SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCJOINT HEARING ON THE DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 1998
U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Science,
Subcommittee on Basic Research,
Subcommittee on Technology,
The Subcommittees met, pursuant to notice, at 2:00 p.m., 2318 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Charles W. Pickering, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Basic Research, presiding.
Chairman PICKERING. It's good to be here again to talk about a very important subject, the Domain Name System and how we transition that into a completely private-sector-driven organization approach and talk about the very critical issues as we do that.
Our Subcommittee is meeting today to discuss the Administration's proposal to transfer the Internet's Domain Name System to the private sector.
I'll welcome the panelists and our audience, but, first, I would like to say a few words about our former Subcommittee Chairman, Steve Schiff. As you know, Congressman Schiff passed away last week after a year-long bout against cancer. Many of our colleagues made the trip to Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque for yesterday's funeral service. Those of us who had the chance to work with Congressman Schiff knew him to be a man of integrity and respect. He served his country not only as a Member of Congress, but also as a member of the Air Force National Guard, being one of the few Congressman to serve actively in the Persian Gulf. He was a real American patriot, and this Committee and the whole Congress will miss him.
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As for today's business, our hearing concerns the transfer of the Internet's Domain Name System to the private sector. Last September, our Subcommittee held two hearings on this issue, and since that time, the Administration has produced a proposal, known as the ''Green Paper,'' on how to go about transferring the DNS to the private sector. Other groups have also produced their own proposals. As our panelists, our audience, and Internet activists know, the Green Paper has been the subject of intense and heated debate. That debate has been healthy, and today we would like to focus, specifically, on those aspects of the Green Paper that have generated the heated debate; namely, the structure and membership of the DNS's governing board, the for-profit or not-for-profit status of Domain Name registries, the overall stability of the Domain Name System, and the number of new gTLDtop-level domainsthat can be added to the Internet.
But as we discuss these topics, we need to keep in mind that our goal is not simply to transfer the DNS to the private system just to get it out of the hands of the U.S. Government. For years the U.S. Government, through the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has been an excellent steward of the Internet. The American taxpayer has put quite a bit of money behind this project, and we have to ensure that the investment is not harmed during this transition.
Lastly, we need to remember that the most important people, in terms of the Internet, are the actual end-users. That is the Internet user at his or her desk in Houston or Los Angeles or Jackson, Mississippi, home of the largest Internet provider today. I think all of us agree that our decisions on this topic must be made with the best interests of the individual Internet user in mind.
Again, I want to welcome our panelists, and I look forward to hearing their testimony on this very important issue.
At this point, I would like to recognize the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Technology, Mrs. Morella, for her opening remarks and thank her for having this joint hearing, and that we can work together to get the right answers on this critical issue.
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairwoman MORELLA. Thanks, Mr. Chairman, and since you prefaced your opening statement with comments about the late Steve Schiff, I'd like to add my condolences to his family, and indicate it was an honor to serve with Steve during all of his years here in Congress and to be a member of the Basic Research Subcommittee with him at the helm. And to point out that, as a man who was always a very fair, judicious, honest, a good human being, I think he'll also be noted for the kind of extraordinary, indefatigable, difficult work he did on the Ethics Committee. But indeed, he'll be missed by this Committee and missed by the Congress and live on in love with his family and others.
And so, now it's a delight to join you jointly, the Technology Subcommittee with the Basic Research Subcommittee, for this important hearing. It's a pleasure to join with you for another hearing.
On March 10, 1998, our Subcommittees joined together to hold a hearing on H.R. 3007, which was the Advancement of Women in Science Engineering and Technology Development Act. That hearing was a tremendous success. Last week the Technology Subcommittee reported H.R. 3007 by unanimous voice vote.
The issue before us today is of great importance to everyone who uses the Internet. The direction we take in determining the future structure of the Domain Name System will impact directly on the future of the Web. At their heart, the issues surrounding DNS are all about names. As William Shakespeare wrote, ''What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'' Well, today the question could be rephrased to read, ''Is Romeo more likely to buy Juliet flowers at roses.com or roses.bus?''
The reason the issue of names has become so important has a lot to do with the peculiarities of cyberspace. Since cyberspace has no place, a business, a person's Domain Name not only represents their identity but also their location. In a very real sense, if you are an e-business, you'll only exist through your name.
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From a technical standpoint, the important part of any Domain Name is not the name itself, but the number to which it corresponds. This unique location number is the actual Web address. Most people have a hard time remembering numbers. So long before anyone thought the Internet was going to become the powerful, economic force that it is, the DNS system was devised to allow for easy to remember names to be assigned to these numbers. For the last 5 years, Network Solutions, Inc., has been responsible for registering what are known as second-level Domain Names; in this case, .com, .edu, and .org, and .net, under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
And now, NSF has indicated that it wishes to divorce itself from the DNS business and turn the system over to the private sector. Before that happens, we must ensure that the new private system that develops to replace our current system maintains and improves upon the stability and integrity of the registration process. Any new system must also ensure that competition can flourish improving service and reducing prices.
To that end, I'm pleased that we have before us today a distinguished group of panelists who can address both. Ira Magaziner has recently released the Green Paper, and other competing proposals such as that from the Internet Council of Registrars, CORE, for the DNS system. It is nice to also see former Representative, Governor Courter here representing that group.
Returning to Shakespeare, everyone knows the ultimate price that young Montague and Capulet lovers were forced to pay for their names. I'm hopeful that the discussion stemming from today's hearing will help ensure that individuals and business can pay substantially less for their Internet names in the future.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. And now I'd like to recognize the Ranking Member, Ms. Johnson.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I, too, would like to express my sympathy to the family and friends of Mr. Schiff. We had worked together on this Committee and shared plane trips home very often.
And, Mr. Chairman, I am pleased that you have called this hearing to review the Administration's plan for moving the Internet Domain Name System to private sector control. And I join you in welcoming our witnesses.
The evolution of the Internet Domain Name System is extremely important because its future cannot be separated from the development of the Internet itself. It provides the basic addressing function which allows computers to locate, and therefore communicate, with other connected computers. Without the Domain Name System, the Internet cannot be functional.
Last fall, the Basic Research Subcommittee hearing reviewed the status and the future plans regarding NSF's and DARPA's contractual agreements with the organizations that currently operate the Domain Name System. A major motivation for the hearing was that the agencies were moving forward with plans to terminate these agreements. Subcommittee members expressed no objections to ending this last vestige of federal control of the Internet. After all, the Internet, which began as a federal R&D project, has now become a major communications medium increasingly dominated by commercial uses.
The main concern raised at the hearing was that no plan had been developed to hand off the federal role in Internet addressing to the private sector. To relinquish control in the absence of such a plan would open the possibility of destabilizing the Internet.
Assistant Secretary of Commerce Larry Irving made the commitment at the hearing that the Administration would develop a plan to provide for a new framework for the operation and governance Domain Name System, and I am pleased that the Administration followed through on its commitment and released the plan at the end of January. The so-called ''Green Paper'' has been available for public review and comment for a period that ended last week, and today the Committee has the opportunity to assess the major features of that proposed new structure for the Domain Name System and the steps to implement it.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We will also receive reactions to the Green Paper from Internet stakeholders. There are some important principles to consider as we evaluate the Administration's plan. The paramount one is that the transfer of the Domain Name System to private sector operation and control occurs so as to maintain the stability of the Internet and also ensure the continuation of a system with broad connectivity. In addition, the plan must attract the support of a preponderance of the Internet community of interest. And finally, it must involve a transition process that is transparent to all and addresses the stakeholder concerns.
Regarding the transition, the Green Paper provides few details on the actual process that would lead to establishment of a functioning non-profit corporation with a board operational and policymaking functions laid out in the Green Paper. For example, what entitled entities would make the decisions associated with the drafting of the details of the corporation's charter and by-laws? What role will the federal agencies play in the transition? And where are the principal milestones and estimated dates for obtaining them?
Today I hope to learn more about the process envisioned in implementing Green Paper. Achieving an appropriate structure for administration and policy control of the Domain Name System will be an important contribution toward creating a robust and dependable Internet for support of electronic commerce as well as research, education, and private communications of a kind.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for calling this hearing. I look forward to learning more about the Administration's Domain Name System plan and our witnesses' reaction to it. Thank you.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you. Mr. Barcia, would you care to make a statement?
Mr. BARCIA. Thank you very much.
