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United States The Internet

ICANN Won't Get DNS Root Servers 343

daria42 writes "The US Department of Commerce has reversed its original decision on the Internet's root DNS servers, which would have eventually seen them pass into the hands of ICANN. While the original decision would have seen ICANN take full responsibility after it met a number of conditions, the new declaration means Commerce would keep that control, regardless of whether and when those conditions are met. It is possible that some countries could withdraw support from ICANN, and this decision even opens up the gate for a separate DNS system to be established outside the US's control."
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ICANN Won't Get DNS Root Servers

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  • by The Slaughter ( 887603 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:11AM (#12959450)
    ICANN'T even .tel you how bad this news is for the internet community at large. ICANN and the root dns need to Server all ties with the bush administration. (oh god... I am a horrible person).
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:12AM (#12959454)
    with the idiotic patriotic dick waving really...why is the US so afraid to cooperate with international organizations?

    What is the reasoning behind this step, apart from making more money for some corporations? Is it really a viable threat that ICANN is some Al-Quaeda offspring organization?

    Mod me as you like, but please think at least for a second about what i said.
    • by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:19AM (#12959494) Journal
      From TFA:

      The Bush administration announced that the U.S. government will not hand over control of the Internet to any other organisation, a surprise move that could presage an international flap.

      Wow ... this means that talking about 'the Internets' [about.com] might actually become an accurate expression. This is what we pay politicians big bucks for - they're visionaries who shape the future. My support for the administration has risen to new heights.

    • This is bizarre: I thought we hated ICANN? Surely the Dept of Commerce, which has been doing a passable job so far, is better than ICANN?

      (Disclaimer: I work for the Census Bureau, which is part of Commerce, but I have absolutely nothing to do with any of this.)
      • Yes, I thought this when I read the original comments. When I first saw the article, I thought I might get a few laughs. But apparently, it is better to make fun of our own president, who is doing an awesome job IMO, instead of bashing ICANN. We have to remember Slashdot does tend to lean to the left. And people, if you have an opinion, share it in a better way. I want to hear why you don't like Bush, not "Bush is teh loser! LOL!!!". Please don't prove your an idiot.
    • by Evro ( 18923 ) * <evandhoffman AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:54AM (#12959683) Homepage Journal
      ICANN is largely inept. Regardless of its national origins, they should not be in control of the Internet.
    • This isn't hard to decipher. Just consider the true implications of controling the TLD servers.

      Yes. There is a lot more than feeding secondary domain servers going on here and yes, there are very real security interests involved. I have to agree with this decision, as unpopular as that view may be here.
    • Who on earth called this "insightful"? I know, Slashdot doesn't have "kneejerk windbag" modifier, but "insightful" is hardly an appropriate substitute.

      Hey, you forgot to say "Halliburton". And "black helicopter". And "Gore really won, and so did Kerry". American or European Left (or "Social Libertarian" as you please), you're not hard to pick out with your poor argument and large following.

      And before I get modded "Troll" or something like that, please consider this: the parent was modded "insightfu

      • Hey, you forgot to say "Halliburton". And "black helicopter". And "Gore really won, and so did Kerry".


        Exactly what I was thinking. Rarely have I seen a more whiney and ungrateful person.
    • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday July 01, 2005 @08:24AM (#12959881)
      ...perhaps it's because the "international organizations" we work with, like the UN, can't even keep their word and uphold the tenets of their own charters [un.int] for things that are much more important than the root servers?

      Also, no one said anything about al-Qaeda.

      Except you, of course.

      But the US believes that the root servers are important enough that they should be under the control and purview of the same entities that have been their stewards in some cases since the literal inception of DNS itself, rather than an organization along with international entities that may not have the same level of experience. This isn't just about "keeping machines patched" or knowing how to run a DNS box. That's the most vanishingly small part of this equation.

      Also, it might help to remember that the US, along with its vast military-industrial complex, the Department of Defense and DARPA's investments into pie-in-the-sky technologies, and our massive academic research establishment are what you and the entire fucking world HAS TO THANK for the "internet", and we've already proven that we can manage the root servers and have a secure and well established network of capable contractors, so I think that, given the geometrically increasing importance of the internet to the US and its economy, you're damned straight we have a vested interest in making sure critical internet infrastructure is properly administered (and by "administered", I don't mean from a sysadmin perspective).

