[AusNOG] [off-topic] US lawmakers bring in worldwide censorship laws

Terry Manderson terry at terrym.net
Wed Oct 6 15:45:57 EST 2010

Just catching up on a few threads. 

I love when people have a rant and can pre-tag the fact ..

As a precursor I address this speaking only for myself.

On 28/09/2010, at 10:51 AM, Chris Chaundy wrote:

> <rant>
> While I don't think it will happen, this does come up periodically.
> While I am not sure if things have changed (I have tried deliberately
> to keep out of DNS issues for some years now), as I understand it,
> while ICANN is responsible for the root name-servers, it has this
> responsibility at the whim of the US Department of Commerce, so there
> is a lot of control there.  

I think what you were alluding to was the IANA root zone management function that is awarded to ICANN by the DoC, a zero dollar contract, which also covers other IANA functions.

see: http://www.icann.org/en/general/iana-contract-14aug06.pdf

> Sure, there are quite a number of roots or
> mirror-roots that operate outside of US borders, you can bet your life
> that the contracts to run these are as tight as all hell

Hmm... I'm personally not aware of _any_ contracts for root server operations.
There might be MoUs between individual root server operators and some subordinate organisations to support or facilitate the deployment of anycast instances of root servers, but as for a contract with a supporting SLA for root server operators themselves. Nothing exists from what I know.

ie if contracts did exist perhaps things like http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/10/02/1233235/Army-DNS-ROOT-Server-Down-For-18-Hours might not occur. Clearly this isn't about the number of root server instances out there as the overall effect of this would have been zero to the rest of the 'net. Just about the commitment to maintain stability and robustness.

There is a committee called RSSAC (http://www.icann.org/en/committees/dns-root/) and that is chartered as an advisory entity. But not sure that falls into the 'tight as all hell' description :-)

> and with more
> DNS security appearing every day, subverting things will be a lot
> harder, but the fact is we are just talking about names here, and
> there have been proposals to set up 'alternative roots' in the past,
> and you can bet that if a law like this was passed, there would be a
> great incentive to proceed down this path.  ICANN has fought
> tooth-and-nail against such action as this would not only fragment the
> Internet name-space

Indeed, fragmentation of the name space or the number space would be _bad_ (tm)

> but it would also have drastic commercial
> implications, and as such, I think it will be unlikely that such a law
> will see the light of day.
> The one thing that does worry me is that while I don't know the ins
> and outs, I am concerned about what Howard's 'Free Trade Agreement'
> with the US has committed Australia to do.  After all, auDA operates
> at the whim of the Federal Government.

As it is with all governments around the world, many are realising that this internet thing seemingly came from no where to be a huge economy. Many governments are taking various stabs at trying to regulate or even have influence or relevancy in this space. Some have a clue, many don't. It's a learning curve.

> </rant>


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