mailing list archives
IP: Clinton - Gore selling out Internet to ITU to Preserve Key
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 23:19:35 -0400
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 23:14:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gordon Cook <cook () netaxs com>
To: farber () cis upenn edu
Exceedingly strange events are underway inside the Beltway. By January of
this year a coalition of industry figures had decided that IAHC was a
cabal of internet old timers out to create a clique that could impose a
DNS "socialist" solution. This solution, they claimed, would ensure the
failure of any private enterprise led initiatives to open a true free
market in DNS services. They convinced the Clinton Administration to
intervene to stop the cabal from what they also alleged was its threat to
American sovereignty. Namely that, in involving the ITU as the repository
of its MOU, it sought to deliver control of the Internet into the hands of
a stodgy bureaucracy which was in fact an enemy of the net.
Fast forward through eight months of Clinton Administration meddling and
we have some rather shocking results beginning to emerge. The Inter Agency
Task Force on DNS issues is drafting a report that says IAHC was right
after all and that just a few tweaks are needed to open up the process.
The draft shows no understanding of the DNS issues themselves and comes up
with no clear alternatives to the much scorned WIPO role in DNS dispute
resolution. These matters are now coming out into the open. In an article
yesterday in Communications Week International, Ken Cukier writes: "They
[the IAHC] laid a decent foundation and [we] need to modify the plan to
build on that foundation," said Ira Magaziner, a senior adviser on
Internet matters to President Bill Clinton. The IAHC seems "open and
flexible" to the idea of changing portions of the plan based on increased
Internet community input, Magaziner added." The article goes on to explain
how the Administration is embracing the hated IAHC process that its
intervention was initially designed to halt.
But we remind our readers that another concern that led to government
intervention was not just anger over IAHC but also fear of the ITU. But no
problem, the fear of the ITU seems to be no more. We quote below from a
just published interview with Pekka Tarjanne, the ITU Secretary General
from Finland. While the IAHC initially promised that the only role of the
ITU would be to act as repository for signatories to the MoU on DNS, Pekka
Tarjanne now foresees the ITU as the most likely repository for all
internet governance functions - including getting into issues of content.
Brian Kahin and Mike Nelson have turned the enemy into the friend. Why?
Such are the wondrous ways of life in DC. NTIA has been given the green
light to shape internet policy within the US. To hell with the Congress,
the FCC and the NSF.
We expressed our dismay about this last week in an open letter to NTIA
head Larry Irving. We must have struck some raw nerves, for when Dave
Farber posted our original complaint to Irving on his IP list, we received
a few days later the following delightful reply (posted by Dave again to
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 11:14:52 -0400
From: "Gregory C. Simon" <simon () podesta com>
Cook: "Gregory Simon." Hmmm. Domestic affairs advisor to Al Gore? On the
wrong side of privacy issues? Not much beloved by EPIC. On the wrong side
of information issues. Point man for the administration a year ago at the
WIPO meetings in Geneva, where the justly defeated treaty would have given
publishers copy rights over virtually everything. See www.cic.org. Seems
that Greg has left the White House and is working for the lobbying firm
run by John Podesta's brother. Meanwhile John Podesta continues to work on
the inside as one of President Clinton's most intimate advisors. In charge
of Bill's daily schedule we are told. Greg seems to be offended that I am
not a cheer leader for his ex-employer's policies.
Simon: Dear All: The open letter from Gordon Cook to Larry Irving is
profoundly misguided and uninformed. The basic premise is ludicrous --
that Henry Geller somehow set the parameters of NTIA's authority by his
Cook: No. Wrong the premise was that Geller as first head of NTIA was
fully in favor of the conditions agreed upon for its founding. That it
could be an advocate for the desires of the President in telecom matters
but that it would NOT make and originate policy.
Simon: NTIA is the voice of the Administration on many matters but it is
also part of the brain. During my tenure in the White House with Vice
President Gore, we relied heavily on NTIA's institutional knowledge and
analytical skills in formulating and executing policy decisions.=20
Cook: In other words with NTIA as the brain, this administration, uses it
to make policy.
Simon: Larry Irving in particular has been astoundingly and unerringly
prescient in identifying policy areas that will rise to the top of the
public policy debate. His views have often carried the day with the
President and Vice President.
Cook: NTIA making telecom policy again contrary to the views of the
original founders. I haven't talked to Elliot Maxwell at FCC, but Greg,
you might like to give him a call. I am told that he shares these same
views. And I am told this by someone who participated in the policy making
at NTIA's founding with whom I have just had a conversation tonight.
