ICANN's Sense Of Entitlement Takes Over; Shocked It Lost Its Bid To Retain IANA

from the oops dept

Via Lauren Weinstein, we find out that ICANN has effectively lost its bid to retain control over IANA functions, though the fact that everyone else sucks too means it gets to hang on for at least six more months. In the meantime, though, it appears the whole thing took an always out-of-touch ICANN by surprise:
In a worrying turn of events, it appears that ICANN had no idea about the rejection of its bid for long-term running of the IANA contract prior to an announcement being posted on the NTIA's website today.

The organization - which has run the IANA functions for over a decade - is also waiting to hear why the US government feels it has failed to meet the RFP criteria that defined a new, more open approach to the contract.

In a series of sudden and unexpected announcements earlier today, the NTIA first announced it was canceling the entire rebid process for IANA, then that it was canceling it because no one had met its criteria, and then that it was extending ICANN's IANA contract for six months to give it time to re-run the RFP process.
IANA is the part that manages the authoritative root servers and important things like IP address allocations. ICANN has run that (along with its core functionality of overseeing DNS) basically since all of this was set up when lots of people realized that perhaps relying on one guy (as brilliant as he was) to manage the entire internet wasn't the best solution. The fact that ICANN didn't breeze through the IANA RFP is an interesting result, and as Lauren Weinstein notes, it's as if ICANN has taken on quite an entitlement viewpoint:
In my view, ICANN's behavior of late regarding the NTIA has been something like the Wall Street firms vs. their ersatz regulators -- a sense of entitlement and "we're too important to be replaced" plowing forward with the domain-industrial complex's "get rich quick" agenda, with only lip-service being paid to NTIA. As I said earlier today, I would expect ICANN to find a way to come into "technical" compliance for now. But I still also feel very strongly that we need a purpose-built replacement for ICANN that will not carry its ever increasing political and "domainer" baggage. Not the UN. Not the ITU. But a new international forum that cares about all the Internet's users, not mainly the monied domain exploitation interests at the top of the DNS food chain.
If only there were real efforts being made to move in that direction...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    CharlieBrown, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:20am

    Non Government

    It has to not be government run or we'll get SOPA-style rules forced upon us!

     

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      tqk (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

      Re: Non Government

      It has to not be government run or we'll get SOPA-style rules forced upon us!

      I nominate the IETF. "We believe in rough consensus, and working code."

      Mike, glad you finally got the message (re: Lauren Weinstein). He was on top of SOPA/PIPA long before all the rest of us were.

       

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    gab4moi (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:34am

    hmmm...

    sooo... why does ICANN being rejected by a subsidiary of the US Department of Trade leave me with a strange sense of impending malaise with regard to the intertubes, no matter how this works out.

    Why the hell does worldwide arbitration of domain and IP policing lie somewhere in the bowels of the US public service?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:16am

      Re: hmmm...

      This organization has representation from all over the world. Look at the nationality of their board members. Trying to label them as being in "the bowels of the US public service" is blatantly misleading.

      From their web site...

      The ICANN Board of Directors consists of fifteen voting members ("Directors"). The Directors serve as individuals who have the duty to act in what they reasonably believe are the best interests of ICANN, and not as representatives of the entity that selected them, their employers, or any other organizations or constituencies. In order to ensure broad international representation on the Board, each of ICANN's five Geographic Regions shall have at least one Director, and at all times no region shall have more than five Directors on the Board (not including the President). Each of the following is considered to be a "Geographic Region": Europe; Asia/Australia/Pacific; Latin America/Caribbean islands; Africa; and North America.

      There are bio pages for all of the board members so you can see for yourself their affiliations, their qualifications and seemingly more important to you, their nationality.

       

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    CJ (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:36am

    yes well we must be careful...

    That DNS food chain can bite.

    But seriously they could end up causing even more harm by putting in someone that might like users, but hate content.

     

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      Richard (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 5:46am

      Re: yes well we must be careful...

      But seriously they could end up causing even more harm by putting in someone that might like users, but hate content.

      I think if you look after the users the content will look after itself - If users want content then they will get it - if not ...who cares?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:38am

    she's living in a dream world! if chucking money in a certain direction will mean getting an advantage of some sort or other, financially or otherwise, then the money will talk!

     

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    fyi, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:40am

    First sentence: lots s/b lost.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:44am

    We need a decentralized system. Simple as that. Even though I don't quite get the new DNSSEC system I think I grasped a very interesting concept: it is decentralized so a client can check on multiple sources to confirm the DNS information sent avoiding those man in the middle attacks or whatever you call them. Because there are several 'trusted' places to check for the information needed.

