem statement.  I think that the answers to his questions could be useful in the ensuing discussion, and I am restating them in a more succinct form as the second part of this message.   If you can answer his questions with real knowledge and evidence, please do so.

P1 (ver.3). US Government involvement in IANA root zone functions.

1. The Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Authority (IANA) has as one of its functions the vetting of changes in the Internet root zone file.  The members of the team that performs the IANA functions are employed by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

2. ICANN has a zero-cost contract with the US government to perform the IANA functions. The US government authorizes changes made to the root zone by verifying that ICANN abides by publicly documented policies prior to the changes being submitted for implementation.

3. Objections have been raised to US government involvement in this process on several grounds, including exclusivity and concerns of trust.  Objections have equally been raised to movement of the function to several international organizations.  

4. A solution is needed that meets several criteria: (1) protection of the root zone file from political or other improper interference; (2) integrity, stability, continuity, security and robustness of operation; (3) widespread trust by Internet users in the organization executing this function and in its administrative mechanisms; and (4) agreement regarding accountability that is broadly perceived to be in the global public interest.   

5. A number of potential changes have been proposed; however, there has been no consensus that any of them are broadly acceptable.

Some pertinent questions raised by Ben Fuller

1. What takes place when root zone changes are made?  What are the procedures and what are the checks and balances?  [Can someone supply some relevant pointers to text that will help someone understand this?]

2. Have there been any controversial or problematic changes to the root zone, and if so, how were they handled?  (Note that this is not about IDN ccTLD issues, which are not in the province of IANA.)  [Can someone respond to this question definitively?]

3. The claim has apparently been made that both houses of the US Congress (Parliament) have overwhelmingly voted resolutions that direct the US government to maintain control over the root. [Can anyone provide references or pointers to such legislation, or to any evidence that this claim is not correct?]

Please respond if you can provide fact-based evidence regarding any of these questions.


More information about the discuss mailing list