back to article If you read anything today about ICANN taking over the internet, make sure it's this

The internet community has published its plan to pull the United States government out of its role at the top of the internet's hierarchy. Unfortunately, the near-final version is a hodgepodge of ideas and compromises that fails to address a key aspect of Uncle Sam's role. In addition, the plan substitutes a complex set of …

  1. gerdesj Silver badge

    ROOT n branch

    "A small file contains information about where, for example, the '.com' extension can be found. So if you are .... And it gives you the network address (this is of course a greatly simplified version of reality). It is the internet root however that tells you where the '.com' server can be found."

    That's not a simplified version - it is a very concise description of what happens without delving into the mechanism. It's pretty much how I explain it but I use, what with me being British (with a quick diversion into why we use .uk and not .gb - .UKoGBnNI would be a bit of a mouthful but .gb could be seen to exclude Northern Ireland)

    It is an interesting point but many people might see and as the root *sigh*. Anyway an easy way out would be to allocate a fixed and immutable /24 (IPv4) and say 24 * consecutive /64 (IPv6) for the root servers with their own ASs as needed and job done - no need for a committee. There may be a flaw in my plan but it seems neater than a text file that we download periodically.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: ROOT n branch

      Yep, GB is the official international standard two-letter abbreviation for the United Kingdom of Great Britain And Northern Ireland (see ISO 3166, GBR is the 3-letter equivalent), on which all ccTLDs are supposed to be based, UK is 'exceptionally reserved' to avoid confusion. In the very early days of the Internet, we were one of the first countries to be connected and asked to use UK (apocryphally, this was to assuage Protestants in Northern Ireland) as our ccTLD. As no other country was interested in using it, that's what happened. And then the USSR broke up, and Ukraine were looking for a ccTLD (they have to put up with UA).

      Those who remember X.400 (when you weren't a real man unless your email address was too long to fit on your business card), may know the 'UK' country code was GB.

      1. PeterI

        Re: ROOT n branch

        From memory it's because JANET email addressing already had uk in the email address (usually of the form and at one point most bang path uucp email came in via the University of Kent and Canterbury (seem to recall them charging pennies per K of message) which would then translate to JANET email addresses.

        When DNS based email came in meant gateways could be constructed by reversing the dotted JANET address which meant we stuck with .uk at the domain level.

        Since I was a student at this time (mid 80s) this could all be a load of cr*p but that's how I remember it.

  2. x 7


    ICANT surely?

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    What a mix...

    Politics, accountability, some lawyers, and then the tech side being minimized. This is asking for trouble but on the good side, it may never be resolved so things for the time being will stay in place and continue to work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a mix...

      Or not.

  4. Lamb0

    The ICANN...

    should be dissolved as unfit for purpose, while a new (t)emporary corporation: ICANN(t) is created barring all employees AND board members, both current AND previous, from membership and/or employ for a minimum of five years, or until issues are resolved; whichever is later!

  5. Herby

    Be careful..

    ...for what you ask for. The internet "works" because it has some de-centralized control. Obviously there are times when some amount of control is necessary to enforce some "rules".

    The problem is that LOTS of people have different ideas on which the "rules" should be. Consider this: The protocols used are derived from RFCs which we all know are nicely thought out and agreed to "rules". If we had gone with something promulgated by ISO, we would have a mish-mash of things and be stuck with a standard that 1000s of options that would need to be implemented at a great cost. Good luck implementing a protocol stack in a small footprint.

    Somehow I believe that what is needed is a "very benevolent dictator" that has the best interests of all in mind. Unfortunately I have doubts that such a person exists. Of course, I could volunteer, but I doubt all interested parties would approve. Please note the humor in the last sentence, and don't flame me!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be careful..

      As with many such transfers of power, I believe an arbitrator with a halfway decent bullshit detector would suffice. So, for a quick field test-- how do you feel about taking unlimited free energy from permanent magnets?

  6. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    ICANN really isn't all that big. Many countries have their own two-letter TLD that completely defy ICANN regulations requiring legitimate record keeping, transparency, and honoring of trademarks. ICANN's only power is in the general TLDs .com, .org, and .net. At worst, Google or Microsoft could manage those for free without being subject to any politics because the data mining value would dwarf all else. Doing a little better, these could be managed by public software and repositories. No matter who takes it over, learning how to trust sources of information is going to take some time to sort out.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    And so the farce continues

    The US government keeps talking to these clowns and treating them like they are responsible businesspeople when in fact they are conniving scum with the morals of slave traders.

    If they behaved like that in court, they would be strung up for contempt in two seconds.

    Why, oh why do these people keep getting away with such shenanigans ? Do they have some dirt on the President or something ?

    Because it's high time someone sent in the riot squad. A good beating would likely help in bringing things to order.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: And so the farce continues

      "Why, oh why do these people keep getting away with such shenanigans ?"

      My guess is that they have convinced a few congress-critters that it is important that "The Internet" remains under the control of a US organisation and if the US government can't take that role without other governments getting jealous, then we simply have to put together a facade of independence involving a notionally independent (private) company. They've probably also made a few contributions to various political campaigns. It's not like they are short of a few bob. They get several hundred thousand every time some schumck springs for a dot-bollocks domain.

      Fortunately, they have no real power because if they ever exercised control over the root domain then they would suddenly discover that several other governments had set up their own root servers. (There are only the ccTLDs plus half a dozen others. It would probably only take an afternoon to set up.) Once the dust had settled, you'd find that ICANN were being queried by no-one at all and all the other rival root servers had agreed to dish out the same few hundred addresses. Problem solved.

  8. adfh


    FIFA anyone?

    1. theModge

      Re: Hrrmm....

      These people only aspire to be FIFA. Give them 70 years of this game and they'll achieve similar results to FIFA I suspect.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: Hrrmm....

      FIFA crossed with some of the elements of that other Switzerland-based organization - the IOC?

  9. Drew 11

    ICANN will always be a big joke until the largest "stakeholder" - domain registrants - actually get representation.

    RIght now, all they do is pay to run ICANN.

  10. Yes Me Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Hold on, Kieren

    I wish you'd done a better a job of separating your opinions from a factual report. Unfortunately, they are intermingled in such a way that the article isn't really journalism.

    "The most controversial aspect of the plan is to give ICANN full control of the IANA contract."

    Well, actually, that isn't completely true. The 'numbers community' (i.e. the various regional Internet registry operators, who hand out address space) will be able to fire ICANN if they want. The 'protocol parameters community' (aka the IETF) will be able to fire ICANN if they want. The weak spot is that the 'names community' (aka the DNS top-level-domain registrars) have never actually formed a community independent of ICANN. So ICANN having only indirect control of the proposed new legal entity carrying out IANA's clerical functions, plus the creation of a new 'Customer Standing Committee' to evaluate those functions as far as top-level-domain stuff goes, is a new mechanism.

    What is definitely missing, and here I agree with you, is an entity to review DNS root zone operations. My guess is that this will happen one way or another in the next year or two, because it's so obviously needed.

    But don't blame ICANN or the ICG for the fact that the so-called names community has never got around to creating its own community organisation outside ICANN.

  11. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

    We Need a Really Hot Cup of Tea

    " ... so the process for separating the IANA contract is so overdone that it makes separation a virtual impossibility."

    So it is a finite possibility.

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