I, too, will join my colleagues in welcoming everyone to today's hearing and would like to associate myself and concur with the eloquent remarks of Chairwoman Morella, both in terms of her remarks on the issue before us today, as well as the sympathy and condolences that all of the Committee members have for Chairman Schiff, his family, and very dedicated staff. We're obviously going to miss his well-reasoned and thoughtful contributions to this Subcommittee and to the Full Committee as well.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I agree with the comments and observations also made by my good friend, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson. And I want to make just a few very general observations.
This is the third hearing that I have attended regarding the future of the Internet and the Domain Name issues. During these hearings, I've learned a few things.
First, I've learned that the Internet community uses a vocabulary that relies on acronyms and other vague terms. During the past year, I've had to learn a new vocabulary consisting of DNS, IP's, TLD's, IANA, backbones, and, yes, even ''spaming.''
Second, I've realized that most users of the Internet, and for that matter most Members of Congress, don't understand the highly structured and complicated infrastructure that supports the Internet. It's just not as simple as pushing the second icon on your PC. We need to do a lot of education in order to make the right decisions regarding the future of the Internet.
Finally, and from my non-technical viewpoint, the primary importance of the Internet is that it allows computers around the world to communicate with each otherwhat the computer community calls ''interconnectedness.'' It is this ability for ''interconnectedness'' that must be maintained as we move from federal to private authority over the Internet.
A review of today's witnesses' testimony highlights that we still have a long way to go before a fully developed, private sector based policy is achieved which will assert an operational control for the Domain Name System that insures the smooth transition to this new regime. I remain optimistic that all the stakeholders who want to maintain the interconnectivity of this system will be able to develop a satisfactory framework.
I want to thank our witnesses for taking time out of their very busy schedules to educate us on all of the issues, and I look forward to hearing and receiving your input.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Mr. Barcia.
Mr. GUTKNECHT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You've assembled a distinguished panel once again, and that's why I'll be brief. As one who is just beginning to take his first baby steps into cyberspace and learning how to use the mouse and get around and surf the Web, I must tell you I find this very interesting. And I feel like the proverbial puppy whose eyes are now open at the enormous potential of this. And so I will take no more time and hopefully allow for as much time and comment from the experts that have been assembled here today.
And I thank the Chair and the staff for putting this together.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you.
Let me take a brief moment to introduce our panelists. Mr. Ira Magaziner is the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy Development and chaired the interagency working group that produced the Administration's Green Paper proposal.
Jim Courter is the spokesman for the Council of Registrars. He is a former Member of Congress who is now President of IDT Corporation, a telecommunications company that is based in New Jersey that is active in CORE activities. I would like to also add that he served with distinction as Chairman of the BRAC, and one of the communities in my District remembers him fondly, in Meridian, Mississippi.
Barbara Dooley is Executive Director of the Commercial Exchange Association know as CIX. CIX is the largest association of Internet service providers. The members of the association carry approximately 75 percent of the global Internet traffic.
Dr. Robert Kahn is the President and CEO at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives. He is co-inventor of the Internet's TCP/IP protocols and was responsible for originating DARPA's Internet program. In December, Dr. Kahn was awarded the 1997 National Medal of Technology.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Professor David FarberProfessor Farber is professor of telecommunication systems at the University of Pennsylvania and is the director of the University of Pennsylvania Distributed Computer Laboratory. Professor Farber is a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on High-Performance Computing, and is the recipient of the 1995 SAIC COM award for life-long contributions to the computer communications field.
It is the policy of this Committee to always swear in all of our panelists. And it is my understanding that Becky Burr may be joining Mr. Magaziner as we discuss the Administration's proposal. And so if you don't mind, Ms. Burr, if you would join as we take the oath.
If everyone would please your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Mr. MAGAZINER. I do.
Ms. BURR. I do.
Mr. COURTER. I do.
Ms. DOOLEY. I do.
Mr. KAHN. I do.
Mr. FARBER. I do.
Chairman PICKERING. Let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative.
Thank you. As you may know, spoken testimony is limited to 5 minutes apiece, after which the members of the Committee will have 5 minutes apiece to ask questions.
And we will start with Mr. Magaziner today.
TESTIMONY OF IRA MAGAZINER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT FOR POLICY DEVELOPMENT, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MAGAZINER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and let me begin by expressing by condolences to the members of the Subcommittee on the recent loss of Chairman Schiff, and I appreciate the difficulties you must be experiencing in the wake of that.
I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the Department of Commerce proposal to improve the technical management of the Internet name and address system. As you already know, the Department of Commerce relied on an interagency process to develop this document. The process has been coordinated by the Administration's Electronic Commerce Working Group which I co-chair and, hence, my participation today.
I would note, for the record, however, that the discussion draft that we are talking about was issued by NTIA. The ''Green Paper,'' as it's frequently called, is a proposal of the Department of Commerce. It is not a final statement of Commerce or Administration policy at this point.
What we have tried to do is, last summer, President Clinton, when he released the Framework for Global Electronic Commercewhich is our overall strategy for developing the potential of electronic commerce for our economyidentified a series of issues that we were going to try to deal with to pave the way for this new great economic potential that we foresaw. One of those issues involved the question of the Domain Name System and trying to introduce a more private, competitive, and international system of governance for domain names and numbers. And he assigned the responsibility to Secretary Daly for carrying out that particular proposal. And it is under that auspices that the Commerce Department has issued this discussion draft.
We also want to be clear that it is a discussion draft. That is, we put it out there for the very type of discussion that we are now experiencing, and we welcome this Committee's participation in that discussion. We've received, I think, over 600 responses now, all of which have been posted on the Internet. And we are beginning the process now of considering those responses, and we'll revise the draft proposal accordingly, based upon the input that we receive.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What I'll do with the few minutes that I have is just to highlight a couple of the main points of what we are trying to achieve.
First of all, we are covering a couple of issues of technical management. One has to do with the assignment of numerical addresses to Internet users. The assignment of Internet protocol numbersthat is, the numeric addresses for computer on thewhich are now done by the IANA, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which is based at the University of Southern California, under a contract with DARPA. And those blocks of numbers are then assigned to three regional number registries, as you know, around the world.
The second issue is the management of the system of registering names for Internet users. In the registration of Internet domain names, in the set of generic top-level domains including .com, .net, .org, and so on. It's currently done by the NSI Corporation under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
The third is the operation of the root service system. The U.S. Government now plays a direct role in the operation of half the world's 13 root servers, including what's called the ''A'' root service, which is the authoritative server. NSF and NSI, plus other U.S. Government agencies, currently have the responsibility in this area.
And finally, the question of what's called ''protocol assignment,'' the assignment and registration of the technical parameters and protocols used on the Internet, which is currently done under a contract from DARPA to the IANA.
Those are the functions that we are speaking about here. They are a very specific set of technical functions, and our goal in trying to privatize this system is to turn over to competitionto the competitive marketplacethat which is subject, or can be subject, to competition and those functions that require coordination. For example, the assignment of numbers to make sure that identical numbers are not assigned to different computers should be carried out in a coordinated way, in our view, by private, non-profit entity rather than by a government-related entity.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In going about this, there are a couple of major principles that we are trying to follow. The first is to preserve the stability of the Internet. The U.S. Government should end its stewardship of the DNS in a responsible manner, which above all else means ensuring the stability of the Internet. So there is a transition that needs to be made here, but during this transition there cannot be a breakdown. And so we can't simply say, you know, we want out of this, and tomorrow we're gone. This needs to be done in a careful way that assures those people now using the Internet and depending upon it that there will be a stable transition.
Second, we want competition where possible. Market mechanisms that support competition should drive DNS management.
Third, that the entities that are set up should be private-sector-led, and a bottoms-up management is preferable to a government control.
And fourth, there should be representationbroad representationin the technical management of the Internet which reflects the diversity of Internet users, both functionally and geographically.
Our proposal had to make many hard calls, if you will, which there are not clear answers to. There are many different constituencies that have diametrically opposed views on what the best way to accomplish these goals are. What we relied upon was a request for comment which was sent out by the Commerce Department last summer and fall, during which we received over 400 comments. And we tried to rely on those comments, plus other inputs that were given to us in designing the discussion draft.
We don't believe we have a monopoly on all the good ideas here by any stretch of the imagination. And we don't believe that there is any perfect solution to this, and we are sincerely seeking the input of others and are anxious to read all the comments that have been sent to us.
What we are going to try to do is achieve sufficient consensus during the coming weeks so that we can revise our discussion draft into a proposal which, hopefully, will gain sufficient consensus so that we can move ahead.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This being the Internet, one will never get 100 percent agreement on anything, but if we can build sufficient consensus, then we can begin to implement a plan to conclude this privatization.