    If the anti-piracy efforts taught us anything is that being a distributed network makes it much more resilient and impervious to external attacks. And the way the US are heading now, we need this badly.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 10:50am

      Re:

      I do not think you quite grasped how important IANA is.

      DNSSEC might be distributed, but who defines the precise numbers in a DNS message which says it is a DNSSEC message? IANA.

      Going even lower, who defines the precise number in IP packets which say they are a TCP or UDP or whatever packet? IANA.

      And so on. All the protocol codes which define the common language spoken by the lower levels of the Internet are registered with IANA.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:45am

    ICANN't believe they did that to us!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 4:46am

    It really does leave a number of questions at this point.

    Lots of people have been complaining about ICANN, both that they did not used to allow for more gTLDs to be formed, then that they did. And both complaints have been valid; the original gTLD's are effectively just extra US ccTLDs (especially in legislative context, see Recent Events), but new ones like .biz and .xxx seem very much of the money-grabbing and even extortion-as-a-business-model type.

    ICANN's role, is more political than technical, the actual running of the root servers is done by other parties, and IMHO they are doing a pretty good job. As such, one would expect ICANN to be shouted at no matter what they do.

    But recently, shouting has occurred much more often, and much more loudly, and it is likely to be caused by policy changes. So it may very well be possible that the goal of this rejection is simply to put them 'back on track', as it were.

    However, given the vague description they supplied, and again, given Recent Events, it may also be that they do indeed want to force new IP-related rules in there. Originally I was wondering how; this is the root zone, and they can hardly shut down an entire TLD if they don't agree with something, can they? If you want to lose control over everything really fast, this would be a good direction to take.

    What I fear most is that they want to force these rules through proxy; enforce them in the contracts that are signed for the TLDs, thereby introducing SOPA/PIPA/etc. again, but as contract law instead of actual law.

    But, if so, once again, really, are they *trying* to lose control? While most alternative proposals have been mostly naive and not ready, it really is easy to set up a different root, from a technical point of view. The 'root of the DNS' is based on trust; the world uses the current one because it is what the world uses, not because we can't use alternatives. The problem with alternative roots is creating critical mass to use it, and so far, they have done a good enough job so that critical mass won't be reached. But if they mess it up too well there may very well be a lot of incentive to agree upon a different root.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 5:34am

    Should we begin calling it ICANNT?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 5:47am

    Rent Out The IP Space

    The 32-bit IP V4 address space has many users who are sitting on excessive amounts of address space, far beyond their actual needs. This can be fixed by charging an annual rent for each IP address. For example, a rent of $1 per year per IP address would raise $4 billion for IANA if all present users duly paid up. Naturally, that will not happen. Any number of users will demand special privileges on one pretext or another.

    Uncooperative users, who insist on having a large address space without paying, simply get allocated some official address space by their ISP. If they generate any packets with a return address not in their official address space, those packets get dropped, as happens already. Routers at ISPs perform this function. The ISP controls their own routers, not the user. Thus, address conflicts do not occur.

    Using NAT (Network Address Translation), even large organisations can happily exist with only small address spaces, due to the existence of 16-bit port numbers. These effectively extend the address space, however one computer typically has dozens or hundreds of ports open at the same time. The effective address space would be around 40 bits, or 1 trillion end computers.

    This scheme would be similar to the way in which governments charge rent for radio spectrum space. The advantage of it is to delay the exhaustion of the IP V4 address space. Wasteful allocations have largely caused the present near-exhaustion situation. Wasting IP address space would become costly to users. The accountants would then talk sense into the users.

    Of course, IP V6 renders the address space exhaustion problem moot, provided foolishly large allocations are avoided this time. However, IANA may still like to have the revenue.

     

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      John Doe, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 6:04am

      Re: Rent Out The IP Space

      Why does IANA need $4 billion?

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

        Re: Re: Rent Out The IP Space

        That was only an example, based on an arbitrary figure of $1 per IP address per year. Another example would be $0.001 per address, giving IANA $4 million. However, that example would have the disadvantage of making address space wastage too cheap. Only users and ISPs having to pay real money will persuade them to stop the waste.

        With revenue, IANA could fund all kinds of worthwhile open source development projects, to the ultimate benefit of the public. Of course, any large pot of money will attract criminals. Situation normal.

         

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      Bengie, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 9:12am

      Re: Rent Out The IP Space

      Even if companies gave back their IP addresses, most of them still can't be used because of fragmentation.

      Large portions of the IPv4 range is being wasted by small block sizes. At the same time, large under-utilized blocks are also wasting lots of IPs.

      As for these large companies that have huge blocks, they don't pay anything for them as they were grandfathered in.

