It appears that the conference organized at the start of next month to try and hammer out the basis for the non-profit corporation to run the internet domain name system has got a PR problem. And that problem is one of perceived persistent US- centrism, and more specifically, persistent Washington-centrism – neither of which go […]
It appears that the conference organized at the start of next month to try and hammer out the basis for the non-profit corporation to run the internet domain name system has got a PR problem. And that problem is one of perceived persistent US- centrism, and more specifically, persistent Washington-centrism – neither of which go down well in the internet community. The meeting is to be held in Reston, Virginia, a few miles west of Washington, DC. And no matter how the organizers of the Global Incorporation Alliance Workshop (GIAW) try and portray it as an open meeting to which all stakeholders are invited, and at which all can have a fair chance to put their point across, the perception among those who were not involved in some way in its organization is one of a Beltway cabal, centered around Network Solutions Inc (NSI). NSI officially denies the charge that it was instrumental in setting up the workshop. We finally got to hear from the Council of Registrars (CORE) on Friday. CORE is the collection of 87 international domain name registrars who are looking to register names as soon as the process is opened up to competition and many of whom have taken pre-orders. At present NSI handles all the registrations in the .com, .net and .org domain name spaces, but the process will be opened up to competition soon under the terms of the government’s white paper on DNS governance, published June 5. The GIAW says that companies listed under its ‘Participants’ section have been expressly invited. The idea is to at least invite everyone who submitted comments to the green paper process, the discussion document that preceded the white paper policy statement. CORE executive chair Ken Stubbs told us that neither he nor CORE has been officially invited, although he did say it would be appropriate to send an observer, to the meeting. He was at pains to promote the Internet Society’s INET 98 meeting in Geneva July 21-24 as an alternative setting for discussion, in particular a separate track on internet governance. Stubbs says that has been planned more than a month in advance of the white paper’s publication, and as such gives participants much more time to plan their attendance than the GIAW meeting. We found out about the GIAW June 5 and reported it (CI No 3,426), which shows that it had been organized before the white paper had been published. However, most did not hear about it until June 10. But the idea of promoting INET inevitably drags up the age-old anti-Geneva sentiments among many in the internet community who feel that such a meeting should be held in the US, because US tax payers helped fund the internet’s creation and still do fund it to some extent, which is yet another moot point. However, it appears that the only way to placate the internet community is to hold a series of meetings, distributed around the world and not perceived to be controlled by one group or another, but that’s probably wishful thinking. Stubbs runs Domain Names International LLC, a small registrar in Hilton Head, South Carolina, with another office in Florida. He says the preponderance of requests for new names his company receives come from outside the US, and it is those international interests that demand a meeting less dominated by Washington and the US, figures Stubbs. He describes the GIAW in Reston as a conference across the bridge from DC and down the block from where it’s being done at the moment. NSI’s headquarters is in Herndon, Virginia, a stone’s throw from Reston. Finally, did it not occur to the organizers that July 2, which falls on a Thursday is a very bad day to try and move around the US, as almost the entire country has July 3 off in lieu of July 4, which falls on a Saturday?