Let me just say in closing that putting these goals into effect has to have a certain time line which is driven by the ending of the current contract and cooperative agreement that now exists. And so we need to move with some dispatch in trying to get this new private sector entity up and going, and trying to make the transitions that have to occur. And we've been trying to achieve a balance in ending the U.S. Government involvement in a timely fashion, but yet a fashion that insures that this new institution is up and going and has built the capability and has confidence from people to take over those functions before we simply pull out of it.
And we can't say for sure how long that will take, but from our point of view we would like to see it happen sooner rather than later. The sooner that we can move to this more private, more competitive, more international system, we think, the better the Internet will be served. So that is our goal and that's what we're going to try to aim towards over the coming months.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Magaziner follows:]
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Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Mr. Magaziner. And I want to acknowledge and appreciate, you know, you all's contribution to this debate, your willingness to come and testify today, and we do look forward to reaching that consensus as quickly as possible.
TESTIMONY OF JIM COURTER, PRESIDENT, IDT CORPORATION, SPOKESMAN FOR COUNCIL OF REGISTRARS
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COURTER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here. I ask unanimous consent that the text of my entire remarks be included in the record, and also that the text of CORE's response to the Green Paper be included at the end of my testimony. Thank you very much.
It's unfortunate with regard to BRAC that all communities don't share your pleasure in my work, but be that as it may, there's a few comments that I'd like to make I think are very, very important here, and they all have to do with what I would consider a valiant effort by the Commerce Department, initially, in an attempt to privatize the registering of Domain Names when it comes to the Internet.
But with all due respect to Mr. Magaziner and those who worked, I'm sure, so diligently, it seems to me that it's a step backward rather than a step forward. And I'll articulate some of these reasons.
I thought today, frankly, would be an historic day. It was supposed to be. It was in the Administration's design that the utilization and the registration of Domain Names would now be among the private corporations, and that individual consumers would have choices as to who the registry and registrars would be. They would have portability such that, if they did not like the company that they were dealing with, they would have the option to deal with another company without losing their address. But none of this has occurred. Today should have been, as I mentioned, a happy day, and as far as I'm concerned, it's a very sad day.
Today was supposed to be the final day of government-sanctioned monopoly control enjoyed by Network Solutions, which is the private company which enjoys the monopoly, basically charging that which it wants to. The experience of many private companies, including IDT, has not been good with regard to the quality of their service. Rather than the termination of the years of monopoly, this recommendation continues to perpetuate that monopoly and, as well, includes the creation of five additional monopolies and caps the number of new generic top-level Domain Names to one each for the additional five. So, also, its government involvement in the number of top-level Domain Names that can be accessed by the many hundreds of millions of Internet users throughout the world.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CORE supports the CORE organization, which I might add is a generic organization that is comprised of many members of the Internet community. It's an organization that's been in existenceit's a non-profit organizationfor about 2 years. It was initiated not only by the work of Mr. Postel at IANA; it had to do with in getting it started with the Internet society, of the Internet engineers that breathed life in it, to the business community which uses the Internet. All helped establish this non-profit organization called CORE.
It now has 87 private companies and dozens and dozens of companies in countries around the world; IDT, the company that I represent as President, is one of them. CORE, this non-profit organization which is now in existence, which has a private company, a pro-competitive non-monopoly solution to this particular top-level Domain Name registration problem, supports an immediate transition to Internet self-governance and an end, in my mind, to the unnecessary government intervention. And the Green Paper simply does not.
CORE supports open competition to DNS system; the Green Paper does not. CORE opposes creating and maintaining additional monopolies; obviously, the Green Paper, in fact recommends the creation of five more monopolies. CORE opposes artificial limits on the number of top-level Domain Names. The proposal by the Commerce Department that Mr. Magaziner just talked about recommends capping it, at the present time, for a number of months as we forward to five. All the while, in the last number of years, the number of Internet users have mustered from 1 million to well over 100 million in every country of the world.
CORE supports the operation of non-for-profit registries in the public trust; the Green Paper does not.
CORE opposes policies which would encourage price gouging. The proposal by the Commerce Department, the Green Paper, simply does not. It gives in sole jurisdiction, sole authority, to charge whatever it wants to a monopoly sanctioned by the government. That leads to price gouging, and that leads obviously to poor service, something that we've seen in the past; something that the recommendations of the Commerce Department and the Green Paper simply does not address, in fact, compounds the problem.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC CORE supports a single dispute resolution process; the Green Paper does not.
CORE opposes government-dictated technical standards, and the Green Paper does not.
That's, I suppose, quite an indictment. I feel strongly about it. We thought that we would finally receive and break into the light when it comes to full competition and registrars throughout the land, and we find that the recommendation of the Commerce Department, known as the Green Paper, perpetuates a single monopoly allowing them to continue their sole control over the major generic top-level Domain Names, the ones we're all familiar with, the ones that have cache, the ones that most corporations want, give the power of control to one company that's for profit. They can charge whatever they want to and continue to do so into the future.
It seems to me that progress would be the dismantling of monopoly. And it seems to me that Congress, Members of Congress, can stand on the side of monopoly or the side of competition, on the side of dismantling favoritism or on the side of allowing a private enterprise to seek solutions and have real competition in the marketplace.
I might end by saying that the way the plan, according to the Commerce Department, is written is if you wanted to transpose that into the telephone system that we're enjoying now in the United States, if you, coming from your District and the great State that you are, wanted to changeand I can imagine this with all great logic from AT&T to WorldComright now, if the Commerce Department's recommendation holds true and you had an address on the Internet, you'd have to change your telephone number. And you would look to me and say, ''Well I spent hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars, in making that particular telephone known in the United States, known in my State, known around the world.'' Well, the way the Commerce Department recommends is that you have to now change your telephone number if you want to change the person supplying you with an address. I think that's wrong; I think that's movement in the wrong direction, and I hope that the Congress weighs in very strongly.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I thank you for your attention.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Courter follows:]
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Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Courter, thank you. And I look forward to coming back and having a chance to ask follow-up questions and also have Mr. Magaziner respond to some of the concerns you've raised so eloquently.
TESTIMONY OF BARBARA DOOLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMERCIAL INTERNET EXCHANGE ASSOCIATION
Ms. DOOLEY. Good afternoon, my name is Barbara Dooley. I am Executive Director of the Commercial Internet Exchange Association known as CIX, an international association of Internet service providers. I am also appearing this afternoon on behalf of the Arizona Internet Access Association, the Association of Online Professionals, the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, the Florida Internet Service Providers Association, the Internet Providers Association of Iowa, the Internet Service Providers Consortium, Texas Internet Service Providers Association, and the Washington Association of Internet Service Providers. That wasn't possible 2 years ago. Together, our associations represent over 700 member companies in North America and around the world.
Thank you for inviting me to testify on the Green Paper to improve management of Internet addresses and Domain Names and on Internet governance.
Management of the Domain Name System has been a controversial topic ever since the U.S. Government announced its intention to withdraw from its administration and turn these functions over to private sector management. CIX believes that, on whole, the U.S. Green Paper proposal is fair, reasonable, practical, and well-conceived. There remain, however, many details to be worked out. The team that must manage the transition prior to the new corporation's full assumption of responsibilities will confront a heavy workload and must make decisions on many controversial matters. It must be ready to work immediately upon the adoption of the final rule. Several organizations are prepared to proceed with their plans, and further delays will only lead to confusion and potential deadlocks in the transition process.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While CIX agrees with the overall thrust of the proposal, we have several reservations.
No. 1, commercial users and service providers would be underrepresented on the corporation's board of directors.
No. 2, should there be a need for an increase in generic top-level domainsthat is, non-country code top-level domains such as .comthe new corporation must have in place a single set of standards and processes to measure market need and an open, transparent, and accountable mechanism for reviewing and improving generic top-level domains.
Three, reform of the .us country top-level domain should be a high priority.
No. 4, the root service must move from volunteer to professionally-accountable management. This move and assurance of root server security is urgent and should receive the highest priority.
And No. 5, the transmission team with full international participation and adequate resources must actively manage the privatization process.
In addition to these points, CIX also recognizes that the transition team and new corporation will confront and must be prepared for difficult trademark and dispute resolution issues that were identified but not answered in the proposed rule. In addition, CIX has additional, less urgent concerns such as a disposition of the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund.