Simon: In my dealings with NTIA on the DNS issues I have detected none of
the prejudice Mr. Cook asserts. Reading symbolism into such simple
gestures as granting additional comment time and giving great weight to
every bit of gossip emanating from a free give and take discussion within
the government smacks of clinical paranoia.
Cook: No Greg. It's having good sources who are so disgusted by the lack
of cluefulness on the part of the administrations policy makers that they
talk. I knew this was coming down the pike. Cukier's article published
yesterday confirms it.
Simon: Finally, is it necessary to wave the bloody shirt of encryption
into every policy debate no matter how remote? Must everything be related
to a government conspiracy to read your mail?=20
Cook: Given the slipperiness of this Administration, I stand by what I
said on this issue. If the minions of the administration, of which you are
clearly one, can strip internet policy making away from NSF and Congress,
then they can march ahead with their intent to give Freeh and Ft George
Meade the keys to the private communications of every American citizen.
And since Kahin and Nelson have decided to deliver the Internet via IAHC
to the ITU after all, we could all wake up one day and find the keys to
our most private correspondence turned over to an international
organization called the ITU, which uses its treaty power like the World
Trade Organization to overrule the sovereign power of the US Congress. The
shame is that Ira Magaziner doesn't yet realize what Kahin and Nelson are
doing to him. Note that the ITU also reflects the views of many European
governments are far less willing than our own to even give lip service to
the concerpt of a free Internet.
Cook: Before you reply that I have lost my mind, Greg read the cogent
paragraphs of the interview with ITU Secretary General Tarjanne below
where the good man, sensing victory, says that he foresees the ITU playing
a major role in Internet governance and foresees the possibility that the
ITU may get involved not only in conduit but content as well. Someone
exceedingly well familiar with ITU policy making noted in another
conversation tonight that the ITU constitution has long allowed controls
over encryption or in other instances has explicitly forbidden encryption
and that the ITU has the tools for coordinating such restrictions
Simon: Surely there must be a more honest way to disagree than to impugn
everybody's motives all the time. And as for being cut off at the knees, I
personally repudiate Mr. Cook for bringing that level of vileness and
personal animus into the debate on a policy issue. Larry Irving has
devoted his professional career to public service, he deserves respect,
Cook: Rather than turn my accusations into a personal attack, why you tell
us what the real policy of the administration is on these matters, if it
is indeed other than what I allege?=20
Cook: No I just put together what I hear from highly credible and
distinguished sources who for their own reasonss cannot go on record.and
reflect that against my belief that the government must never try to take
control of the internet. If it means saying that the high and mighty have
no clothes, so be it. =A0No matter. The cozy dance continues. Don Heath has
announced that next INET conference will be held in Geneva at ITU
Now it also looks like we owe Charles Pickering, the Republican Chairman
of the House Science Subcommittee on Basic Research, a debt of gratitude
for the hearings of two weeks ago. Problem is the double dealing alleged
there is not going on with IAHC. Sernovitz was wrong to accuse Jon Postel
of wanting to ship US developed assets to Geneva. It would seem to be the
White House that is the double dealer and the one ready to give American
assets to the ITU.
(In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Simon, President and CEO of Simon
Strategies is a consultant to SAIC, the parent company of Network
Cook: In the interests of full disclosure let it be said that we drank at
the federal till for 18 months working for the US Congress Office of
Technology Assessment and =A0driving from NJ to a rented bedroom on Capitol
Hill every week. Since March 1, 1992 we have published the staunchly
independent COOK Report on Internet from our front porch making our living
outside the beltway and fully independent of the interests that Mr. Simon
We must say we were amused at the Bellcore and NSI private mail that Greg
attached. Clearly we touched a raw nerve. :-)
Here with some relevant quotes from the Cukier article (at
http://www.emap.com/cwi/192/192news5.html) and the Tarjanne interview.
"The U.S. Department of Commerce, backed by a White House group studying
the Net's vital domain name system, is set to accept a modified version
of the plan for competitive domain name registrars devised by the
International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC), which comprises Internet
organizations and United Nations-affiliate agencies.
"They [the IAHC] laid a decent foundation and need to modify the plan
to build on that foundation," said Ira Magaziner, a senior adviser on
Internet matters to President Bill Clinton. The IAHC seems "open and
flexible" to the idea of changing portions of the plan based on
increased Internet community input, Magaziner added.
The move will lay to rest months of uncertainty over the United States'
role in freeing Internet institutions from government control.
