back to article US Congress in cash freeze bid to DERAIL global DNS handover

US Congress has attempted to stall ceding control of the world's domain-name system – by defunding the government department responsible. The crucial IANA contract to provide global DNS, allocate IP addresses, and so on, is due to expire in 2015. ICANN runs those IANA functions for the American government under that contract. …

  1. Chris G

    Sounds Like

    A fair number of Congressmen think they will have control of domains and a lot to gain.

    Or lobbyists controlling them.

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Sounds Like

      Congressmen think they will have control of domains and a lot to gain.

      That's probably true - except the part about them thinking.

  2. Pen-y-gors

    Isn't it about time...

    that one of these pork-barrel bills had something tacked on which bans members of Congress and the Senate from making use of atmospheric oxygen? The world would be a better place...

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Isn't it about time...

      ... the best use for the US Congress would be to render them down and make soap.

  3. asdf


    And the saddest thing of all is that there are lot of clueless merkins that actually think the US form of government is the best and the only truly free one in the world. Never mind it has failed everywhere else it has been tried and the US even setup a Parliamentary system in Japan after WW2. Sometimes its not always an advantage to be the first one to implement something especially something so complex. Its a wonder it has taken this long to collapse in on itself. The US has succeeded since WW2 largely in spite of not because of its broken government.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: groan

      Ah, no. The *sadest* thing is that there are a lot of Americans who think the current US form of government is the one put together by their Founding Fathers.

      1. asdf

        Re: groan

        >current US form of government is the one put together by their Founding Fathers.

        I can agree with that but then again many of them also held slaves and didn't think women were good for anything but babies so even their vision was somewhat lacking.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: groan

      "the US form of government is the best and the only truly free one in the world"

      Enlighten everyone on what the best form government is?

      It is easy to criticize and whine but much harder to have a working solution.

      1. asdf

        Re: groan

        Depends on who you are. If you are a billionaire the US is greatest land in the history of human kind. For your average Prol though depending on the quality of life index there are usually anywhere between 5 to 15 countries ranking higher in Scandinavia, Alp countries, NZ and even Canada. That's not all down to government obviously but again we succeed in spite of our government. As for the well why don't you move there retort I did live in Europe for awhile and the one thing we do much better than them is integrate foreign born people. Sadly in many of these countries if you were not born there you will never really belong. Oh well enough complaining. The US is still better than %90 to %95 of the world. Pretty much if your culture is not completely broken and self destructive you will be considered a developed country. That is how messed up the 3rd world is.

      2. Adam 1

        Re: groan

        >Enlighten everyone on what the best form government is?

        Benevolent dictatorship.

        Getting the right dictator tends to be where it comes unstuck.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: groan

      the US even setup [sic] a Parliamentary system in Japan after WW2

      Wildly incorrect. Japan had a parliamentary legislature - the Diet1 - since the Meiji Restoration; it was established in 1889. While MacArthur rewrote the Japanese Constitution and greatly reduced the power of the emperor and the military, the structure of the civil government was largely preserved, and the Diet continued to function during the Occupation.

      Never mind it has failed everywhere else it has been tried

      Folks in Mexico, Brazil, etc might be surprised to learn their government has "failed" - at least more so than any number of parliamentary governments.

      The US government - with its tripartite Federal structure, bicameral legislature, bureaucratic executive with ill-defined limits, and reservation of various powers to the several States - is certainly very complicated and far from efficient. Whether it's "worse", by any sensible definition, than some other representative government is a question for idle speculation and political philosophy; only a fool would declare it as unqualified fact. Do other nations score better on various metrics? Yes, but those other nations aren't the US; they don't have the same geography, demographics, history, etc. And the same is true if you want to argue the US government is better than many other candidates.

      Each nation's circumstances are different. While we can declare with some confidence that some have particularly bad governments, at the more-functional end of the spectrum things are far more nebulous. There are things I'd change about the US Federal government (and that of my state), if I had the power; but I can't in honesty say I know the results would be an improvement (and by what measure?). If you think you can, then more the fool you.

      But please don't let facts get in the way of your irrelevant rant.

      1Modeled, as the name suggests, on Germany's.

  4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Wouldn't it be funny if...

    ...the US lost all its influence on IANA simply because it was too clueless to retain it.

    It's only a set of numbers and a few root servers, so the implementation isn't hard. Prior to ICANN's existence we just used Jon Postel's common sense as a policy framework. If we get to the end of next year and the US hasn't actually produced a credible option, control will pass to any entity that can persuade the rest of the world that it is vaguely accountable and responsible.

    1. MustyMusgrave

      Re: Wouldn't it be funny if...

      Control will pass to any entity that can persuade the rest of the world that it is vaguely accountable and responsible.

      No, thats not funny!

      You can't control the Domain name system, that fly's in the face of understanding how it works..

