Who should manage the DNS?

Who should manage the DNS?

Summary: Will our children have one Internet to go to, or just the Internet their government lets them go to?

TOPICS: Browser

WSIS LogoEvery open source project, and most closed source projects, depend on the Internet and its Domain Name Service (DNS) servers.

Management of the most important servers, those for .com,  and .net, are currently contracted-out by ICANN to Verisign. Until this week it was assumed that ICANN would in time become independent of the U.S. NTIA (part of the Commerce Department) once it met certain conditions.

In a startling about-face, however, the U.S. government has announced that won't happen. The statement was delivered by assistant secretary Michael Gallagher to a meeting of the Wireless Communication Association yesterday.

When you cut through the rhetoric, the U.S. has determined that continued control of the Internet is in its vital national interest.

This may not go over like ice cream to the World Summit on the Information Society, now scheduled to meet in Tunisia in November. On the Web site of the UN's International Telecommunication Union are a statement of principles and an action plan that don't match up with U.S. policy.

The danger here is that the ITU could, at some point, create its own DNS root servers, and countries might point to them rather than those of Verisign, at which point the Internet as we know it will cease to exist. Instead we will have at least two, and perhaps more, Internets (a Bush malapropism will become a working reality) and you will only find what you need if the DNS your ISP is using points to it.

As Briton Max Christian wrote to my other blog, this Balkanization is already taking place:

"A high proportion (>50%?) of personal internet sites are on servers in East Asia.  Here in London, I can't read most of them because (a) global internet links are slow, and (b) in those countries local last-drop links are much faster than in the west, so the sites are more bandwidth hungry.  There's also the question of why China, Japan and Korea's 52.2 million broadband homes aren't, by and large, using the sites we know and love in the west.  And this is just the start; as we all know China's internet population will dwarf the US and Europe combined.  I haven't fully justified it here, but we already have a them-and-us situation."

Will our children have one Internet to go to, or just the Internet their government lets them go to?

Topic: Browser

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    The US government control over the internet has not helped it very much. Only in June 2005 it was disclosed that Hackers hacked the files of US Military. US government should not worry about whether it should have any control over the internet. It should worry about the issue of how the Internet Infrastructure is made. There is only one reason hackers prosper. It is that this infrastructure empowers them to prosper and stay prospered. The security issue makes it very important to take up the issue of redevelopment of the internet infrastructure and change the roles of the client and server as discussed at

  • global community

    The very lofty premise of the internet being a "global community" has been a dream from the start. At some point in time realized dreams have to face up to real world constraints, difficulties, and unforseen outcomes. At this point the outcomes (global hacking, protectionism, censorship to name a few)are outweighing the benefit gained by connectivity. We have become a closer world community "no matter what," and with the state of telephony at this point, I'm sure there will always be some connection with other people, other places, and ideas.
    The United States is in a somewhat precarious postion because of our leadership of the world at this point. The internet has outgrown its potential as a conduit for commerce, major restructuring is needed, and this restructuring is a new horizon that no country wants to cede to US interests, corporations or influence, to that I say AMEN!!!!! I would like to see the US take a more neutral position, get it's own house in order, and back away from global domination by force, and allow the natural course of events to occur once again (which is US invention has outstripped the rest of the world for some time) I have read in many articles about "competition being good for computing" well we're about to have some. If we could compete on the intellectual battlefield instead of a physical one, I think the world would be better off. Jihad to the internet!!! Infidel Microsoft operating system!! somehow it doesn't seem so scary, in fact I hear it every day.
    • Tongue in cheek there?

      I think there is great support for maintaining the current openness of the Internet. But you point to a lot of problems that the present technical systems have done little to stop.

      Take spam, for instance. The U.S. is the world's biggest exporter. It clogs other nations' systems, and costs them money. How long should they tolerate our lack of decent anti-spam legislation?
  • On an issue of trust - I'll take the US, thanks

    While it makes sense to think about a successor structure for what we now think of as "the internet" that successor isn't at hand and so we have to work with the structure we have. That structure has a built-in dependence on its root servers - they exist ultimately as a guarantee of the system's integrity.

    The question then is: who should we trust to run it? The Chinese? that's a communist dictatorship which scoffs at human rights and seems to be preparing for a nasty military adventure. How about those nice honest continental Europeans? Right, a history of corruption in government and business rivaled only by, well, nobody outside Africa.

    The UN, the ITU, or ICANN? Great track records all of them - from accepting bribes to rigging elections these organizations have established track records that say they can't be trusted to run a lemonade stand in the middle of an antartic winter.

