Milton Mueller on Tue, 20 Oct 1998 10:50:17 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> U.S. lawmakers start probe of Internet name reform

   WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House Commerce Committee said Friday it
had opened an investigation into the Clinton administration's drive to
privatize the Internet's name and address system, following complaints
that reform plans were drafted behind closed doors without public input.

 Committee chairman Thomas Bliley, Republican of Virginia, sent letters
on Thursday to Clinton's top Internet policy advisor Ira Magaziner and
Secretary of Commerce William Daley criticizing the reform process and
demanding communications and records related to recent proposals, the
committee said.

 The administration in June asked the private sector to create a
consensus plan for privatizing the domain name system. Earlier this
month, the Commerce Department received a plan with the backing of many
Internet players that proposed handing over control of the system to a
nonprofit corporation based in California.

 ``I am concerned about the manner in which the process of privatizing
the governance of the DNS (Domain Name System) has apparently
unraveled,'' Bliley wrote. ``A loss of credibility in the Internet
community at large will seriously undermine the ability of the new
corporation to administer the Domain Name System and the stability of
the Internet itself.''

 Bliley asked Magaziner and Daley to explain the administration's legal
basis for reforming the system and to explain how involved the
administration was in developing the leading plan submitted.

 The administration was expected to announce its intentions shortly,
after accepting public comments on the plan and several other

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