Significantly, the Department of Commerce will require the current
monopoly registrar of the popular .com domain, Network Solutions Inc.,
to release information pertaining to the system's operation, say
Clinton administration officials.
However, officials caution that the department's approach is not
universally supported in the federal government, and the internal
tensions may set the policy back.
Additionally, the IAHC's proposals that Geneva-based U.N. agencies be
involved in domain name governance was attacked by Charles Pickering,
the republican chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Basic
Research, which sponsored the domain name system hearings.
Jon Postel, the head of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA),
the Net's central authority on certain standards (CWI, 30 June),
remains cautious, however. "I just don't know," he said when asked
whether the U.S. government will promote Internet self-governance.
But Postel added: "Discussions have been fairly open in the
administration about endorsing the [Internet] community's plan," as
represented by the IAHC.
The Trajanne interview is found at
The ITU's involvement with the Internet may not
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0end with the DNS. In fact, it may just=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0there, especially if the ITU's DNS solution
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0holds sway. In a recent interview, Tarjanne=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0only defended the DNS accord but also=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0a growing role for the ITU in Internet
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0governance, at the invitation of the=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0government and industry leaders.
The ITU could eventually become involved
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0in such content-oriented issues as=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0on the Internet, Tarjanne says. "We are not
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0there yet, and I don't know if we will get
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0there, but there is a clear possibility,"=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0said. Some acknowledgment of the ITU's
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0expanding role on the Internet could be=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0into the U.N. agency's bylaws when the ITU
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0holds its quadrennial plenipotentiary
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0conference--a kind of constitutional=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0for the organization--in Minneapolis next
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0October, according to Tarjanne.
Still, the Internet issue is pivotal for the
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0ITU's future; without a role in the=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0the ITU would become less and less relevant=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0global communications. Tarjanne is moving
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0quickly to secure the ITU's future before=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0tenure as secretary general ends in January
Tarjanne: =A0Traditionally, when we've talked about
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0standardization in the ITU family it has=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0mainly technical standardization. But more=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0more we are involved in things that are=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0standardization but that have to do with,=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0instance, issues related to the generic
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0top-level domain names or numbering
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0systems--country codes are almost becoming
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0viewed as a limited natural resource. As it
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0relates to the Internet, we are facing a=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0interesting situation where questions=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0with conduit and content are being blurred.
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Basically, we have always dealt with=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0and have had nothing to do with content.=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0the situation is not that simple anymore.=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0the conduit people, have to know what is
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0happening on the content side, and vice=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0and there are questions that are very much
What kind of content issues do you see as
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0possibly requiring the ITU's attention?
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Tarjanne: There are lots and lots of=
things. Probably the
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0most famous Internet-related questions have=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0do with all the kinds of content that are=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0considered to be legally or morally=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0These are very difficult for the national
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0decision-makers alone to deal with because=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0the global nature of the network. The=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0are those related to child pornography or
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0things like that. They have not reached the
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0point where there's any need for us to do
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0anything except follow what's happening.=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0that is already a change. To be prepared=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0the future, we have to know what problems
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0different countries have with respect to=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0content of international communications.
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Have your members asked you to look into=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Tarjanne: =A0=A0Members have asked us to look=
into it and to
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0follow it, but there are no concrete=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0for us to really take these matters up more
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0seriously than that--than to follow them=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0collect information and be prepared to
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0disseminate information. There's nothing on=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0agenda of our next few conferences, nor=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0really serious in our study groups.
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0What would happen if the Internet community
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0rejected ITU governance?
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Tarjanne: =A0It's a theoretical=
possibility, but I don't
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0think it's very realistic. But if they find=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0better forum than the ITU, we don't have=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0monopoly. Things can be done outside the=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0sometimes in a better way than within the=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0That's not a big problem. We are here=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0our mandate to be prepared to participate=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0help when asked to do so. That's what we=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0To go a little bit further, if something=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0to happen outside the ITU that would lead=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0problems because of the absence of a=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0global organization covering these issues,=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0of course it's up to the members of the ITU=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0look at things more carefully. But we are=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0there. It's a rather hypothetical question=
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0the time being.
The COOK Report on Internet =A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0For=
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431 Greenway Ave, Ewing, NJ 08618 USA =A0=A0=A0=A0ten megabytes of free=
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"Photons have neither morals nor visas" -- Dave Farber 1994
- IP: Clinton - Gore selling out Internet to ITU to Preserve Key Dave Farber (Oct 15)