News Review: ​IANA Transition, What If The World Gives Up On ICANN?​

DomainMondoShiningLight ©2013domainmondo.com All Rights Reserved
Domain Mondo's review of the past week and look ahead [pdf]:

IANA transition: to delay or not? "In many ways, a soft interim role for the US Government, or a short delay would actually ensure that the transition details are gracefully accepted by the whole world," wrote one ICANN stakeholder from India on the CCWG-Accountability mail list, after last Tuesday's Congressional hearing on the IANA transition. He later wrote, ​"What if the [IANA] Transition goes through but causes the world to give up on ICANN?​ ... ​The promise is now in full view of the whole world, and the transition process is underway, so, why do we talk in terms of the promise being broken? ... Just because ICANN is to be asked to have a few more hours of conversation (so to speak) on its Accountability framework? ... Such a soft alternative path would in no way imply that the existing stability of the Internet identifier system is in anyway compromised ..." Unfortunately, harsh critics of the wise words above, inside the "ICANN community," such as IAB Chair Andrew Sullivan, and others, just 'don't get it.' The reservations regarding the IANA transition have nothing to do with the technical aspects of the transition, any more than they were the cause of the U.S. government threatening to pull the IANA contract away from ICANN in 2012, but instead, the concerns are all about ICANN's 'governance standards'--accountability, ethics, conflicts of interest, transparency, etc.,--and always have been. Heed the words above, and of others like Kieren McCarthy. You've been 'burned' before by ICANN corporate, and now you have been warned.
 It has been a very busy week in the IANA stewardship transition, summarized by noting several of this week's posts on Domain Mondo:
•  Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA-3) introduced Wednesday (May 25, 2016), H.R.5329 to require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to extend the IANA functions contract unless it certifies that the United States Government has secured sole ownership of the .gov and .mil top-level domains (TLDs), and for other purposes, referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Note: At least theoretically, TLDs aren't "owned"--see RFC 1591--although ICANN has been acting as if they are, "selling" new gTLDs for $185,000 down + annual fees, and even auctioning some off for millions of dollars (USD). The ICANN base registry agreement (pdf) provides for 10 years terms renewable for successive 10 year terms, apparently in perpetuity, but for material breach. But there isn't any registry agreement  for either .MIL or .GOV although there are for other legacy gTLDs such as .COM, .NET, and .ORG. This same issue was raised by Congress a year ago, but ICANN and its "ICANN community," via the IANA stewardship transition planning groups, 'dropped the ball' in their dysfunctional rush to meet 'deadlines:'  From the CWG-Stewardship mail list, May 14, 2015:
"I think Steve DelBianco suggested during one of the hearings that .mil and .gov could enter into a contract with ICANN. That would make them contracted parties and perhaps could be considered gTLD registries, but I expect that is some way off and considering them to be gTLDs would potentially be controversial
"A couple of the Representatives raised concerns that .gov and .mil​ would be vulnerable to a transfer away from the USG, and asked the witnesses if ownership (or perpetual control) of .gov and .mil by the US should be ensured in the transition. Several panelists answered in the affirmative and I don't believe any opposed. We have not really discussed this issue. I think it behooves us to deal with it. Given the historical and current use of these two domains I would not expect too much controversy. Although not mentioned, .edu falls into roughly the same category. We should consider if we should accord it similar treatment."
One easy solution to the above quandary, which most .COM domain name registrants would favor, would be to reclassify the legacy gTLDs (per RFC 1591) .COM, .NET, .ORG, .EDU, .GOV, .MIL as ccTLDs assigned to the U.S. (which historically, in practice (pdf), they always have been), with a mutual declaration by all parties, including the respective registry operators, U.S. government, and ICANN, that .COM, .NET, and .ORG will remain, in perpetuity, open ccTLDs for registration and use by the entire global internet community. In addition, the only other "legacy gTLD" per RFC 1591, .INT, should be assigned to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) [domain name: itu.int], an international UN agency, for TLD operation and administration, a role which ITU has been ready, willing and able to take on since at least 2003. ITU was involved in the founding of ICANN in 1998 and participates in ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Current registry operator of .INT is IANA, a department of ICANN, which is a blatant conflict of interest.

•  ICANN's new gTLDs Threaten Enterprise Computers warns U.S. government: "... In combination with the New generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) program’s incorporation of previously undelegated gTLDs for public registration, leaked WPAD queries could result in domain name collisions with internal network naming schemes. Collisions could be abused by opportunistic domain registrants to configure an external proxy for network traffic, allowing the potential for man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks across the Internet ..." --WPAD Name Collision Vulnerability | Alert (TA16-144A) | US-CERT.gov (May 23, 2016) Systems Affected: Windows, OS X, Linux systems, and web browsers with WPAD enabled. See also: US-CERT Alert: WPAD (Web Proxy Auto-Discovery) Name Collision Vulnerability | Verisign.com.

