[discuss] Problem definition 1, version 5

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Thu Jan 23 02:12:16 UTC 2014

Mr. Roberts:

From: Michael Roberts [mailto:mmr1936 at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Mike Roberts
>The only basis on which your statement rests is a political one.
>Merely asserting that IANA functions are political doesn't make them so.

Nor does merely asserting that they are not. To say, however, that the source of authority over the root is not political, after 15 years of political wrangling over it, strikes me as self-delusional and not worth answering were it not for the fact that deception and illusion about this issue has been a regular feature of the debate over the same 15 years.

>The general trend of recent actions by NTIA, IETF, ICANN and others
>has been to stress the desirability of an apolitical approach to root technology
>and operations.  It is largely so today, as the many process contributions
>to this list demonstrate.

Apparently you missed the latest round of IANA contract negotiations. Let's begin with C.2.1, which contains a long list of requirements regarding legal presence in the United States. Explain to me, dear Mr. Roberts, how this is "apolitical."

You might also look at the intense controversy that arose around those sections of the contract that originally called for the IANA to ascertain that new TLD additions had "consensus support" and were "in the public interest," a feature which was originally put in due to the influence of business/trademark lobbyists and certain other opponents of the new gTLD program, and which would have transformed the IANA function into an additional layer of policy making. You can read a contemporaneous account of that issue, and of the new IANA contract here

You can also look at the comments on the recent re-drafting of the IANA contract to see if they are completely free of political issues.

>The important antecedent question is whether a global political foundation
>for IANA serves the interests of all users.

So you think a _national_ political foundation serves the interests of all users? All users, except those outside the particular nation...

But aside from that, the notion of public interest, which has been inserted into the IANA contract, is an inherently political notion. There is no way to ascertain "public interest" other than through engaging in political and policy making action. Or do you believe that one divines it from kneeling in prayer or from mental engagement with Platonic essences?

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