[discuss] Continuation of problem no. 1 specification, and what could be next steps

George Sadowsky george.sadowsky at gmail.com
Thu Jan 23 04:01:07 UTC 2014


I've taken the day off from 1net, and am just now going through the many posts that have been made to the list during the day.

I'd like to start by endorsing Mike Roberts' comment below:

On Jan 22, 2014, at 4:19 PM, Mike Roberts wrote:

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

The lesson that I draw from this is that while the ultimate resolution of IG problems may well have a political element, I'd rather start by trying to determine what's best for the future of the Internet and and try to make such a bottom-up approach work.

Where do I think we are?

If you're interested in the problem statement regarding the IANA root zone function, we're on version 6, and a variety of suggestions are still coming in.  There's no real reason to close off this specification; in fact, one could argue that further iteration of the problem definition increases our understanding of the situation, and that might possibly prove the quality of thought that goes into proposed solutions.

Originally I had thought of trying to structure a discussion based upon collecting a variety of possible solutions first, and then collecting comments on each one, comments being associated with specific criteria to be satisfied that are in the problem definition.  I tend to be rather structured in such things, and I envisioned a large table for each possible approach, with rows for the criteria, and columns for the pluses, the minuses, and the possible operational difficulties for each of the criteria.  Cells would be filled with relatively short comments and identified with the name of the commenter.  It would be the way I might approach it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best or only way.  In addition, a mailing list is not the ideal vehicle for capturing text to be added to such a structure, and there would be a fair amount of work involved.  I would be willing to try it if there were support for it.

I was pleasantly surprised to read Jovan Kurbalija's recent article:


and note possible scenarios that I had not considered before.  Perhaps this simply illustrates my naïvété in political science.  There are a number of scenarios that I suspect not everyone may be aware of, and that some of us know because of our experience and specialization, and I think that there is merit in naming, displaying and defining them so we are all discussing the same things, just as (I hope)with the problem statement itself.

On the other hand, perhaps it would be useful to move away from problems that are closely related to ICANN and work on another problem statement that we think represents a real problem in Internet governance (however we regard the term). I suggest that cybercrime might be an interesting subject to look at.  I think that there is general agreement that the area is problematic, yet where does the problem lie?  What is the nature of the problem to be solved, and where is its locus?  What's wrong?  How will we know when we have a solution for fixing what is wrong?

If we were to shift to another problematic area, whether cybercrime or something else, we could continue to refine slowly the the IANA-related problem definition and means for evaluating alternatives at the same time, or not.  Is there support for going in this direction.  Are there better issues than cybercrime that we should focus on?  What are they?  Do we have champions on the list for some such issues?

So where would people like to go (if anywhere)?

Problem statement no. 1 (version 6)

Several suggestions have been made to further refine the problem statement,  I'm including them, but I'm bracketing them so that you can easily see what has been proposed.  If there is no pushback on the changes, I'll remove the brackets and adjust the text properly a couple of versions later.

1. The Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Authority (IANA) has as one of its functions the [vetting] [administration] of [changes] [change requests] 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.[  ["After IANA verifies that ICANN has conformed to publicly documented review policies, the US government authorizes that changes be made to the root zone.]

3. It has been a requirement for the contractor providing the IANA function to be a US organization, resulting in the provision of the IANA function being subject to US law and the decisions of the US judiciary.

4. 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.

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. 

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

A personal statement

I am just one member of this list.  I represent my views and no one else's.  In making whatever contributions I can make, my goal is to encourage substantive discussion regarding real issues, hoping to help to resolve them.  If people on the list resonate to what I bring up, the conversation will continue the conversation.  If they don't, then the discussion will wind down naturally.  In due time, it's my hope that the 1net Steering Committee will enter into the discussion and provide some guidance and direction.  Until then, we're on our own; let's make the most of it.

I see some recurrence of conspiracy theory and ICANN bashing on the list.  I think that it's counterproductive, and I hope that it will not continue.  Let's work for increased understanding of the issues and positive and useful outputs from our discussions.  There is a lot that we can do.


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