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Second US bill would block IANA transition

Kevin Murphy, April 3, 2014, 20:32:48 (UTC), Domain Policy

Another bill has been introduced into the US Congress related to the IANA transition process, and this one would actually be dangerous if passed.

Rep Mike Kelly introduced the Internet Stewardship Act (pdf) to make the IANA transition a matter that requires Congressional legislation.

The press release announcing the bill is longer than the bill itself, which says just this:

NTIA PROHIBITED FROM RELINQUISHING DNS RESPONSIBILITIES.

The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information may not relinquish or agree to relinquish the responsibilities of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration with respect to Internet domain name functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions, or the related root zone management functions, unless such relinquishment is permitted by a statute enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act.

In other words, if this bill is enacted then another bill would be required in order for the NTIA to remove itself from root zone oversight.

Try to imagine a bill relinquishing control over the “critical internet functions” getting majority support in any national legislature.

Try to imagine it getting support in a national legislature that has more than its fair share of flag-waving nationalists and gung-ho xenophobes.

Try to imagine the Republican party in Congress allowing the Obama administration, which it despises, to ‘give away the internet’ to Vladimir Putin and theocratic Arab states, which is what a lot of commentators irrationally seem to think is happening.

It Kelly’s bill is passed, ICANN may as well kiss goodbye to ideas of independence from US oversight for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, the bill is just a bill right now.

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Comments (28)

  1. Are you saying that the US Congress, the people’s representatives, should not have a say in something as important as the internet?

    I don’t understand your post. Are you anti-Democratic process?

    The Congress funded the establishment of the internet as a proxy for the American people, what’s wrong with them overseeing it’s future, be it transfer or not.

    Certainly you can take the position that the internet should go to international domain, but you can’t be against a scrutiny and legislation by the people’s representative, no matter how arduous, messy, or rancorous the process may be.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      By “the people’s representatives” you mean “the American people’s representatives”, I assume.

  2. Yes, the American People, that’s who, for the purposes of the transfer, matters; that’s who paid taxes to fund the development of the internet. Until it transfer, if ever, that is whose permission is necessary to proceed; and you can only get their nod via Congress.

    I am not saying the peoples’ of other nations don’t matter, just in the limited concern of transferring the safety, security, integrity, and future of their tangible and intangible internet.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Apparently the American people — as represented by Congress — didn’t care too much about stewardship the DNS root zone until this week. Hence the perceived need for a bill.

      It seems like an awfully long time to wait to assert control over the root, unless of course you’re just responding to silly editorials.

      I also don’t recall any outcry from Congress when the US government under the Bush administration censored the root zone, using its special relationship with ICANN to get .xxx rejected.

      That’s the only time any government anywhere has ever censored the root zone. Really.

      As for that “taxpayer” argument, I’ll note that nobody seemed to care too much about free speech on the internet until a British guy based in Switzerland — at CERN, funded exclusively by European taxpayers — invented the web.

  3. John says:

    The Internet was invented in the United States at US taxpayer expense, and the entire world has benefited and continues to benefit to this day.

    The Domain Name System (DNS) was invented by an American in 1983.

    So get over it, get over your typical misguided anti-American resentment, coveting and hate, and get over your unbelievable naivete.

    While obviously no nation on earth is as pure as the snow on Mount Everest, some are clearly far less pure than others. Because of the natural US oversight from the beginning, the entire world has been able to benefit from an Internet that has been kept about as pure and free and fair and clean as one could possibly have hoped insofar as it has depended on the ones exercising such oversight.

