2015-06-08

Internet DNS Root Stability, New gTLD Domains, ICANN Study RFP

UPDATE: The fragilista. Frequently found spending a lot of time in ICANN meetings, they prefer to tinker with things they do not understand rather than doing nothing. They tend to mistake the unknown for the nonexistent. They lack humility and respect for the first law of ecology: we can never do merely one thing. Any action we take results in some unwanted consequences. We should avoid small, immediate, and visible benefits that introduce the possibility for large (and possibly invisible) side effects. Less is more. When we mess with an existing (complex) system we’re intervening; we can never do merely one thing. According to Nassim Taleb, the problem with the fragilista is that they “make you engage in policies and actions, all artificial, in which the benefits are small and visible, and the side effects (are) potentially severe and invisible.” An example is ICANN's new gTLDs policy and program--
"... [that] does not mean that 'adding hundreds of new entries per year to the root is safe.' Our ability to survey the regions in which discontinuities may lie for one or more of the root zone management functions is limited to assessment of risk, not absolute conclusions about 'safety'... 'Any increase in the size or volatility of the root zone involves risk' ... --Root Scaling Study Report (pdf) on the Impact on the DNS Root System of Increasing the Size and Volatility of the Root Zone (7 September 2009) (emphasis added) 
ICANN foolishly decided to expand the generic top-level domains (gTLDs) from just 22 gTLDs to more than 1300 new gTLDs (new generic top-level domains), without taking necessary prudent precautions, and yet knowing that new gTLD domain names would "break stuff" and "fail to work as expected on the internet" and could negatively impact the stability or security of the entire Internet DNS. So now ICANN has decided to issue a RFP (request for proposal) to determine "the impact of the New gTLD Program on the DNS root system." Here's the ICANN announcement:

ICANN Root Stability Study RFP: "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is seeking one or more providers to conduct a technical study examining the impact of the New gTLD Program (the Program) on the DNS root system. Consistent with its mission supporting the security and stability of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers, ICANN will undertake an examination of the Program’s impact on the DNS root system. The selected provider(s) will design and execute one or more studies incorporating the collection and analysis of data from root server operators, historical performance data, data gathered from previous studies, and other tools and measures. ICANN is seeking one or more qualified providers to manage this complex exercise in a timely and efficient manner. A review of the [New gTLDs] Program for security and stability impact is a previous commitment based on advice from ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee [GAC] and other discussions. Specifically, ICANN committed to review the effects of the New gTLD Program on the operations of the DNS root system, and to postpone delegations in a future round until it is determined that the delegations in the 2012 round have not jeopardized the root system's security or stability.

"The goals of this study include, at a minimum:
  • Executing a thorough review of the impact of the Program on the security and stability of the DNS.
  • Identifying what steps, if any, should be undertaken as a prerequisite to adding more TLDs to the root zone.
  • Identifying what steps, if any, should be undertaken by the community going forward to assess the state of the root zone on an ongoing basis.
"For additional information, complete timeline, and instructions for submitting responses please click. [ZIP, 983 KB] Proposals should be submitted to RootStabilityStudy-RFP@icann.org by 23:59 UTC on 2 July 2015." (emphasis added)

The real question is whether ICANN will hire a professional and competent firm and allow it to assess and make determinations without undue influence or interventions from self-interested, self-serving "stakeholders" of the new gTLD domain names industry or its ICANN sycophants?

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