back to article US govt mulls snatching back full control of the internet's domain name and IP address admin

The US government has formally asked whether it should reassert its control of the internet's administrative functions, effectively reversing a handover to non-profit organization ICANN two years ago. "Should the IANA Stewardship Transition be unwound? If yes, why and how? If not, why not?" reads one of 23 questions that the …

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Perhaps a 3rd option is needed such as putting IANA under a consortium of registrars. Make that a 4th option if the ITU is being considered as the 3rd.

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Kill Whois and go back to having meetings.

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Anonymous Coward

Do I have to go back to finger-ing the person before I meet them?

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Maybe that's what ICANN wants so they can go have their junket meetings on someone else's dollar? They really don't want to kill off Whois or cripple it because access to that is money in their bank account according to the reports.

Maybe just kill off ICANN completely. Burn it the ground and start over with "new" people, tech types, running it.

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"Do I have to go back to finger-ing the person before I meet them?"

These days I always sniff their packets first.

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The ICANN culture issue is a serious one that needs to be resolved, though I'm not sure that the U.S. taking over will be the right move.

However, and I'm confident I speak for all rational humans on the planet, fuck Ted Cruz. He's fucking clown shoes.

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Happy

Could we not deal with the ICANN personnel issues quite easily. Simply nail all the doors and windows of their building shut, during an all-employees meeting. Or seed their carpark with landmines. Or both.

I'm sure the system would bimble along nicely without them, and nobody would notice their absence for years.

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those questions expose the fact that the internet isn't quite the free for all we all expect and hope it is.

What happens if the US take back control?

Nations have already started to produce their own GPS systems so as not to be reliant on the US, maybe similar action is needed for internet connectivity?

Maybe time for IPv8 that has extensions for a free and open internet not reliant on a centrally controlled numbering and naming system?

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internet freedom

We already have lots of options. There is nothing stopping you from using an alternate root, or tunnelling to a whole separate IP tree. The problem is getting consensus and finding ways to include the great masses - assuming that's part of your goal. We, as individuals can function quite well outside of the established system.

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What happens if the US take back control?

Exactly... And we laugh at Russians and call them dictatorial and paranoid for making sure they survive the balkanization of the net if it ever happens.

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Re: internet freedom @Ole re: alternate root

Whilst it is true you can do this for DNS for a DNS alternative, it is not possible with the numeric IP4 or IP6 address spaces. This is because a single organization does not control the routing tables outside of their own networks. You certainly could give your network any IP address you wanted, but persuading an upstream ISP to route to that set of addresses without it being properly registered isn't going to happen (and the problem only gets worse as you get further from your network).

It would be possible to use VPNs across the current Internet proper to tunnel a private address space, but you could not really call that an alternative Internet. At best, you would regard it as a parasitic network. relying on the thing you want to replace for it's existence.

To really set up an alternative Internet, you would need an alternative global router network, which would be very expensive to set up. But some global companies do run trans-national intranets, like most of the owners of the class A and many of the class B address ranges. But these are (again) not really an alternative to The Internet.

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Re: internet freedom @Ole re: alternate root

"It would be possible to use VPNs across the current Internet proper to tunnel a private address space, but you could not really call that an alternative Internet. At best, you would regard it as a parasitic network. relying on the thing you want to replace for it's existence."

Some of us have done that, and it does work. But yes, I'd have to agree that it does rely on the existing infrastructure and is somewhat parasitic. However it does manage to make ICANN totally irrelevant and it routes just fine. We did need the use of an IPv6 tunnel, but then we also ended up with a full duplicate IPv4 space of our own.

In any case I just wanted to point out that there are options worth playing with, at least for the small percentage of technical users. We're not completely out of ideas yet, and greater minds than mine no doubt have more suggestions, but being able to do these things represents some freedom.

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Anonymous Coward

Have you really thought about it???

Russia, let me think:

Have you ever been arrested under false pretence, jailed, tortured, having all your assets stripped?

Russia has very good track record of that against it's own citizens.

Invasion of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine anyone?

The downing of that airliner over Ukraine?

Skripal's poisoning?

Constant killing of journalists who are 'inconvenient'.

I am no greatest fan of USA either and they have myriad of recent history issues:

- Guantanamo Bay for the extra-judicial detainment and torture

- how they treat Puertoricans (their own citizens too) in the light of the hurricanes

- the list can go on

I vote for consortium of countries to take over management of DNS/Whois and IP:

Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and maybe, just maybe Switzerland.

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Free for all?

"those questions expose the fact that the internet isn't quite the free for all we all expect and hope it is."

Only naive hippies and techno utopians ever thought the internet would be a virtual space free from any kind of external control. The internet is just a bunch of computers, cables and satellite systems owned and controlled by someone and they and the laws of various lands get to choose how and even if you get to use them. If you're not happy with that then you're free to spend probably a few trillion dollars to set up your own alternative.

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Re: Have you really thought about it???

Russia, let me think:

Err.. I am not suggesting Russia has anything to do with the running of the Internet.