    By the way, you can have the U.N. if you want, along with all the bills to pay for it. I don’t see anyone clamoring for that. But I digress…

    Now as for some of that unbelievable naivete, not to mention the original implications of where and at whose expense the Internet and DNS were invented, apparently some have not even waited for this big event to take place before racing down the course of destruction and ruin. It seems that not many know about this yet, however, but for those who don’t, just take a look at this particular development:

    “Internet governance agency to be handed over by US employs former Mubarak official that shut down Egyptian Internet”

    (http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/02/internet-governance-agency-to-be-handed-over-by-us-employs-former-mubarak-official-that-shut-down-egyptian-internet/)

  4. Mr. Murphy,

    I don’t quite understand, fully, your argument, or goal, however, from the little I was able to decipher, it is appropriate to emphasize our system of government, as opposed to the United Kingdom, and most European countries, which are Monarchy, Hybrid Democracies, respectively; our Constitution starts off this way:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”.

    The people are sovereign, and not a queen, a king, or President Obama and his Cabinet.

    Article I, Section 1, states that:

    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

    At this stage of the discussion regarding the future of the internet, the debate is simply centered on who should determine it, internally in the US, Cabinet Secretary, or Congress? That’s all, not the merits of the substantive issues you tend to be concerned with. Frankly, unless you are an American Citizen it is really none of your business. If I were you, I wouldn’t even blog about it. It’s an internal matter.

    It’s analogous to an American insisting that you in Great Britain should get rid of the monarchy, and hold credible democratic elections to elect a legitimate head of state; whereas that is the proper thing for the UK to do, it’s up to the Brits to determine; just like it’s up to Americans to call on the internet issue.

  5. Andrew says:

    Mr. Murphy

    many thanks for the information. Frankly, these Americans’ observations above and knowledge of England in particular, adds up to zero, their ignorance is unbelievable.

    Over the last 200 years especially, the English have given the World many things at our expense, but we don’t bleat about it, and we are genuinely happy to help the World.

    The Internet is very much our business, as it is, in every country in the world for as long as we pay for the service, and the USA does very nicely out of us, thank you very much. I can’t hear you complaining on the foreign revenues you receive?

    Finally, England is the most democratic, free and tolerant nation on the planet, period! End of! Don’t insult the English with your narrow minded outlooks. And please, don’t apply for a job in the diplomatic service, you would start a world war.

    Keep up the good work Mr. Murphy …

    With due respects …

  6. @Andrew,

    You very much misunderstood what I wrote. My comments were not addressed to the English, or even England as you reduced it to; it was not addressed to a people. I addressed my remarks to the country, United Kingdom of England, Scotland, and Wales…

    How dare you ignore the other nations that make up UK?

    It is a fact that UK is a Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. So, what are you talking about ignorance, and whatnot?

    Please stay on topic. Grab a cup of tea, a lil’ dab will do ya.

  7. Andrew says:

    Domenclature …

    ignorance is bliss eh? I deliberately did not include the Welsh, Irish (Northern Ireland) and Scottish. They have the sovereign right to a voice of their own and are quite capable of speaking up for themselves.

    I can’t believe your further ignorance that you think there is a country called the United Kingdom. Worse still, you think it consists of 3 countries. If you are talking about Great Britain (a political term), then that is a different matter consisting of 3 countries. Mr. Murphy (an Irish name) has been very lenient with you. As such, an American posing as an expert on the UK, who lacks this basic knowledge of the British Isles cannot be taken seriously on any subject matter. And glad? No sir, most definitely not! It gives me no pleasure to see a taxing American’s remarks without true representation.

    Stay on topic? I think you had better read your first comments on here again, so hypocritical of you with such an undemocratic attitude of do as I say and not as I do. You should not throw stones in glasshouses and therefore stick to the topic in question and refrain from lecturing foreign nationals on a universal subject which is of legitimate concern to all, namely the Internet and the importance of net neutrality and keeping it in safe hands.

    The one home truth you fail to understand is that the Internet has never been an internal American affair. From the precursor of Sir Tim Berners-Lee/Robert Cailliau “www” initial works, the Internet was suppose to be an information highway for every country in the world. In other words, no one person, or no one country owns the Internet. So no more of this tosh “unless you are an American citizen it is really none of your business”. We, the world, have entrusted the Americans with the Internet and we don’t want you to make a pig’s ear of it. Some may say you already have, but the English in me knows very well how difficult it is to please everybody, (the latest example being the Olympics) and yes, the English have made a pig’s ear of many things, so you wouldn’t be alone on that score.