      Anyone can build a DNS. - China's good at it!

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Wouldn't it be funny if...

        Anyone can build a DNS. - China's good at it!

        They'd give us a good price for sure. And free shipping.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really? Cite the objections at least

    Kieran, since you so kindly included a link to the pdf of the funding bill, it would have been good journalism to also include the specific passage in that bill that you accused Republicans of inserting.

    There seems to be a lot of unfounded and biased accusations about Republicans flying everywhere these days, particularly from Democrats and liberal/leftist media. Unbiased "reporting" seems to be at a premium these days

    There is something for everyone in this bill but including the objectionable wording that you are concerned with is just good practice.

    Many of the amendments to a bill are just ways to get something in return when the Senate finally votes on it. Here in the USA a bill starts in committees, gets modified and argued over then passes out of Congressional Committee to the Congress, gets voted on to be sent to the Senate, get torn apart, reformulated, amended and voted on again and if passed by the Senate is finally signed into law by the President.

    Regardless, this is only a Bill not law, and definitley NOT the final version.

    Here is the whole wording of the "defunding" of the regulating department you are complaining about. ICANN has been just fine since the inception of the Internet and it is my belief (and most people over 30 that know bettter) that Eurocrats are the ones looking to grab power and authority (and create gross censorship). Remember, if it werent for the US control, the Internet would be rather "pale" to say the least. And you say we are all Puritans.

    12 SEC. 540. (a) None of the funds made available by

    13 this Act may be used to relinquish the responsibility of

    14 the National Telecommunications and Information Ad

    15 ministration during fiscal year 2015 with respect to Inter

    16 net domain name system functions, including responsi

    17 bility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and

    18 the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions.

    19 (b) Subsection (a) of this section shall expire on Sep

    20 tember 30, 2015.

    Here is another example of an amendment being inserted

    5 SEC. 107. None of the funds made available under

    6 this Act may be used by the Internal Revenue Service to

    7 target citizens of the United States for exercising any

    8 right guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Con

    9 -stitution of the United States.

    For the ignorant among you that's the right to free speech which covers a lot of porn..

    Here is another you might like or dislike:



    9 the funds made available in this or any other Act may

    10 be used by any Federal agency—

    11 (1) to collect, review, or create any aggregation

    12 of data, derived from any means, that includes any

    13 personally identifiable information relating to an in

    14 dividual’s access to or use of any Federal Govern

    15 ment Internet site of the agency; or

    16 (2) to enter into any agreement with a third

    17 party (including another government agency) to col

    18 lect, review, or obtain any aggregation of data, de

    19 rived from any means, that includes any personally

    20 identifiable information relating to an individual’s

    21 access to or use of any nongovernmental Internet

    22 site.

    23 (b) EXCEPTIONS.—The limitations established in

    24 subsection (a) shall not apply to—

    1 (1) any record of aggregate data that does not

    2 identify particular persons;

    3 (2) any voluntary submission of personally iden

    4 tifiable information;

    5 (3) any action taken for law enforcement, regu

    6 latory, or supervisory purposes, in accordance with

    7 applicable law; or

    8 (4) any action described in subsection (a)(1)

    9 that is a system security action taken by the oper

    10 ator of an Internet site and is necessarily incident

    11 to providing the Internet site services or to pro

    12 tecting the rights or property of the provider of the

    13 Internet site.

    14 (c) DEFINITIONS.—For the purposes of this section:

    15 (1) The term ‘‘regulatory’’ means agency ac

    16 tions to implement, interpret or enforce authorities

    17 provided in law.

    18 (2) The term ‘‘supervisory’’ means examina

    19 tions of the agency’s supervised institutions, includ

    20 ing assessing safety and soundness, overall financial

    21 condition, management practices and policies and

    22 compliance with applicable standards as provided in

    23 law.

    The budget bill is way too long so follow the link and download it yourself.

    1. noominy.noom

      Re: Really? Cite the objections at least

      Re: Really? Cite the objections at least

      You could have left out your second paragraph. You sound like the very people you are ranting about. The rest of what you say sounds like more rational discourse. And it was good of you to post the snip from the bill, assuming the snip is not altered.

      I've resisted my urge to down vote. You have good points to balance out the childish partisan rant.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Really? Cite the objections at least @ noominy.noom

        I didn't care to leave out the second paragraph because the point I made is that Keiran cherrypicked the particular topic and slanted it in an anti-American and anti-Republican direction.

        Strictly biased liberal media deserves counterpoint no matter what you or others say.

        The thing about being in a Democracy is we all get to be in whatever political party we want to regardless of what our president and his wife think.

        Honestly, those two have more in common with Kim Jung Un than you think. Ask any ex-whitehouse staffer starting with the Defense Secretary. Kinda hard to do your job when the bosses wife criticizes your every move and the boss is a micro-managing passive agressive ass.

