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October 11, 1998

MAIN ALTERNATIVE DNS PLAN SUBMITTED TO GOVERNMENT

By CBR Staff Writer

The main alternative to the plans put to the US government for reform of the domain name system have been submitted to the government. The issue at stake is the formation of a non-profit company to administer the domain name and numbering systems, as the US government is looking to hand over control to the private sector. The plans come from a variety of sources, including the Boston Working Group, after a group that met in Boston in mid- September to hammer out an alternative plan, and the Open Root Server Confederation (ORSC), which did the submitting, among others. Both the BWG and ORSC have published their thoughts, but the ORSC also produced articles of incorporation. The BWG is not interested in forming a corporation as such; it wants to reopen the discussion, says Karl Auerbach, one of the prime movers in the BWG. Thus the two groups have similar views, but different goals. The main points the groups call for are better accountability of the corporation, more international representatives on the board, more transparency in the future corporation’s business dealings and protection of individual rights, such as free speech and personal privacy. Discussions have been happening in the internet community over the past few weeks to bring together the dissenting voices into a coherent whole but there are still small differences between them. However, they are all united in opposing the main plan for the new corporation that came from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). It was delivered to the Department of Commerce on October 2 (10/05/98). Most of the participants in the ORSC and BWG were part of the series of meetings in the summer that went under the banner of the International Forum on the White Paper (IFWP) and some of the issues that were raised there have been included in the plans. The ORSC has been incorporated in Delaware and has drawn up a set of articles of incorporation and bylaws and submitted them to the DoC as part of the open comment period, which ends tomorrow, October 13. It includes many of the ideas of the BWG and others. All of the participants have objections to the recommendations for a nine-strong interim board of directors included in the IANA plan. The ORSC has a temporary board, because it’s required to have one due to its incorporation, but does not put that up as the potential board of the new corporation as it says it wants to leave that until after the government has reviewed its proposals, by which time it says it will have an open process for selection of an interim board. Perhaps the most crucial difference between the IANA and the ORSC plans is that the latter includes a membership scheme for the corporation, whereas IANA leaves such a scheme up to the whim of he interim board. The members would elect the full board, whereas in IANA’s plan, that is left to the three supporting organizations. Commercial members, under the ORSC plan, must belong to one – and only one – of six groups; there is also provisions for non-commercial organizations and individuals. The six groups are IP address space holders, which means mainly ISPs; recognized brand name holders; top-level domain name registries; regional IP address registries; non-commercial organizations, such as end-user groups; and users at large. That will encompass all users of the internet, one way or another. The other main differences, according to the ORSC are clauses requiring more fiscal responsibility, fair hearing panels to provide public access to the board, protection of freedom of expression and incorporation in Delaware. The articles and bylaws are at http://www.open-rsc.org.

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