    Finally, please, do not insult me again, I understand the English language perfectly well being an indigenous English person, even your brand of American English.

    As you say in the United States of America,

    “Have a nice day!”

    • John says:

      “The one home truth you fail to understand is that the Internet has never been an internal American affair.”

      You sure talk big, but that’s pretty hilarious. You might as well say the steam locomotive was never an internal English affair either since that is what your comment here amounts to.

      “From the precursor of Sir Tim Berners-Lee/Robert Cailliau “www” initial works, the Internet was suppose to be an information highway for every country in the world.”

      Apparently you are the one who needs the history lesson Andrew, so here goes: First came the Internet, invented in the USA, and then came “www” as in the World Wide Web, not the other way around. Furthermore, as already stated above, DNS, as in the Domain Name System, the very central subject of this entire matter, was invented by an American in 1983 as well. Get the picture? It’s just like with chickens and eggs: first comes the chicken, then comes the egg. In this case, that last analogy works quite well if you are also a creationist; perhaps the problem behind why you are getting it in reverse here, however, lies in how just as with the steam locomotive the Darwinian theory of evolution was also a British “invention” and has possibly influenced you to think in terms of egg first, chicken next? But on further inquiry you will find that “Darwin’s dilemma” is quite a problematic dilemma indeed, just as your chronology regarding the Internet and World Wide Web is here…But I partially digress again…

      “In other words, no one person, or no one country owns the Internet.”

      And none of us has said anything of the sort, so that’s really a bit of what we call a “straw man” argument there. It’s not a matter of “owning the Internet,” but the simple and unalterable reality that what is now a global phenomenon was invented here in the USA, ergo the important governance and oversight by which the entire world has benefited and benefits to this day and by which it has been kept open and free not only rightly originated here to begin with, but never could have originated anywhere else.

      As for who or what actually owns “the Internet” and all that comprises it, make no mistake: God owns the Internet, all that it consists of, and everything and everyone else in the world, as well as every other created thing.

      ‘So no more of this tosh “unless you are an American citizen it is really none of your business”.’

      Domenclature.com may have been blunt there, but he/she was still right, and there are times to be blunt…

      “We, the world, have entrusted the Americans with the Internet and we don’t want you to […]”

      Quite the contrary, and indeed as purely fictional as it gets, though certainly a bit on the imaginative side. Back to history lesson above, along with the poultry: first you received, then you benefited from the truly principled governance and oversight of the place from which you received, and then continued to until this very moment. All that in the “world” of which you speak that could hardly ever even have hoped for such an outcome and such good fortune had it not been invented in a place like the one from which you received.

      • Andrew says:

        John, thanks for your response here. After 45 years of working in the telecommunications industry, the last thing I need from an American is a history lesson. Indeed, the seedlings of the Internet were sown in the 1950s by the Americans, British and the French, arguably earlier at Bletchley Park during the 1930’s before the Americans entered the Second World War. Although, the ultimate credit should be with the Germans who in the 1920’s invented the enigma machine. Events some people consider as a forerunner to today’s Internet. So if you ever need a proper history lesson, let me know and I’ll leave nothing out next time. Darwin, Stephenson’s Rocket (debatable by some it was the first locomotive) or the chicken and the egg, (you are probably too young to of heard of Harry Houdini and the egg first, chicken second). You would be amazed how offensive the Americans can appear to be at times, just as your compatriot above, which started this whole sequence of posts. Humble pie anyone? I’m enjoying mine for my careless omissions.

        Your contribution doesn’t help either and your references bear no relation to the Internet, and where did I say the world wide web came before the Internet. I didn’t, so don’t twist words and misquote me. Additionally, if sarcasm is the best you can do, then don’t write at all. We come here for healthy debate, not for Americans to insult the rest of the world.

