Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

James Seng and Elliot Noss have interesting responses to an anonymous post on Susan Crawford's blog calling for the reformation of the Internet. Read the anonymous post first, then Elliot, then James. They all represent a small view into the diversity of intelligent opinions on the future of the ICANN.


"In the early 16th century, a devout monk from Germany visited Rome. He was awed to be at the very seat of Christendom."

Even earlier, Jesus Christ entered the scene and
did some poking around. He found the clerics
walking to and from the temples on special
walk-ways constructed to separate them from the
masses. He found **exclusionary** religious
structures, not **inclusive**. He started a
movement. It sort of routed around the small
group of insiders. The insiders have not gone
away. They will always be there. They have to
be. They define the line between good and evil.
People want to clearly see the line and know
which side of the line they are on. Guess which
side the ISOC and ICANN are on ?

The call for reformation seems to betray its own good intentions by spicing things up with a religious metahpor.

Just to check my facts before posting, I went to the ICANN site to verify how board members are selected. It may be there somewhere, but nowhere on any of the top thirty pages or so. This reflects a general attitude, perceived and sometimes expressed by the public (sometimes in the form of placards nailed to doors) that the management of ICANN is very much an insiders' game. To the best of my recollection, members are not elected, elections having been done away with to prevent disruptive voices from being heard.

To be clear - and let me echo some of the comments voiced in Elliott Noss's response, I do not support the complete deregulation of the registry. I too would oppose Verisign's auctioning of to the highest bidder. At the same time, while searching for information about how board members are selected, I ran across an OECD proposal (one of only two items posted) arguing for about the auctioning of the .Net domain. At 200K to even apply to replice verisign, it may as well be an auction. So it's a two edged sword, right? We can deregulate, and get something we don't want. Or we can leave things as is, and get something we don't want.

Funny. All the models of governance in the history of the world that we could have chosen to govern the internet naming system, and we chose something most resembling fascism. Yes, I know, there's a 'bottom up' process. This must be the same groundswell that had ICANN choose, as its top priorities, the implementation of the .aero and .museum top level domains. See, the output doesn't match the rhetoric.

What makes events like the anonymous posting of the thirty-four theses possible, and popular, is that ICANN in both formulation and policy has been reflective of a philosophy more in keeping with a corporate boardroom than an international organization (though some might point to WTO and WIPO as instantiations of the same trend toward the elimination of democracy in global governance). It may be true that "ICANN meetings are attended by a diverse group of people who share a love for the Internet and desire to see it grow and prosper." So is the IOC. The constitution of the group is not what makes it accountable. Process is.

In both responses we see not so much a defense of that process as a defense of particular decisions. This shows that they miss the point. And in both, we see reflected more than a little of the prejudice characteristics of those who would defend the indefensible. James Seng writes, "First observation: It is written by an engineer. As I commented to Joi & Roberto in Cape Town, it is a mistake to think engineers = good policy maker." Perhaps I ought to dismiss his argument on the same grounds? But the fact is, anybody - even engineers - can have a point. And the writer has a point.

True, the domain name registry does not lie at the edges. It is, as both respondants pointed out, at the center of the inetrenet. It is, indeed, its core (this is why I worry so much about tinkering with it, as (say) the Handle system might, and why I worry even more about the affiliations and motives of those making the decisions). So I advise caution in these matters. Conservatism, even. But by the same token, were ICANN to have allowed, say, Verizon to charge $500K for there would have been no recourse, no appeal, no accountability. The danger of the current system is not merely that it is too conservative - that may just be a passing phase; it could have been too radical. It's that it is undemocratic.

Some time in my lifetime the numbering system will probably be changed (a trillion or so internet addresses not being enough, apparently). Perhaps the domain name system will change with it. One wonders what the population of the internet would want to characaterize the new scheme. Numbers and names - at least, internet addresses and names - are a public resource, and need to be allocated for the public good. Would the internet population approve of the practice of milking this process for maximum revenue, as the registrar system seems to have done? Or would they, perhaps, say that each person should receive one number and one name - they can do what they want with it (rent it to someone else, even) but they get only one (think of it as a revenue sharing program for the people who cannot afford a computer)?