Privatization of IP address numbering and DNS constitutes the second and final stage of a process that began in the early 1990's when Congress authorized the NSF decision to commercialize the NSF Net, which then became today's Internet. That task was successfully completed in early 1995. The management of common Internet resources remain the responsibility of the NSF. In 1996, NSF decided to privatize administration of IP address numbering and DNS and other technical administrative infrastructure functions, but there was no formal transitional mechanism for this process. Since that decision was made, several proposals have been advanced to deal piecemeal with IP addressing and DNS administration. None except the U.S. Government's dealt with the entire range of related issues. These include the transition of NSI's and IANA's functions into a stable administrative structure, creation of new gTLD's, if any, in a competitive environment, stabilization and security of root server management, and trademark and other intellectual property issues. CIX believes that a framework plan must be in place before the secondary, though important, concerns can be resolved.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Although the U.S. Government's leadership has been criticized, we believe a U.S. Government framework plan is essential and appropriate. As you are aware, there are several pending legal challenges to various Internet stakeholders originating in Domain Name controversies. We believe the U.S. Government has acknowledged authority and legal legitimacy over the Internet resources it commissioned, financed, and supported. And it is only the U.S. Government that is in a position to turn over its legal rights and authority, however they may be interpreted, to a successor entity.
CIX believes that the time for full privatization has arrived, and that a not-for-profit corporation is the proper mechanism. There has been considerable criticism of the U.S. Government's leadership in these matters during the past 2 years. For the above reasons, however, decision has been needed.
International concern about globalization is understandable. To ensure that the U.S. Government's actions are not misconstrued, CIX urges the U.S. Government to ensure full international participation in the transition, such as the review of root server management, stability, and trademark issues.
Furthermore, the transition and new entity should include a full complement of personnel from outside the United States. Although the U.S. Government has had a special historical role in DNS and IP management, it has stated its intent to end its oversight role no later than September 30, 2000, during which a stable transition to private sector management should take place.
Much of the current controversy over the DNS should subside over time. As the Green Paper suggests, unified network directories may join or even supplant the name space in the medium to long term as it is currently organized. However, the issues regarding technical management and coordination of this and other administrative functions still require a body which is empowered to make decisions which allow the continued functioning of a global Internet.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, I should note that the Internet is composed of many diverse stakeholders and interests, and that variety is growing daily. No one group can credibly speak for the entire Internet community, or even for users, nor should any one group be allowed to dominate the selection of board members. The Green Paper properly warned the capture of Internet institutions by special interests. The Internet has flourished precisely because of its flexibility, diversity, and grassroots organization. It would only suffer if these qualities were lost.
I would be happy to answer any of your questions.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Dooley follows:]
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Chairman PICKERING. Thank you very much.
TESTIMONY OF ROBERT E. KAHN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL RESEARCH INITIATIVES
Mr. KAHN. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, I am President and CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives and I've been involved in the Internet technical community since I started it in the early 1970's. I'd like to thank the Committee for its work in hearing these issues, to Mr. Magaziner, and others in the Administration, and the Internet community at large for both airing the issues associated with these topics and for working steadily toward solutions.
I actually believe the process is converging. I believe that time is on our side, and that we do have time to make these decisions. We should do it right. There's lots of agreement. There are some differences that still remain, and I think some of those differences are fundamental and really need some time to deal with.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Internet was not really not an overnight success. It took a long time before people realized its potential. It took years of work to refine it and to bring it to the current state. And just for the record, for reference purposes, when I talk about the Internet, I take the definition that the Federal Networking Council's resolution of October 1995 stated, which is on the Web at WWW.FNC.GOV. So you might take a look at that, because there has been issue as to what exactly is and what is not the Internet.
In my view, the Internet is not really in any crisis. It's not in danger of any immediate failure and, basically, any tact on our part to try and make some premature decisions seems to me is ill-founded. We really do have the time to consider these issues.
The Internet has really just entered into broad use and impact, and only recently been subject to some of the significant legal and social concerns about the management of the infrastructure that you're now considering.
The discussion today is actually part of a much larger topic concerning the future governance of the Internet. And we're dealing with just one small part of that today. So I want to emphasize the fact that it's worth taking the time and making the effort to find a good, workable solution with the respect to the fundamental structures of the Internet and the mechanisms to govern it in the future. A critical part of this is to systematically structure a process by which we can get the use from as many of the relevant parties as possible, not just using mechanisms like e-mail for comment, but I would think we should get the international community and as many of those who have chosen to weigh-inwho have chosen not to weigh-in yetas we can and to do it with more deliberate interactions between the parties. I think this will actually help determine a long-term, stable solution of Internet governance.
Congress and the Administration should take the lead in this effort and make the time available to the parties. I think it's the only way to proceed.
Continued U.S. Government involvement, I think, is not only highly desirable, but necessary to help structure the solution. In addition to being a good steward, the government created the Internet, it organized it so that the private sector could run it, and it has systematically ceded control of it over time to the private sector. This is not an accident. Other governmental interests will surely be represented, even with the private sector solution, simply because not every country views privatization as we do in the United States.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition to the overall goal of stability in the Internet, other specific goals should be to ensure integrity in the management of the Internet addresses, the numbers; openness in the standards process; and, competition in services so the Internet can continue to evolve and thrive.
The fundamental integrity of the Internet, that which enables it to work, is the worldwide consensus on protocols, the assignment of unique numbers to entities on the net. This requires community commitment to the overall infrastructure management structure as well.
The Domain Name System was merely the very first system for naming machines on the Internet, not necessarily the last word on the subject. This is actually a very important point. In addition to the DNS, there are the web browsers and e-mail, they're all tools for using the Internet and many more will emerge from research, over time.
Basic research is still needed on many aspects of networking, but significant research work still remains to be done on the subject of naming identifiers on the Internet. And while some centralization of authority is required to establish the integrity of numbering and to guarantee the open nature of protocol development in the standards process, virtually everything else can be competitive, and this includes the DNS.
I believe that oversight is needed for any infrastructure that's critical to the conduct of any ''orderly society.'' But even this oversight can be provided by the private sector provided there's a means of recovering from failure in the oversight mechanism. And this is something that only government involvement can ensure.
In my written comments, I made several specific recommendations for the Committee to consider, and I'd just like to reiterate them very briefly here, in one-liners.
My first recommendation is to take the time to get the views of all the relevant parties, including those of the international community, and to structure this discussion and work toward finding a solution to the problem that achieves a reasonable consensus.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, separate out the issues dealing with domain names from all the other functions that are attributed to this IANA function, and move those functions into a body that can act independently of the others. This will help for getting competition and allowing new alternatives in the future. And, third, provide specifically for the integrity of the numbering system, and continue the openness in the standards process and competition in services. These are among the most critical parts of the Internet management structure.
I'd like to close my remarks here. I thank the Committee for the opportunity to give you those comments, and I'd be happy to take questions at the appropriate time.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kahn follows:]
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Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Dr. Kahn. Professor Farber.
TESTIMONY OF DAVID FARBER, THE ALFRED FILTER MOORE PROFESSOR OF TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, DIRECTOR OF DISTRIBUTED COMPUTER LABORATORY, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. FARBER. Thank you very much for asking me to come here. I should add a few other items to my introduction that the Chairman so nicely gave. I'm a long-time member of the Board of Trustees of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society. I also serve on a little advisory group that IANA put together to help them advise in the transition on an arm's length basis.
I was responsible, along with several of my colleagues, for the creation of some of the networks which led to the social structure of the Internet, CSNet, the NSFNet, and NREN, and they taught me a lot about the dynamics and social dynamics of the networks, as well as the technology, of course.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It's worth noting that networks really don't tie computers together anymore; they tie people together. I think that's very important. And those people are worldwide. Many of the issues involving the Internet, including the issue of how to best set up domain naming systems, must be addressed internationally. The Internet enriches us by allowing us to experience different cultures.
I serve as a fellow of the Japanese GLOCOM organization, and I find the interest and the difficulties of dealing with other cultures are helped and aggravated by the Internet, but we must learn to live together. This also means that any governance issues involving the Internet must be resolved on an international scope, taking into account these very same cultural differences.
Any one government's attempt to control the process will be frowned upon by the global community as a whole. As I talked around the world over the last several months, I have been bombarded with people who have deep, dire plots that they attribute to the U.S. Government, to which I usually say something like, ''If I thought the U.S. Government could actually put together a deep, dire plot, I'd be much happier.''
Our world is getting smaller, and we can all benefit and grow from that. Throughout the world, people are fearful that we're going to dominate the Internet name domain process and the Internet itself. The Internet was initially developed in the United States, so it certainly makes sense the U.S. Government has to play a continuing leadership role. However, the Internet now is really international. It's important that we act in a responsible way to ensure that any Internet governance structure emerges is truly international.
