[discuss] On Addresses and Identifiers / proceeding properly

Michel Gauthier mg at telepresse.com
Thu Mar 6 00:31:19 UTC 2014

Dear Seth,

My question may look silly, but I try to find where lies the real 
political problem.
as far I understand:
1. if one country decides to use a chunk of IP addresses for its 
citizens nobody will deny them and the calls will be routed.
2. if a relational space or a country and a language (not to speak of 
a VN) decides to use another naming system than the DNS or another 
class than class IN nothing will prevent it from doing so.
So, actually, is there a good reason to discuss all this as the 
governance of the Internet? Should we not discuss it as the 
governance of the USNET or ARPAnet?


At 20:52 05/03/2014, Seth Johnson wrote:
>On Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 4:13 PM, James Seng <james.seng at gmail.com> wrote:
> > If we can separate the debate on control over namespace vs the actual
> > operation of the root server (or its anycast consetallation), we can divide
> > the political problem of the root servers by half :-)
>First is the address space.  We begin with agreement that a procedure
>and authority designates endpoints with numeric IPs, or gives ISPs a
>range of numeric IPs.  There is policy there, but arguably it's much
>cleaner because the element of arbitrarity allows the convention of
>universality to be established as well as the element of consent to be
>gained to particular assignments more readily.  It is also devoid of
>questions of special privileges assigned to morphological strings
>(i.e., trademarks).  There can still be issues raised here, but
>solutions can usually be found by simple disinterest and arbitrarity.
>Distinguish from that the namespace.  There's the first place where
>policy issues that are more complex arise.  It's also where a critical
>point first arises with respect to identifiers and the international
>context: this is the fact that the legal traditions for trademark are
>local and statutory, and within individual jurisdictions, the
>principle that fundamental liberties have priority over government
>acts granting exclusive (statutory) rights.  The international arena
>doesn't represent that principle, because even with international
>treaties for fundamental rights, fundamental rights do not have
>priority over the position of governments.  The best that can be hoped
>for there is a much weaker "balancing" of state interests against
>treaties that are themselves enacted by governments, not by the
>Address space -> name space.  Build out from there.
>Next key critical point to keep in mind in addressing things that IANA
>and ICANN have been doing within the general topic of governance is:
>Universal identifiers are necessary but not sufficient for the
>Internet.  A policy framework that associates with identifiers (which
>goes well beyond the technical need to uniquely identify endpoints) is
>not necessarily a policy framework that fits well with the Internet,
>because, for instance, exclusive rights policies can interfere with the
>interoperability and flexibility of the platform, indeed
>the question of the fundamental place and role of published 
>information in free
>society is critical in these contexts.  IANA functions (including port
>assignments) may also be affected by more morphological policies
>(policies related to meaningful strings), and similar distinctions may
>be worthwhile there.
>I note these points here to indicate that a proper framework for
>addressing universal identifiers needs to see where the fundamental
>concerns begin to arise.  There has, for instance, been a tendency to
>address exclusive rights in the international arena in ways that don't
>really recognize either the nature of the rights and the key questions
>of how they should relate to more fundamental principles, or the
>impact that misconceived exclusive rights policies have.  That
>is, governance very quickly enters into issues that may entail
>rethinking of the design of organizations like ICANN.
>It's best to try to start with the more pure numerical address space
>and then proceed carefully to morphological (meaningful) identifiers
>and other uses of identifiers besides simply designating specific
>endpoints (think exclusive rights policies or the whole breadth of
>applications of cryptographic validation of identifiers).  The term
>"namespace" may already be impinged on by these kinds of questions of
>types of policy and governance structures.
>One more point, already implied above, but important to conclude with:
>once you set up the frame for universal identifiers for endpoints, you
>have not completed the frame of governance necessary for the Internet,
>since the identifiers are only one piece of what makes the Internet
>work.  A corollary: a distinction needs to be maintained between
>identifiers for purposes of identifying endpoints and the use of
>identifiers in numerous other ways.  Once you have a governance
>structure for universal identifiers in the sense of identifying
>endpoints, you have not thereby also established a governance
>structure appropriate for developing many other types of policies and
>conventions to be associated with identifiers.
>I think I'll repost this with its own subject header as well as
>posting it here in reply on this thread.
>discuss mailing list
>discuss at 1net.org

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