The point is, we can never know. And whatever is decided, is decided without the interests of those who would (putatively) own internet addresses in mind, but rather in the interests of, to quote Ness, those "whose companies or public interest groups pay their own way at great expense." Consultants, bankers, IP attorneys and telco executives. Oh, no doubt, the members of the board are people of the highest integrity and achievement. But it does leave open the possibility of the selection of board members by auction as well. The OECD may approve. But I don't.

So - yes, it is time for ICANN, and internet governance, to change. Perhaps another set of frequent flyers, those who attend WSIS meetings, will be able to convince enough people that control of the internet should be placed into the hands of the United Nations. Or better yet (though I have little faith in the WSIS process) into the hands of the people. We need - and I wish we had - such a voice within ICANN. But I don't see it happening.

It's time to return elected members to ICANN. It could use the disruption, if only to find a way to defend the Catholic faith. After all, even the Holy See learned to countenance Mass in many voices. Eventually.

Posted at

The fundamental problem, which has only recently been
solved, is the ability for netizens to safely migrate
away from "the IANA Root". That has only recently become
possible because of the build-out, by large ethical
telco companies, of end-to-end routing infrastructure
free of the strong-arming and coercion used by the
Taliban Routing Mafia during the Postel regime.

The average netizen and ICANN-wannabee does not understand
that "the IANA Root" was forced down people's throats
by unsavory people who now populate the Boards of the
various pyramid companies cashing out from the Postel
regime. The RIRs are the most obvious havens for the
thugs that carried out the Postel regime's policies, via
mafia-like tactics (transferred to the net) such as
black-holing of packets and various denial of service
attacks. ISPs were terrorized by these people and
forced to adopt "the IANA Root", the ICANN "process",
and the rest of the ISOC dogma. ISPs were forced to
pay kick-backs and bribes for address allocations.
Money has been siphoned off in various ways by the
insiders to support and fund their terrorism.

That has now changed. There are large, ethical, telcos
in the core of the net. ISPs can now rely on reliable
service, free of having to sign up for some IANA religious
movement, orchestrated by a bunch of psychopathic zealots
who run around to meetings claiming they are "the
government of cyberspace". Those thugs are of course
adapting to the situation. They now are moving into
positions where they can threaten ISPs with loss of names
and/or address blocks.

Bringing governments in to help rid the net of those
people did not work. The insiders fooled the governments
into thinking **they** are the people with integrity.
That would be like governments attempting to protect
young kids from drugs, and the drug dealers convincing
the government that they should run the daycare centers.

The recent solution (or evolution) has come from the
marketplace. Large ethical telcos now supply packet
transport. Those telcos are not impressed nor coerced
by the Taliban. Because the Taliban is such a small group
of insiders, with years of documentation that exposes
their behaviour, they are easy to identify, contain,
and route around. The average netizen is NOW (only
recently) better protected from the Taliban. Despite
that, it will still take years to recover from the
damage of the Postel regime. Just because a dictator is
removed, that does not remove the regime. Look at Iraq
as a good example. Saddam's insiders are still there.
Postel's insiders are still in all of the companies
and organizations that claim to be open, fair, honest,
etc. It is easy for the world to see, that is not the case.

If Verisign had any intention of MOVING .NET to another
company, they would have the .NET servers on their own
IP addresses. Those IP addresses would then move with
the .NET Registry.

If ICANN had any experience managing moves or separations
of technical infrastructure they would know that serious
telecom companies plan these sorts of moves months and
years in advance. They have all of the needed ground-work
done, before a cut-over to new equipment, owners, etc.

Since existing DNS software points directly to the .NET
servers and does not use any root servers, it is important
to make sure the .NET IP addresses are stable. ICANN
claims to be all about stability and reliability. There
have been no technical steps taken that show that Verisign
has any intention of moving .NET. The existing DNS software
will continue to point to Verisign's IP addresses for
.NET and Verisign will have to continue to operate .NET.

ICANN has no intention of really moving .NET. ICANN is
just using the .NET Rebid to insert an ICANN tax into
the .NET Registry cash-flow that was not there. Verisign
will of course pay ICANN the tax, to retain .NET. ICANN
will then have more funding for more expansion. ICANN
can then portray itself as an even larger "success".