      And while the corporations with the root server contracts make some money and might not want to see that go away, this decision is NOT for "making more money for some corporations". It's been made for the security of these critical infrastructure pieces. In our own system, we have some accountability and we know it. Even if ICANN meets the DoC-set guidelines, there are no guarantees that its capability and contingencies are better than, or even meet, the capability that already exists in the prevailing arrangement. Why ratchet back from predictability and reliability, and a known set of variables, frankly, to "please" the international community? The "internet", in general, was not an international creation. It was a US creation, the result of a lot of investment and research dollars from the exact entities that no one else would have supported. The fact that it has easily become an exceedingly open international and global tool is a testament to its creators.

      I'm starting to get fed up with the anti-US dick waving on slashdot, really...

      Mod me as you like, but please think at least for a second about what i said.
      • Also, it might help to remember that the US, along with its vast military-industrial complex, the Department of Defense and DARPA's investments into pie-in-the-sky technologies, and our massive academic research establishment are what you and the entire fucking world HAS TO THANK for the "internet"

        So if something is developed in the US using US resources, and becomes an indispensable international asset because of its quality and/or usefulness, then the US government should retain control over said asset?
        • So if something is developed in the US using US resources, and becomes an indispensable international asset because of its quality and/or usefulness, then the US government should retain control over said asset?

          I didn't say that, and that's already not the case. There is significant international presence among the root servers, but the contract administrator will continue to be the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a component of the US Department of Commerce. There are already [root-servers.org]
        • by BAM0027 ( 82813 ) <blo@27.org> on Friday July 01, 2005 @12:49PM (#12962529) Homepage
          I'm starting to get fed up with being in favor of good international relations being associated with being unamerican.

          Starting to? When _will_ you (and everyone else taking issue with the current "xenophobia") be fed up? I'm way done myself.

          Whatever happened to the "global village" thing? I thank {insert your personal ultimate source of being here} that some people (like France) are willing to say "being the bully doesn't always work", even in response to violent transgressions.

          Also, the incredibly dynamic, narrow-minded U.S. foreign policy that was drastically revised since 9/11 (or when Bush entered office -- your pick) is like a bad case of disinformation, obfuscating the true motivation of our actions. This totally complicates everything, so it's easy to dismiss any criticism as inapplicable to some particular issue -- eg. no longer supporting the Iraq invasion is wrong because we're still(?) there for "truth, justice, and the American way".

          I'm still longing for cool heads to deal with this like honest, spiritually-minded , loving adults instead of grade-school children. This has become an extreme test of faith.

          p.s. I'm not for/against religious-mindedness mind, er, you. It's just that "(team) spirit" is fundamentally inclusive and easier for people to relate to altogether as opposed to "religious dogma" which (often) intrinsically separates people at an emotional level.

          p.p.s. BVis, nothing personal.
      • " ...perhaps it's because the "international organizations" we work with, like the UN, can't even keep their word and uphold the tenets of their own charters for things that are much more important than the root servers?"

        I see, when the US invaded Iraq it did find a lot of WMDs to prove UN wrong.

        Basicaly, what you are saying is, "we invented the thing, so all the world must use the internet by our rules. No, I don't care abount sovereignty.". Well, you'll have a bad time if you expect all the world to acc

    • What is the reason behind this step? Because the U.S. can?

      Controlling the Internet is the most powerful weapon in the world right now, and the U.S. ain't gonna give that up.

      If you think it will, I submit that you're living under the illusion that the U.S. would do something for the good of the world...

    • with the kneejerk slashdot reactions that come from pulling shit out of your asshole, rather than actually considering the truth, such as the actual NTIA statement itself [doc.gov]:

      U.S. Principles on the Internet's Domain Name and Addressing System

      The United States Government intends to preserve the security and stability of the Internet's Domain Name and Addressing System (DNS). Given the Internet's importance to the world's economy, it is essential that the underlying DNS of the Internet remain stable and secur
    • by glrotate ( 300695 )
      The Internets are a strategic resource of the United States. As an American, it would be swell if France just gave away its wine, South Africa its diamonds, or Saudi Arabia its oil. However, the Internets are ours. If you don't like it, compete with us and create your own, but don't whine that we won't just give it away.
    • One thing to consider is the opinion of CENTR [centr.org], The European TLD registry union, who obviously are not American, but regardless are opposed to the ITU-T taking control over ICANN. Their opinion on this ruling is important and as follows (cut from theregister article today)

      CENTR - an organisation representing a large number of country-code domains - has responded to the US government's declaration. In a cautious welcome, it agreed that the root files needed to be run in a neutral manner and welcomed its sup

    • I can't really say that refusing to give root DNS over to ICANN is bad. The organization is incompetent and has regularly screwed up everything they've touched. The problem is with the rest of what the US said: they won't cede control to *any* organization.
    • Well exactly what government would you prefer controlling it? With so many different cultures, if they started some NATO like organization for DNS servers you'd see countries voting to ban all kinds of domains, and you'd see no progress or enhancements simply because 40 or so countries would have to agree before any changes are made. The whole point of DNS is to have a central point for this kind of stuff. Distributing authority is possibly the worst thing that could happen to it. The U.S. has handled it f
    • What is the reasoning behind this step, apart from making more money for some corporations?

