A few words on VeriSign's sitefinder

Sorry for barging in to this fine mailing list like this; long time reader,
first time contributor.

We, as the Internet engineering community, have made a great mistake.
Actually, it wasn't even one large mistake, but a series of small ones.
Engineers are busy people, and most us work under the constraints of the
organizational entities we serve (be it ISPs, non-internet corporates, or
even non-profits). Few of us have time for politics; even fewer have the
desire and motivation for politics, and those of us who do try usually end
up facing a brick wall of stubbornness, lack of understanding of the
underlying technical issues, or just a deaf ear.

In the meanwhile however, the Internet has made its way into many homes,
businesses, and organizations. Today, one can easily state that the Internet
has become a social framework, a business infrastructure, and most of all, a
critical global communication network. The way the Internet works affects
great and many people, in great and many ways; the Internet has power - and
where there is power, there are struggles to take control over that power,
and exploit it. This is apparently one of the beauties of democratic
capitalism (under which I will be so bold to presume many of us live).

Yet, with capitalism in mind, as a society we come together and place
limitations, protocols, and procedures in order to limit the extent on which
a single capitalist or a corporate entity can disrupt the life, safety, and
freedom of society at large for their private agenda. Most democratic
capitalistic countries have strict controls over issues such as environment,
business practices, and public safety (I don't think many of us would like
to visit a shopping mall built with no other considerations in mind besides
the cost of construction materials, as we realize some engineering
principles need to be put into practice during construction for the building
to be considered reasonably safe.)

Our mistake is that of ignorance.

With all this said, and in nothing more than my own humble opinion, I would
like to bring the following to your attention:

The current situation with VeriSign is unacceptable, regardless of
SiteFinder (even though the former serves a good example as for *why* it is
unacceptable). The DNS (applicable RFC and IETF documents) provides very
clear definition of country-specific top level domains, such as ".nl",
".jp", or even ".tv". It is the full right of the governing body of each
country to assign a commercial or non-commercial entity to manage the
assignments of such domains in a way in which their political system sees
fit. The United States of America has the '.us' top level domain for that
specific purpose.

Many people argue that ".com", ".net", and ".org" are of American origin
(and date back to ARPAnet and DoD), this is a sensible and true argument,
however - real life practice is such that those 3 top level domains are used
by various internet-connected entities worldwide. There is *no reason
whatsoever* the control over those entities will be in the hands of a
commercial entity. They constitute an integral part of the "Internet fabric"
at least as much as the TCP/IP protocol itself from the social and usability
POV. They are global, and integral to the correct operation of the Internet
at large. In fact, those 3 domains exist "in cyberspace"; they do not have
geographic or political borders, and the management of those TLDs has to be
in the hands of a non-profit organization which is interested in *technical
and organizational management*, not in making a dollar.

If there are (and we can all see there are, else VeriSign wouldn't have such
a successful stock) dollars to be made on those top level domains, or more
specifically - the .net and .com domains currently managed by VeriSign,
those dollars should be contributed back to the Internet community - and
used to resolve technical and organizational issues (and there are many of
those, from spam to security, or even basic coordination of effort), rather
than benefit a handful of capitalistic shareholders.

Root servers, and the .net, .com (as well as .org) domains belong to the
world now; Welcome to the global democracy, brought to you by the ability to
send packets across the globe at the speed of light. We all rely on them,
and their management should be done in a way appropriate for their status.
There are many capable organizations worldwide which could assume such a
task. ISC (previously mentioned in this context) would indeed be a fine
choice as it has proven itself to be reliable and politically independent
over time.

I would recommend all of you to rally your organizations and companies
behind you, and advocate a change toward the previously mentioned direction.
Power is a dangerous thing, especially in the wrong hands. We will all
suffer to different extents for many years down the line if nothing is done
today to put things straight. It's time to put an end to quasi-science,
quasi-politics, and power struggles in favor of strict engineering with
social and technical considerations in mind.

We all know it's the only way to make it right.

The United States is a republic, not a democracy. There's a huge
difference.

Curtis

Are you well enough versed in the political science to define and
understand the differences? If you're you'll know that there is no and
never been any true democracy anywhere and republic is just one type of
this political system.

