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

Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com
Sat Jan 25 06:43:10 UTC 2014

Hi All,

I have been following the discussions with amusement and interest and could
not help but throw some thoughts in. I thought I should just add background
that I thought was relevant to setting the context for some of the issues
that have often surfaced in various internet governance debates.


*1991-1998 – *Jon Postel controlled the root zone file and implementation
by Network Solutions, Inc which had a monopoly on gTLD registrations. The
US took over the root to create more competition and when it created ICANN,
it would one day relinquish this authority.

*February 1996* – RFC 1918[1] <#_ftn1> describes the Address Allocation for
Private Internets.

*June 1998* – The United States Department of Commerce issued a Policy
Statement on Internet Names and Numbers (Transition)[2] <#_ftn2> stating
that the US Government will continue to participate in oversight of
Internet technical management during the transition. It also recognized
that the Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Authority were performed by
the Information Sciences Institute of the University of California pursuant
to a contract with the United States Department of Defence Research Project
Agency (DARPA).

*June 30, 1999* - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
(ICANN) following its incorporation the previous year was still awaiting
approval for its application for nonprofit status and identified that it
exists to coordinate a select set of the Internet’s technical management
functions such as the assignment of protocol parameters, the management of
the domain name system, allocation of IP address space and the management
of the root server system.

*March 1, 2000* - The ICANN Board ratified the Memorandum of Understanding
[3] <#_ftn3> concerning the Technical Work of the Internet Assigned Numbers
Authority. It defines the Agreement between the Internet Engineering Task
Force (IETF) and the ICANN. The MoU expressly states that IANA is carrying
out the work on behalf of the IETF and the Internet Research Task Force.
The MoU expressly states that no party may transfer or assign any interest,
right or obligation arising under the MoU without the prior written consent
of each party to this MoU.

*June 30, 2005* –The United States National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA) asserted[4] <#_ftn4> that it would
maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the
authoritative root zone file and that it would continue to have oversight
as it supports ICANN to conduct its core technical mission.

Within that same Policy Statement released by the NTIA on June 30, 2005 the
United States recognized that governments have legitimate public policy and
sovereignty concerns with respect to the management of their ccTLDs.


1)     Who has authority over the root zone management file? Is this
authority express or implied?

a.     US Department of Commerce via NTIA

b.    IAB via IETF

c.     DARPA

d.    Other

2)     Does the US Government have the sole authority to approve any
changes to the root zone file of the domain name system? If yes, should it
continue to have the sole authority?

3)     What happens when there are conflict of interest situations stemming
from “US national security” versus global public interest?

a.     Are there any systems in place to ensure that risk is mitigated?

b.    Would US national security be prioritized over other country’s issues?

4)     Does ICANN favour US based economic interests beyond others as
alluded to by some stakeholders in the Redelegation of .org and .net?

5)     Is there effective competition within ICANN and how does it treat
significant market power of some of its stakeholders? Does it remain
beholden to them because they were the initial investors to the start up or
have they been paid back to allow ICANN to have complete autonomy?

6)     Does ICANN have autonomy in commercial decisions in situations that
concern stakeholders who invest in ICANN?

7)     Are there aspects of the root zone management that cause
stakeholders to feel that there is US unilateralism?

8)     Would re-assigning the IANA function to an international body
threaten the security and stability of the DNS? Should it revert to the IAB
via IETF?

9)     Is there legitimacy in some stakeholders demanding International
Oversight of ICANN and IANA rather than US unilateralism?


Clearly root zone management is critical information infrastructure and
would fall under the US Critical Information Infrastructure Protection
Plans and Strategies. To demand that this infrastructure be managed by any
other than the US Government would result in the following perceptions:-

1)     An Act of War against the United States;

2)     A Desire to Steward Global Public Interest in a manner that reduces
the control of any one country;

The fact that there is participation by Governments within ICANN shows that
they support ICANN and give it legitimacy.

*GAC Penetration Rate within ICANN as at December 31, 2013*

If we compare the list of countries and territories that have had their
ccTLD assigned by IANA and identify those that participate in GAC meetings
within ICANN, we will see that the penetration rates are as follows:

·  Asian Australasian Pacific Region - 63%

·  African Region -56%

·  Latin American Caribbean Region - 39%

·  North American Region - 25%

·  European Region - 46%

What additional things can ICANN, IANA or the NTIA to restore confidence in
the global community when it comes to matters of perception?

*What is the Way Forward?*

At the forefront of any discussion on the assignment of the root zone
function is the need to as George pointed out:

1)     Protect the root zone from political or other improper interference

2)     Integrity, Stability, Continuity and Security

3)     Widespread Trust by the Global community

4)     Support of a single Unified root zone

5)     Framework for accountability mechanism that is broadly accepted as
being in the global public interest

There are two potential administration changes that can happen one is
within the control of the NTIA through the Department of Commerce. The
other is through US Congress and Senate where a law is passed making the
internationalization of IANA possible. Is there precedence where the US
Government has voluntarily allowed something that was formerly within their
dominion to become subject to international oversight? Would the US
seriously considering gifting the global community with international

If they do not would this pose as a threat to having a single unified root?
This reminds me of an exercise in futility. Sigh….


[1] <#_ftnref1> RFC 1918 was authored by Rechter, Moskowitz, Karrenberg, de
Groot and Lear, see: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1918

[2] <#_ftnref2> 63 Fed. Reg. 3 1 74 1 (1 998)

[3] <#_ftnref3> RFC 2860 which was authored by Brian Carpenter, Fred Baker
and Michael Roberts, see: http://tools.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2860.txt

[4] <#_ftnref4>
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