[Air-l] internet governance

Danny Butt db at dannybutt.net
Fri Apr 22 06:01:48 PDT 2005

Hi Jeremy

I'm pleased to know that you're working on Internet Governance for the AIR
conference. Hopefully you'll also be able to contribute comments on the
WGIG's papers. More voices are good. We should probably discuss some of
these questions in a specific governance forum, but I would like to suggest
a couple of things for the casual readers.

1) While the implementation of the Anycast system expands the geopolitical
*accessibility* of DNS root servers, it in no way expands the *control* of
them. It's kind of like arguing that Starbucks is international because it
shows up in a lot of countries. And the 13 "recently original" root servers
(10 of which are in the US) still have a critical role which the others
"mirror" (if they say strawberry frappuccino's on the menu, *it's on the
2) While I understand it is technically possible for individual root servers
to "roll their own" root zone file,  with the number of sites coming online
every day, in a practical sense they are reliant on the master file from the
"A" root server (which, as an irrelevant aside, I understand is not Anycast

3) Any edits to the master root zone file - which, let's remember, includes
*all* of the "country code top level domains" that we mistakenly associate
with actual countries (.jp, .ie, etc) - are approved by the US Department of
Commerce. Not good if, for example, you're at war with the US.

4) Almost no one - outside the Chinese government ;) - wants to see the ITU
running the internet governance show. But still, governance of any sort
attains its legitimacy through  accountability to stakeholders, and the
current US-dominated bodies have a response which is routinely "What's the
problem? We don't *really* run anything?" That wears thin after a while, so
you might want to watch how your suggestions are received along the lines
that, technically, it's a lot more open than it appears :).



Danny Butt 
New Media | Research | Education | Development | Consulting
db at dannybutt.net | http://www.dannybutt.net
+64 21 456 379 | Aotearoa New Zealand
( in Australia through June 05 - +61 410 524 486 )

On 4/22/05 1:35 AM, "jeremy hunsinger" <jhuns at vt.edu> wrote:
> I think that depends on what they mean by 'internet governance' as I
> noted earlier.  If you mean icann, it is representative in a sense.  if
> you mean ietf, etc. it is representative in a sense.  however, if you
> mean the u.s. contract, then of course it is not representative at all.
>   if you mean the powers that be in the non-state and non-technical
> sense, then those are not representative, and that will be covered in
> part at my hopefully soon to be accepted ir6.0 talk this year entitled
> Capital Policy: the transnational subpolitics of internet governance.
> not really, because while ICANN can direct, who will enforce?  other
> than economic enforcement... there may not be any real system of
> enforcement within the system other than exclusion, and that would
> require a unified effort, one that I doubt is possible.
> actually, you can remove routing at any border or any endpoint, just
> like you can add it at any of those places.  true, that doesn't make it
> disappear for everyone, but you can make whole areas of the world
> disappear for anyone depending on your place in the chain.  That is
> what is interesting about dns.  by the way although icann and the
> post-arpa roots are the dominant hegemony, they are not the only  name
> system in operation, they can be ignored entirely if your country has
> the technical capacity to do so, which many countries do.
> also, we should note that while the ruling root sits in the u.s.
> currently, the other root servers are fairly well distributed in
> various nations http://www.root-servers.org/.  what that means to me is
> that in a realpolitik mode, the u.s. is only governing by consent,
> because any given one of those could break and become an independent
> root should they so desire or should the authority in their country
> demand it.
> yes, I should say that I support the dissolution of icann and the
> movement of naming to a u.n. associated body, but do not currently see
> that it should be the ITU.

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