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March 2002 Archives

March 13, 2002

GA summary 2002-09

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news between February 27, and March 12, 2002.

GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org]. Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.

(Please note that this summary does not claim to be complete. In fact, it does so even less than the usual summaries, since I have to catch up two weeks of traffic. In particular, I have refrained from the temptation to include all the bits about what's currently going on at the ICANN meetings in Accra. - T.R.)


(i) Structure: Reactions to the Lynn Proposal. In a follow-up to the "preliminary comments" thread covered in the previous summary, Alexander Svensson noted that "having an Ombudsperson and a Manager of Public Participation sounds like a good idea." However, he says, "it is equally necessary to ensure public participation not only personally (by making it someone's job), but also structurally (by making it part of the ICANN process and structure)." [www.lextext.com], [www.dnso.org]

David P. Farrar suspected that the Lynn plan may "in fact be merely a red herring." "It is one of the oldest political tricks," he continues, "to propose something so extreme and controversial that when you finally withdraw it the masses are so happy they didn't get Proposal A they don't complain so much about Proposal B." It turned out that David was not the only one with this particular suspicion. [www.dnso.org]

In another posting, David (who also represents the GA on the Structure TF) tried to analyze the "pros and cons of the Lynn plan." The message is written in a very concise manner, and has a whole lot of good points. It's required reading in its entirety, and I'm not going to summarize it here. [www.dnso.org]

Danny Younger forwarded an interesting quote from RIPE NCC's response to the ICANN document: "Seeing that you are proposing fundamental changes to ICANN and the principles behind the ICANN - RIR MoU, signed in 1999, we believe that in the interest of our members, we have to thoroughly re-assess our relationship with ICANN." [www.dnso.org]

In the following discussion, DPF suggested that the ccTLDs "should carry on forming their own peer association" to negotiate with the DoC taking "over ICANN's role with regards to any ISO3166-1 entries in the root". In another posting on this, he also characterizes the behavior of ICANN management as a declaration of war on the ccTLDs, and notes that "ICANN was primarily created due to the need to create new gTLDs not to form some mini-UN over the ccTLDs." Looking for ICANN's functions with respect to the ccTLDs, he comes up with a list of three functions needed: 1. Update the root zone, 2. Notify of minimum technical standards for a TLD, 3. Establish and administer re-delegation when needed by the local Internet community. "This could all be done very easily by the ccTLDs acting as a peer organization," he concludes. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Another "Preliminary Statement" on the Lynn proposal was posted by Rob Courtney of Center for Democracy & Technology, on behalf of the NAIS team. In that statement, the NAIS group demands that the ALSC's report should be "openly evaluated before the whole idea of the At Large is abandoned." It is also pointed out that ICANN Board action during the Accra meeting will be necessary in order to hold elections for new at-large directors. The current at-large directors' terms end this year. Further, the NAIS team states that the Lynn proposal "fails to provide adequate support" to the principles of "openness, transparency, inclusiveness and participation". [www.dnso.org]

(ii) Structure: icannatlarge.com. Significant discussion took place concerning the icannatlarge.com effort, and the steering group established for that effort. Some of that discussion concerned various details of the effort, at a time when the ALSC's forum list was unreachable. Other discussion covered the question whether or not members of DNSO constituencies should be allowed to participate in an at large effort. The links below are to messages at both ends of the spectrum of opinions raised. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org]

(iii) Waiting List Service. Ross Rader forwarded comments on the WLS from Michael Mann from Buydomains. [www.dnso.org]

Abel Wisman and Don Brown proposed GA feedback on the Waiting List Service, which lists various observations and concerns raised by GA members. The document concludes that "the GA does not support or endorse the WLS proposal in any manner", and suggests that attention be turned to the ICANN Redemption Grace document, and that policy and procedure for the handling of expired registrations be developed. "The policy and procedure should safeguard the rights of Registrants during the post-expiration grace period and it should contain specific language designed to prevent potential abuses by the Registries and Registrars." [www.dnso.org]

The document was supported by Kristy McKee, Harold Whiting, George Kirikos, Hugh Blair, Sotiris Sotiropoulos, David P. Farrar, Marc Schneiders, William X. Walsh, and Genie Livingstone.

