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IP: NTIA Exerting dubious Stewardship over DNS NOI - open
From: David Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 1997 22:39:16 -0400

From: Gordon Cook <cook () netaxs com>


Dear Mr. Irving:


Until I have evidence to the contrary I shall assume that you are well
intentioned. I have however some disturbing evidence about the process of
the Internet DNS NOI for which you have been given responsibility.


NTIA was established in part to give the White House a voice in
telecommunications policy. I understand that in agreeing to the
establishment of NTIA people like Henry Geller set very clear conditions
such that NTIA would never try to originate its own policy. Your own web
pages make it pretty clear that you are here to carry out and not to
originate policy.


What I see happening with the NTIA role in the Inter Agency Task Force on
DNS seems to be contrary to the original intent of the role of your agency
- namely you have been given the role of shaping the redesign of DNS and,
by extension, the response of the US government not only to DNS but to
Internet governance as a whole. If this does not place NTIA in a policy
making role, I don't know what would.


Furthermore, at the same time that NTIA is telling Internet industry
representatives that nothing has been decided and that it wants them to
meet with it to place all ideas on the table, there are continuing
indications that elements within the IATF are looking favorably on an
outcome involving an internationally focused stewardship for gTLDs. I have
been told by multiple people for the past five weeks that some key people
within the gov't NOI effort are well disposed to the IAHC agenda and have
discussed scenarios where the infrastructure fund might be given to some
large American corporations for the development of the IAHC database. To
say that this runs counter to recent other indications that your people
allegedly want to hear from other industry players is to put it mildly. I
might remind you that it also runs directly counter to the tenor of the
recent congressional hearings. By the way, you did give IAHC extra time to
answer the NOI. Why? Do you wonder that for this and many other reasons
sources are telling me that all the policy people (Burr, Kahin and Nelson)
feel is needed is a bit of tweaking of IAHC?


Given these events I question whether and why NTIA should have been
assigned any role that could leave it as the government office in charge
of Internet affairs. Unless that is, Clinton and Gore have hornswaggled
Ira Magaziner into backing a plan that would grant this political arm of
the White House undue influence over the Internet in an effort to help it
impose its profoundly mistaken ideas about using encryption in order to
give the police agencies of the federal government access to the privacy
of American citizens and American business. You can't burn the candle at
both ends Mr. Irving. If you try, it is my most earnest hope that Congress
will cut you off at the knees.


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"Photons have neither morals nor visas"  --  Dave Farber 1996
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