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ICANN says Verisign should stay in charge of root zone

Kevin Murphy, May 21, 2014, 14:06:15 (UTC), Domain Policy

Verisign should stay in its key role in root zone management after the IANA transition process is complete, according to ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade.

The company currently acts as “maintainer”, alongside the US government as “administrator” and ICANN/IANA as “operator”.

This means Verisign is responsible for actually making changes — adding, deleting or amending the records for TLDs — in the root zone file.

In a blog post yesterday, Chehade said that ICANN will “establish a relationship directly with the third-party Maintainer”, adding:

As a means to help ensure stability, ICANN’s recommended implementation option is to have Verisign continue its role as the Maintainer. However, we will be working closely with all relevant parties including the Root Zone Operators to ensure there are contingency options in place to meet our absolute commitment to the stability, security and resiliency of the Domain Name System.

I wholeheartedly agree that Verisign should stay in its role, or at the very least that ICANN should not take over.

As we’ve learned over the last couple of years of software glitches in the new gTLD program, some of them security-related, ICANN would be a poor choice today to maintain this critical resource.

Chehade noted that the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration would be replaced in its “administrator” role by whatever mechanism the ICANN community comes up with during the transition process.

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Comments (2)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Considering the Verisign attitude towards namespace collisions, this is actually a very bad choice. There are traditional DNS infrastructure providers that are also root server operators like ISC and Netnod; there are the 4 RIRs with internal capacity (RIPE, ARIN, APNIC, LACNIC). Any of those would be solid options for this role, there would be more likely to have an unbiased view towards delegating TLDs.

    It seems ICANN is suffering from short memory loss.

  2. Donuts Inc. says:

    Donuts agrees with Rubens’ comments. As the DNS continues to mature and grow, it’s critical that ICANN use independent providers. This is particularly evident with Verisign’s long-held attitude toward new gTLDs, and their transparent effort to use issues like namespace collision to serve their interests.

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