Simply, their paranoia that US government/ICANN and other "internet independence" arrangements are merely a facade and US govt may at any time do the usual "I am altering the deal" is quite clearly fully justified and they are being frank about it instead of being let's say Chinese.

Now, who can run the key root net structures independently and remain neutral is an interesting question. Out of the list you suggested an organization HQ-ed in Switzerland is the only one which is sufficiently independent. All the others can have their arms twisted and have had their arms twisted for various "deals" in the recent past. I would not trust their continued independence.

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Re: internet freedom @Ole re: alternate root

Some of us have done that, and it does work. But yes, I'd have to agree that it does rely on the existing infrastructure and is somewhat parasitic. However it does manage to make ICANN totally irrelevant and it routes just fine.

are you just tunnelling private address space (rfc 1918 or other registered non routed addressing) across an internet connection for private use like connecting several offices together securely using the public internet or are you connecting to many other public networks via vpn's where the IP's in use on those networks you are connecting to via vpn may be over lapping with those used by the normal normal public internet? I ask as using vpn's across the current Internet is completely dependant on the ICANN IANA managed numbering system. you can use addresses IANA have already assigned to others (over lapping) in your private LAN, depending on how you do things you will likely have issues with connecting to anything on those real addresses though. I've worked in a number of organisations that have public IP's publicly internet routed to null, and then used internally for secure systems. The advantage is that you can't directly route to them on the net, they are obvious when you see them on the LAN (contrasted with rfc 1918 addresses) and its easy to null route them internally too. I'd have used martian addresses personally but was not my decision.

what ever overlapping addressing you want in your private LAN, you may have issues connecting to

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Re: Have you really thought about it???

Cos the Swiss did such a great job with FIFA

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Re: internet freedom @Ole re: alternate root

@tip pc We were doing it like dn42 but by using an IPv6 VPN to our own servers it's possible to use the whole IPv4 address space. Of course this means that one cannot at that point access the ICANN IPv4 address space, but that's also one of the reasons for doing this - to create a whole separate world. This idea of a separate network is not unlike what people do with Tor. But yes, it is often very difficult for people to grasp that there can be different networks that are unable to communicate with one another. (What, no Facebook!) I think the difficult thing for them is that they can see no reason for them doing that themselves - which is fair enough.

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Coat

Maybe time for IPv8 that has extensions for a free and open internet not reliant on a centrally controlled numbering and naming system?

Hmmm, how could we decentralize it? Oh, I know, blockchain.

With only the minor problem of how to connect to the internet to validate the IPv8 address that you need to connect to the internet so you can validate IPv8 addresses. Oh, we hard-code the root blockchain servers and then you follow your way along a multi-megabyte blockchain to get to the IP address you need.

Simples.

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Anonymous Coward

"Hmmm, how could we decentralize it?"

PiperNet?

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Yay choices

So, we have option 1. Option 1 is that ICANN remains independent from governmental control. It is free to mess things up as comprehensively as ever. That's not good. Let's look at option 2. Option 2 is to give it to the U.S. government. Those in charge now have less knowledge, and it's being championed by politicians with next to no knowledge about what it even does. Not to mention the fact that having it explicitly under the government will intensify the calls of nutcase nations to go with option 3: put it under the ITU. Can we have option 4, please?

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Re: Yay choices

4) IEEE

5) IETF

Or do we hate them as well?

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Black Helicopters

Re: Yay choices

6) WTF

I think this is the most likely choice. We seem to have been using it for years...

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Joke

Re: Yay choices

7) The bloke down the pub

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yay choices

5) IETF

If you think that the Internet will benefit from being run by Huawei, sure go ahead.

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Trollface

Re: Yay choices

"7) The bloke down the pub"

Well he does seem to be the unchallenged master of WiFi in his fine establishment, so one could argue he's actually more provably in control of the Internet over his own domain than ICANN is...

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Devil

Re: Yay choices

Option 10 - Hand over control to a consortium of Facebook, Google, Oracle and FIFA.

Then after a few years days, we'll all be singing the praises of ICANN, and trying to get it handed back to them. As all options seem to be bad, this will at least make ICANN seem less awful in future. As well as doing wonders for the sales of popcorn.

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Re: Yay choices

"Can we have option 4, please?"

Give it back to Jon Postel? Even though he is dead, this is probably the most attractive option.

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"The question is part of a broader effort to seek input on what the US government's role and priorities should be when it comes to internet policymaking"

Same as for everything else... mind its own business.

(The same goes for all governments).

YMMV

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Anonymous Coward

self-defeating

"No! I do not want any rabies vaccine!" they said with foam on their lips.

"I want to stick a finger in durn government's eye!" said shortly before going half-blind.

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Not normal times

it is hard to imagine that the US government would seriously consider pulling the IANA contract back under its purview: it would face enormous pressure from internet organizations and other governments and such a move would risk fragmenting the internet's global addressing systems.

Do you really think the Chump-in-Chief cares about that? If someone can get Fox News to discuss the subject one morning and a talking head grunts "AMERICA INTERNET GREAT", his tiny fingers will be tweeting "Donald J Trump will keep America safe from foreign ownership of our internet #USAUSA !!" before anyone can safely digest their breakfast.