"Integrity" wrote @4:
The fundamental problem, which has only recently been solved, is the ability for netizens to safely migrate away from "the IANA Root". That has only recently become possible because of the build-out, by large ethical telco companies, of end-to-end routing infrastructure free of the strong-arming and coercion used by the Taliban Routing Mafia during the Postel regime.

Dude, your recurrent drivel posted under various transparent guises on this blog is all the more pathetic because nearly every single sentence of yours betrays profound ignorance about the topic at hand, plain stupidity, or both...

Anyway, IP addresses, just like phone numbers, are globally unique.
The White House's web site has its reserved IP address space. So do the Kremlin's, or General Electric's website, or the AOL dialup users.

If GE tried to assign the Kremlin's IP address to its own web site, information about GE's fridges might appear mixed with Cyrillic, and worldwide chaos and pandemonium would ensue. Got it ?
To prevent such nasty IP address collisions, the RIRs — Regional Internet Registries — in the North and South America, Europe and Asia coordinate between themselves how IP addresses are allocated within their respective regions. Do you follow me ?

An "ethical" telco thus cannot start assigning IP addresses to its clients on its own, without consulting the registry of assigned IP addresses, because doing so would ensure that sooner or later collisions would happen on the Internet between the addresses appropriated in a rogue fashion and the official ones obtained through the proven and well-coordinated registry-based allocation process.

GOT NET wrote@5:
Since existing DNS software points directly to the .NET servers and does not use any root servers, it is important to make sure the .NET IP addresses are stable. [..] ICANN has no intention of really moving .NET

Dear troll, could I be so bold as to ask whether you have some, er, facts or evidence supporting these amusing assertions of yours ? :-)

"IP addresses, just like phone numbers, are globally unique."

What happens when you add an Area Code to a 7-digit phone number ?

Is 555-1212 globally unique ?


What happens when you make IP addresses 33 bits ?
Are the previous 32 bits "globally unique" ?

Stephen, I agree the web site is a bit hard to navigate. It needs an overhaul. Anyway, here is the section of the bylaws about the board.

1. The Directors shall consist of:

a. Eight voting members selected by the Nominating Committee established by Article VII of these Bylaws. These seats on the Board of Directors are referred to in these Bylaws as Seats 1 through 8.

b. Two voting members selected by the Address Supporting Organization according to the provisions of Article VIII of these Bylaws. These seats on the Board of Directors are referred to in these Bylaws as Seat 9 and Seat 10.

c. Two voting members selected by the Country-Code Names Supporting Organization according to the provisions of Article IX of these Bylaws. These seats on the Board of Directors are referred to in these Bylaws as Seat 11 and Seat 12.

d. Two voting members selected by the Generic Names Supporting Organization according to the provisions of Article X of these Bylaws. These seats on the Board of Directors are referred to in these Bylaws as Seat 13 and Seat 14.

e. The President ex officio, who shall be a voting member.

"sooner or later collisions would happen on the Internet between the addresses appropriated in a rogue fashion and the official ones obtained through the proven and well-coordinated registry-based allocation process."

Are you aware that a very large number of 32-bit addresses
have never come via the [corrupt] RIRs ?

By the way, is Joi Ito going to look into why APNIC
was secretly moved from Japan to Australia ?

What happened to all of the cash from APNIC during the Postel regime ?

Mr. Questions: Can you provide links to articles or posts to back up you assertions so I know which ones I should seriously look into and which ones are just unresearched assertions? I am in the process of trying to learn the history of all of the issues, but I need to focus on the stories based on facts told by people who understand them clearly.

Stephen: I agree with much of what you wrote. I think ICANN is evolving and evolving quickly. It is turning more and more into something that looks more like an international organization rather than a corporate board. As for elections... This is something I am in the process of studying more about. There were many problems with attempts in the past. Can you propose or point to a possible method of conducting international elections that guarantees that it will be clean, fair and fruitful in selection viable candidates? I think the At Large community is really how "the people" can participate in ICANN and they are definitely open to suggestions.

