Internet Governance

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Why NAT Isn't As Bad As You Thought

Please do sit down. Should the shock cause you to suddenly lose consciousness, I hereby disclaim all responsibility for any subsequent loss or injury. I'm about to defend the anthrax of the Internet: NAT. Network Address Translation is a hack to enable private IP addresses on one side of a router (inside your network) to talk to public IP addresses on the other side (on the Internet, outside your network). It really doesn't matter how it works. The consequence is that unless the router is specifically configured, outsiders can't get in uninvited. So those on the inside can't, by default, act as servers of any service to the outside world. more

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."  more

The Debate Continues: Geist Replies to CENTR Response

While this may be better suited as a comment to the CENTR posting, I thought that its length might warrant a separate submission. Many thanks to CircleID for hosting this interesting discussion. Below is the full text of a comment I forwarded to CENTR earlier today in reply to its commentary on my recent study on national governments and ccTLDs. ...I should also preface my remarks by noting that I speak for myself -- not the ITU (see below), nor CIRA, (a CENTR member ) on which I serve on the board of directors, nor the Public Interest Registry, which manages the dot-org domain and on which I serve on the Global Advisory Council. more

CENTR Replies to ITU Study on ccTLD Governance

The Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR) announced today their response to Professor Michael Geist's draft survey report "Government and country-code top level Domains: A global survey", which was conducted on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in December 2003. "In the last decade the general trend has been to de-regulate markets in the Communications Industry, which continues to stimulate economic growth and innovation, and it seems perverse that this ITU supported report is seeking to go against the proven successful trend," said Paul Kane, chairman of CENTR. more

Misunderstanding ICANN

Harvard Law School's distinguished Berkman Center for Internet & Society has published a preliminary study, "Public Participation In ICANN." ...The problem with the preliminary study is that it fundamentally misunderstands the role of ICANN in Internet governance. Specifically, ICANN's duty is not and should not be to simply carry out the will of the "Internet user community." Instead, ICANN's duty is to carry out the responsibilities the organization agreed to in its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and contract with the Department of Commerce. This does not mean that ICANN should exclude stakeholder views. more

WSIS: What Is It 'Really' All About?

Until a few weeks ago, almost everyone in the Internet governance circus seemed to ignore the very existence of WSIS. After it popped up on international newspapers, however, things have been changing; and suddenly, I have started noticing plenty of negative reactions, on the lines of "we don't need WSIS, we don't need the UN, we don't need governments, we don't need internationalization - just go away from our network". However, I often find that these reactions are based on fundamental misunderstandings of the issues at stake; so please let me offer a different perspective. more

ICANN and the Virtues of Deliberative Policymaking - Part I

In this two-part series article, Andrew McLaughlin takes a critical look at the recently reported study, Public Participation in ICANN, by John Palfrey, Clifford Chen, Sam Hwang, and Noah Eisenkraft at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School..."The study's presentation and analysis of data contain much of interest, and much that could assist ICANN (and other policy-making bodies) in improving its use and management of online public forums. But the study's value is diminished by two rather fundamental shortcomings: (1) its misapprehension of both the theory and the practice of ICANN's policy-development process, and (2) the sizeable gap between the broad scope of the study's conclusions and the very narrow -- indeed, myopic -- focus of the analysis from which they are derived. Simply put, the study scrutinizes a small and misleading corner of ICANN (namely, its online public comment forums) and leaps to a sweeping (and, in my view, unwarranted) conclusion." more

A Study on Public Participation in ICANN

The following is an executive summary from the preliminary study by John Palfrey, Clifford Chen, Sam Hwang, and Noah Eisenkraft at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. This study considers to what extent the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has achieved its stated goal of a "representative" and "open" decision-making process. more

The End of the Experiment

Amidst a firestorm of debate, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has experimented with various forms of governance of the domain name system (DNS) involving input from the Internet community since its founding in 1998. ICANN's experimentation in running a representative and open corporate decision-making process has largely failed. This failure has manifested itself most explicitly by ICANN's retreat from its effort to enable the direct election of a subset of its Board members and, less explicitly, by the extent to which other efforts to engage the Internet user community in the decision-making process have proven ineffective. more

WSIS Leaving More Questions Than Answers

Two things are important to stress. First, nothing was decided in this meeting, and no actions will be taken until the next meeting in 2005. Secondly, and more importantly, as with anything the devil is in the details. Given the vagueness of the documents available, there are few reliable conclusions that can be drawn from the summit...Before any judgments can be made about the effectiveness, or feasibility of the ideas outlined in the Plan of Action more concrete information is needed. The details of these plans are currently unknown to the Internet community at large, and may even be unknown to the members of the WSIS. Based on the information that is available it appears the Plan of Action needs to be thought through a little more thoroughly. more