Sean Aylward Smith on Tue, 20 Oct 1998 10:29:39 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> DNS: Long Winded and Short Sighted

i dont really know enough to take sides in the DNS debate, and i sure as
hell dont want to get caught up in a proxy fight between <nettime> and
<>, but there are a few points worth making. 


pg stated that: 'If users want vanity license plates, then they should
have them. If business want their trademark as their web address, then
they should have them.'

sorry, but personal (or corporate) desire is NOT a good enough reason to
make public policy. even liberal political theory recognises this to be
the case: its why Hobbes devised his Leviathan and Garrett Hardin wrote
'The Tragedy of the Commons'. such (bourgeois) arguments about 'free
choice' always end with (bourgeois) problems of 'scarcity': if we all want
the same thing, how do we adjudicate who gets it? and the answer is always
resolved as 'whoever has the most power'. because this rhetoric of 'free
choice' always masks the fact that one's ability to make a choice is
always constrained by one's ability to enforce it. as existing
intellectual property disputes have shown, even if i _want_
or, im not going to get it because the representatives of
ronald will sue my arse - and win - for breach of copyright and trademark


tb argues (i think) that we dont need infinite TLD's cos we can have
'' with, as i read it, a concommitant understanding that
advances in name recognition search engines would make unnecessary the
knowledge of the actual domain name (in much the same way as the current
DNS makes knowing IP addresses unnecessary). however, doesnt this just
defer the question of (again) intellectual property infringement from the
DNS system to the searcg engine? if i search for 'FEED' am i going to be
sent to ''; ''; ''; etc...? 


pg argues that: 'With the stroke of a delete key, whole countries can be
blacked out from the rest of the net.  With the "." centralized, this is
easily done.  With the "." decentralized such a deletion is not
unilaterally possible. Control the "." and you control access.'

has this been done? (this is a serious question: contrast it with access
to newsgroups, which is defined by webmasters, much as pg seems to be
suggesting DNS access should be. personally, i trust a committee of
competing interests (even if only corporate interests) to not restrict my
access to individual sites or entire domains far more than i trust
individual webmasters and site owners. my ISP, for example, restricts
access to a whole heap of the 'alt.' newsgroups - what is to stop them
from restricting all my access to '.za' or '.de' for example? (more
concretely: german authorities have being trying to shut down - without
much success - access to illegal (in germany, that is) kurdish politcal
groups based out of '.nl' sites. if they (or the webmasters under their
national jurisdiction - the same thing) control the '.', they control
access... dont they?) sure, i can reroute my newsgroups and presumably
domain name access with a bit of knowledge, but lets be clear about this:
'deregulating' DNS control is an argument for reifying internet access
according to yr possession of the necessary cultural capital. its an
argument for _restricting_ access, not expanding it. 

it is, in fact, an argument about privatising (and thus stratifying) a
public domain for to facilitate the extraction of surplus value for
private benefit. 

or at least thats the way it sounds ;)

sean smith 

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