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The Internet Government Politics

ICANN Wants Immunity 235

Posted by kdawson
from the divine-right-of-the-Commerce-Department dept.
rprins writes "In what is perhaps a reaction to recent Homeland Security demands, a strategic report by ICANN suggests that it should take on the model of a private international organization (PDF). That would make ICANN immune from US law and regulations. However, it's unlikely that the Bush administration would grant ICANN these privileges. So the organization might opt to relocate to Switzerland where such privileges are easier to attain."
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ICANN Wants Immunity

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  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:50PM (#18592961)
    Maybe they could bid for Sealand and create their own country. Or move to North Korean embassy [thepiratebay.org]. Seems to be a popular alternative now that U.S. is becoming very unfriendly to the Internet. But if they move, will they take the tubes with them, or will have to call contractors to install them again? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:50PM (#18592965) Homepage
    However, it's unlikely that the Bush administration would grant ICANN these privileges.

    So then it's more like ICANN'T, when you really think about it.
  • Immunity (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:54PM (#18593047)
    Mr. President, ICANN is asking for immunity and a full presidential pardon, signed, in writing, before they tell us where the bombs are planted.

    Jack, this organization tried to KILL me!
  • Red Cross???? (Score:3, Informative)

    by micronicos (344307) * on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:56PM (#18593087) Homepage
    Surely the model would have to be something like the WTO not the IRC?

    For better or worse ICANN deals with a system carrying billions of 'all currencies' over the world.

    But relocating to Switzerland would be soooooooooo cool!
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:57PM (#18593115) Homepage Journal
    So the organization might opt to relocate to Switzerland where such privileges are easier to attain.

    Yeah, I can see the US gov't just sitting by quietly while that happened.
    • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:04PM (#18593217)
      Yeah, I can just see Bush calling together a cabinet meeting and spouting forth a few classic zingers on how to "bomb" the internet.

      "We fight the internet over here so we don't have to fight it over there"
      "If the internet is not with us, its with the terrorists"
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by shaitand (626655)
        It'll just be another war on a vague concept. Added to the War on Terror, and the War on Drugs, we'll have the War on the Internet.
        • by onkelonkel (560274) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:21PM (#18593555)
          I thought "War on ...." was a code phrase meaning "an unsolvable problem we will waste billions of dollars trying unsuccessfully to solve using the same failing methods over and over again." Didn't it start with the war on poverty?
          • I thought "War on ...." was a code phrase meaning "an unsolvable problem we will waste billions of dollars trying unsuccessfully to solve using the same failing methods over and over again." Didn't it start with the war on poverty?

            If by "waste," you mean "transfer to our campaign donors," then yes, that's exactly what it means.

          • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdotNO@SPAMpitabred.dyndns.org> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @05:47PM (#18595329) Homepage
            Well hell, after we ousted them Nazi's then drove the USSR into the ground economically, we needed a new enemy. What better foe than one that absolutely, cannot be defeated?
            • by couchslug (175151)
              "What better foe than one that absolutely, cannot be defeated?"

              We all know the WoT is a codename for the cultural war with Islam. Religions can be defeated.
              Been to any Aztec or Mayan religious services lately? Breaking the idea of an imaginary celestial friend has been done.
              Note that the process is violent, messy, not especially well-controlled, high-risk (to put it mildly) and politically incorrect to even speak of.

              We also lack anyone ruthless and competent enough for the job, don't have a plan ('cept dest
        • since this is mentioning Bush, you really should have used his preferred spelling:

          war on the internetS

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by eclectro (227083)
      Yeah, I can see the US gov't just sitting by quietly while that happened.

      Maybe that's why they want to go to Switzerland. Because the US invading Switzerland might look bad.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rs79 (71822)
      "Yeah, I can see the US gov't just sitting by quietly while that happened."

      They absolutely will not let it happen. DARPA paid for development of this and it's been run under government contract forever - the USG will never let go of the addressing system.

      You want to make your own? Fine, go ahead, but the USG owns the legacy names and numbers.

      Which isn't bad really, there is congressional oversight over it. Compared to no oversight it's the lessor of two evils.

      Keep in mind they wanted to be a Swiss organizat
  • And I guess we're not to ask "why", right ? Whom will get custudy over ICANN after this operation ? Are we to believe that the ICANN board, we all know how reliable they are, will make the right choices for all of us ? Will it be the UN ? I trust them even less to make the right choice. I like where the internet has gotten under US law. Why would a change, as big a this, be necessary ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You know how animals like deer and cattle innately understand when a natural disaster is coming and instinctively seek safer ground?

      It might be something like that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rs79 (71822)
        "You know how animals like deer and cattle innately understand when a natural disaster is coming and instinctively seek safer ground?

