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Internet Mark 2 Newsletter #7


A warm welcome to all our readers! In this issue:






The Internet Mark 2 Project rose out of concerns that Internet protocols and governance have not evolved sufficiently to deal with the range of problems which have appeared as the Internet gets older and bigger. We welcome your feedback and involvement in our work; some suggestions as to how you can get involved appear at

The Internet Mark2 Newsletter is circulated free of charge, and will bring regular updates on issues with Internet Governance and Protocols.

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We are rushing this newsletter out because the UN's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) has now released its long awaited report; you can obtain a copy from It will be formally presented in Geneva on July 18,and therafter comment will be sought from all stakeholders.

Internet Mark 2 will be responding in the near future. If you have concerns, and you would like us to raise them, wewould be grateful for your input and comments.
Send any comments to and we will take them on board as we prepare our response.

The recommendations include a new forum body to address public policy issues, and a series of options to address the root zone policy question. Discussion of these options will doubtless take up most of the time of those following the process.



It's not been the best of years for ICANN. Leaving aside for a few seconds the controversy about xxx, and the allegations of improper behaviour about the .net assignment, ICANN has had a lot to deal with.

The troubles began with the UN Working Group on Internet Governance - hell bent on fixing ICANN, even though ICANN says nothing is broke. That trouble remains and isn't likely to go away for some time.

And then, just when it seemed that the UN and ITU was the cause of all ICANN's problems, the old ally, US Government's DOC, decided that it was going to be in charge of ICANN. Not only was it not going to release ICANN from its leash in 2006, as had been previously anticipated, but it was going to continue indefinitely its role as regards control of the root zone of the Internet - the sacred zone where countries exist or do not exist, and .mobi gets to be or not to be.

Well, you might say, better the devil you know than the devil you don't know! But the only trouble about a continued relationship with 'the devil ICANN knows' is that no-one else wants to play if that's the case. There is widespread international opposition to continuance of this arrangement.

In a shock announcement that ups the ante considerably CENTR (as reported here) has decided that it doesn't need the ICANN root anyway, and can just as easily set up its own self-governing root structure.

Now this is not the first of the ICANN faithful to go looking for another root.
Alternative roots have been in the ICANN corridors for a long time, and doing quite nicely out of it.

Some of the old pioneers, such as Louis Pouzin, say that having another root (or as many roots as you like) is OK. But not so the likes of Vint Cerf, ICANN Chairman, or Paul Vixie, rootop and ISC head. Definite monogamists this pair - (although Paul, unlike Vint, seems to contemplate whether a different root is OK under some circumstances: he just doesn't want two or more at the same time).

Meanwhile, a Turkish alternative root is purported to be on the cards to deal more easily with multilingual domain names . Potential puns about cunning linguists aside, we find the alternative root argument being advanced in several quarters where easier ways to deal with multilingual domain names will occur if different roots exist.

The trouble is, this could spread more quickly than peer to peer if the idea catches on. In an article in CircleID, Joi Ito warns of the dangers of 'the internets' if more than one root exists.

This could be the beginnings of a distinct change where the centralized dns as we know it gradually gives way to some next generation structure which is far more decentralized. The coming 12 months may see some significant changes in this area.

But one thing is certain - ICANN needs a good root that everyone is happy with if it is to survive. Technical considerations aside, the financial model of ICANN and the existing domain name system is entirely dependent on centralized control.

If that goes, and anyone can buy and sell domain names in any unique identifier, then the model collapses. ICANN's finances are gone, so are those of any registry not nimble enough to create a business based on market opportunity rather than franchised operation.

It's too early to say whether ICANN will survive or not. Interestingly, it's not the UN which may bring about its downfall, but the actions of the US Government. But a good root is essential to ICANN's survival in anything like its current form.

And that pesky UN committee has now released its report. Unable to decide what to do about ICANN and its root, it presented four options; not the best starting situation for any attempt by the UN to rescue ICANN from its dilemma.

In the midst of all this, ICANN's leadership has been polite and silent, as if nothing was happening. Images of the passengers on the Titanic come to mind as the ICANN faithful retreat from the relative safety of their Luxembourg dance floor to their respective quarters....


On a more positive note - The UN National Science Foundation has released a report available here which outlines the problem of ossification of Internet standards by incremental change, and calls for research into overlay and virtual network approaches. If you are unsure what that all means, read the document for a more detailed explanation. This is a significant approach to deal with the problems we foresaw in the Internet Analysis Report in 2004. Nice to know we are not alone in our observations!


We continue to seek further feedback and exposure to the issues we are raising.
If you are aware of someone who you think should be aware of these issues, we suggest you send them this newsletter, and suggest they subscribe (it's as simple as sending an email to

Alternatively, direct them to We appreciate your feedback!



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