        It is amazing to read your total arrogance that the Internet “never could have originated anywhere else.” and “such good fortune had it not been invented in a place like the one from which you received.” Have you ever been outside of the United States? Dear me, I saw some comical sights in the States when I was out there, but this beats the lot. I have to congratulate you, you are so entertaining that it’s okay, you carry on living in cloud cuckoo land. By the way, did you know, if it wasn’t for the English, the United States of America would never of come into existence. Arrogant isn’t it! Also, like your claim, it is utter rubbish. Think on next time you make such claims.

        I would like to comment further but I don’t want to offend you and your countrymen, as it is not the English way to be rude or blunt. When you have a history as long as ours, maybe the good manners will follow, I really don’t know. What I do know is, that it is time to close this thread and hope yourself and your compatriot do not speak out of turn again insulting other nationalities. It simply is not on!

        Good day …

        • John says:

          I was quite under the impression that being rude, blunt and insulting was exactly your own personal way, and indeed the very first type of statement you began with in the first paragraph of your first post above. So it seems to me that you also need a psychology lesson here as well: therefore, do run a search on the phrase “psychological projection” and see what you find. You appear to be a walking textbook example of it.

          Here in the US we have “the race card” and “the gender card” that we play in public discourse and debate. Apparently you also have “the American card,” and you do love to play it. Yes, yes, do go on making us out to be the big bad terrible arrogant and rude Americans…

          I actually found your own history lesson here very comical, almost hilarious really: “Indeed, the seedlings of the Internet were sown in the 1950s by the Americans, British and the French, arguably earlier at Bletchley Park during the 1930′s before the Americans entered the Second World War. Although, the ultimate credit should be with the Germans who in the 1920′s invented the enigma machine. Events some people consider as a forerunner to today’s Internet.” Why don’t you pull it back centuries while you’re at it at talk about developments in basic math and electricity as having also been a part of what came after, not to mention the invention of the wheel. LOL. Anything and everything you can do to deny the unchangeable and perhaps uncomfortable fact of history that the Internet was invented in 1969 in the USA.

          I do wish you had written “the hatchlings” of the Internet rather than “the seedlings,” however, since that would have gone nicely with the introduction of chickens and eggs into the conversation.

          So I’ve been twisting words and misquoting, ay? In front of the whole world no less? LOL. Not quite, Andrew. What in the world is one supposed to make of a clumsily written statement like “From the precursor of Sir Tim Berners-Lee/Robert Cailliau “www” initial works, the Internet was suppose to be an information highway for every country in the world.”? You do know what the word “precursor” means, don’t you?

          You, on the other hand, may be guilty of just having grossly twisted and misquoted my words while erroneously accusing me of the same. I will be generous with the benefit of the doubt, however, and entertain the idea that just maybe you did not do that deliberately, such as deliberately so that you could immediately turn around and paint me as the great big bad and unbelievably bad American.

          You should be a little more careful before launching into such feisty condemnations and accusations, however. This is what I wrote, (perhaps you actually even read it?):

          “ergo the important governance and oversight by which the entire world has benefited and benefits to this day and by which it has been kept open and free not only rightly originated here to begin with, but never could have originated anywhere else.”

          And this of course is what you (erroneously/falsely) wrote about me and my statement:

          “It is amazing to read your total arrogance that the Internet “never could have originated anywhere else.”

          Oops. Do you have the saying about “egg on one’s face” where you are? That would also fit in nicely with the poultry side motif.