        It might be something like that."


        More like roaches scurrying when the light is turned on.

        That light of day can be a pesky thing - it makes all sorts of things visible.
    • I say they move it to China or Iran. After all, if they're good enough to sit on UN security councils and human right's councils, why not run the intarwebs, too?
      • by caseydk (203763)
        That's a 10 minute time out for you mister!

        Applying logic here... what are you thinking!?
    • Because the US law is changing.
    • DNSSEC keys (Score:5, Interesting)

      by John.P.Jones (601028) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:19PM (#18593529)
      This is all about the recent request for access to the DNSSEC root keys. As a firm proponent of DNSSEC I agree, In ACSAC 2005 I published a paper proposing the IKS (Internet Key Service) a distributed domain-name based certificate authority grounded in DNSSEC and the sole authority of ICANN to assign domains. A functionally deployed DNSSEC would allow us to bootstrap strong end-to-end cryptography. Allowing the US government to spoof DNS entries would seriously impair DNSSEC and greatly damage my work.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by wkk2 (808881)
        Maybe DNSSEC should only be deployed on tamper resistant hardware that doesn't allow for private key extraction. The key pair is generated internally and nobody can give up the key even if asked. A threshold code spread among multiple administrators, in different countries, could be required for any necessary updates. The administration could even be done through a trust that has dead man and duress procedures much like some tax and lawsuit protection schemes. It's sad that this might be necessary.
    • by superbus1929 (1069292) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:24PM (#18593601) Homepage
      It's where it's going that scares me.

      The United States want TOTAL control of where you go, what you can do, etc. They're going to use 9/11 to get anything and everything it wants in terms of our liberties. And the fact of the matter is that it simply doesn't have the right to do that. Not only does it not have the right to be that intrusive on it's own citizens, it sure as HELL doesn't have that right to be that intrusive on citizens of other countries! "Hey, Canada won't accept our demands to make their own version of the DMCA? Cool, we'll do it for them!"

      The United States has justified everything they do lately with no more than two words: terrorism or paedophilia. Those are the heavy hitters that get people moving. Even if the subject at hand has nothing to do with either of those things, they shove their laws down the throats of their own citizens on those two principles, weather they like it or not, and if they can't have it become a law, then the US just does whatever it is anyway (see: domestic warrantless wiretapping, secret spying programme, the FBI abusing the Patriot Act, etc.). Now you want them to be able to do that with THE ENTIRE INTERNET?
      • by mi (197448)

        And the fact of the matter is that it simply doesn't have the right to do that.

        Yada-yada... It does not have the right to usurp our liberties. But it does have the right (and the physical ability) to control Internet — and that, rather than your paranoia-spreading, is the subject here.

        If this people want to move to Switzerland or simply quit their jobs at ICANN — fine. US has developed the Internet, it hosted (and continues to host) the root servers, and so it will be, if whoever is in charg

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anc (953115)

          US has developed the Internet, it hosted (and continues to host) the root servers, and so it will be, if whoever is in charge has any sense left in them...

          US has developed the Internet? That's taken too far. Internet had its beginnings here. Now it's infrastructure is spread all over the world, owned by thousands of companies and organizations in hundreds of countries. Saying that the US has the right to control the Internet is flat out ridiculous. Internet is common a good of a billion people worldwide an

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mi (197448)

            Internet is common a good of a billion people worldwide

            All thanks to America's benevolence, business sense, and good design. These people's usage of the Internet in no way diminishes America's right to do, what it pleases with it, though...

            is our privilege, not some kind of favor we are doing.

            Ha-ha!.. So, if one builds a playground for his kids, and allows other kids to come and play too (for their and his own kids' benefit), he loses the right to control that playground — while keeping "the privi

    • I like where the internet has gotten under US law. Why would a change, as big a this, be necessary ?

      Because, where it's going under US law is atrocious, appaling, broken, and unwelcome. The relgious right in the US can supress the creation of new TLDs for xxx because it's currently under US control.

      The rest of the world isn't really prepared to have the US be capable of arbitrarily re-writing the infrastructure that is the internet on their whim, or to suit their needs, or to be able to spoof any IP on the

      • Who actually wants a .xxx? It's not like you can force someone to relocate there, and since you can't, the rest of the internet is never going to be totally child safe.
    • by arodland (127775)
      "Whom will get custody"? Come on. If you don't know what you're doing, take the socially acceptable out and use "who" everywhere -- but don't throw in "whom" where it doesn't even belong. Although -- you can tell whether you should write "he" or "him" in a given place, can't you? Why can't you tell whether to write "who" or "whom"? It's no different.
    • I like where the internet has gotten under US law. Why would a change, as big a this, be necessary ?