And in my view US can be be described as corporate republic. Meaning large
companies and special interest choose and make the elite (rather then
individual families as in classic republic or democracy) and use goverment
to futher achieve their goals and legal and financial system to maintain
control over demos and use press and other means (financial and otherwise)
to that purpose.

david.monosov@futureinquestion.net ("David Monosov") writes:

...
Root servers, and the .net, .com (as well as .org) domains belong to the
world now; Welcome to the global democracy, brought to you by the ability
to send packets across the globe at the speed of light. We all rely on
them, and their management should be done in a way appropriate for their
status.

i tend to agree that there is a conflict of interest between the commercial
providers in this sector and both (a) their own customers, as well as (b) the
outside community of interest. and...

There are many capable organizations worldwide which could assume such a
task. ISC (previously mentioned in this context) would indeed be a fine
choice as it has proven itself to be reliable and politically independent
over time.

thank you, on behalf of isc and our board, for your respectful words. but...

... Power is a dangerous thing, especially in the wrong hands.

power is dangerous thing, in any small set of hands. diversity in all things!

>
> The United States is a republic, not a democracy. There's a huge
> difference.

Are you well enough versed in the political science to define and
understand the differences? If you're you'll know that there is no and
never been any true democracy anywhere and republic is just one type of
this political system.

I majored in History not MIS/CS.

And in my view US can be be described as corporate republic. Meaning large
companies and special interest choose and make the elite (rather then
individual families as in classic republic or democracy) and use goverment
to futher achieve their goals and legal and financial system to maintain
control over demos and use press and other means (financial and otherwise)
to that purpose.

Of course, what you describe is the what the US political system has been
perverted into.

This is way off topic. We can continue this off list if you wish.

Curtis

Since no one else has mentioned this:

http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040226/tech_verisign_2.html

Looks like I need to stock up on popcorn.

And I'm sure ICANN will remember it for long time - right up to the point
when Verisign's contracts for .com/.net management are up for renewal.

When are they up for renewal exactly?

william(at)elan.net wrote:

November 10, 2007, according to
http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/verisign/registry-agmt-com-25may01.htm

-S

Any way to speed that up? :wink:

John

For ICANN/Registry agreements see here:
http://www.icann.org/registries/agreements.htm

Specific agreements & all technical specs Verisign agreed to follow:
http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/verisign/com-index.htm
http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/verisign/net-index.htm

And based on that Verisign rule over these tlds ends in November 2007

william@elan.net ("william(at)elan.net") writes:

...
And based on that Verisign rule over these tlds ends in November 2007

no. See page 19 of:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID475281_code70168.pdf?abstractid=475281

i think that verisign and icann are stuck with each other, in perpetuity.

http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/verisign/registry-agmt-com-25may01.htm

"16. Termination
...
B. In the event of termination by DOC of its Cooperative Agreement with
Registry Operator pursuant to Section 1.B.8 of Amendment ___ to that
Agreement, ICANN shall, after receiving express notification of that fact
from DOC and a request from DOC to terminate Registry Operator as the
operator of the Registry TLD, terminate Registry Operator's rights under
this Agreement, and shall cooperate with DOC to facilitate the transfer of
the operation of the Registry Database to a successor registry

C. This Agreement may also be terminated in the by ICANN on written
notice given at least forty days after the final and nonappealable
occurrence of either of the following events:
(i) Registry Operator:
(a) is convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or other
serious offense related to financial activities, or is the subject of a
determination by a court of competent jurisdiction that ICANN reasonably
deems as the substantive equivalent of those offenses ; or
(b) is disciplined by the government of its domicile for conduct involving
dishonesty or misuse of funds of others
ii) Any officer or director of Registry Operator is convicted of a felony
or of a misdemeanor related to financial activities, or is judged by a
court to have committed fraud or breach of fiduciary duty, or is the
subject of a judicial determination that ICANN deems as the substantive
equivalent of any of these"

So all we need to do is either lobby us government (get to your senator or
congressman; and before Verisign starts lobbying him directly) or get federal
courts to convict the people at Verisign responsible for all this mess.

Scott Call wrote:

When are they up for renewal exactly?

November 10, 2007, according to
http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/verisign/registry-agmt-com-25may01.htm

-S

I think as far as Verisign is concerned, they might not be an ongoing concern in 2007, so why worry? They need to do something to get their revenues up or risk the wrath of wallstreet: http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040129/tech_verisign_earns_4.html

At $6/year per domain registered, VGRS makes the lion share of money in the domain registry business for .com and .net. Yet, they are losing $20MM per last quarter (or more, they lost over 200MM in 2003) And only have about $300MM in cash . And their revenues are falling.

Deepak Jain
AiNET