    The Brits would do well at this, so might the Swedes and Norwegians, but dubious parity doesn't represent a gain, so why change?

    There's a simple bottom line here: today's internet structure requires us to trust somebody and I'll bet on the Americans over any other group any day of the week.
    • It's no longer a question of our trust

      Murph: It's no longer a question of whether you or I trust the U.S. or some other country's institutions. As Americans I'd expect we'd both say the U.S.

      The question is whether other countries will continue to trust America's role.

      Given the corruption of Verisign and the American government's total unwillingness to do anything about it, that is no longer a certainty.

      And if we go to the WSIS with the present arrogant attitude it's very likely some action will be taken by the ITU, leading to the creation of a new root server structure.

      That's what I fear. I don't want it. But how do we prevent it? Right now we seem on a path guaranteed to make it happen, and that concerns me greatly.
    • On an issue of trust I'll take us thanks

      Which pretty much sums up the current and likely future attitude of every nation in the world.
      We all trust ourselves - but then what?

      Might makes right?

      Maybe we could share..........

      nah <insert favourite eipthet against any international body that goes against my/your/our national "interest">

      Aint civilisation a wonderful thing.

      Oh nearly forgot......

      [i]There's a simple bottom line here: today's internet structure requires us to trust somebody and I'll bet on the New Zealanders over any other group any day of the week.[/i]
      Dave F_z
    • anybody but usa

      i personally would see a global organization.
      a sub bureau of the UN or swiss (who have been neutral all the way ) someone with the credit not to be a american lap-dog.

      anyways as long as its not a goverment institution with a power agenda.

    • Disneyworld Internet

      ``The question then is: who should we trust to run it? The Chinese? that's a communist dictatorship which scoffs at human rights and seems to be preparing for a nasty military adventure. How about those nice honest continental Europeans? Right, a history of corruption in government and business rivaled only by, well, nobody outside Africa.''

      On behalf of 1/2 of this Earth's population, I congratulate you for your effective way of insulting them in such a short paragraph.

      I wonder, what made you leave out Canadians, Central and Southern Anericans, Australians, Hindo-Chineese, Indians, the people who used to be under the USSR, Mongolians, and people who leave in the islands of the Pacific and the Poles ? Do you believe that their govenrments are as UNcorrupt as the US's OR is it that you've never heard of them? Given your wholesale labelng of the entire Earth's population (except the US) as corrupt and unfit to carry out honest management of the Internet I believe that it is your wholesale ignnorance on everything except the Disneyworld: Flashy and Colorful surface, questionable substance.

      What makes you think that ANY government is less corrupt than another? It is a matter of UNACCOUNTABILITY: BAD people exist EVERYWHERE nad they can do EXACTLY AS MUCH AS they CAN GET AWAY WITH. It is hard to accept that ``Our (boys, govenrment, denomination, team, etc.) are as bad as "theirs" whom we don't like''

      Bottom line: you want to jusdge others? Then start judging yourself first. You leave in a mental Disneyworld.
  • Unfortunately.....

    unipolarity is making the US of A into a an extremely arrogant and selfserving country. In the past the US of A was a leader because of it's adherence to principles of law and decency, but since the turn of the century that has been jettisoned by the present administration who believe that the US of A is a nation that was born to world domination. But history is replete with failed attempts at world domination. If the US of A continues in its present path of attempting world domination by force and deceit it is bound to fail. And deservedly so.
  • People who have NEITHER political

    NOR economic intetests in some people becomming "more equal" than the rest of us.

    To me only people who designed, developed and are currently doing R/D on the Internet are possibly the least biased group. Only people with TRUE scentific interest should be involved in making decsions about its operations and future directions.

    Why would I trust ANY specific government or business group to provide a service that can be so easily abused to its stewards' advantage?
  • Manage DNS - or least the root servers

    Every article starts off with the announcement. They should start with the squandered reputation of ICANN. The elected representative debacle where thousands signed up to vote and were told democracy need not apply. The good old boys were in charge. Esther Dyson is a good old boy - "Technology is too important for elections and public input." Certifiable Cerf should have retired on his laurels instead he defends Verisign's right to steal the the 'page not found' process. If he was getting a kickback it would make more sense, but he is just stubborn. Using the bad example of the FCC and Frequency Allocation Autions, ICANN plays game after game with name extensions. They can NOT be trusted to act in the best interests of you or I. Look at name dispute arbitration process - corporations win PERIOD. At least the Government can be voted out or recalled or sued. ICANN can't even admit where they are most days.