        Notice the anti-IRS stuff in the Budget Bill? I guess not.

        The snip is only altered for format. I took out spaces that were not needed.

    2. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Really? Cite the objections at least

      So I originally had the relevant section in the story as a blockquote but when I read through it there seemed to be little point in basically including the same information twice.

      As for all the other many, many riders and inclusions. Sure I could include them but then the story would be about the Bill and not the IANA contract.

      I am tempted to write about all the "internet freedom" sections, but again in a new story.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Really? Cite the objections at least


        When you open the door one way you should anticipate it swinging in the other direction.

        You criticized the budget that hasn't even passed and cherrypicked what mattered to you.

        Expect someone to do the same in return. The story IS about the bill whether you like it or not.

    3. Mark 85

      Re: Really? Cite the objections at least

      What it appears to say is the Congress doesn't want the agency to relinquish control. But one would think that "transition meetings" could also be used to stop the relinquishing. Very baffling.

      Given that a rider can be attached to any bill, this one is confusing. In Congress, nothing happens without meetings. Maybe that's the way they view the real world? Afterall, most are lawyers and most have never done a real day's work. I'm wondering how this rider will be changed, added to, or gutted come the actual discussion, debate, etc.

    4. TomG

      Re: Really? Cite the objections at least

      CONGRESS is the House of Representation AND the Senate. For a bill to become law, it must be passed (approved) by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. If the President vetoes the bill (disapproves) it goes back to the House of Representatives for reconsideration. The reconsidered bill then goes to the Senate. Where, if it is approved with a 2/3's vote of the members, it becomes law and the President's approval is not needed.

      Congressional committees can be more accurately described as House committees and Senate committees.

      All spending bills MUST arise in the House of Representatives.

  6. Tristan

    Hmm, this sort of cack-handed political interference in a system which is critical and only relevant to a politician in terms of retaining influence is why control of such a system should never be controlled by the US government. Ours isn't any better though.

    How do you fund a country-agnostic body? Or use some decentralised system of majority wins like bitcoin? But what if one country can overwhelm the others and get overall control?

    We need a dictator. Only, the correct dictator. Vetinari?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Easy answer: Skynet

      (you think I'm joking?)

    2. anonymousI

      Perhaps the issue is whether the US, with all its well-publicised imperfections, might still provide more stable, and independent, backing than would occur with the average rent-a-country UN oversight.

      Churchill is said to have observed "Democracy is a much flawed system of government, but it is preferable to any of the alternatives."

      There's not a lot of democracy in most UN countries. While it will never please the US haters, the present system works reasonably well - which is more than could be expected from some of the mooted changes.

      1. Warm Braw

        Many of the sticky issues IANA will have to deal with (and there are examples in the ICANN stress test) involve deciding which bodies have legal authority in which territories. The UN is precisely the place to make those decisions, because, guess what, they already have procedures to do it.

        If you want a worldwide Internet, Iran, North Korea, Bahrain, Turkmenistan et al, are going to be part of it and will want a stake in its governance. However, these are the same countries that could most easily live with a balkanised Internet, so excluding them on the grounds that they don't meet some self-serving test of relative democracy is only going to diminish Western influence when they cut off and do their own thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Why Warm Braw?

          The Internet is a privilige of a technologically developed nation and not mandatory.

          As long as Iran and North Korea's governments exist as they are, they don't deserve to have it and the world doesn't need them to have any connectivity because they will only use it to further stir up trouble.

          Balkanize the Internet, who cares.

          Unplug them and this time include Russia for it's recent incursions into Ukraine and Crimea. Maybe they'll get the point when all their oligarchs porn sites are suddenly unavailable.

          BTW there has never been a "benevolent" dictatorship, ever.

          The UN couldn't handle IANA. They can't even handle their own willies.

      2. Red Bren

        "There's not a lot of democracy in most UN countries"

        Isn't that due to the number of CIA backed coups overthrowing democratic governments that put their own countries' interests ahead the USA's?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Exactly anonymous!

        As they say, "Better the devil you know". Have an upvote!

        If the IANA reponsibility changes from the US, then all I see is chaos and anarchy like everything that comes from the UN or EUC.

        1. Chris Hance

          Re: Exactly anonymous!

          For a moment, I took your title as a suggestion: let Anonymous run IANA.

          I'm not entirely convinced this would be a worse solution than either a US or UN backed organization. It probably would lead to Balkanization when Anon plays with IP assignments "for the lulz", or just removes a domain of whoever some subset of Anon doesn't like today instead of using LOIC. But Balkanization is likely to happen anyway, and I doubt Anon would keep its shenanigans secret, unlike the US government.

          Entirely too much thought into a ridiculous proposition, but when the "serious" answers are a joke, sometimes one must take a joke seriously.

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