We now have an answer to the question we posed a headline yesterday, namely who really is behind the forthcoming Global Incorporation Alliance Workshop (GIAW) at the start of next month and what it will involve. It seems the meeting, which is going to try and hammer out a framework for forming a non-profit corporation […]
We now have an answer to the question we posed a headline yesterday, namely who really is behind the forthcoming Global Incorporation Alliance Workshop (GIAW) at the start of next month and what it will involve. It seems the meeting, which is going to try and hammer out a framework for forming a non-profit corporation to manage the internet domain name system, will be the first of a trio of gatherings, with the next one happening in Europe and the third in the Asia-Pacific region. Brussels is thought to be the most likely location for the European meeting, though no location for the Asia-Pacific meeting has been revealed yet. The results of the first meeting will become the input for the second, which will roll on to the third. We have learned of a conference call that happened on Tuesday June 16 that brought together many of the existing people and organizations behind the get-together. They agreed to form an informal consortium of organizations that would sponsor as well as form a steering committee to oversee the organization of the meeting. They agreed that Barbara Dooley, the executive director of the Commercial Internet Exchange Association (CIX), which represents the interests of ISPs should head the committee. However, Dooley was reluctant to talk about the consortium ahead of a media advisory today, Friday.
By Nick Patience
Since the GIAW was publicly announced just over a week ago, some in the industry have accused it of being a less-than-open process dominated by NSI, CIX and other Beltway companies. This move and the addition of the other two workshops is presumably an attempt to dispel that notion. The inclusion of the Internet Society’s president and CEO Don Heath was particularly interesting given that ISOC is holding its annual INet meeting in Geneva in July, and has invited the head of the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA), Jon Postel to talk there. IANA is currently restructuring itself in anticipation of forming the core of any new non-profit corporation and some feel the ISOC is pitching INet as a rival to the GIAW, with the added bonus of the attendance of IANA. The GIAW people have invited IANA, but so far no acceptance has been received. Postel has been pretty much silent since the publication of the government’s white paper on June 5 and we have been unable to get a word out of him. Don Heath was out of the country on vacation and will not return until Monday. The Policy Oversight Committee (POC), which is the current name for the group that proposed adding seven new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to the internet, was not invited to take part on the GIAW call, as far as we understand. Neither was the Council of Registrars (CORE) – 87 registrars who are ready top register names in the new gTLD spaces. However, some might argue that ISOC’s Heath could be though of as a kind of representative for those groups. Nevertheless, some sort of direct participation from IANA, CORE, POC and so on in the organizing of the GIAW would seem to be crucial if this is really going to work as the bottom-up, grass roots organization the government wants it to be. Some in the industry are portraying the GIAW as representing the new stakeholders while the ISOC/IANA brigade represents the engineering and academic communities, which seems to carry some derogatory connotations on this particular issue. But surely, everyone has to be represented at the GIAW – from marketing people to techies – if this is going to work. Otherwise the outcome will be yet more division and cat-calling, which if it goes on too long, will see the government step back in to straighten out the mess. As far as money towards the GIAW meeting goes, Bell Atlantic, Microsoft and NSI are all believed to have donated small amounts, but the page that listed sponsors on the GIAW site has now been removed. In alphabetical order, these are some of the organizations that were both on the call and are part of the consortium: Association of Interactive Media (AIM); Canadian Association of Internet Service Providers (CAIP); CIX; Computer Services and Software Association (CSSA) – a large UK IT trade body; EuroISPA; Internet Society (ISOC); ISP/C; Information Technology Association of America (ITAA); Network Solutions Inc (NSI); Public Sector Working Group (PSWG). The last of those is an ad-hoc grouping of major trademark holders that includes Microsoft Corp, RJR Nabisco, but this time AT&T Corp represented the group on the call. The CSSA and EuroISPA will be organizing the event in Europe. The GIAW is at http://www.giaw.org and the ISOC’s INet information is at http://www.isoc.org/inet98