          That would be a neat trick if it was all deliberate, by the way, i.e. try to cover one’s own tracks over having erroneously misstated the facts of history about which came first, the “www” or the Internet, and the turn around and accuse the other guy of gross misconduct and arrogance by falsely misrepresenting what he just wrote. Hmm…

          And in case you still misunderstand or it’s not crystal clear for you, my original statement which you yourself twisted and misquoted is merely a simple statement of common sense and reason in that if something happens to be invented in a certain place (such as Internet DNS), then realistically that place is the only place where governance and oversight could initially occur. It just so happens that it very fortunately originated in a place committed to certain globally beneficial principles and ideals. All of that too was ultimately ordained by God, however. Every good gift in life comes ultimately entirely from God by whatever means He chooses, so the truth is that I claim no ultimate credit for my own country at all really. You really misunderstand me entirely, though I won’t blame you 100%. But I am concerned about the truth of history and the continuation of the Internet as a free and beneficial reality for both my own country and the whole world.

          So that’s it folks. It’s not about nationalism at all or any kind of useless vanity or pride. The Internet began and was invented in the USA. DNS was also a US invention as well. Because of that, i.e., where it was invented, principled and globally benevolent governance began in the place of origin, the USA. Because of this governance and oversight the Internet has been kept as useful and free a means for good as it has despite those who have it otherwise. That is what is at risk now and that is what the concern is if the raft is cast adrift.

          Okay, I suppose Andrew or someone else will probably come in swinging to get that last word, but I wasn’t about to let his last post go unanswered. I’m not sure if I’ll reply again here and hopefully enough said. I’m not even going to proofread this now, so sorry if any excessive typos and the like as well. Cheers…

          • John says:

            Yes, I did reread it just now, however, and there were a few typos and words left out, but all is well…

          • @John,

            You did very well, and I’ll call the debate for you. Andrew is waaaay over his head, and he is both out-classed, and out-matched in the dyadic conversation (between you two) above.

  8. James says:

    These comments are missing the point of this thread, which was/should be:

    Does NTIA have the authority to unilaterally transition the IANA functions?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Just thinking out loud here.

      The “IANA functions” are illusory. A relic of the 1990s that can simply disappear.

      The contract can simply be allowed to expire.

      What’s important is the relationship between the root zone operators. All ICANN needs is a relationship with the other 12 where they all agree to take their copies of the root file from ICANN (or Verisign, doesn’t matter).

      Samesame for the IP addresses and protocol parameters. The RIRs and I*s don’t need a USG contract to exist in order to recognize ICANN’s authority.

      The USG doesn’t need to “transition” anything. It just walks away. When the contract expires, so does any legal authority it has over the root.

      Like I say, just thinking aloud here. What do you think?

      • James says:

        If you presume that this is just a standard contract, then I think your assessment is correct: NTIA can just walk away/allow it to expire.

        I was thinking more about the Congressional resolutions in the run up to WCIT:

        http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:S.CON.RES.50:

        …but you could make the case that the NTIA announcement (and its four criteria for proposals) are not incompatible with this resolution.

        J.

  9. @Mr. Murphy,

    Where are the rest of the disciples? So far, I only see Andrew, Johh, James..

    I’m sure Commentators Mathew, Peter, Judas, etc., are not far behind.

  10. KD says:

    Lets not forget the Verisign contract. If it were not for the US Government, we would still be seeing 7% price increases almost every year on .com! This is when cost of technologies is going down, not up.

    For me, this is the biggest reason to have the US Government keep control. So that ICANN can not go out and do whatever they want. Granting evergreen contracts that go up in price, against that of what is best for end users. (Not just US Citizens, but people all around the globe.)

    I for one do not want to see ICANN go international. Because it will make them less responsible and accountable.

    Heed my words.. If ICANN is able to get out of US control, people reading this blog will be crying afowl in 5 years because something is really wrong at ICANN, and it will hurt end registrants. Just think, VeriSign prices going up again in the future? Or ICANN’s per-domain fees tripling to over $0.75 per domain? Etc.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      You’re in luck: the .com contract is not part of the IANA transition.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      Something is really wrong at ICANN already, but this is no reason to delay the IANA transition. On the contrary, it’s the perfect time to get ICANN more accountable because they want something. The USG oversight IANA is more of a legacy than real control, since it’s politically unfeasible for NTIA to overturn an ICANN decision to update the root zone.

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