      Then you must have a black-hat business. As a white-hat, I can assure you that the Internet in the United States is a technologically-backward cesspool that spews forth as much spam and network abuse as China and India. If you truly think the Americans are doing good things for the Internet, then you are badly misinformed, or not welcome on my network. Either way, it's not really a big change for ICANN to move out of the US. Given my views above, I think it's a good idea, too.

    • [quote]I like where the internet has gotten under US law. Why would a change, as big a this, be necessary ?[/quote]
      Because the US and it's "laws" has been changing over the last decade.

      It used be the "land of the free and money" and this allowed the internet to grow (for good and bad) under it's control, now it's the "land of special interests and the money of the latter group" and this is not only holding the internet back but endangering the whole thing to the point where it might break apart.

      The UN would
  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <[Satanicpuppy] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @03:59PM (#18593141) Journal
    Frankly, for one country to "control" ICANN, with what ICANN "controls" is foolish. Especially the States, with people who seem to think that the free exchange of ideas is their personal property, and that since we're the "good guys" we can screw with the free exchange of ideas, and it's okay.

    Mind you, I wouldn't trust any other country more. Independence from national issues is pretty much the only solution.
    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:13PM (#18593411) Homepage Journal

      Mind you, I wouldn't trust any other country more. Independence from national issues is pretty much the only solution.

      Given ICANN's checkered past, are you sure you would trust an independent ICANN?

      • I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to political pressure, at this point. Hopefully becoming independent will straighten them out.

        Otherwise, having them move once will already remove some of their current "whip hand" regarding policy...They'll be easier to replace when they're not being supported by the US.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Hopefully becoming independent will straighten them out.

          What? "I know he's a serial killer, but hopefully, releasing him on his OR will straighten him out." "I know Bush wipes his ass with the constitution, but hopefully if we just let him be he'll stop." "I know ICANN is pure evil, but perhaps if we just ignore it they'll start to do the right thing." What do these statements have in common? They're all fever dreams.

          • More on the line of, "These guys are being jerked around by their political masters, let's see what they do when they're off the leash." They may surprise us. They may underwhelm us...When they're not in the US, they'll have to take things brought up by the whole "rest of world" more seriously.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by drinkypoo (153816)

              When they're not in the US, they'll have to take things brought up by the whole "rest of world" more seriously.

              That's one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is that they won't take things brought up by the whole "rest of world" or the US seriously, and will instead just do whatever gets them the most money.

              • So you're saying it won't be any different than it is now?

                Heh. I think, once the system isn't controlled by the US, if ICANN gets up to it's usual tricks, there is the possibility of a competing system, and I think that competition will sort out the best one in that situation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by nharmon (97591)
      Frankly, for one country to "control" ICANN, with what ICANN "controls" is foolish.

      Not really when consider that what ICANN "controls" is essentially owned by that country.
      • by dcam (615646)
        If that were the case that would be true. The US does not "own" was ICANN controls.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)
      I feel like it's one of those situations where someone has to have some measure of control, yet whenever someone suggests a person or organization to control it, it always seems like a bad idea. Every body, whether individual, private, or governmental, will have an agenda that could damage the situation. It's really a problem of people. I don't trust people. They make too many bad decisions. But what's the alternative??
  • ICANN? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    ICANN: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

    They dish out IPs and run DNS.

    What exactly do they want immunity from?

    All corporations want to be "above the law". Plenty move offshore to accomplish this.
    • Re:ICANN? (Score:5, Funny)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:05PM (#18593255) Journal
      Seriously, what is a "private international organization," why is it above the national laws of the country it is in, and most importantly, how do I become one?
      • what is a "private international organization,"
        The Federal Reserve.

        why is it above the national laws of the country it is in
        Because.

        how do I become one?
        That's secret.
        • by spun (1352)
          The Fed is an international organization? I knew it was some kind of weird public/private chimera, but international? Is the Fed in league with the Gnomes of Zürich now?
      • by Hatta (162192)
        Good question. I think no country should recognize nonpersonal entities. All that exists are individuals. If property is owned, it is owned by a person. If an act is committed, it is committed by a person. Creating fictitious organizations only hides these facts and makes justice that much harder to get.
        • by quanticle (843097)
          I agree with your general principles, but not with the extent to which you are pursuing them. Nonpersonal entities are useful for some things, like pooling resources and sharing risk. For example, take the corporation. Originally, the limited-liability corporation was created as a separate legal entity so that individual investors would not be responsible for a corporation's debts after the corporation went out of business. This creation dramatically lowered the risks of investment, and allowed people t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordEd (840443)
      How about the spamhaus.org incident [icann.org]? Should a single country's laws be allowed to lock-out a foreign company's ability to be present on the Internet?
    • by vertinox (846076)
      What exactly do they want immunity from?

