nettime on Tue, 29 Jun 1999 20:59:55 +0200 (CEST)

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Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 18:43:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: (Ronda Hauben)
Subject: Computer science or the "market" to provide protection for Internet?

Following is another post from the IFWP list about ICANN which I
thought those on Nettime would find of interest: (William X. Walsh) wrote:

WW> The internet, by definition, is a network of interconnected networks.
WW> These networks are not a "uniform" set of networks. They are diverse,
WW> and the attempt to force on them a set of policies that are "uniform"
WW> in nature, when there is no compelling technical or legal reason for
WW> doing so, is difficult to understand.

WW> The ultimate consensus of the internet stakeholders will be letting
WW> the market decide which models will work and succeed.  Those that do
WW> not, will be forced to change their models or die off. =20

The Internet is a communications medium. It is not some mythical
"open market" ideology. 

It was created under the Information Processing Techniques Office
(IPTO) at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), *not* via 
some corporate or private framework.

IPTO was a premier model for the leadership of the computer science
community in the U.S. during much of its existence from 1962-1986.

The diverse networks *internetwork* because efforts were
made by the founding fathers of the Internet to create an
open architectural model and because the IPTO made it possible
to have the broad view and government connection to do what
was needed to make the grassroots standards process function.

The crucial need for the Internet is the government-science
interface within government to make it possible to have the 
collaborative and cooperative relationships that will
solve the problem of how to deal with the need for globally
unique IP number. If the IP system which controls the Internet
falls into the wrong hands will put all users of the Internet 
at the mercy of those who control the IP number system. Similarly
with the root servers system, the domain name systems and the 
protocols process.

Government is an institution that has grown up over many
years to do certain things, some of which are to provide
for standards activity and for the kind of centralized
functions that are needed to make the Internet viable.

All of this is being ignored in the effort to claim that
ICANN can be a substitute for government accountability.
Or that it can be the entity that substitutes for the 
kind of support for science that today takes government

The effort to substitute the so called "market" for
the computer science community in providing the needed
standards decisions and framework, and to substitute
ICANN for government is either ill informed or hostile
to the Internet and its future as a communications medium.