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Re: <nettime> Who will own and control the Internet's infrastructure?
Ronda Hauben on Mon, 10 Oct 2005 23:44:16 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Who will own and control the Internet's infrastructure?

On Sun, 9 Oct 2005, Alexander Galloway wrote:

I want to agree with Alexander that we want news articles that
alert people to actual technical problems and that is what I
set out to do with the article about what is happening at the
international level with regard to who will control the Internet's
names (domain names), numbers and protocols.

> > The struggle over who will control the Internet's infrastructure
> > escalated last
> > week at a meeting in Geneva. Following is an article describing
> > what is happening.
> > It would be good to see discussion about this as it is a
> > significant development.
> >
> > [...]
> >
> > <http://www.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?
> > menu=3DA11100&no=3D25=
> > 1118&rel_no=3D1>
> "How can one country control the Internet?"

Alexander and I also agree that there is a serious problem with ICANN.

Alexander, however, seems to believe that what ICANN does is limited
to domain names.

While the visible problems of ICANN's administration have to do
with domain names, ICANN was also formed to have control over
IP numbers and protocols.

As far as I know, these continue to function under ICANN's administration
and under the possibility of ICANN exerting its control over these

It probably would be good to know more about what happens with
these aspects of ICANN's responsibility.

However, as far as I know, these entities still exist under ICANN,
and as far as ICANN is problemmatic, there is the basis for these
entities to also have a problem as long as they are under ICANN.


> The internet is a complex, global, distributed network. The structures
> of command and control embedded in it are infinitely more sophisticated
> and far-reaching than one non-profit organization in California.

I am not clear what you mean by "command and control embedded". The
Internet was created as a research project begun in 1973 and involved
researchers from different countries in its earliest development.

Perhaps it would help if you look at a paper I am working on about
the international origins of the Internet

As an aside that perhaps may interest you, in this paper I also
document that  before there was any single domain name system,
there were different domain name systems used by US researchers and
British researchers.

Peter Kirstein of the British research team that worked to create the
tcp/ip protocol development along with US and Norwegian researchers
writes that during the early development of the tcp/ip protocol there
was: a way to have 'a new form of interconnection' which "allowed
all the British network developments to occur independently of the U.S.
ones, but traffic still to flow easily between the networks."

He explains that,

  "This was not an interconnection at the network level, but at the
  application protocol level (Telnet, FTP initially). This form of
  interconnection was new at the time, (and-ed) allowed the different
  networks to develop quite independently. In fact it was to exercise this
  new concept, that all the traffic between the U.K. and ARPANET was
  justified in the '70s and early '80s. Later in the '80s, this concept
  even allowed the U.S. to develop Mockapetris' Domain Name System, while
  the U.K. developed the 'Network Registration Service'."

"While these developments were quite different," Kirstein notes that, "the
relay function allowed them to look to users as a single network....
Clearly application level relays are not adequate in performance or
robustness, however, they played an important role prior to the world
agreeing that IP was the way to go." (See the article by V.G. Cerf and
P.T. Kirstein, "Issues in Packet Network Interconnection," Proc IEEE 66,
11, pp 1386-1408, November 1978. This is a special issue devoted to packet
internetworking issues.)

I post the above in part to agree that the IP numbers are a critical
part of the Internet's infrastructure, as are the protocols and who
these are administered is critical. That what is involved with regard
to ICANN also relates to these, not only to domain names.
> In the spirit of ongoing discussion...
Yes - it is important there be discussion. And it is important that the
actual issues be brought to light, not that one only thinks that the ICANN
structure has only to do with domain names, thought that is what is


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