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DNS USER FORUM INCLUDES A CALL TO ACTION
OPEN COMPETITION OR MONOPOLY CONTROL?
sponsored by CPSR and NYFMA
Wednesday night's User Forum was a great success! Despite the logistical
zig-zags most people found the hall and contributed to a lively discussion
of DNS issues. We had a good-sized audience of about 50 people, four out
of five panelists, and the use of first-class facilities at the New School.
For me the evening's most significant product was a call to action. There
are only six days until September 30, at which time an Internet Corporation
*may* be defined. Currently, two proposals for a corporation are being
widely circulated, one from today's government contractors (IANA and NSI)
and the other from a "Boston Working Group." Different versions of a third,
public interest/user propopal are now also in the works.
As I and others at the forum noted, the public interest/user communities
need to join together to finalize this public interest/user proposal. If
public interest recommendations are incorporated into proposed by-laws on
September 30, then the communities should all vocally express their
collective support. If those recommendations are not included, then the
communities should all vocally express a collective disapproval. Today's
tasks are, first, to finalize a public interest/user proposal and, second,
prepare to speak out together on September 30.
Like I said, I felt that this call to action was the most important product
of the forum. But there was lots of other interesting dialogue.
Milton Mueller of Syracuse University spoke on free speech, trademarks, and
domain names. Marcy Gordon from CPSR provided a detailed overview of CPSR's
policy positions -- which she sang and accompanied on guitar! (I thought it
was going to be weird, but it turned out to be a real high point of the
evening.) pgMedia's Paul Garrin gave a fascinating account of today's
Internet governance structure. I talked about proposals for by-laws that
would ensure public interest representation on the new organization's Board.
Jessica Glass of the New York Free Media Alliance deftly moderated the
While most people people discussed *how* to privatize the Internet, some
participants questioned the very act of privatization. Ronda Hauben argued
that the Internet should remain in public hands. This is a view that few
groups in the U.S. have voiced, although it may be more popular outside of
In summary, it was an exciting evening with a lot of good discussion and a
powerful conclusion. I think that some day we will look back and recognize
it as an event that catalyzed the public interest/user community at this key
juncture of the Internet governance process.
Southern Regional Director
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Hans K. Klein
Assistant Professor Phone: 404-894-2258
School of Public Policy, MC:0345 Fax: 404-894-0535
D.M. Smith Building, 313 Email:email@example.com
Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA 30332-0345