[discuss] Roadmap for globalizing IANA

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Wed Mar 5 16:22:17 UTC 2014

-----Original Message-----
> You mention the concern about "predictable and reliable service" -- 
> do you know of any instances where the current set-up has failed to provide that?

Examples have been provided. 

IANA/ICANN and Verisign are under contract to the USG now. If they provide bad service they could lose the contract. That is our only protection. 

If we are going to end USG control, that contract will no longer exist. 

The USG contracting relationship is actually a bad way to ensure good service over the long term, because moving those operations would be costly and destabilizing. That makes the contract "sticky" and not easy to switch. Also, we have linked indelibly ICANN's policy making function to root zone management, and so changing the IANA contract would also have major implications for the policy making function.

Those things should be separated, and the technical functions given to a different party. 
I would place far more trust in registries whose core business depends on the accurate and secure implementation of root zone changes to make them. The incentives are aligned and no one has provided a single analytical point to show they are not. If you can, please explain why an organization controlled by registries would fail to provide registries with good service, either through in-sourcing or out-sourcing. Explain how adding "oversight" from dozens of other stakeholders with no real stake in root zone entry accuracy would be likely to improve the day-to-day implementation of this technical function. I do not expect such an explanation to be forthcoming. 

I suspect the broader implication of Joseph's position is that he supports the status quo - unilateral control of the DNS root by the USG. If that is true, he should just come out and openly say so. 

Because that, of course, is no longer a politically viable position. 

There is consensus outside the United States, and probably more than majority within it, that the status quo is not sustainable. Fadi Chehade himself has openly said this, and the USG has not objected or contradicted him, so I think everyone is ready for change. 

So to take up Joseph's so-called "process issues":

>1.  What is the demonstrated problem/threat.

Did you not read Problem Statement No. 1? Did you not read the Montevideo statement?

Control of the root zone by one government is politically unsustainable and could generate a fragmented DNS. Note also that key functions are now solely in the hands of the world's biggest commercial registry, ownership of which could change at a moment's notice. These are legacy institutional arrangements, holdovers from the NSF days, and they need to be updated and globalized. 

>2.  How does the solution address that problem in an improved way?

By ending unilateral US control, and replacing it with a structure that a) cleanly separates the policy making aspect from the implementation and operational aspects and b) avoids further politicizing root zone management by multi-lateralizing it

>3.  How would the stability and operational functionality of the Internet an its governance structures >enhanced?

By separating it from policy intervention. And by putting the function in the hands of the parties most able and most incentivized to do it accurately and securely. And by distributing control of that function across ccTLDs as well as gTLDs

>4.  How would one test these proposed solutions to assure the above prior to deployment?

Are you serious? 

This isn't laboratory engineering, my friend, this is the real world. One cannot conduct replicable tests in policy, institutions, society.

Try this one: before we re-elect Obama, let's conduct a test of Mitt Romney to ensure that he will be a better solution to the nation's problems. We make him President for oh, two months and then.....No. Doesn't work that way, sorry. In the policy/political world you have to make decisions based on the best information you have and bear the consequences. 

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