APNIC was never secretly moved from Japan to Australia. It was moved after a long debate within the AP comunity (particularly APNG - now known as APSTAR).

The function of APNIC before APNIC was formed is done by David Conrad (single-handledly) with resource support from JPNIC. Eventually, that was not deem feasible in the long run so APNIC was formed. The selection of the location was also a debate for a long time, narrowed down to Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Australia was eventually selected for the favourable tax regime among other reasons.

And no, there was *no* cash before APNIC. David is doing this single handledly for the community, *without* pay and not charging for the IP address allocated before. He often relates how much money he could have made if he was a little bit more corrupted but you are definately barking at the wrong tree to even doubt David's integrity.

So please get your facts straight before trolling.

"APNIC was never secretly moved from Japan to Australia."

Correct, APNIC was secretly moved from the off-shore
tax-haven called "the Seychelles", where it was incorporated.

The Seychelles are down near India and Africa, a long
way from Japan. Japan was just a cover for Postel's

"not charging for the IP address allocated before"

Incorrect, check the elaborate spread-sheets and
pie-charts prepared during the Postel regime to ATTEMPT
to document where all the cash went that poured into
APNIC, via Japan, and then to the Seychelles, during
the Postel regime.

"I need to focus on the stories based on facts told by people who understand them clearly."

Jon Postel, Vinton Cerf and Steve Crocker all went to
the same high-school in California. They will tell you
the history, as they want you to know it. When the time
comes to vote, Vinton Cerf will tell you when to raise
your hand or say "Aye".

Mr. Answer: You sound like Jim Fleming:

And please share the 'eleborate spread-sheets and pie-charts' as said above.

For those who don't know Jim Fleming, he is a well-known troll in IETF, ICANN and several other Internet forums - posting sometimes sensible letters and sometimes insane ideas like IPv8.

He trives on attention and arguments with him generally goes into a never-ending blackhole. So until Mr. Answer identifies himself, I suggest you treat him like Jim Fleming and do what we do with him in other forum: ignore him.

"I think ICANN is evolving and evolving quickly."

ICANN served the purpose of serving the Taliban.
The Taliban will now move to a new cave. They have
their funding via .ORG and many other TLDs. They have
their fingers in all of the RIR allocation pyramid
cash-flow and now have the NRO.NET to expand. The
Taliban will now leave ICANN to drift and become yet
another weapon of mass distraction (WMD) to keep the
world from seeing how the insiders game the system.

New (unsuspecting) Directors will enter ICANN and find
there is nothing there, no decisions to be made, etc.
If the Directors take the time to stop by the ICANN
offices in LA, they will also find there is no Staff
there. The money flows in and flows out to various
off-shore tax havens. Even the CEO of ICANN has his
funds going to his own off-shore tax haven.

OK, you are now an ICANN Director. What can you do ?

Can you walk into the ICANN offices in California
and sit there for six months and give a day by day
accounting of what goes on (or does not go on) ?

Can you review the ICANN financial information ?

Do you have access to any of the ICANN "negotiations"
with funding sources ?

Can you sit there and have the world laugh at you
as the ICANN Staff makes a fool of you ?

"existing DNS software points directly to the .NET servers"

Novices are often confused. They do not understand that
the Root Servers are NOT the same as TLD Servers. The
old legacy root servers really do not exist. They are
now just any-casted IP addresses. There are millions of
them. Consumers have them aliased in their NAT access-point
wireless routers. (See and DNSMASQ)

The .NET and .COM servers are also "different". They are
welded together. They use the same IP addresses. In order
to avoid using the legacy root servers, the .NET and .COM
servers can be used to boot-strap the entire DNS. You can
use the "dig" command to ask the .NET and .COM servers
where other TLD Servers are located. No queries ever go
to the legacy root servers, which no longer really exist.
Those are just 13 IP addresses that are widely aliased.

Once the .NET/.COM welded-together servers tell you
where any other TLD is located, then you can also ask
those other TLD Servers where other TLD Servers are
located, in case the .NET/.COM servers do not know.
Once you locate a TLD Server, then you can ask all of
the members of that TLD Server Cluster where they think
their partners are located and make sure it is consistent.
Your consumer wireless access-point router can also
track changes, in real-time, that may happen with those
TLD Servers. No root servers are needed.