      How does DoC controlling Root DNS policy make money for some corporations? How would this change if if was ICANN instead of the DoC?

      Root DNS != DNS Registry
      • by jc42 ( 318812 )
        Root DNS != DNS Registry

        Good point. And to be a bit more direct, we might point out that it doesn't actually matter all that much who runs "the DNS Root Servers".

        After all, the Internet itself (at the network level) doesn't use DNS; it routes entirely on address with no concern for any symbolic names that might be associated with the addresses. If some gang of users wants to set up their own name-to-address mapping scheme, who's to stop them? Who's to even know they're doing it? And how could it imp
    • by Banner ( 17158 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @11:13AM (#12961517) Journal
      And the rest of the world doesn't?

      Do you really want China, who sits on the Security Council, making decisions about the internet? Under the control of the USA, the internet has florished, under the control of the UN, it would be strangled.

      Look at all the scandels that constantly plague the UN, all the corruption. And you have no say at all in anything the UN does. You want them to control the internet? This isn't dick waving, this is just common sense. If you think anyone in the international community can do a better job than the USA, please, by all means, tell us who you have in mind and why they can do a better job.

      And maybe the US is afraid to 'cooperate', as you put it, because we do all the work, spend all the money, and then get screwed by those we 'cooperate' with, when they don't cooperate back. Just look at the Human Rights commission!
      • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @03:35PM (#12964583) Journal
        And the rest of the world doesn't?

        Unless you're defining 'free' in a very particular manner, you're joking, right?

        Be real for a moment. We believe in _our_ economic freedom, and the freedom to promote _our_ message.

        If we believed in true free speech, there wouldn't be talk of an anti-flag-burning amendment, anti-Bush protesters would be allowed closer than 2 miles to his speech sites, and you wouldn't find stories like this one [nwsource.com].

        It's all very good and well to love your country. This is the best one there is. However, it's good and practical to be realistic about your own government- it is, after all, run by politicians and people who seek positions of power. They are not to be trusted any more than those in the U.N. The U.S. government only works as well as it does because of mandated transparency and checks and balances- all of which have been seriously eroded over the past 12 years, and are about to get worse... ignoring the scandals and lies coming out of your own leadership isn't healthy. Pointing a finger at money some other country's leadership might have made off the Iraq oil-for-food program looks pretty stupid if you're ignoring Haliburton's role in Iraq currently and it's connections to the current administration. Think about how it looks, even if you yourself find no impropriety.

        I mean, really, you're trolling, right? You want us to think the U.S. has no influence over the U.N. ? That there are no human rights abuses by the U.S., anywhere ? That our politicians aren't cronies buying and selling influence ? What else do you want us to believe ?

  • by DanielMarkham ( 765899 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:16AM (#12959478) Homepage
    From CNN -- "US keeps control over internet computers"
    From the Brits -- "US appears to affirm its authority on the internet"
    From the Canadians -- "US to control internet traffic"
    India -- "US won't cede monopoly on the internet"
    Seems like the same story has several different headlines, and to the uniformed eye some of them in conflict (yes. I know you can make the case they're not all that different. But monopoly on the internet it isn't). It would be nice if the people writing the stories understood what a root server was. Might make for a more informed public, you know?
    Check out "SarBox And The World Of Tomorrow" [whattofix.com]
  • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:19AM (#12959492) Journal
    Don't interact w/ a summarized article. Read the actual statement from the US government [doc.gov]. I wish these news sites would link to their sources when they're available.
    • by Dalroth ( 85450 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @08:53AM (#12960145) Homepage Journal
      Why should they? If they linked to their sources, you might actually go read them. Heaven forbid you then come up with your own opinion that doesn't tow the corporate line.

      Oh, and let's not forget, once you know who the sources are, you might just skip right past the major media outlets. We can't have that, no we can't. How else are they going to make their money if they aren't inundating us with incorrect news and flash ads?

      The powers that be have decided, no linky linky for you.