(iv) DNSO funding. Verisign announced that it would redraw its offer to match any donations made to support the work of ICANN's Domain Name Supporting Organization and Names Council for up to $100,000. [www.dnso.org]

Peter de Blanc followed up to state that he expects Verisign "to match the donations to date, as small as they may be." [www.dnso.org]

Elisabeth Porteneuve pointed out that she believes that an "other donations" item of 9050 USD in 2000 "is a donation for matching funds". [www.dnso.org]

(v) ICANN staff draft towards Mission Statement. Alexander Svensson forwarded an ICANN Staff Draft titled "What ICANN Does", and published on March 7. In that draft, ICANN staff describes the corporation's current activities. [www.dnso.org]

The draft caused significant discussion. ICANN director at large Karl Auerbach produced a shorter list of "what ICANN ought to do", which is considerably shorter than the staff document. [www.dnso.org]

Elisabeth Porteneuve thanked Karl for "this excellent synthesis", and suggested to add IPv6 deployment to the list. [www.dnso.org]

As a comment to Karl's posting, Peter de Blanc (.VI) noted that "it is truly amazing that something once done by volunteers ... now costs over US $5 million per year to sustain a bureaucracy that did not exist prior to commercialization of the Internet." "Frankly," he continues, "I do not see the need to pay so much for so little. Like there is not even a [Quality of Service] guarantee on the operation of the root server system." [www.dnso.org]

Kent Crispin (now ICANN Staff) commented that there used to be paid IANA staff, that the Internet was much smaller in 1995/96, and that "the complexity of the things that IANA/ICANN does don't scale linearly with the size of the Internet." Concerning the cost, Kent claims that ICANN is "amazingly cheap," "given the demands made." [www.dnso.org]

Per Kølle (.DK) responded that Kent's note was "rubbish", and argued that "as far as TLD's is concerned ICANN/IANA is (only) managing a database with +250 entries." In a different posting, Peter de Blanc stated his agreement. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org]

In response to that, Kent noted that the cost for the .DK database (which Per had also quoted) was indeed quite high from a pure database management point of view. "The reason it costs you $3mil to run your database has almost nothing to do with the size of your database," Kent writes. "The cost is caused almost entirely by other factors. Similarly, the costs to ICANN/IANA for running the root zone have essentially nothing to do with the size of the root zone." [www.dnso.org]

In another note from Karl Auerbach, he pointed out that "much is *still* done by volunteers." "ICANN management," he claims, "likes to inflate the complexity of what it is doing." As an example, he quotes Stuart Lynn as saying that the operation of 12 root servers would cost $10,000,000 per year, and compares that with own estimates which yield about $3,000,000 per year. Also, he states that the cost ICANN itself currently incurs to run one of the root servers is not known. [www.dnso.org]

(vi) Root Server Operator MoU. In a branch of this discussion, Marc Schneiders asked where the memorandum of understanding between ICANN and the root server operators which Karl had mentioned was available. It turned out that the document seems to be unavailable. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(vii) dot-usa. Danny Younger forwarded a Reuters news item on dotusa.com: The web site where users could "register" .usa domain names was shut down by a US court, according to the Federal Trade Commission. There was then some discussion on what the decision could mean for various kinds of alt.roots, and where the differences between dotusa.com and the other alt.roots, and new.net, are. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

March 21, 2002

GA summary 2002-10

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news between March 13, 2002, and March 20, 2002.

GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org]. Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.

Note that, once again, no claims of completeness of this summary are made. A lot was said during the time covered, and a lot of this is left out of this summary. However, I hope that this summary can provide readers with a helpful collection of starting points for their own reading of the list archives. If you believe that I missed a significant position or sub-thread, please don't hesitate to follow up with your own summary of that.

List Monitoring

The posting rights of Jeff Williams have been suspended by the list monitor for eight weeks because of repeated violation of the list rules; the suspension was announced on Monday, March 18. No appeal was received by the GA's chairman as of today, March 21. [www.dnso.org]


(i) WLS. Verisign announced the publication of a collection of comments received regarding the WLS proposal at [www.verisign-grs.com]. At the point of time at which this announcement was made, the registrars' constituency had, however, not yet submitted its commentary. [www.dnso.org]

They submitted their comments (and posted them to the GA list as well) two days later. [www.dnso.org]

(ii) Verisign removing expiration dates from WHOIS data. George Kirikos pointed out that, for the domain auction-barn.com, the whois data as accessible at whois.networksolutions.com does not contain an expiration date. (As of this writing, the expiration date is still not given; T.R., 2002-03-21, 00:15 CET.) [www.dnso.org]

In a follow-up, Rick Wesson pointed out that the Registrar Accreditation Agreement _requires_ registrars to include the expiration date in their whois database. [www.dnso.org]

No explication for the lack of the information has, so far, been provided by Verisign.