My fellow witnesses have taken, as usual, a set of orthogonal positions on many things. I've tended to address in both my written testimony and what I want to say briefly now to more of the social issues rather than the business issues.
Any foundation for governance of the Internet must support fundamental human rights, a free expression, free association, due process, and nondiscriminatory administration. What may not be obvious at first glance, the management of the domain naming system impacts greatly on these basic human rights. It's through network addresses and domain names that organizations place their speech on the Internet. And it's through these addresses that others can locate this speech. It is easy for those responsible for administrating basic Internet functions to loose sight of this and to act in ways that unnecessarily burden the ability to exercise free speech. Already censorship has appeared in arbitrary and uneven manners on the network, and it is damaging our rights to speak.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC An open market in the public's best interest is critical. I thought the Green Paper stated that marvelously and I wholeheartedly agree. Market functions can provide the vehicle for achieving our goal. The Internet is a public good. I said in my testimony ''public trust,'' and I got bombarded by a bunch of lawyers who said that has formal meaning, so allow me to amend that to ''public good.''
It's a creature born of voluntary cooperation. Attempts to monopolize that trust, coerce that cooperation from unwilling participants for private gain will destroy a very fragile social structure that has taken 30 years to build. Any system of Internet governance must be created for the benefit of the public. Only in that way will the public be willing to continue to support it in the way we are now.
Domain name registrationthe top-level domainsmust not be monopolized by a single for-profit entity, treated as any for-profit entity's intellectual property, or controlled by or from any single government organization. The current policy providing ownership rights and Internet domain names based on trademark notions is flawed and should be, really, abandoned. We have had endless problems with that.
The most heartrending case of that is the so-called Pokey situation, a young kid who wanted to use his own name, got an Internet domain name, and ended up being threatened by a commercial company that basically had dubious claim to it under even trademark law. We've arbitrarily applied these in ways that are just not consistent with trademark law we have, and certainly not consistent with our First Amendment to the Constitution, the rights for free speech. People have been denied names because they don't sound right to some individual. On the other hand, equivalent types of names have been granted to large corporations. So, in fact, we have a very uneven application.
It's important that whatever we do in the future, we address these social issues, realizing that the Internet is worldwide, realizing, as a colleague of mine said, that the first amendment, the Bill of Rights of the United States are local ordinances in cyberspace. It's a very complicated thing. I hope we get it right.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, the U.S. Government has a truly unique opportunity to be here to share in the growth and development of this truly democratic communications tool by remembering that cyberspace transcends national borders, that decisions made regarding domain naming systems impact the basic freedom of Internet users, that fostering an open market is in the public's best interest, and that ownership rights and domain names must be balanced against basic human rights to free expression. The U.S. Government can make a positive contribution to the future of the Internet.
I'd like to thank the Committee very much for this hearing. I'd be happy to answer any questions. I've elaborated on many of these points in both my testimony and other documents I've written and which I'd be happy to supply to the Committee.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Farber follows:]
Insert offset folios 68-84
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Professor Farber. And if I could take a moment to recognize Ms. Jackson.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much, and I thank my colleagues for their indulgence. I thank the participants. I will not engage in any questions on this hearing, albeit extremely important. I'd ask the Chairman to allow me to submit my statement in the record.
But I did want to comment on our fallen colleague, my friend and colleague, Congressman Schiff, the Chairman of this Subcommittee. We know the Congressman, and we know him because his spirit is still among us, as a gentle person with the ability to bring all factions together. I found his leadership in the House Judiciary Committee and this Committee, the House Science Committee, which he loved immensely, one of single purpose, and that was to do the job on behalf of his constituents and the American people.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My heartfelt sympathy to his family, with the acknowledgment that even as his illness took control of his body, he maintained his integrity and service to his District and his constituents.
We can be very proud that Congressman Schiff served his country in the manner that he did, with the leadership and talent, ableness of mind, and gentle spirit. We will all remember him and miss him.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
Insert offset folios 85-86
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you very much. And I would just like to add to that comment, as a new Member coming to Congress, Mr. Schiff took the time to come and visit with me, to give advice, to give counsel.
You know, it's fairly unusual, most new Members will go to the Members that have the seniority, that have the leadership positions, and curry and beg for their favor, but Mr. Schiff came to me. And I'll always appreciate his temperament and how he came to give advice and counsel, and to give me this opportunity to participate in this Subcommittee in this way. So, I hope that we can honor his legacy, his work, with what we do in this Committee, and specifically on this issue.
With that, let me go to some questions. We're going to have a vote coming up briefly, and so let's try to cover as much ground as we possibly can.
Mr. Magaziner, how would you respond to the criticisms that your proposal sets up, in essence, five monopolies? Excuse me, six monopolies.
Mr. MAGAZINER. First, to be clear, the decision that we have faced is we in the U.S. Government will be ending our role. The easiest thing for us to do would be to say that there ought to be no new top-level domains added because, as Mr. Kahn said, things are running reasonably smoothly. Until this new nonprofit organization gets up and going, which, after all, should be a matter of months not years, and then let that organization which will have the stewardship going forward, make the decision on how to add new names.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That would be the simplest thing to do and in the process we could, in negotiating with NSI, require them to share the registration of .com, .net, .org, so that you would set up competition among registrars. And any registrar could register people into those.
There were a number of people who argued to us that we ought to try to accelerate the development of competition by introducing some new names right away, so that we didn't just wait until this new organization came into existence. And it was on that basis that we began including the organization that the Congressman represents, the CORE organization which wanted to add seven new names as soon as possible. And they made an argument that said names should be added right away to help further competition sooner.
So, on that basis, the question came up of, okay, shall we try to add some new names right away even before this new organization gets going to help set the conditions for competition, and then once the new organization comes into place, it will make the decisions about what goes on beyond that? On that basis, we proposed the adding of five names, and then a second question came, which was, in the CORE proposal, for example, there is one group, essentially one organization that would manage the databases for all registry top-level generic names, and it would be a nonprofit organization, I think in the public trust, is the way it's described?
There are good arguments to go in that direction, but the concerns were that if you have just one organization managing all the registration databases, that you wouldn't have the benefits of competition and the kind of innovation that competition can bring, and the efficiencies that competition should bring. So, what we proposed, based on those arguments, was that you would allow five new organizations to come into existence, each of which was managing a name, a generic top-level name, and you would have NSI continuing to manage the database for .com, although it would have to allow anybody to register into it.
And then you would have at least six competitors, and that would exist only during an interim period. After the interim period, once the new organization gets up and going, it will review all these policies so that what we were doing was just for a transition period, to get competition moving. And in that sense, I guess what's being said is that it sets up monopolies because you'd have only one organization managing the database for a name, a specific name. That's true. On the other hand, the CORE proposal would have only one organization managing all names, nonprofit.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think there are good arguments on both sides of this, and it's something that we're anticipating looking at the comments that we receive, at about whether, if new names are set up, they should be competitive or not. But one thing I would correct in the Congressman's statement is that it's not our intention to put an artificial cap that lasts forever on a number of new generic names. There are many different opinions on how many names should be introduced. Some people think only one or two should be introduced, some think none, some think unlimited, some think a specific number.
What we're speaking about is only during this interim period, until this new organization gets up and going, and then we would be not having authority, in any event.
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Courter, would you like to respond?
Mr. COURTER. I would, thank you very much. I mean it's nice to hear Mr. Magaziner suggest that his proposal to perpetuate a monopoly in the incumbent is not, perhaps, a very good idea. And we should welcome any change there.
But basically, what I'm saying, and I think trying to point out, is that right now, before the Committee, there's really two proposals. One is the Magaziner plan, which is the Green Paper, and which I think I tried to articulate its flaws with regard to non-portability of numbers; the perpetuation of the existing monopoly, which now I hear he's interested in maybe changing; the creation of five more monopolies; the government managing the marketplace by saying, we'll allow only five more generic top-level domain names in existence. I'm not sure that's a government function.
Also, I heard during the testimony some very good words, and I think the CORE proposal satisfies those concerns. I heard people say that there should be a consensus. Well, I'd like to submit that the Internet Engineer Task Force, IANA, the Internet Society, companies around the world, the International Trademark Association, the Internet Software Consortium, all were involved in the creation of the CORE proposal. This was not something that was done by one company. It was something that was done by many nonprofit organizations, it was done in conjunction with the government-sponsored enterprise in the United States, IANA, and also many private companies.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Also I heard that we shouldn't jump into this, there shouldn't be immediacy, we shouldn't come up with a solution without thinking it through. CORE thought it through. We have had 18 months of deliberation, 18 months of negotiation, it's supported by governments around the world, and companies around the world. At the present time it's supported by Bell Canada, it's supported by MCI, France Telecom, Deutsche Telecom, major telephone companies
Chairman PICKERING. Excuse me, is that MCI or WorldCom?