      Bryan
  • On the fence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bimo_Dude ( 178966 ) <[bimoslash] [at] [theness.org]> on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:19AM (#12959493) Homepage Journal
    I'm not really sure what to make of this. I definitely do not think that having the root domains under control by the US government is a good idea, and I also do not think that ICAAN is really up to the task either. I wonder if it might be better to have the root domain servers be distributed throughout the world (run as non-profit organizations, with only minimal fees required to maintain the servers, and executive salaries at these orgs capped).
    • Re:On the fence (Score:5, Informative)

      by swimin ( 828756 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:43AM (#12959618)
      How about using something that already exists, like opennic [unrated.net]?

      It is a currently running, non-profit organization that provides its own set of root DNS servers. They resolve all of the official domains(with the exception of .biz, because there is a dispute over it), and several others, like .oss (open source software).
      • Re:On the fence (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Bimo_Dude ( 178966 )
        Thank you for that information. I didn't know about it. I, for one, will be configuring all of my systems to use this, as well as my own DNS server.
      • Re:On the fence (Score:3, Interesting)

        by defMan ( 175410 )
        Good idea, i switched my own caching nameserver to it. It still runs of US servers but we'll see what happens.
    • The root servers are spread over the world (though the US still has a large percentage of them). However, the root zone is maintained by the US apparently. I'm quite supprised to read it isn't maintained by ICANN actually.
    • I believe the only normal way to handle this situation is to create a new international body or modify ICAAN, creating a fair representation of the current internet.

      Let's give control over that given organization to governments reflecting the share they use (userbase) and contribute (research and equipment) to the internet. So the USA still has it's say, but it cannot play hostage tactics with DNS. This is the only way to achieve neutrality. It is true that the USA has a hist(o|e)rical control over the DN
      • I believe the only normal way to handle this situation is to create a new international body or modify ICAAN, creating a fair representation of the current internet.

        Why would anyone EVER want to inject international politics into a critical technical infrastructure? The last thing we need is for governments to see the DNS system as a political tool.

        It is true that the USA has a hist(o|e)rical control over the DNS system, but that doesn't mean anything

        Historical control (and a track record for stabili
        • Politics is _already_ involved, and tbh I'd pick international politics any day over the USA-specific politics.
          • Provide an example of how US politics has influenced the administration of the root domain system. Has the US terminated a country's TLD? Are they threatening to do this if other country's don't comply with their foreign, trade, or other policies?
    • Then you will be pleased to hear about my new faith-based initiative to hand over management of the internet to church groups. Just to show that this is not one of those wacky christian-right things, we will have a separate top level domain ".heathen" to carry domains with Muslim, Jewish, and Catholic content.

      Ask your pastor how you can help.

      Think of the children!

    • Re:On the fence (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maharito ( 626909 )
      With regard to the phrase "under control", it seems as though the concern here is using the DNS as 1 of 2 things: a tool for censorship, or an e-weapon. Given that certain countries already have a policy of censorship of the Internet for their respective citizens <cough>China</cough>, and that communications providers, in this case ISPs, must obey the laws of the nations in which they operate, going on about it in that regard will not be particularly fruitful. You'll have what essentially amount
    • I definitely do not think that having the root domains under control by the US government is a good idea

      Why do you think that? Is the current system broke? Do you think the U.N., ICANN, or whoever is better equiped to do the job? Or do you just have a reflexive anti-U.S. Government bias?

      The U.S. Commerce Department (and DARPA before them) has successfully guided the Internet throught explosive growth. The system that *they* constructed works and works beautifully (not perfectly... but pretty darn good

  • by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:31AM (#12959554)
    Come on where's the D in DNS if we need central authority... Crypto has gone a long way since! Some authorities could sign pairs of DNS + IPs and have these distributed anywhere. For exemple I could chose to trust organization foo and bar to provide me safe a safe DNS. Requiring coincidence of two unrelated authorities would marginalize the risks of dns poisoning. The authority don't even need bandwith for that, they could be goolgle, yahoo, ibm, gnu, ms etc. As for who decides who gets a domain name, except for specific extensions (gov, countries etc) this should be open to anyone, and basically registering would simply consist in referring one's domain name to major authorities before someone else does.
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:59AM (#12959723) Journal
      The root servers are almost never actually used. All they do is let querying servers find the DNS server for a particular top level domain (e.g. .com). These are updated very infrequently (every year or so), and so their contents are cached by every DNS cache in existence. If the root DNS servers vanished hardly anyone would notice for quite a while.

      A study a few months back showed that 97% of all queries to the root servers came from people who have mis-typed the top level domain.