(iii) Accra meeting documents posted. The DNSO secretariat has posted a collection of URLs and notes relating to the ICANN meetings in Accra at [www.dnso.org]. [www.dnso.org]

(iv) "Substance over rhetoric." ICANN's former chairman Esther Dyson suggested that ICANN should hire GA co-chair Alexander Svensson "to manage At-Large outreach for the next year," and offered to contribute to the funding; her pledge is supposed to be "matched by institutions such as Harvard's Berkman Center [...], Markle, Bertelsmann, and the like." [www.dnso.org]

This suggestion caused considerable debate on the mailing list.

During that discussion, Barbara Simons noted that "the number of 'instant' at-large members would be a six digit figure if you count everyone who registered and five digits if you just count those who confirmed their registration." [www.dnso.org]

In her response, Esther Dyson mentioned that the ALSC had asked for the list of at-large members, "to no avail." Asked by Barbara who turned down the ALSC's request, Esther noted that "Denise Michel would know the details, but it was staff (since the board did not meet to consider the request)." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

In a different branch of this thread, current ICANN chairman Vint Cerf noted that "the resolution that implemented the ALSC proposal, except for the election component, should be on the website already." (It certainly is now.) Michael Froomkin commented: "Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?" to which Vint responded: "Please also note the verbatim board discussion in which a number of directors expressed the hope that elections might be possible if/when the deficiencies documented in the ALSC report and elsewhere can be overcome." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(v) "Discussion draft -- ICANN reorganization." Danny Younger posted some "comments on the funding aspects of ICANN's problems." [www.dnso.org]

Peter de Blanc commented that the proposal that ICANN should charge each ccTLD $ 7,200 was "a disturbing concept," and pointed out that some ccTLDs have few registrants (with, in part, less than 500 names registered). "Those ccTLDs can hardly afford US $ 7,200. In fact in one of the countries I am referring to, a special permit is required to convert local cash to US $," Peter continued. He then reported about a conversation with Josh Eliot, who used to "perform the IANA function" prior to ICANN, and now works for a company which "provides DNS as a paid service to large clients [...]. They do this for a fee based on the number of 'DNS inquiries' they get [...]. Josh's company gives incredible QoS (Quality of Service) level guarantees," Peter writes. With root server operations in mind, he suggests that it "will be interesting to see what fees Josh's company will charge." [www.dnso.org]

Another note by Danny, stating that "perhaps we can obtain necessary funding without the need to actually seat governments on the board of ICANN," provoked a response from Vint Cerf, who stated that "the proposal that Stuart made would not put government employees on the board but would offer governments an opportunity to choose among a slate of candidates developed by a nominating committee." To this, Jon Weinberg responded that the proposal as published leaves the nomination process of board members to the governments. Vint replied that his statement reflects "the evolution of thinking since January 24." "The nominations process was one area that Stuart left kind of loose, not knowing what he might hear from the GAC," Vint writes. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

James Love suggested a "much different model for the governments" than the one imagined by Vint: "Giving (some) governments a direct role [...] will blur issues such as the legal authority of the entity and its accountability to the public." Also, Jamie asks, "what are you going to tell China?" In his reply, Vint conceded that "you may well be right that this won't work - which is one of the reasons we have asked the GAC to respond with its own ideas." Jamie then focused on the model of public-private partnerships used by Stuart Lynn, and commented that the structure suggested by the Lynn proposal "is pretty much the worst way to structure this." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(vi) "Motion for a vote of no confidence in the Board." Danny Younger proposed a "vote of no confidence in the board." [www.dnso.org]

In the subsequent debate, some agreed, some didn't.

Mike Roberts (ICANN's former president and CEO) pointed out that he doesn't "detect support for the Lynn plan from any significant stakeholder group thus far." The "Board has bent over backward not to endorse the plan," he notes. With respect to director representation and accountability, he notes that there are "three years of experience in which nomination, selection and seating of the Directors from the names, protocols and address areas has functioned better than one might expect." "Let's not be in a rush to jettison structures that are getting the job done, especially those, such as the DNSO, that are showing considerable recent improvement in quality and process," he writes. Concerning at-large elections, he notes that the board "left a door open for an initiative." He then goes on to comment on various points of the Lynn proposal, and opinions raised in the recent debate. I suggest you just read these comments in Mike's own words. [www.dnso.org]

March 25, 2002

GA summary 2002-11

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news between March 21, 2002, and March 25, 2002.

GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org]. Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.


(i) ICANN structure. In a thread started by Jefsey Morfin, Michael Froomkin asked participants to "remain open for the idea that many of the functions currently under the ICANN/IANA rubrics should be split off and handed to other groups, either new or existing." ICANN director Karl Auerbach followed up to state that "there are several reasons why the IANA contract should be transferred to a distinct and separate entity," including transparency of decision processes, funding, and a lack of need to "throw IANA into the political maelstrom that is ICANN." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

On a related topic, Danny Younger reported from a session at University of Pennsylvania, where Vint Cerf and Dave Farber "exchanged thoughts on the origins of the Internet and speculated as to its future." "It appears that both speakers had agree not to dwell on this topic," Danny writes. "This topic" means, of course, the paper published by Farber, Weinstein, and Neumann last weak. Danny's conclusion from private conversations following the session: "there still remain opportunities for us to present options to the Board which will allow for both enhanced participation and representation." [www.dnso.org]

Danny also submitted a restructuring proposal to the Evolution and Reform Committee. J. William Semich of .NU pointed out that the proposal "seems very weak" on the issue of ICANN funding, and reposted "some of the same concerns [he] posted to Ira Magaziner and the NTIA in Oct 1998 on the issue of funding ICANN." In that message, Semich criticized that ICANN's bylaws provide "NO accountability for its borrowing, spending, and fee structure." As a counter-force, he suggested a "'budget review committee' solely comprised of the groups that will fund the new Internet Authority," plus some alternative versions of how such a committee could work. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Also on funding, Danny forwarded a message from Elena Broitman to the registrars' list, where she reports on her work as a representative of the registrars' constituency on the Budget Advisory Group. George Kirikos commented that "it's a fallacious argument that registrars are the real funding source of ICANN." "Ultimately," he writes, "it is end-users who are funding ICANN." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

In a further comment on his own restructuring proposal, Danny also looked at the question (which was raised by Jefsey) how the director selection process suggested could be made dynamic, and came up with a simple, but interesting suggestion: "ICANN has previously accepted the notion that certain threshold requirements must be met for any constituent entity that seeks recognition. Carrying that logic forward, it may also be held that a constituent group must maintain a certain quantity of members lest it become disaccredited and lose the right to elect representatives to the Board." [www.dnso.org]

(ii) Expiration date missing from some whois database entries. In a follow-up to the last summary, Bruce Beckwith of Verisign Registrar pointed out that the lack of expiration data on auction-barn.com, which had been discussed on the GA list, was one out of "several domains that have suffered data problems." Also, he writes, the software bug which caused this was resolved "long ago. Any domain registered in the past two years [...] has accurate data, and the expiration date shows correctly." [www.dnso.org]

(iii) Domain name hoarding. Marc Schneiders reported a case (number9.org) in which a domain had expired a year ago, "but was still in the 'Unpaid Names Dept' of Register.COM." He was able to register that domain through Register.COM after sending them e-mail and making a phone call. His comment about the procedure: "In fact it stinks." [www.dnso.org]

(iv) "Advertising material" sent out by Verisign. Sotiris Sotiropoulos forwarded "A Warning To Our Customers" from godaddy.com's President Bob Parsons. According to that warning, Verisign is sending domain expiration notices which "are designed so that it is not obvious that the notices are from Verisign, Inc., as opposed to Go Daddy Software." "The purpose behind these notices is to get the unsuspecting customer to transfer to and renew their domain name(s) with Verisign Inc. at significantly higher prices," Parsons writes. (A scanned sample of such a notice is provided on the web site to which the message points.) [www.dnso.org]

Chuck Gomes commented that "the Verisign Registry has no involvement in issues like this nor does it have any authority with regard to competitive practices of registrars." [www.dnso.org]

On the same topic, William Walsh forwarded a message from the openSRS list, with a pointer to United States Postal Service regulations for mail "that reasonably could be considered a bill, invoice, or statement of account due, but is in fact a solicitation for an order." William suggests that the expiration notices "may be a violation of US law," and that recipients should file complaints with the US Postal Inspectors. [www.dnso.org]

About March 2002

This page contains all entries posted to No Such Weblog in March 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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