Mr. COURTER. It's MCI. That's the worst mistake I've made all day. WorldCom MCI, which I think is important.
It has stability, it's been engineered in the proposal; it's been vetted by AT&T in December, proved to work; looked at and supported, as I mentioned, by WorldCom MCI; it went through a 18-month testing process; and it's supported by, as I mentionedI think I mentionedthe Organization of Internet Engineers.
So basically what I'm suggesting is that it's time now to move forward. It's time for government to step aside. It's time to have some competition when it comes to the registrar function. When it comes to the registry function, there has to be cooperation, coordination, nonprofit oversight; there's no doubt about that. But when it comes to the marketplace, allowing individuals to have choices with regard to who is going to be the corporation that works with their name, which corporation is going to be interacting with them when it comes to supporting the continuation of the name that they chose, it seems to me consumers in the United States, indeed, consumers around the world, should have choices. The CORE proposal has a plethora of choices, real competition; the Green Paper, in fact, does not.
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Magaziner.
Mr. MAGAZINER. Let me just try to correct one thing here. Our Green Paper talks about ending the current monopoly situation that exists. That's one of the goals of the paper, and it's something which has to be negotiated and carried out. And that is in the paper, it's not something new.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The question is, how do you do that? Right now there is a company that is managing certain databases, we thinkand it serves as the registrar for those databaseswe make clear in the paper that we think that any registrar around the world should be able to register people into those names on a fully equal basis, and that there needs to be a process of de-evolution whereby that monopoly that exists now is ended as soon as possible, and that steps need to be taken to negotiate that. So that's something that is clearly in the paper, and we think thatand I think we agree with the CORE group here, and I should say there was a lot of good work done in the IHC process that led to the POC/CORE work, and we don't denigrate that work at all. We have, in fact, shamelessly borrowed a lot of the ideas from that work. We think it was very useful work. But to be clear, we all agree that there ought to be a fully competitive registrar system, that we register people into any of the top-level domains on an equal basis.
The specific disagreement is with respect to the management databases of a specific generic name, or the registry function. There the CORE proposal would be to create on organization which essentially manages the databases for all the generic names in a nonprofit way. The proposal we've made is to have a series ofinitially five, all though it could be more, once the new organization gets up and going, plus the existing organization, so six in totalthat would be managing these generic names. It could be nonprofit or for-profit, and they would be competing with each other.
Now, there are, as I said earlier, good arguments on both sides. I don't mean to say that these are bad proposals one way or another, and I think we are looking forward to reviewing the comments we get and then, where there are better arguments than the ones we've made, we're very happy to modify our proposals.
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Ewing, do you have any questions?
Mr. EWING. Well, I'm struggling to understand, so I hope the panel will also be understanding. Mr. Kahn, do you even need to have the suffix like ''dot dash dash com'' to have a DNS system and could we, in the future, just get rid of that?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KAHN. Well, that's actually a very interesting comment that you just made. If you're struggling to come to grips with it, you've dug right deep into the heart of some of these debates
Mr. EWING. Well, I don't like to hover on the surface, I want to get
Mr. KAHN. Let me put it this way: When you live in a world where everybody travels by horseback, having a debate about monopolies of horseshoe makers is a very important thing to do. And that's the debate that we're having here today. Right now, we're all traveling on the horseback called the DNS system. That's the first thing out of the gate; it's what everybody uses, and it will be with us for quite a while.
It's not the only game in town for doing this kind of thing. There will be better solutions invented over the next decade, century. Some of those other systems can be purely numeric that don't get into any of these trademark issues. There are already examples of them around today. But that's not to say that you could just pick up on one of these other systems introduced or that one should supplant the others. I think you're going to have many different kinds of systems.
But DNS is what's out there today. It evolved the way it did for some historical reasons; I was part of that process. It was broken down with dot suffixes simply to make the database more manageable so that you could have different parties deal with it.
If you go back in history, you know, the original way that we used to deal with this problem in ARPANET days, before the Internet, was we had a table of machines on the net. They were called UCLA, Stanford, Harvard; they had names of companies on them like BBN or Research Labs. And they used to map into the numbers, like IMP number one was UCLA; IMP number two was SRI. You simply went in almost every day, downloaded a table from the SRI machines, and you knew how to do the mappings.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And when the Internet hosts started to propagate, and you needed a different addressing structure, SRI started to try and maintain these tables, and we were concerned that they might get very large. And so the dot convention was invented by a gentleman named Paul Mockapetris to try and allow that to be split up so that one party could manage a .com entry and another could manage a dot-something else and there were, basically, only a few up-front. I think there were what, eight now at that level, plus all the country codes.
There's no right number of how to add more of them. On the other hand, if you're going to add more, the right number is probably infinity. But the minute you get into an infinite number, you get into this whole issue of trust. The fact that things are now concentrated in a few TLDs, that are run by relatively trusted parties, means that when you get an address like IBM.com or MCI.com or WorldCom.com, or maybe it's World.com, when you get something like that, you can be pretty confident that the actual process behind it is doing the right thing in mapping you into the right IP address.
But if you had a very, very large number of these things, I think sooner or later, confidence would go down, just like it would if you had a large number of banks proliferating, and the like.
It is a conundrum. You don't really need those, in some abstract sense. You do in the DNS system because that's the way it works. But you could replace it by something else at some future time. It would be very complicated because you have machines all over the place that could get a way without it. There's actually a lot more technical to this that we just don't have time to get into right now.
Mr. EWING. So maybe yes, and maybe no.
Mr. KAHN. No, the answer is clearly yes. You could do it. It would be very difficult to make this transition very quickly with all the machines around the world today. But I suspect, over time, we will transition to systems, and that this will be replaced by something that's very different in the future.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. EWING. Indulge me, any of you on the panel. Who controls what system we have? Is that a government function, Mr. Magaziner? Or just one that they'd like to take over?
Mr. MAGAZINER. No, we're trying to end the involvement we have. I think right now, the accurate answer is that there are, there is a contract that DARPA now has with a group at the University of Southern California, which controls some of these functions, and there is a cooperative agreement that the National Science Foundation now has, with a company called NSI, which controls some of these functions. Our desire is to end that contract, end that cooperative agreement, and get the U.S. Government out of it, and instead have a private, nonprofit corporation that would manage and control these functions.
So our goal is to get out of this as soon as possible, and to have a private, nonprofit group do that coordinating. Partly for the reasons that Mr. Kahn suggested, that it would be more flexible oncebecause there are going to be constant technical evolutions here, and there should be, we think, a stakeholder-based nonprofit corporation made up of people with the technology competence and so on, to make those evolutions as they go.
Mr. EWING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you. There are two objectives that have been raised in the panel discussion. One that we need to make this transition as quickly as possible, and we need to remove the government involvement, and get a new structure in place, a new protocol, new dispute mechanisms in place as quickly as possible.
As many of you know, the NSF/NSI cooperative agreement expires today. I believe, at least my understanding is, that it will automatically extend 6 months. Mr. Magaziner, do you think that we can have a new system in place by September 30? Can we have the consensus?
Mr. MAGAZINER. Well I though our goal is to get as close to that as possible, and what we've done as a safeguard in our proposal is to say that the contract would not be renewed as of September 30, and that there would be some oversight of the Commerce Department, which would continue for a limited period of time, until the new organization and the new system were fully up and going.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It would be our desire for that to be as limited a time as possible, but if we're concerned about stability, we've got to make sure that we just don't pull the plug on this system before the new system is in place. That would be, in our view, irresponsible.
Chairman PICKERING. To that end, is there any legislative authority that you may need, for example, if there's a new nonprofit entity that will help in the organization or setting up the new structure? There is a ruling within the FCC that when they tried to set up a similar program to administer the links to schools and libraries, that theyit was a rule that they did not have the authority to do so. From your interpretation, do you have the authority, currently, to establish a nonprofit entity to do this, or do we need to take some legislative action in this regard?
Mr. MAGAZINER. Let me ask the Commerce Department about this.
Ms. BURR. Thank you. I think there are two questions of authority here, but the Green Paper does not call for a government-chartered corporation or for the government to establish a corporation. Rather, it calls for a private-sector developed not-for-profit corporation based on membership associations. And under that plan, government authority would not be needed to create that corporation.