      Government control.

      And when you say "above the law" which laws are you talking about? US law, Swedish Law, Iran Law, or Chinese law all have very different opinions on how the internet should be regulated. You can't really hold the organization to US and Chinese law at the same time due to extreme differences in what is legal otherwise... We'd just see an organization whose members can't step soil in any nation without fear of getting thrown in jail for some obscure l
    • by rs79 (71822)
      "ICANN: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

      They dish out IPs and run DNS.

      What exactly do they want immunity from?"


      Lawsuits.

      You'll never get immunity from things like DHS and "issues of national security". Netsol was threatened once with being taken over by the army if they ever did anyuthing to displease the USG and their alternative root servers never saw the light of day. But I saw (and touched) them.

      Keep in mind this is an organization so secretive it's only elected director had to sue t [cavebear.com]
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:10PM (#18593359) Journal
    Lets just get rid of, as in incinerate, the dept of homeland security and the problem, as such, will just go away. Then we can all get back to what needs to be done.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:14PM (#18593413) Homepage
    Switzerland is the only country out there that I would trust. As a conservative Christian libertarian, I admire a country that has the cajones to actually tell a group like the EU to go f$%^ itself on pressure to change its tax laws [cato-at-liberty.org]. The Swiss also have a more limited government than we do in the US, and even if it is no longer as effective, the Swiss military model speaks to the traditionalist in me a lot better than what we are getting here. Why is that appropriate? Because our government has evolved away from its republican roots in many ways. I no longer trust it on just about anything. Let the Swiss handle it. Hell, they're the only ones who you can see doing the three things the Internet needs:
    • Run the technical management well.
    • Jealously guard it from the depredation of the UN.
    • Not provide any protection or assistance to police states that want to pervert it when people circumvent their efforts. The Swiss aren't perfect, but they don't have a reputation for publically attacking a country and then having that government torture mutual enemies *cough*extraordinary rendition*cough*Syria*cough*
    • by boobox (673856)
      Could be they don't want to be liable for all those screwed in the Registerfly.com debacle as they didn't do a thing to help the domain name owners (yes, I'm one of them).
      • by kimvette (919543)
        That is EXACTLY it. They're being named in multiple suits now as they have known about RegisterFly problems dating back to 2002 when RF was just a reseller for eNom and Tucows - four whole YEARS prior to granting RegisterFly accreditation. They sat back and did NOTHING about the complaints.

        When RF was a reseller, I'm sure the response was "So? They're not a registrar so it's not our problem." When RF became a registrar, all they did was forward complaints about RegisterFly, TO RegisterFly. ICANN officials
  • Its a Trap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2007 @04:23PM (#18593597)
    They have no power beyond the power of the US government, because Verisign controls the actual servers and use to have ICANNs job before ICANN came along. So no they won't relocate to Switzerland and no they don't want immunity from US law, they want immunity from being sued by disgruntled domain name holders.

    Like the recent Registerfly domain registrar where they did nothing even as their domain names were lost until they were prodded into action by bad press.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kimba (12893)
      VeriSign never had "ICANNs job before ICANN came along". The IANA function was operated by the University of Southern California prior to the creation of ICANN in 1998. The operation of IANA dates back to 1972, and never in that time has it been operated by VeriSign.
      • by rs79 (71822)
        Closer. It was ISI within USC and this really meant Jon Postel - the voice and ears but Joyce Reynolds really did all the work. DARPA funded this. Netsols contract was with the NSF. The NSF picked up IANA's contract when the DARPA fudning ran out.

        If it were me I'd scrap ICANN and let Paul Vixie and Brian Reid @ISC run it. They're the only people in the world I trust to do this.

    • by merc (115854)
      They have no power beyond the power of the US government, because Verisign controls the actual servers and use [sic] to have ICANNs job before ICANN came along.

      Not quite, before ICANN IP allocations were controlled by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), which was administrated by Jon Postel [slashdot.org].

      Jon didn't work for Vermi-slime, he was the director of "Division 7" (Computer Networks) at ISI, the Informational Sciences Institute, the R&D arm of UCDAVIS.
  • ..at ICANN, and the idiots in the Bush administration, to protect the future of the Internet. That makes me feel much better.
  • ITU (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fabu10u$ (839423)
    I still say it should become a function of the International Telecommunication Union. Yes, that's a UN agency, but during the Cold War their standards kept the West, the Soviets, and the Asians talking and telexing without too much politicking. (And they're located in Geneva.)
  • You are free to point to any DNS server you feel like.

  • I imagine there would be quite an uproar by the current administration of ICANN tried to leave the country. My guess would be that they would be siezed in the interest of National Security.


    ...



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