Internet Governance

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ICANN Needs a Good Root

It's not been the best of years for ICANN. Leaving aside for a few seconds the controversy about xxx, and the allegations of improper behavior about the .Net assignment, ICANN has had a lot to deal with. The troubles began with the UN Working Group on Internet Governance hell bent on fixing ICANN, even though ICANN says nothing is broke. That trouble remains and isn't likely to go away for some time. And then, just when it seemed that the UN and ITU was the cause of all ICANN's problems, the old ally, US Government's DOC, decided that it was going to be in charge of ICANN. ...This could be the beginnings of a distinct change where the centralized DNS as we know it gradually gives way to some next generation structure which is far more decentralized. The coming 12 months may see some significant changes in this area. more

Working Group on Internet Governance Releases Report

The Working Group of Internet Governance has released its final report [PDF]. As I wrote this week in my Law Bytes column, the report comes on the heels of the U.S. statement that it has no intention of surrendering control of root zone file. The WGIG report developed a working definition of Internet governance that states: "Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet."... more

Signposts in Cyberspace: An NRC Report on the DNS and Internet Navigation

In light of the recent decision by the United States government to "maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file" and ICANN's recent decisions to add more gTLDs (including .xxx), and to renew VeriSign as the .net registry, readers may be interested in the just-published report of the National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Signposts in Cyberspace: The Domain Name System and Internet Navigation. ...a comprehensive policy-oriented examination of the Domain Name System in the broader context of Internet navigation. more

The US Department of Commerce, the DNS Root, and ICANN

The recent announcement in eWeek titled "Feds Won't Let Go of Internet DNS" (slashdotted here) has some major internet policy implications. The short, careful wording appears to be more of a threat to ICANN than a power grab. In short, the US Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it was not going to stop overseeing ICANN's changes to the DNS root. ...Of course, they have done next to nothing to support DNSSEC or other proposal for securing the DNS, but it sounds reassuring. The last sentence shows that the Bush administration shares the Clinton administration's lack of understanding of how the internet should evolve... more

U.S. Government to Retain Oversight of the Internet's Root Servers

The U.S. government has announced today that it will indefinitely retain oversight of the Internet's root servers, ignoring pervious calls by some countries to turn the function over to an international body. more

Effects of ICANN's Legal Presence in the US, Under California Legislation

Excerpts from the recent address of the President and CEO of ICANN to the Working Group for Internet Governance (WGIG). "ICANN's establishment in California is a consequence of history. Jon Postel, the long standing coordinator of the IANA functions was based at the University of Southern California. Jon was designated ICANN's first Chief Technology Officer but was preempted from taking the position due to his untimely death. The legal instrument available in California to establish such a public benefit function, including its multi-stakeholder expression, is a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation..." more

Domain Name Dispute Puts Dot-Ca in the Spotlight

My weekly Law Bytes column (freely available hyperlinked version, Toronto Star version) focuses on the recent Canadian parliamentary discussion on domain name disputes. As discussed about ten days ago, the impetus for governmental interest in domain name disputes and Internet governance is the registration of several domain names bearing the names of sitting Members of Parliament by the Defend Marriage Coalition, an opponent of same-sex marriage legislation. The resulting websites, which include donboudria.ca and davidmcguinty.ca, include MP contact information, photos, and advocacy materials. more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part III

For a book project I decided to extend my interview with Milton Mueller from November 2003 (Part I | Part II). Exclusively for CircleID readers, here's part III that deals with WSIS, WGIG, US-American bias and the Internet Governance Project. "...One good result of the WGIG process is that the involved international community has already moved beyond those cliches. No one is proposing that the UN control the Internet. There is growing consensus that control of the DNS root needs to be internationalized..." more

ICANN Call for Submissions of Interest for Leadership

ICANN's Nomination Committee has begun their process to nominate more members to various boards, councils and committees of ICANN. This is the process by which I was elected to the board last year. Contrary to what some people may think, these positions should not be taken to try to gain some privilege or power. These are positions of responsibility and require a lot of work for no tangible return except possibly the opportunity to meet other very interesting people. I think about my role at ICANN like I would think about jury duty. We have all benefited from the proper functioning of the Internet for the last decade. If you've benefited in the past and care about the future of the Internet, it is a great opportunity to give back to the community by applying for one of these positions. more

So, Who Really Did Invent the Internet?

The beginnings of the Internet are shrouded in myth and misunderstandings that have led to some claims of proprietary ownership of the Internet. Where and when did the Internet begin? The only thing Internet historians seem to agree on is that it was not 1969, or the Pentagon, (or for that matter Al Gore). From there on, there is a wide divergence of views as to when, where, and by whom the Internet may have been invented... more