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[Comment-Dnso] "I"cannnot. "WE"cann. This pinprick is no substitute for ending NSI's monopoly.
ICANN will succeed or fail depending on how well it manages the ending
NSI's monopoly in .com and other gTLDs.
Each day of delay is worth at least $US half a million to NSI and it's
Unsurprisingly, NSI/SAIC has mounted a very effective rearguard action.
The most effective part of that has been the neutralizing of the USG
Department of Commerce to a supervisory role almost as ineffective as
previous cosy relationship with the NSF.
Unsurprisingly it has taken ICANN some time, as a new player with very
limited resources and authority and no mass base whatever, to get to
with that situation.
Trivial in comparison is NSI diversionary efforts to foster noisy
ICANN's real and alleged failings.
Yet those diversions appear to be what currently preoccupies the Board,
evidenced by this amendment.
I see nothing wrong with the substance of the bylaw amendment.
What I do regard as wrong is the Board's focus on such trivial pinpricks
NSI in a situation where it should instead be concentrating on how to
DOC incompetence/obstruction and obtain the authority it obviously needs
end the monopoly.
By imposing US Government policy concerning trademark issues in the
Whitepaper, ICANN was launched with a contradictory brief to implement a
down policy as rapidly as possible and at the same time establish a
This has greatly assisted NSI in mobilizing opposition to ICANN.
If the WIPO recommendations are so important to the USG, it should be
to offer something in return.
ICANN needs a strong base to tackle a major project like dismantling a
dollar monopoly. That base does not lie among veterans of the "domain
It lies out there among the domain holders who at present are quite
of what is and is not happening.
At present ICANN has very little bargaining power against those
USG circles that are mobilized by NSI/SAIC.
It has little bargaining power because it has no mass base to compensate
it's lack of authority and resources.
By carrying out the White paper mandate to impose US policy on
before carrying out the White paper mandate to end the monopoly and the
white paper mandate to establish a broad based consensus, ICANN is
depriving itself of what little bargaining power it has.
At the very least the Board should announce (with more diplomatic
that implementing the top down USG policy on trademarks will not be
unless ICANN first obtains sufficient credibility or clout by
demonstrating that it
does in fact have the necessary authority to end the NSI monopoly.
If the "testbed" is again prolonged with registrars only able to operate
dictated terms the Board should:
1) Publicly open RFPs (without DOC approval) for a neutral party to
a Shared Registry System instead of NSI. (Note that SAIC has already
up obvious possibile operators experienced with similar databases such
and Bellcore, but it really is a pretty trivial system to implement.
is required to implement a more complex system anyway). This should be a
RFP issued together with most of the public rootserver operators and
2) Publicly announce that ICANN cannot deliver on the Whitepaper mandate
end the NSI monopoly unless and until the USG grants it the authority to
actually award that tender without DOC approval and cannot deliver on
Whitepaper mandate to announce an "internet community consensus" for
WIPO until it has established credibility by implementing the clear
to end the monopoly. Consequently no further action will be taken on
such as trademarks, dispute policies etc until such time as ICANN
is granted the authority it needs to implement the consensus that
really does exist. (This need not preclude ICANN reaching an interim
accommodation with NSI continuing as Registry once NSI actually has to
with ICANN on the subject rather than dealing with DOC).
3) Adopt By-Law changes that make a substantive difference to the
ICANN's base instead of a pinprick.
Those bylaw changes should be to implement the system of direct
for half the ICANN board promptly in a manner that reduces issues about
DNSO Names Council to irrelevance.
Simply provide that each Administrative Contact for a domain shall have
(not 1 vote per domain), with registration by the simple process of
to respond to ICANN email sent to the contact address.
NSI has "spammed" every domain holder with it's commercial
ICANN has not contacted them at all, yet claims to act on their behalf.
Waiting for the Whois database to be safely under escrow was a
policy, but it has taken too long.
The Registrars already enrolled have sufficient resources to assist
ICANN in downloading the entire Whois database for the purpose of
NSI (and DOC) to contact domain holders directly. They will be far more
to contribute resources "in kind" by tackling that project quickly than
contribute sufficient cash for ICANN to establish independence from DOC.
After all, they need access to compete with NSI anyway. So establishing
updating an ICANN Whois dump that they can all obtain bulk copies of
in their immediate mutual interest, as well as ending the NSI nonsense
If DOC had been serious they would have got IETF to design the SRS, not
If ICANN is serious it will get the Registrars to dump the database, not
wait for DOC to do it. Verio already runs a DomainWatch service adequate
for providing Registrars with daily lists of all new domains so they can
whois lookups needed to keep the database up to date. They can easily
divide up the task of notifying all domain holders and ICANN itself can
easily do the formal verification through whois lookups and confirmation
to the relatively small numbers (even if tens of thousands) who actually
By reaching out in this way instead of focussing inwards, your initial
constituency would then immediately be tens of thousands rather than the
pathetic current target of 5,000 "members". Ultimately it could be
thousands from among the millions of domain holders.
Attempts at "capture" would then take the form of efforts by NSI, CORE,
AOL, ISOC/IETF, trademark interests, and other players to get out there
mobilize the vote. Entrenchment of fully Proportional Representation as
method of counting the vote will ensure that the efforts of the various
will be successful precisely in proportion to the extent to which they
everybody about ICANN rather than the extent to which they engage in
backroom lobbying. Temporary partial capture of a majority of half the
positions will cause opponents of any faction achieving that to mobilize
next elections and ensure even wider participation. (This requires bylaw
changes to entrench PR so that a temporary majority would be unable to
rid of it, and for frequent elections/recalls).
The principal effect will be to widely publicize the issues far beyond
circles that have been arguing about them for the past few years. The
involvement, the more ridiculous the petty squabbling that has delayed
the NSI monopoly would look. With doubts about being able to enrol a
5,000 potential members, what on earth makes you think you can dismantle
billion dollar monopoly, whether that monopoly has 1 seat or 3 or none?
With every Admin Contact eligible to vote, how many do you think would
support the DOC's efforts to retain NSI as Registry?
Focus outwards on the domain holders, not inwards on the jockeying for
among the tiny handful that have been involved so far.
This also has much wider implications concerning the evolution of global
The European Commission would still be completely insignificant compared
with national governments if there had been no direct elections to the
European Parliament and no national referendums (some won, some lost)
rather than just national government decisions on major issues.
An ICANN based primarily on "constituency" nominations like the DNSO
will remain completely insignificant. An ICANN with a mass base among
domain holders will be very significant indeed.
One thing NSI is right about is that pretty soon most email users, that
most inhabitants of the planet, will need their own domain names.