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

Ian Peter ian.peter at ianpeter.com
Thu Jan 23 07:26:45 UTC 2014


I would keep advancing this one, because I believe we can get somewhere with 
a structured approach. I also believe it would be good for 1net to get some 
"runs on the board" by presenting a thorough analysis of options on one 
specific issue.

Yes there are many other issues but some focussing of energies on this list 
would be beneficial.

Ian Peter

-----Original Message----- 
From: George Sadowsky
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2014 3:01 PM
To: discuss at 1net.org List
Subject: [discuss] Continuation of problem no. 1 specification,and what 
could be next steps


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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