Chairman PICKERING. How would this be different from the FCC-created nonprofit corporation for schools, referred to as the Schools and Libraries Corporation? GAO recently issued a legal opinion stating that the nonprofit corporation was created without statutory authority and in violation of the Government Corporation Control Act.
Ms. BURR. The FCC actually established those corporations. The FCC incorporated them, worked to draw up the bylaws and charters and all of that, and was involved in the creation. And that is not what is proposed in the Green Paper. This Green Paper calls for a private sector established
Mr. COURTER. Can I comment on that, Mr. Chairman?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. Yes, Mr. Courter.
Mr. COURTER. Thank you. The private sector has established one and it's CORE. I mean, I guess that's my major point. We don't have to wait to do it. It took 18 months, cooperation of everybody involved with the Internet around the world, and it's done.
The one major criticism or concern that Mr. Magaziner had with respect to the CORE proposal on this whole issueand we, obviously, are the most free-enterprising, competitive of the proposals I've seenis the fact that he would like more than one registry. And we would invite that, as long as those other registries have standards, as CORE has imposed its own internal standard, that would not be a problem.
So I would hope that we could sit down, Mr. Magaziner, the Commerce Department, perhaps you, Mr. Chairman, and resolve this thing in a very short period of time.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you. Dr. Kahn.
Mr. KAHN. Yes, if I could just briefly comment. I think that the fundamental issue here, ultimately, is governance of the Internet, and that the essential element that's going to show up here is not whether this is private sector versus government, or even whether there's a need for oversight; everybody agrees that that's the case. And I suspect that almost everybody would agree that that oversight ought to be in the private sector, too.
The question is what happens when the oversight doesn't work properly. And that's the place where I think there's been very little discussion. If you look at the different plans, they're not very clear about thatboth of them. In the case of the CORE plan, the ITU is a holder of an MOU, but my understanding is that the plan is not for the ITU to be able to weigh-in in any significant way, and I think many people would probably raise some objections if they tried to, for a variety of reasons. And the same thing will have to work out in the Green Papers, exactly what that oversight mechanism is. So, until you can resolve that, it seems to me it's really hard to know exactly what the right structure and plan and process is to put in place.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. Professor Farber, did you have a comment?
Mr. FARBER. Just a brief comment. Sitting on the net and watching, over the last 6 months, this debate take place, reminds me of a set of people launching a nuclear missiles at each other via e-mail. There's been, I think, inadequate opportunity for people to actually sit down in a relatively neutral setting and actually talk to each other. That's unfortunate. The e-mail sometimes gets so hot, my computer melts, and that's not productive.
In a sense, what we need is an organization that cana mechanism, not an organizationwhich can pull together the stakeholders. One of the problems that I always have is, when you say a private enterprise, not-for-profit will take over, the problem is that there are a lot of people who want to establish that right now, and that's part of the basic problem. There's no way of getting together and saying, ''Yes, that's a good idea, let's get together and decide how to do it.''
Chairman PICKERING. Ms. Dooley.
Ms. DOOLEY. Well, I agree, in part, but I also have to say that I think that the Green Paper process was exactly the kind of public comment process to allow the stakeholders to: one, identify themselves, get together, start building groups because they could see commonalities, start building that kind of consensus. And although it is quite true that there may be a lot of hot e-mail flying around, especially from the technology community, there are many people who are stakeholders that actually are too busy to spend a lot of time on e-mail on this. And they are still, nonetheless, concerned. Their businesses depend on it, the ISPs businesses depend on it, and they're not partaking in these so-called nuclear e-mail wars.
More important is that we get a process in which those stakeholders can identify themselves and communicate with each other, and that's how consensus is built. And I realize we're going through a transition phase, and using networks to build these kind of consensus mechanisms, but there are many people still who use the old-fashioned way called public comment processes.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. When we were in the midst of trying to do the telecommunications legislation, which you can imagine was very controversial and contentious, at that time I was working on Senate staff and went to the Senator for whom I worked, and said, ''You know, you have a chance to be a peacemaker here.'' And he was somewhat reluctant, and I said, ''blessed are the peacemakers.'' And he said: ''Chip, every peacemaker I've ever known has been shot.''
But I hope that this is an issue where the stakes are in our Nation's interest. And in the private sector, Internet is the symbol and, in fact, the promoter and propagator of freedom, and so I do hope that we can, as soon as possible, come to some type of consensus and agreement on this issue, where we can move forward in that private sector so that we can have a day of celebration. And I think that time is near. I hope, and we'll work with each of you over the next 6 months, by the September 30 deadline.
Mr. Magaziner, do you think we can do it by September 30?
Mr. MAGAZINER. Yes, I do. And I think it's imperative that we work very hard to achieve that.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you. Let me recognize Mr. Ehlers, quickly.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just very briefly. I'm sorry I've been in and out of this hearing because of other meetings, but just picking up on the last few comments. First of all, I want you to know that we are not complete strangers to hot e-mail in the Congress and we might in fact, like to trade with you on certain days.
Also, the comment that was made about the people who really need to be involved and should be involved, often don't have either the time or the inclination to send e-mail or to engage in these battles is very true. I've been involved in the peacemaker's role oftenand so far I haven't been shot, cursed, perhaps, but not shotbut that's a role that often we can play very effectively, and getting together the right people.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And that's the key, identifying the people who should be around the table, getting them around the table and serving as mediators. I'm sure that Mr. Magaziner can play that same role, as well. But that, I think, is a good informal function of government and I've seen it work many times, and work very, very effectively. So I hope that in this case, also, it will be successful.
Finally, you can content yourself with the fact that nuclear bombs over e-mail are far better than nuclear bombs with missiles behind them.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Mr. Ehlers. Let me go back to the competitive structure of the various proposals.
The CORE proposal has one shared registry with competitive or multiple registrars. The Green Paper has five new registries. Is it possible to have unlimited registries so that we can have full competition at the registry as well as the registrar level? Your comments, please.
Mr. MAGAZINER. I think thewe're in agreement, I think, most stakeholders at leastthat at the registrar level there should be full competition. I think at the registry level, there are questions that have been raised about whether you might wind up with thousands of top-level domains which would then create greater confusion, if you left it open to an unlimited competition of the number of registries.
I don't know whether that's the most valid argument but that's at least the criticism that has been raised. And that, therefore, if you have to make some limitation, how do you do it, is the other question that's, I think, to be put on the table.
I think, from our point of view, this is something which we think this new organization, which would be stakeholder-based, would be best able to make, rather than we make it as a government, or any existing organization try to make it.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Magaziner, let me just follow-up real quickly. Under your model, one of the questions and issues raised by Mr. Courter, and it's very important to me, is the issue of portability.
Mr. MAGAZINER. Right.
Chairman PICKERING. And if we're going to have a competitive model, then portability is a key component of that. How do you answer his questions on portability?
Mr. MAGAZINER. Well, I think it's a good question. And I think thebasically, there would be portability. In other words, if I had something .comIBM.comand I was working with one of the registrars, Mr. Courter's organization, let's say, and I decided I didn't like them as a registrar, I could go to any other registrar in the world, and still register .com. So that wouldn't be a problem.
I think the question would be comingwould be a problemis if I didn't like the way the company that was managing that database, was managing it, so I wanted to switch from .com to .bus, let's say. Then I would be going through the same registrar, if I wanted, but to a different registry to register me in .bus. And I guess that's where the portability would break down, and I think it's a legitimate concern about this kind of proposal.
I think the contrary is that if you put everything into one organization, as the CORE proposal would do, then you lose the competition among different registries, and the sort of innovation and efficiency that may come from that competition. And this is one of those issues which I don't think is 100 percent right on either side, so it's a tough call.
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Courter, if you could address both the portability question as well as the unlimited registry model.
Mr. COURTER. You know, I don't think there's much difference between the CORE proposal and the Green Paper, Mr. Magaziner's desires, with regard to registries. We agree that, you know, having hundreds of thousands of registries probably is not rational. There's got to be cooperation, coordination, and interoperability. So we just came out with one, but we're not wedded to just CORE as the registry. We could have multiple registries, and, therefore, our proposal, in that regard, would not be much different than what Mr. Magaziner is saying. And if that which he says with regard to having full and complete competition at the registrar level is true, then we can do business tomorrow.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The problem here is that the Paper, which may be in its original draft, and after further thought, Mr. Magaziner has recognized some flaws in it, maybe in its original draft. I'm making the harsh criticism of the Green Paper in its original draft, where it perpetuates ad infinitum one monopoly, gives them three top-level, generic domain names, and having complete control over that, without portability, then creates five more monopolies and gives them one each and does the same thing.
If his position is pulling off of that, I think there's a great deal of consensus here.
