back to article US govt tells ICANN: No accountability, no keys to the internet

America's assistant commerce secretary Larry Strickling has told domain-name overlord ICANN that without improvements to its accountability the US government will not hand over the crucial IANA contract. IANA is the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, a department of ICANN that oversees the DNS system keeping the internet …

  1. Duncan Macdonald

    Is ICANN even needed ?

    How to remove the need for ICANN

    Effectively all the IPv4 addresses have already been assigned. Allocated IPv4 addresses would become the property of their current owners and could be traded (or sold as assets in a bankruptcy).

    IPv6 has so many addresses that assigning a 2^64 address space to each country (over 4000000000 times the size of the total IPv4 address space) would barely touch the total. These assignments would be permanent. If new countries are formed then a new 2^64 address space would be allocated to the new country.

    Assign the country designators (e.g .uk for the United Kingdom) to their governments to assign.

    The existing non-country designators (e.g. .hotel) would become the property of their current owners (or registrars).

    Requests for new non-country designators could be handled by a small subgroup of the ITU. Once assigned then the designator (e.g. .space_hotel) becomes the property of the owner - no longer the responsibility of the ITU.

    If the above was done then there would be no further need for ICANN

    1. Yes Me Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Is ICANN even needed ?

      This line of argument is so wrong that I don't know how to begin.

      1. IPv4 - it's true that this is now effectively entirely in the hands of the regional Internet registries (RIRs), or soon will be. But we still need a central registry of the space allocated to the RIRs and of the legacy allocations to non-RIR customers.

      2. IPv6 - addresses are not allocated to countries, but to providers and major (provider-independent) sites, again by the RIRs. But we stiil need a central registry of the space allocated to the RIRs and the vast unallocated space.

      3. "Assign the country designators (e.g .uk for the United Kingdom) to their governments to assign." Didn't you read the stress test scenario about Ukraine?

      4. "Requests for new non-country designators could be handled by a small subgroup of the ITU." I think you will find that both ICANN and the vast majority of its supporters and detractors all agree that the worst possible solution would be the ITU.

      5. You have ignored the fact that most of IANA's technical work, currently performed by the IANA team at ICANN, is the registration of protocol parameters.

      BTW I think the set of stress test scenarios is really good work.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Is ICANN even needed ?

        IANA used essentially to be Jon Postel. Somehow, a vital, but essentially simple, job of central co-ordination has spawned a bureaucratic monster with the creation of ICANN.

        The only way in which ICANN seems to differ significantly from the ITU is that in the ITU the US doesn't get to call the shots, which seems largely to be the reason for the existence of ICANN in the first place.

        It is fundamentally absurd that the operation of IANA is essentially a contract in the gift of the US government, but in the absence of any credible alternative proposals from the industry itself, at least the US are making some of the right noises in terms of resilience and representation.

        Personally, I think they should cause some serious ructions and demonstrate their commitment to international governance by offering the IANA contract to a consortium of regional registries, at least on a short term basis. Mind you, I also think flying pigs would be cool.

    2. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

      Re: Is ICANN even needed ?

      IPv6 has so many addresses that assigning a 2^64 address space to each country (over 4000000000 times the size of the total IPv4 address space) would barely touch the total. These assignments would be permanent. If new countries are formed then a new 2^64 address space would be allocated to the new country.

      An IPv6 subnet is generally a /64, at least when point to point links are discounted. You would have to jump through hoops to use anything smaller with ethernet. My home network currently uses four times the address space you propose allocating an entire country.

      You wouldn't be a politician by any chance, would you? The way you advocate public policies based on what is clearly complete ignorance of current practice or any technical considerations certainly seems very familiar.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Authority without accountability is tyranny. Accountability without authority is slavery.

    I do believe that ICANN wants us to believe it's different for them... that "authority without accountability is wonderful" as they do whatever the hell they want and charge a small fortune. Not that they will really get anything done without a watchdog, but... hey.. they get nice pay and fringes like meetings is high dollar locations, great food and drink.. so it's all good. Right?

  3. AustinTX

    We don't need ICANN

    ICANN is just a complex PROFITABLE monopoly system to keep us all using the same DNS database. ICANN has total control over what domains we set up on their database, but they have absolutely no control over alternate networks and folks who wish to use them, as long as the alt net doesn't use any ICANN TLD that are described by law as exclusive to them.

    I like the idea of alternative DNS networks where we can create our own "TLD" at will. I see no reason, ever, to have to pay someone money to end my URL with a dot and word from a predefined list. I also challenge the idea that it really takes $15-$30 to provide me with my domain services each year. It should cost as much as subdomains do: free. Through a custom HOSTS file, or an external service like Google DNS/freedns/opendns, we just register any string of characters to resolve like any of the traditional ones. Others using the same service will enjoy the same IP resolution for that "pseudo" domain. ICANN's DNS would be the fallback when our preferred one lacks a record for it.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: We don't need ICANN

      Through a custom HOSTS file, or an external service like Google DNS/freedns/opendns, we just register any string of characters to resolve like any of the traditional ones. Others using the same service will enjoy the same IP resolution for that "pseudo" domain.

      You can already do exactly that if you want, of course, most of the world won't ever stumble across anything you display, because they're using the 'normal' DNS, but there's absolutely nothing stopping your from standing up a DNS server that'll answer queries for .squigglyworm domains.

      If you're happy for the users of your altnet to have to tinker with their hosts files, you don't even need to do that, but again that can already be done.

      There's a reason why subdomains don't cost anything extra, though whether $30 a year is an overinflated price is obviously a completely different argument.

      EDIT: Oh, and part of the reason the www. works is because we're all using the 'same DNS database'. That's definitely a good thing, though ICANN's behaviour with it does need to be monitored and controlled somehow, which was the thrust of the original article.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ICANN mismanagement and nepotism

    Amazingly it is so bad that even US haters who would normally be calling them out (to put it kindly) over this don't seem to have too much of a problem with the US keeping control, because whatever the US does wrong holding the keys to the internet, ICANN would compound by orders of magnitude.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: ICANN mismanagement and nepotism

      Nepotism? Really? Who is related to whom, then? (Note: I am not challenging your use of 'mismanagement'.)

      Also, you seem to have missed that most of current debate is exactly about accountability, and how to make ICANN accountable to the Internet community as a whole, instead of to an arm of the US Govt. In that context, it really doesn't matter whether the job is being done by *this* ICANN, or by some hypothetical future, and much more wonderful, ICANN version 2.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ICANN mismanagement and nepotism

        I knew nepotism wasn't the word I was looking for but it was late so I didn't bother. Self-dealing would be a better term.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: ICANN mismanagement and nepotism

          s/cronyism/nepotism

  5. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Facepalm

    Popcorn

    time to sit back and watch all the people who changed the hosts file on their mum's computer all spout off about how much they think they know about what ICAAN does

  6. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    […] that the internet community would have free reign to decide […]

    Kieren, it’s free rein, not free reign.

    1. Terry Cloth
      Joke

      Re: […] that the internet community would have free reign to decide […]

      Oh, I dunno. Up until ICANN was spawned, the Internet community did indeed reign over DNS, IANA, &c. Didn't seem to do such a bad job, either.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: […] that the internet community would have free reign to decide […]

      Gah - that's my fault for not catching it. Next time, please email corrections@thereg if you spot a typo or it could take days to spot a correction in the comments, if at all.

      C.

  7. ideapete
    Facepalm

    ICANN Power ( Outage needed )

    Corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely especially moving the worlds electrons.

    Time for Gromit to be put back in change

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