If a stray query does get sent to one of the 13 legacy
root server addresses, it is replied-to directly from the
consumer's wireless access-point router with those
13 addresses aliased there. As that router learns where
the TLD Servers are located and tracks them, it expands
the root and serves queries. No traffic leaves the site
destined for the legacy root servers. You can even do
reliable TCP DNS queries to what appear to be the root
servers, because they are now on your sub-net unlike the
any-casted versions which can not do reliable TCP DNS
because routing can change and go to a different server
from one packet to another.

There is an organized, market-based method that new TLDs
enter the DNS. Any decisions ICANN makes about new TLDs
are irrelevant. That of course is partly why ICANN is not
adding any new TLDs. They looked like fools in their last
round. .COOP was a major ICANN success, right ?

All of the weird negative posts are coming from the same IP address... and my apologies, but I'm going to start ignoring them because they are making less and less sense.

With photos of famous Taliban members posted on your
web-site, your appointment to the ICANN Board made
some sense. It now makes "more and more sense".

You were an ideal selection. Funny how that works
with ICANN.

Remember, just raise your hand when Vint winks.

It looks like you made an enemy at the ICANN conference. At first I thought it was a whole team of anti-ICANN people telling you off since you're new, but I guess it's possible for one person to sit around writing all this pointless stuff.

Jim Flemming is to ICANN and Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code) is to Christianity maybe? Flemming could write a whole book with this material he has. Starting from the time of Jesus the Insiders kept secrets from the rest of us, maliciously planning new tunnels so they could avoid us. For over 2,000 years the Insiders have been doing this, but now they've embraced new technology and are using the Internet to circumvent us, drive money into Japan and the Seychelles, and support the Taliban. They call their group ICANN.

See, see? You should've read The Da Vinci Code before going to SA. You would've been prepared for this and could've revealed the truth to us all. ;-)

"the Insiders kept secrets from the rest of us"

In ICANN's case, it is very simple to track.
Ira Magaziner is one of the main players pulling the
strings behind the scenes. If you are not familiar with
Ira Magaziner, he was at the White House during the
Clinton Administration. Ira Magaziner and Hillary Clinton
attempted to rework (take-over) the U.S. healthcare
industry. They failed. Hillary became a U.S. Senator as
a booby prize.

Ira Magaziner is of course the business partner of
one, Paul Twomey, the Australian puppet playing the
role of ICANN CEO. Ira Magaziner designed the ICANN
structure while at the White House. It is another one
of his failures. Guess who got Paul Twomey the job ?

Back in the early 80s, Ira Magaziner attempted to
take-over the economy of the State of Rhode Island.
Yes, he was brazen enough to think he could **privately
manage** an entire State, in the United States. Not
many people are that bold. What is amazing is that he
almost pulled it off. The people of Rhode Island woke
up and voted his plan into the trashCANN.

Vinton Cerf (ICANN Chairman for life) was of course one
of the people claiming Al Gore invented the Internet,
during the first Bush vs. the world terrorists election.
Vinton Cerf used to visit the White House often and
entertain Bill and Hillary Clinton's dinner guests with
geeky stories about the Internet. It is all so confusing
to high-level players, they like the glossy, slick and
sleazy way that ICANN makes it all so simple.

Joi writes, "Can you propose or point to a possible method of conducting international elections that guarantees that it will be clean, fair and fruitful in selection viable candidates?"

Off the top of my head? No. But I can point to where to look - CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) has been running elections for some time now. That's a starting point, perhaps.

What a wonderfull warty troll this fellow turned out to be. I have not seen fact, fiction and hokum mixed up this well in quite a while. I cant wait for this guy to show up on IRC!

Joi you have my sympathies. You are gonna be even more of a troll magnet now.

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A New Reformation? from Adventures in Troubleshooting
December 8, 2004 1:28 AM

Joi Ito points out a very interesting anonymous text regarding a coming "reformation of the internet." The author very literately parallels the age of Catholicism in the 16th century to the modern state of things with regard to the Internet Read More