Judge Says No Way To Attorneys General Looking To Block IANA Transition

from the transition-is-a-go dept

Well, this isn’t much of a surprise, but following the ridiculous last minute attempt to block the IANA transition by four state attorneys general (who have absolutely no standing or argument), a judge has flatly denied their request for an injunction meaning that the transition is a go for midnight tonight, barring any really last minute unforeseen methods to block it (or a desperate leapfrog to an appeals court).

Having spent part of the morning responding to clueless conspiracy theorists on my earlier post, I’m sure you’re going to hear the standard ridiculous lizard people warnings about how this is enabling “the UN” or “leftists” and “globalists” to “takeover” the internet and how it will allow China to build the “Great Firewall” into the core functioning of the internet. None of that is even remotely true. What happens tonight at midnight is… nothing, basically. ICANN, which has managed the IANA function through its multistakeholder process for almost two decades… will continue to do so. Nothing changes. The only “change” is that the US Commerce Dept. no longer has to issue a contract to ICANN for the IANA functions. And that’s it.

But, at a larger scale, what this does is preserve the way internet governance currently works, and makes sure that governments are not the one running the show. Under the ICANN setup, things are not decided at the whim of any government, but through a much more involved process, that allow lots of non-government players — including the engineers who built the internet and keep it functioning — to have a major say in what happens. This is good. ICANN is far from a perfect vehicle for internet governance, but this change is a good one.

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Comments on “Judge Says No Way To Attorneys General Looking To Block IANA Transition”

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39 Comments
Adrian Lopez says:

Could the US government retake control of the root zone file should ICANN fail to manage it in neutral fashion someday? That, to me, is the key issue. Who wrests control away from ICANN should they fail to serve the needs of the public? That used to be an option; it isn’t anymore. Essentially, we are now stuck with ICANN unless ISPs decide to adopt a different root (along with the horrible mess that would create).

ICANN’s approach to new TLDs has been shameful — a cash grab that benefits no one but registries, registrars, and themselves. They even granted a monopoly on adult-related TLDs to a single registry (ICM), with rules on what kinds of content is allowed on them (read item #3 of ICM Registry’s anti-abuse policy — it seems benign until you consider fictional or borderline but legal content). ICANN is now regulating content, and are almost impossible to get rid of. If that doesn’t worry you, it should.

allengarvin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They even granted a monopoly on adult-related TLDs to a single registry (ICM), with rules on what kinds of content is allowed on them

Uh, yeah, because .xxx is a Sponsored TLD. Use policies are not only allowed, they’re expected by the nature of STLDs. ICANN is not regulating any content here; they’ve created a TLD where the sponsor is expected to develop its own use policies consistent with the proposed nature of the TLD.

The process for authorizing STLDs is pretty transparent: https://archive.icann.org/en/tlds/stld-apps-19mar04/

If that doesn’t worry you

It doesn’t.

Adrian Lopez says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Another thing…

If sponsored TLD policies concerned only the qualifications for obtaining a domain (e.g. .aero for the aerospace industry, .coop for cooperatives, etc.) it wouldn’t be much of a problem, but as soon as content becomes an issue the ICANN process becomes a tool for censorship. Just look at the rationale ICM used for gaining a monopoly on literally all adult-related domains (.xxx, .sex, .porn, and .adult): control over content and website practices was a key issue in their proposal to ICANN.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Side Point: My biggest issue with STLDs was that the TLDs themselves were already used by various people internally. ICANN basically wrested domains in use and started to sell them to the highest bidder. Most notable was New.Net, which I don’t think exists anymore (.travel and .xxx) but still irked me a bit.

TKnarr (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Who could wrest control away from the US Government if they failed to manage it in a neutral fashion? They’ve demonstrated they’re quite willing to ignore the rest of the world when deciding questions related to domain names. The transition, OTOH, will render non-neutral management less of a possibility because, unlike under the current system, IANA will be run by all stakeholders and not just one government. ICANN won’t have any say in it’s management or decisions after the transition, and having to convince governments, companies, registries, ISPs and public representatives that a proposal is correct and fair is going to be enough of a problem even when the proposal is completely reasonable and it’s going to be nigh-impossible when one or more of the governing stakeholder groups disagrees with it.

