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ICANN CEO: "High Politics" Fueling IGF Debates

It has been reported that the U.S. control over how domain names are assigned dominated discussions at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which began yesterday in Brazil.

Although few participants at IGF attacked the United States directly, most were well aware of the role Americans play over domain name policies, including whether and how to assign top-level domains in languages other than English.

Paul Twomey, ICANN's Australian president and CEO insisted the organization is "international," noting only three of its 15 board members are from the U.S. "High politics" are fueling the debate over American influence at the regulator, he said.

Read full story: Associated Press

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Re: ICANN CEO: "High Politics" Fueling IGF Debates jeroen  –  Nov 13, 2007 1:01 PM PDT

There is a very simple way for doing TLD's in other names than English.

First off all all the software needs to support IDN anyway. They thus convert what is written on screen into punycode.

Punycode is actually just ASCII.

As such, having simply [punycode]._idn.cn for all Chinese scripts. [punycode]._idn.de, for all Germans with umlauts, [punycode]._idn.ch for swiss script(even more unlauts :)
etc will solve this problem perfectly well.

This would only require a mapping from scriptto _idn.. For asian languages, one could even use ._idn.asia as that is available already.

Other simple solution would be to roll a .punycode, so that when punycode goes over the wire it will go there.

Indeed, this avoids having to bother the rootservers to create a lot of different "top level domains", the authorities. This also makes languages stick to their countries without bothering anybody else.

Now if the DNS was unicode aware, I could understand that there would be a 'need' for creating top level domains in the root. But DNS is not unicode, it uses ascii. Which thus requires scriptto be converted to punycode anyway.

There is another really fun related problem here though.
How are these people in foreigh scriptgoing to write:
http://www.example.com/ ?
Are they also going to translate the "http://" part?
If so, how are browsers and a lot of other tools going to support this? If not, why is there then soo much fuss about requiring "top level domains" for every possible script, which will be punycode anyway. There is one sole reason of course: CA$H. And nothing else.

As such, please solve this technical issue with a very simple technical solution like described above.

Re: ICANN CEO: "High Politics" Fueling IGF Debates The Famous Brett Watson  –  Nov 13, 2007 8:00 PM PDT

Many critics fear opening ICANN up to an organization like the United Nations could allow governments to politicize the Internet and more easily impose censorship. By changing just a few database entries, for instance, all Web sites for a specific country — such as ".mm" in Myanmar — could instantly disappear.

Whereas this could not possibly happen at the moment?

Paul Twomey, ICANN's president and chief executive, said his organization was effectively "international" with only three of its 15 board members coming from the United States. The newly elected chairman is from New Zealand, and Twomey is from Australia.

It's as international as a California corporation with close contractual ties to the U.S. Department of Commerce can be, I expect.

"The discussion of the role of ICANN has gone on for some time, but there is no consensus for change," Twomey said, adding he felt the discussion distracted from more important issues like providing greater Internet access to the world's poor.

There's no consensus that things ought to remain as they are, either — unless you count consensus among those who already hold the power, which is all that matters in the end. The reference to "the world's poor" is particularly weasely: if the lack of consensus in the governance issue is preventing such worthy progress, then sort out the governance issue. Twomey uses the phrase with the converse implication: that we should all ignore the governance issue until such times as we have provided Internet access to the world's poor.

He talks of "high politics", but his own speech has a strong political aroma to it.

Re: ICANN CEO: "High Politics" Fueling IGF Debates Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Nov 14, 2007 6:36 AM PDT

The Famous Brett Watson said:

"The discussion of the role of ICANN has gone on for some time, but there is no consensus for change," Twomey said, adding he felt the discussion distracted from more important issues like providing greater Internet access to the world's poor.

There's no consensus that things ought to remain as they are, either — unless you count consensus among those who already hold the power

You know, that is a chicken and egg problem. Most of the "players" in this are

1. Already playing the game
2. Have substantial experience / expertise invested
3. Have substantial cash invested

While others - who should have a stake - lack

1. Capacity / Expertise
2. Funding
3. Both, in quite a few cases

Yes they must have a stake - but how worthwhile is it to give people a say for the sake of "inclusiveness" when the end result is usually that some ministry bureaucrat from J.Random third world country gets an expenses paid trip to Rio?

Good thing the next IGF is in new delhi, and if it is in november that means thick fog will add to the usual set of problems (smog, pollution, overcrowded roads, overpriced - $300+ for a sheraton - hotels, etc)

It is the sort of location that people will not fight to get fellowships to.

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