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"build out our international agenda"—FFS

"As we look to further build out our international agenda, we want to hear from stakeholders about the critical global policy areas we will face this year and beyond."

Ah, the steaming pile of words deployed, as a substitute for thought and communicatoin, by corporate morons and politicians (insofar as there is a distinction).

A literate adult human might have written—

"We'd like feedback from those affected by our policy decisions."

. . .

"build out our international agenda". What is wrong with these people?

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Re: "build out our international agenda"—FFS

"What is wrong with these people?"

They get paid by the syllable.

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Re: "What is wrong with these people?"

They formulate their responses by the use of the Bull Shit Bingo app.

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even if ican was handed over to non profits, the us g0v/oligarks can still exert pressure on non profits to go along with their agenda. plenty of non profits work hand in hand with us oligaks

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Balkanisation could be welcomed in some quarters

While people who think that all nodes on the Internet should be reachable think that managing the address space to avoid clashes/duplications is a good idea, some interested parties are not uninterested in the opposite. If, say the USA, China, and certain Gulf states were to decide, for example, that they would be the authorities to issue IP addresses for systems within their jurisdiction and decide to use duplicates of existing address ranges, then traffic would, of necessity, be NATed at the jurisdiction border by equipment they control. I would not be surprised if the Great Firewall of China already has this capability.

This would mean the local population would not see services provided outside their jurisdiction unless allowed to by the local authorities, and anyone wanting to provide services has to do so with the agreement of the local jurisdiction. It would be Balkanisation, but many people would actively want that.

Default global reachability and addressability has been fun while it lasted. It might not continue.

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Re: Balkanisation could be welcomed in some quarters

I seem to remember Virgin giving me a private IP at one point. Probably not that hard to upscale.

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Anonymous Coward

Whoops, apocalypse

I'm sure we're all aware that until recently ultimate control of the internet was held by the US government. However, having already ceded that to an independent body that's now just a footnote of history.

Imagine how the US would act if another country (say, Russia or China) were to announce that ICANN is incompetent, and that they are going to take control instead? These countries will feel exactly the same way if the USA were to attempt to take control back now. At best, the result would be the internet fragmenting into two blocks - one run by US, another run by opposing nations. At worst it would be complete fragmentation, with multiple nets each splitting off on their own. Without a single recognised central authority for assigning IP addresses the new authorities would make conflicting decisions on address allocations - global routing would become a thing of the past (oh dear god - please no-one suggest blockchain!).

ICANN at present may be a slow motion car crash, but at least the bystanders are largely left unhurt. By contrast the USA trying to take over would be apocalyptic.

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WTF if the US of A$$ takes back control then the rest of the world should come up with an alternative and make them use a slow, NSA/CIA controlled, ISP throttled gateway to join the new and secure free system.

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"...WTF if the US of A$$ takes back control then the rest of the world should come up with an alternative and make them use a slow, NSA/CIA controlled, ISP throttled gateway to join the new and secure free system..."

As much as I like the sentiment, it's somewhat naive to believe that there is a free and secure internet anywhere.

Look at recent legislation here in the good ol' UK for one shining example...

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IPv6

Is this a good opportunity to sort out the transition with an absolute minimum of NAT silliness ?

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ICANN

ICANN needs to be brought under a more enlitened juristiction, I'm all for california, but US.gov...

It does need its governance framework re-written to accutally make it accountable, but US.gov should have forced this before they gave them the IANA contract, but there is little they can do now .....

I'd suggest making it a UN agency, except for all the issues we've seen with them lately. The ITU dont have a clue, IETF are just about independant enough and have the right people (depending on which working group you talk to)

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Unhappy

I wish I could care, but...

Sadly it really feels like trying to choose the least of evils. It is difficult to muster up the enthusiasm to care when every choice is in some way bad.

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This from the same government that contains the FCC

"Which foreign laws and policies restrict the free flow of information online?"

It's not the foreign laws and policies they need to worry about.

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No.

After seeing what the feds intentions are as demonstrated by the FCC's actions related to the internet, I don't want to give them one iota more control than they already have.

ICANN has bungled badly, but even in the face of that, I view the danger from their incompetence as lesser than the danger of the government's intentions.

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Least worst option? Treaties between national governments.

Whether it is ICANN or FIFA or your local electric cooperative, self-replacing boards will corrupt to the limit of their power. Elective governments have at least SOME accountability.

Handling IP-compatibility (and DNS) as a matter of national sovereignty is the only sane position to take. The fact that we have a unified authority is a throwback to ARPANet. Convenient? Certainly. Survive a dustup between major powers? Don't make me laugh.

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Anonymous Coward

The only way to deal with a complete train-wreck of a 'supplier' like ICANN is to make it responsive to it's clients - and the only way to do that is to starve it of cash until it starts to behave

Multi-million $ budgets to run a company whose primary task is to manage a text file with a list of ietf supplied port numbers is obscene

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