A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

CIX, NSI, Rutkowski, EC Aligned Against IAHC pp. 1- 6

The line up of those seeking U.S. Government mediation in the process of "fixing" DNS grew longer in April when the CIX and NSI began to appeal for federal authority to prevent the IAHC plan from going forward. OECD's telecom arm held a meeting to indicate its nervousness. Even the European Commission has now begged Washington to save it and the Internet from the program of IAHC. We note that the NSF Inspector General's just released Report on the Administration of Internet Addresses also recommends a policy that, although not overtly anti - IAHC, would, if implemented, put a major roadblock in IAHC's way.

Meanwhile IAHC holds a meeting in Geneva this week for a public signing by its supporters of its Memorandum of Understanding. We examine the NSI white paper and IAHC plan and are happy with neither. IAHC, we are told, is a centralized socialist model that cannot compete against private entrepreneurs and therefore will not allow anything save its own seven Registries and up to 28 Registrars to move forward These are strong opinions. Rereading the IAHC proposals does not immediately justify them. Moreover we are amazed by the amount of animosity that the IAHC process itself has generated.

The NSI proposal calls for the creation of some federal body to provide some transitional stability for the IANA processes until they can be institutionalized within a sound legal framework It calls for that body to contract for DNS and IP services. Not surprisingly it stands ready to provide them. While it does correctly define the seriousness of the IANA authority issue, it fails, not surprisingly, to describe in any detail a long term solution for the DNS problem

Meanwhile the problem of the IANA authority has been exacerbated by two events. On April 1, 1997 DARPA allowed its contract with ISI at USC that paid for most of the IANA activity to expire. This action rendered Tony Rutkowski's description of IANA as "the name of an activity of the US government performed under contract by the University of Southern California" moot. On April 4 the Office of General Counsel of the USC sent a letter to NSI that stated that the functions that NSI had been carrying out as a contractor for IANA had not been done under the authority of ISI or USC, but only at the behest of the IANA, acting on behalf of the consensual authority of the internet community which NSI had chosen to accept. The conclusion seems to us very clear. Faced with PGP's lawsuit against NSI, USC and ISI have decided to run for cover.

When we sought clarification, Jon Postel advised us to go directly to Robert Lane, the USC General Counsel. We did and got no statement from the letter of April 4 to NSI, but rather one that "the IANA function has been performed by ISI, through its employee, Dr. Jon Postel, for quite some time." When we pointed out that this statement seemed to contradict the position of the letter of April 4, we received a very curt dismissal.

So far the manuervering described above is accomplishing very little. We are not comforted either by assertions that the administration has picked Brian Kahin the Administrator of the Kennedy School Internet Conferences to come to Washington to head the effort of the federal DNS Working Group. Kahin's understanding of the issues, senior people tell us, is inadequate. If the administration is serious about getting its bungling of the last two months cleared up, it will prevail on someone with the credentials of a Vint Cerf to head the DNS/IANA repair effort.

The following actions need to be taken. (1) DARPA needs to renew the contract with ISI that covers IANA activities. (2) The Administration needs to ensure that this happens and does so quickly. (3) USC needs to reassess the change in its position as regards ISI's authority over NSI. (4) ARIN needs to be formed immediately. (5) ARIN RIPE and APNIC need to act swiftly to form the global Council of IP Registries, and (6) this Council needs to appropriate for itself the IANA functions and to found them in a legal charter.

Collet and Dooley Present CIX Position on Governance Issues pp. 6-12

In an interview with the COOK Report CIX President, Bob Collet, and Executive Director Barbara Dooley complain that the IAHC effort has resulted in a failure of process because has developed a self effectuating program that does not take sufficient account of the needs of the commercial Internet.

Dooley calls for an authority accepted by "first and primarily by the US government and secondly by the ISPs who have support it with their infrastructure, and thirdly by the user community which is harder to coalesce in its associative role." She agrees that resolving IANA authority is critical but sees nothing of over riding significance in missing the April 1 start date for ARIN.

Both she and Collet explain why they believe global top level domains like .com are unworkable. They call for their phase out within five years. She supports the formation of ARIN and a Council of IP Registries but believes the IANA authority over DNS and IP numbers should be given to separate bodies.

We pointed out the worst case scenario of a judge declaring Postel's authority invalid and DNS and IP threatened with a breakdown. We said we had heard the large providers had a contingency plan for such an eventuality. She replied "Such a scenario, I assume, would be an emergency readiness procedure. It would be possible since it is the ISP's policies to decide whom they route. The ISPs point to the route servers on behalf of their customers. They could essentially decide to create a policy for their commercial businesses. If this were to happen, it would change then from the public Internet being part of the Global Information Infrastructure and part of the National Information Infrastructure into being a completely commercial proposition. I think this is a path that we do not want to take and that there would be interventions before it got to such an impasse."

International Internet Backbones, p. 13 -16

Fraooq Hussain, Director Internet Strategy Concert Global Communications, describes the old hub and spoke model of international connectivity to the Internet in the U.S. that resulted from the Sprint ICM program. There are now upwards of 1,000 foreign circuits landing directly in the US where those countries pay the full cost of the circuit despite benefits that US users derive. He explains why no successful settlements model is likely to be implemented any time soon.

He then goes on to discuss new global backbone building first by Teleglobe in what he considers an unsustainable model where it pays for its half circuit costs. He goes on to Cable & Wireless' global backbone for use by its consortium members. Then he looks at UUNET World Coms vertically integrated model, before concluding with a description of the MCI British Telecom single provider, global backbone model.

Matrix of Exchange Point Connectivity pp. 17 - 18, 20

We republish Sean Donelan's matrix that appeared on NANOG in early April. Donelan's excellent document does net users a service and gives a revealing picture of how the largest players interconnect publicly. However it does not show who peers with whom because this data is not publicly available.

Editorial Critique of Rutkowski's Legal Brief, pp. 19 -20

We examine some of the salient points of Tony's anti IAHC screed.

Privacy Attack in Wash. State, pp 21 - 22, 24

We present an interview with Jeff Michka on an attempt in Washington state to institute a non forgeable drivers license.