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Future of Internet Navigation and DNS: The NAS Study

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has been studying the issue of Internet navigation and the DNS. The study was undertaken at the request of Congress to "provide analysis and advice for consideration by agencies of the U.S. Government, interested international institutions, and other stakeholders." In addition to examining technological issues, the study is also considering "relevant legal, economic, political, and social issues...because technologies related to the DNS and Internet navigation do not operate in isolation, but must be deployed within a complex and challenging national and international context."

At this time, NAS is soliciting input from the public worldwide on various issues including:

"1. The particular characteristics of individual nations that are not being accommodated by currently available mechanisms for navigation on the Internet.

2. The extent to which people in each country use domain names directly (i.e., by typing domain names into a software program as opposed to using a portal, search engine, or clicking on a link provided by others) to find the information that they seek on the Internet. The committee is interested in relevant data or published reports that characterize this use.

3. The technological challenges that inhibit citizens of a country from finding the information that they seek on the Internet, including the market (economic), social, research, or governance constraints that impede the development and deployment of technologies that could overcome these challenges.

4. Within the context of the project scope of this study, the Committee is interested in specific comments on improving Internet navigation and the domain name system that would be relevant to any or all of the following institutions, industries, or communities: ICANN, IETF, U.S. Government (U.S. Congress, National Science Foundation, Department of Commerce, etc.), major software or network service providers, domain name registrars and registries, and other institutions or industries (specify). For each instance, please explain how your recommendation would improve navigation on the Internet at large and/or for the citizens of your country."

The final NAS report is expected in the first quarter of 2004. The report is expected to characterize, for each prospective technology, "the institutions, governance structures, policies, and procedures that should be put in place to complement it and will specify the research (if any) required to design, develop, and implement the technology successfully."

For more information an further details on the NAS study see ICANNfocus.org.

By Bruce Levinson, SVP, Regulatory Intervention - Center for Regulatory Effectiveness
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