      I don't really care who controls the root servers, as long as they are all reliable and situated sufficiently far apart that they are not affected by geographical problems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:46AM (#12959636)
    While I don't trust ICANN (a group that spends most of their money on law firms) the US has to get a clue. The US is WAY behind in IPv6 adoption (excluding the military). If the US continues to hoard its control of DNS on the IPv4 internet, and simultaneously refuses to adopt IPv6, it will get to watch while the rest of the world migrates to IPv6 and obseletes the US's authority.
    • "The US is WAY behind in IPv6 adoption" makes no sense. ISPs in the US are behind, sure, but don't blame the government for that. How exactly does the US "hoard its control of DNS on the IPv4 internet" in a way that is harmful to users outside the US? IPv6 adoption and DNS zone file administration are different issues altogether.
  • GOOD. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haakondahl ( 893488 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:46AM (#12959638)
    Look at this in terms of China's bid to pwned Unocal. (CNOOC is *not* a company, it is a corporate-smelling arm of the Chinese government). Energy is a strategic asset. Now look at all of the credit card information stolen/lost/inappropriately xferred lately. Information is a strategic asset.

    Xferring control of Root DNS servers does not necessarily lead to compromise/abuse any more than leaving your credit card lying in a bus station will necessarily lead to your account being, er, misused. Similarly, retaining control does not guarantee security, but why screw with it? Who should take up this burden--the Oil-for-food-United-Nations?

    The fact is, the US created the internetworking protocols, and laid the early hardware. Much of the structure is US assets, which the whole rest of the world is free to use.

    I, for one, welcome the same old overlords whom at least we [sorry y'all] can vote on. What will you do when CHINA wants to throw a "broadcast flag"-level wrench into things?
  • It is possible that some countries could withdraw support from ICANN, and this decision even opens up the gate for a separate DNS system to be established outside the US's control.

    Yep [fshell.org].

  • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @07:49AM (#12959653) Journal
    Everyone who thinks that beuorcrats, politics and technology go well together raise your hands... now please leave. I know the term "Bush Administration" is a trigger for blind hatred and rhetoric on par with "Microsoft", but this isn't a bad thing. The U.S. has managed these DNS servers for 25 years and has kept the process from being political. The U.S. currently has a significant ECONOMIC (forget "security") stake in ensuring that these domain servers are maintained and stable. ICANN or a world political body does not have the same motiviation. They're motivated by making a name for themselves, expanding their country's control over the Internet, retaliating against other governments for non-Internet policy decisions, etc. A solution to having a single government control such an important resource should be found in order to prevent abuse, but that solution must GUARANTEE that we are reducing the potential for abuse of the system, not increasing it.
  • Internet was designed to be a network without a "central place", owner, any critical points that would take it down. Now what would the Internet be without DNS? Taking out one company's equipment would take about 95% of the services down. I find decentralizing DNS services essential. They are the weak spot of the Internet, the only thing that once destroyed bring almost whole net down.
  • Nobody better (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @08:30AM (#12959923)
    As unlikely as it is for me to concede that the US should still do anything for the world good... the root zone should still be run as it has been for the last couple decades. Few, infrequent changes, and very very stable. THat's what matters.

    Why do other parties want control of the root zone? So they can bargain with it? Add new TLD's? Give me a break.

    The root zone needs to simply run as it is, that's all.
  • by bemenaker ( 852000 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @08:35AM (#12959969)
    From reading the gov't release, it sounds like the US is trying to maintain physical control over the boxes, but is still handing off all administration and support to ICANN. Am I not understanding the report correctly. I read the gov't release, and not the news statements on this issue.

    I have long felt that the internet, while created by the US, should evolve into a complete international body. That ICANN should take over all authority of the internet. Unfortunately, this will bring the same level of difficulty as the UN has, but to a lesser degree.

    I have long felt that as we evolve, (socially, and politically), the idea that all of the earth will eventually fall under one global gov't will happen. I also feel that this won't happen until long after space travel becomes a normal mundane thing. Systems like the internet, will not only help bring this, but are an essential part of this.

    Keeping with that mentality, the internet needs to serve everyone's interest, and to do so, it must be controlled by an open body made up of an international representation.

  • by databyss ( 586137 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @08:40AM (#12960022) Homepage Journal
    In other news: US Government to rename ICANN to NOYOUCANNOT
  • American news is worthless--it's just scenes of car chases and celebrities doing dumb things. That's our news. In America, real news only comes from 2 places--public broadcasting (NPR & PBS which the government clearly wants to kill off) and the internet. Yes, we have to go overseas to find out what's happening in our own country. Broadcast flag, National ID, Downing Street Memo--most Americans have no clue what these things are. If the US government wants to control the internet, you can bet it's
  • by Cow Jones ( 615566 ) on Friday July 01, 2005 @09:38AM (#12960595)
    All your root are belong to US!

    (sorry)

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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