From: George Sadowsky <george.sadowsky@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: June 6, 2005 11:13:29 AM EDT
Subject: A battle for the soul of the Internet
Dave - possibly for IP? The deadline for submissions of interest
for ICANN leadership positions is currently mid-June, and we are
looking hard for good candidates. Elliot Noss is a member of the
ICANN Nominating Committee that I chair.
A battle for the soul of the Internet
By Elliot Noss, Special to ZDNet
Published on ZDNet News: June 3, 2005, 5:19 AM PT
With little fanfare, there is a battle going on for the soul of the
Internet. The United Nations and the ITU (International
Communications Union) are trying to wrest control of domain names, the
DNS and IP addresses from ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers). This battle manifests itself through the
U.N.-created World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and the
ITU-lead Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG).
While the Internet is essentially a series of protocols adhered to by
common consent, it relies on a single authoritative root at its core.
This is what assures Internet users who type "zdnet.com" into their
browsers that they end up where they thought they should. Anything but
uniqueness with this vital resource would result in collision and
confusion. The same is true for e-mail. Unless senders are certain
that there is only one unique identifier for a recipient, they cannot
use e-mail with confidence.
Both the U.N. and the ITU have their reasons for trying to wrest
control of these vital resources from ICANN. For the U.N., ICANN
represents a body that transcends the nation-state structure, and
could become a model for similar efforts covering subject matter most
appropriately dealt with at a global level. For the ITU, gaining
control of core Internet resources represents an opportunity to put
the Internet-genie back in the bottle and gain a greater measure of
relevance in the IP networking world. The ITU doesn't see itself as
merely an overseer of the old circuit-switched networks, which it
presides over today, but as the overseer of all networks, including
While ICANN has its flaws, it also possesses important, unique
characteristics. Two are worthy of special note. First, ICANN's form
of governance explicitly includes policy, technical, business and user
interests under one roof. Each interest group has a formal role and
voice in both policy-making and governance. Each has a stake in the
proceedings, and each is an important part of the system. (Yes, users'
voices need be heard more, and as an active participant in the ICANN
process and member of the 2005 ICANN Nominating Committee I will
continue to work toward that goal). Having these combined interests
explicitly inside the process avoids some of the perversions that we
have seen in other forms of governance, campaign finance being perhaps
the starkest example.
<this is just a snippet, much more to read at the URL above>