•  Over at ICANN.org, they appear to be ignorant of the above security risk ICANN has inflicted upon the global internet community, or more likely, don't even care, since ICANN has been busy celebrating all this week ICANN's willful pollution of the global internet DNS, declaring A "Grand" Milestone: New gTLD Program Reaches 1,000th Delegation | ICANN.org (by Akram Atallah, ICANN GDD President), as if that is some kind of "achievement." Pathetic.

•  Bottom-up or Top-down? About 40 American tech companies--including Amazon, Facebook, and Google--who collectively call themselves the "Internet Association," wrote an "open letter" to ICANN's new President and CEO Göran Marby (who has just started in that position) reminding him, who they were, including "We support the IANA transition," followed by "we recommend that ICANN adhere to several [of our] suggestions ..." What would the global multi-stakeholder community, and ICANN, do without U.S. private sector 'special interest' lobbyists-stakeholders directing ICANN management?

•  There are no open issues in which comments close this coming week at ICANN.

•  This week in tech: 

•  Five most popular posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this week on DomainMondo.com:
  1. IANA Transition, What's Next, Years of Litigation in U.S. Federal Courts?
  2. Enhancing ICANN Accountability, Much Work Left for Work Stream 2
  3. News Review [May 22]: ICANN, IANA Transition, Capitol Hill Reality Check
  4. New ICANN Bylaws and Amended, Restated Articles of Incorporation
  5. Google vs Apple, Round 2, Valuation, $GOOG vs $AAPL Market Cap (video)
 Other Reading Recommendations (emphasis added):
  1. Peter Thiel, Tech Billionaire, Reveals Secret War With Gawker | NYTimes.com“I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”--Peter Thiel. But see eBay founder backing Gawker’s appeal of Hulk sex tape verdict | NYPost.com"“First Look Media is looking into organizing amicus support for Gawker in its legal fight ... By filing the amicus briefs in support of Gawker, First Look could effectively elevate the trial into a First Amendment rights case by pitting Thiel against dozens of media organizations — many of which are owned by other billionaires." See also An Open Letter to Peter Thiel by Nick Denton | Gawker.com.
  2. Congress could soon make it much harder for police officers to take innocent people’s cash | WashingtonPost.com: "... Civil asset forfeiture is a controversial law enforcement tool that allows authorities to take cash and property from people without ever convicting a person with a crime ... In 2014, police took more property from people than burglars did ...A 2014 Washington Post investigation found that police had taken billions of dollars in cash from motorists without search warrants, and without charging them with a crime ..."
  3. The Do Not Call List Used to Be Magical. Now Robocalls Are Out of Control. What Happened? | Slate.com.
  4. Apple Is a Dead Money Stock | WolfStreet.com
  5. Traders’ Hopes Dim as Brazil Dream Team Faces Fiscal Nightmare | Bloomberg.com. I don't know if Dilma Rousseff committed any impeachable offenses, but fiscally, her management of Brazil was a disaster. Brazil is in its worst recession in a century.
  6. GoDaddy.com launches Flare app to give entrepreneurs feedback on ideas and build community | BetaKit.com
  7. Ultimate Market Timer Sam Zell: “Know What the Problem Is?” | WolfStreet.com 
  8. ​Chromebook + Android apps = Trouble for Windows PCs | ZDNet.comChromebooks are already outselling Macs. See also Why Apple Won't Sell Touchscreen Mac Computers | SeekingAlpha.com.
  9. Microsoft and Facebook to build an innovative new subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean | PRnewswire.com.
  10. Avoid Alibaba And All Known Associates [Yahoo] | SeekingAlpha.com. See also The Yahoo Circus.
  11. Election 2016 UPDATEI'm For Bernie | Lefsetz.com"You just can’t trust Hillary. AND I’M A DEMOCRAT! I don’t like people who view systems as their plaything and ignore rules, and the e-mail server report illustrates that Clinton views herself as above the law, and that’s everything I hate about modern America ... I’m predicting Trump will win. Come on you holier-than-thou liberals attacking the man for being a flailing idiot with insane policies. Don’t you get it, people want CHANGE! On the right AND left! ... it’s Clinton and her ilk who everybody’s pissed at. The “Inside the Beltway” crowd with no clue how the rest of us live. They think the world is their plaything, and it bugs me to no end. This election is not about facts, but FEELINGS!"
  12. One More Thing--Election 2016 Media Mishaps--"By February 28th [2016], CNN called it [hashtag #NeverTrump] a movement, which ironically coincides with the moment that it declined being one on Twitter ... the frequency of posts peaked on the 27th [of Feb.] at 533,618, and was halved 282,906 the following day. #NeverTrump never again regained its early promise." --#WeCouldHaveSeenThemComing, Trump, Sanders, and the Undervalued Metrics of Twitter Followers and Engagement (pdf), George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, p. 14, emphasis added. (Hat Tip: @UnderMyPalmElection2016 | DomainMondo.com.)

Have a great week!

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo


Domain Mondo archive