      In order to make them pay for those IP blocks, the original contract would have to be changed. Unless you're saying it should be legal for one party of a contract to change the contract without permission from the other party.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

        Re: Re: Rent Out The IP Space

        Grandfathering goes. Any user can be allocated any address space. Users get their address space from their ISP. The ISP can only hand out address space controlled by itself. ISPs get address space from their regional internet registry (such as RIPE). IANA rents address space to the regional internet registries. Routing tables get drastically simplified. The problem of routing tables getting too big goes away.

        DNS has to be a bit more responsive to address changes. Users can keep stable internal IP addresses, using the magic of NAT. Broadband routers support that just fine today.

        Sure old contracts come to an end. That happens with contracts all the time. Various people are going to have hissy fits. So? Situation normal.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    WTF?... Acronym nightmare

    ICANN - Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

    This one I got.

    IANA - Internet Assigned Numbers Authority

    This one I got as well, but after this was mostly lost reading the article. Only got the drift of it.

    NTIA - National Telecommunications and Information Administration

    Never heard of it, was forced to use the "Google Acronym Translator" to figure it out along with the following...

    RFP - Request for Proposal

    Has to to with government bidding for contracts.

    And just when I wasn't confused enough we get...

    ITU - International Telecommunication Union

    The United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies.

    I realize some of these things were from direct quotes, but most of us don't work in IT or spend time on Capital Hill to decipher the gibberish. First time I've ever read read a Techdirt article without completely understanding what
    I have read.

     

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    Dominic Sayers (profile), Mar 14th, 2012 @ 7:21am

    Replacement for Jon Postel

    The nearest thing we have as a replacement for Jon Postel is the Internet Society.

    In a sane world, IANA would be run by the Internet Society from tomorrow.

    http://www.internetsociety.org/

    Of course we don't live in a sane world, but one dominated by macho politics. IANA will remain with ICANN.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Considering that the original writer would appear to have an anti-ICANN stand, this seems to be more of a take them out behind the woodshed style post.

    Mike, you should do a better job identifying the people you quote from. Understanding that this person does and stands for explains much of the way the story is written (almost more slanted than your posts!)

     

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    identicon
    Frank Schilling, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Wanted: Internet Governance Group with only The Least Capable at the Helm

    I'm sure you won't be surprised that I bristle reading your Domainer/Politico vilification, because when you go home Lauren and you check your email and you manage your domain name - Those behind the curtain at the registrars - Those at the hosting company - The wizards who make the magic you take for granted happen - many of them started out and continue to be "Domainers". You can't fly a 747 without starting in a small single engine plane. Domainers are the single engine plane. Domainers are just people. Folks like you and I who happen to find the esoteric domain space interesting. When you frolic at the beach or go to the mountains or go to Europe, Domain Name People like me while away behind a glowing monitor and shape the domain space and the commercial Internet via our participation. There is nothing unholy about that. I sincerely hope (and am fairly certain) that the faces behind the curtain and the domainer baggage you disdain will continue, regardless which acronym runs the Internet. While I categorically support conflict of interest rules to stop people moving seamlessly between positions of power to those of profit, I am also aware that none of us would like the Internet much if those who care most passionately about names and naming were excluded from participating or profiting in the space they love.

     

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    identicon
    Frank Schilling, Mar 15th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Wanted: Internet Governance Group with only The Least Capable at the Helm

    I'm sure you won't be surprised that I bristle reading your Domainer/Politico vilification, because when you go home Lauren and you check your email and you manage your domain name - Those behind the curtain at the registrars - Those at the hosting company - The wizards who make the magic you take for granted happen - many of them started out and continue to be "Domainers". You can't fly a 747 without starting in a small single engine plane. Domainers are the single engine plane. Domainers are just people. Folks like you and I who happen to find the esoteric domain space interesting. When you frolic at the beach or go to the mountains or go to Europe, Domain Name People like me while away behind a glowing monitor and shape the domain space and the commercial Internet via our participation. There is nothing unholy about that. I sincerely hope (and am fairly certain) that the faces behind the curtain and the domainer baggage you disdain will continue, regardless which acronym runs the Internet. While I categorically support conflict of interest rules to stop people moving seamlessly between positions of power to those of profit, I am also aware that none of us would like the Internet much if those who care most passionately about names and naming were excluded from participating or profiting in the space they love.

     

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    jb, Mar 18th, 2012 @ 10:30pm

    Domainers and domainers are two different groups of people

    Mr. Schilling,

    The Domainers whose influence the article critique are not the same as the domainers who do the hard daily work of keeping the DNS working in the spirit of Jon Postel, R.I.P.

    The problem people are the commercial domain-selling business execs who sit at the top of companies like Verisign and Afilias/NBT group and who often seem to put their personal profit above the infrastructure they are paid to maintain. These are the people who gave us .biz, the *.com record and lots of smaller such misfeatures.

     

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