Glathull (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The extent to which ICANN regulates content (which I happen to disagree with you about) is exactly the same as it was yesterday.

The IANA piece of the puzzle now has slightly different oversight.

That’s all. If you want to take up an issue with ICANN or IANA, nothing about the channel for doing that has changed.

You go to the same place (the internet), and you talk to the same people. The only change is that our most likely corrupt and very definitely incompetent government no longer has almost nothing to do with it.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You realize anyone can set up a parallel domain system anyway, right? It’s been done.

The US government does not and never had control of the root anyway. Of course any crazy government can try to take control of it. What the heck do people imagine is the difference between “US” and “Other” in the first place?

Anonymous Coward says:

In Mike’s frustration at trying to deal with what he considers to be clueless conspiracy theorists, he has forgotten that

But, at a larger scale, what this does is preserve the way internet governance currently works, and makes sure that governments are not the one running the show. Under the ICANN setup, things are not decided at the whim of any government, but through a much more involved process, that allow lots of non-government players — including the engineers who built the internet and keep it functioning — to have a major say in what happens.

is something that can change overnight by any government of sufficient size.

It only works because people want something that works. The Internet is just a large set of Interconnected actually independent networks that want to have a useful connectivity to each other.

If the Chinese or US or Russian governments (or any other for that matter) want to, they can simply pick up their marbles and go home. The current agreements for the various protocols in use are not set in stone and in many ways are only gentlemen’s agreements, irrespective of what anybody may think about them.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Governments can't influence IANA now, ROFL

@Mike Masnick “But, at a larger scale, what this does is preserve the way internet governance currently works, and makes sure that governments are not the one running the show.”

Gee, I wonder how China ever convinced independent, for profit, companies to assist in oppression? You don’t suppose the same trick would work with IANA, now?

Rapnel (profile) says:

Why am I having such difficulty in understanding almost every comment so far on this posting?

Are lizard people even a thing?
Are we actually insinuating here that we “trust” government to, I don’t know, never behave in a solely self-preserving and protectionist manner?
Are the currently agreed upon protocols somehow left vulnerable is some way I fail to understand?
Do moderated TLDs pose some sort of threat to those that are not?
….
Hold on.. I think the internet just went pitch dark.. The light has just gone off in my tube. My cat!! It’s gone!

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re:

@Rapnel Are we actually insinuating here that we “trust” government to, I don’t know, never behave in a solely self-preserving and protectionist manner?

IANA is now a private company, which means the last thing it wants to do is piss any country off. So now civil rights are set by every government each according to its whimsical decisions to fine or ban IANA (reduce income) or to pay extra for a few “extras” (increase income). In short IANA just became a money-grubbing slave to every government’s civil rights whims.

Some people claim that is much better than IANA being dominated by one government…even the government that dominated it. I say wait 5 years or 10 and let’s see what tune you’re singing then. And I’ll even go so far as to say my bet is that it won’t be a happy tune.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

IANA is now a private company, which means the last thing it wants to do is piss any country off.

IANA is not a private company. IANA is a function that is controlled by ICANN, just as it was for nearly two decades. None of that has changed.

And if ICANN didn’t care about pissing off countries in all this time, so why should it start now? Again, people who keep talking about “countries” don’t seem to understand even remotely how ICANN currently handles IANA, which is a process that allows a variety of different stakeholders outside of governments to take part in the decision making. That is it’s a process that is not run by governments.

So. Yeah. This is wrong.

So now civil rights are set by every government each according to its whimsical decisions to fine or ban IANA (reduce income) or to pay extra for a few “extras” (increase income)

You don’t even seem to understand what IANA is. Please. Educate yourself.

In short IANA just became a money-grubbing slave to every government’s civil rights whims.

Uh. No. This is beyond wrong. IANA is a function, not a company, and it’s not getting money from governments and not “money-grubbing” from governments.

Seriously. WTF are you talking about?

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