Ms. DOOLEY. We just read a different paper; I think that's all.
Chairman PICKERING. Ms. Dooley, and then I think each of the panelists wants a shot at this.
Ms. DOOLEY. Yes, I think we read a slightly different Green Paper; that's all.
But I want to say, as of right now, we have the situation that in the country, top-level domains, at that level, you have no portability. If you don't like being in .uk, you're stuck. You've got to immigrate.
And the reality
Chairman PICKERING. Is it technically possible to have portability?
Ms. DOOLEY. Yes, it would be technically, but it would be practically, probably completely unmanageable and unreasonable in the stage of the process that we are now.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC More pertinent I think is that there is a way, a practical way, to manage the relationships between the registry and its registrars, and that's called contracts. So you have a way to manage things like price gouging and all that, because the registrars themselves can have contractual relationships with the registry. In most cases, you do not know the database manager of where our telephone numbers reside. You just know that you can move from telephone company to telephone company. They don't manage the database for telephone numbers. And the same will be true in this case, is that the database manager will be not seen by an end-user. Their relationship will be with the registrar. The registrar has a contractual relationship with the registry.
The idea that end-users would be miserable with the database manager I think in the future will become less and less likely. This happened in the case of Network Solutions because it managed both functions, and it was transparent, in a sense, to the user. This I don't think will be the case, and it is the responsibility of the registrars to make the contractual relationships with these registries, and the end-user can move from registrar to registrar, which is probably where the dissatisfaction will be.
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Kahn?
Mr. KAHN. I actually think there's a technical aspect to this discussion that's going to get lost at the level that we're having this discussion. I mean, I would liken it to the issue of trying to decide whether 10 gates were better than a million for purposes of allocation, when the bottom line is that they're all on a chip. You know, it's sort of one thing; whether it's 10 or million, you deal with it as a unit, unplug it, plug it in, and the like.
In dealing with these issues of registries and registrars, I'd like to also put on the table that there is another function that goes along with both of them, and that is the function of resolution; that it doesn't help to have a registry and to have a registrar register you somewhere if you can't then resolve those identifiers of those names into something appropriate. So the notions of registry, registrar, and resolution are really three somewhat independent components of the system, and they all hinge on the notion of trust and integrity of the overall system.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So you can have equivalent of one logical registry that happens to have a million machines in it, and they're all coordinated and controlled at some technical level. So it really has the effect of tight integrity and trust. Or you can do something that doesn't, where the technical level is very weak, can come apart at the seams, and just doesn't hang together.
Likewise at the levels of registrars, we've been talking about multiple versus single, and they can be contracted versus totally independent, and you have the same thing at the level of the resolution mechanisms as well. So I think you have to look at this at some level, unfortunately, at the technical plan that underpins what's going on, to be able to determine whether one is better with the portability is possible. It's just not possible to do it in the abstract.
Chairman PICKERING. Dr. Kahn, based on your understanding, and as you look at both models, the Green Paper and the CORE proposal, which would be best at accomplishing the three on registry, registrar, and resolution level?
Mr. KAHN. Well, I think they both haveI don't think it's an ''either/or'' proposition, quite frankly. That's why I called for more time to look at the points of commonalitywhich of those things everybody can agree on; which are the differences, and work those out. I think that, frankly, both of them are workable. Both of them are workable, and to me, ultimately, it hinges back on, where is the ultimate oversight of this process?
I mean, the CORE proposal basically puts it out in one channel that at the top is unclear where it's hinged. There may be some community consensus, but it's not quite clear how that will evolve in the future, and what the oversight mechanism is, if it doesn't work.
Likewise, I think in the Green Paper, it just hasn't been explored in enough detail to know, and I think the missing dimension there is how the international community would play in it. So I just find it not easy to say right now you should pick this or pick that, not that either one isn't workable. In fact, both are probably workable at some level. It's just that a consensus hasn't been really developed properly to know.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. Professor Farber? And then, Mr. Magaziner, I'll come back to you.
Mr. FARBER. Okay, I'll try to be brief.
It's also, in this portability, it's worth noting, though, our neighbors to the north, Canada, faced this issue in a rather complex way in that CA domain and have some rather interesting solutions of migration within that domain, and we ought to recognize them occasionally.
I had two things. One is we bandy around the term ''stakeholders'' when we talk about things. The Net is a very complicated world. Quite often, stakeholders tend to equivocate into ISP's and carriers and registrars, and there's a whole set of communities out there which have a strong stake in the proper operation of the network and a strong stake in its freedom and its openness, etc., that also have to be stakeholders. It's very complicated how you bring those people into it. There are more people who believe that they are important stakeholders than you could probably fit in the Capitol building.
Finally, let me take a swipe at sort of answering your question as you gave it to Bob. I've looked at both of these, both the CORE and the Green Paper, and I think they're both workable. There are details, very important details. Both of them have done some fairly intense study into the CORE proposal, because of my own particular interest in it, and I think there are a set of things that can be done there which would make it perfectly acceptable. They're not easy and they involve stakeholders within that organization which may or may not be willing to change. I think, again, it's time to stop saying ''A'' or ''B.'' They are not dissimilar except for a few very important details, and those important details are, I think, solvable.
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Magaziner, go ahead.
Mr. MAGAZINER. Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to comment on two things. One is that Mr. Kahn's concerns about the ultimate oversight, if you will
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KAHN. Of the oversight group.
Mr. MAGAZINER. Of the oversight group.
Chairman PICKERING. As you start your comments, let me also put a question into it.
Mr. MAGAZINER. Sure.
Chairman PICKERING. One of the questions on the Green Paper on the governing body is, how would you select the members to serve on that?
Mr. MAGAZINER. Okay.
Chairman PICKERING. And if you could address that in your comments
Mr. MAGAZINER. Okay. On this first issue, the U.S. nonprofit law is particularly good with respect to providing both a requirement for transparency and also the ability to form organizations which would then allow antitrust oversight within the legal system and other kinds of oversight. It's also flexible enough so that it can accommodate what would be EU competition policy law and other laws around the world that could provide an oversight within the normal legal system, if the organization went and was captured by a particular commercial interest or if it went haywire in what it was doing.
So what we're trying to do with the Green Paper is to create a legal structure which is not regulatory; it doesn't have the government in there sort of regulating on a day-to-day basis, but which has a constructure based in law which can intervene if the organization were to go off the deep end in terms of what it's doing, and we think that U.S. nonprofit law is particularly good in allowing for that.
Do you want to add something?
Mr. KAHN. Can I just ask one question? It's probably the wrong dialog for it.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. No, go ahead, please.
Mr. KAHN. That is whether you believe that the international community will be really comfortable with the U.S. legal processes providing the oversight of the oversight.
Ms. BURR. I'd just like to point out, I think there's been some confusion about the Green Paper on this point. The fact that the proposed corporation would be headquartered in the United States and located here would mean that it was subject toit would not change the jurisdiction. So, for example, just as the EU has recently intervened in a merger between two U.S. companies because that merger affects European citizens, in this case if you had a company that was affecting people outside of the United States by behaving anti-competitively, that same jurisdiction would exist.
So I think what Mr. Magaziner's point was, it's not simply U.S. competition law, but it is law, the law that we know as competition law around the world, that provides the control on what happens if the oversight people need oversight.
Mr. MAGAZINER. And I think the consultations we've been having with other governments, I think that they are concerned. There's in many countries, as I think one of you pointed out, concern in general about the Internet is a U.S. plot to take over the world kind of concerns. But, on a more serious level, I think there are concerns that are legitimate about the ability for their nonprofit law there, antitrust law, and so on, to be operative. I think as we've begun to assure them that, as Becky Burr said, that there is the ability for that to obtain, I think it's calming down some of those fears. I think a lot of that will come out as we work through the details of it.
Just to respond to the other questions, the proposal that we made in the Green Paperand, again, we're waiting for comment, and it's something that I'm sure will be revised with commentis that there are essentially three major functions this organization is playing: one that deals with number assignments, Internet number addresses; a second that deals with technical registration of protocols; and the third that deals with name issues. And so our thought was to have membership-based groups that work in each of these areas, essentially nominate members to the board of each. So, for example, in the case of numbers, there are three regional number authorities now whose members include the Internet service providers around the world and other groups that are allocated blocks of numbersone in North America called ARIN, one in Europe called RIPE, and one in the Asia Pacific region called APNIC. We recommended that they each nominate somebody to this board.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Similarly, for the technical protocol functions, the Internet Architecture Board, Internet Engineering Task Force now deal with the formation of those protocols, and so we recommended that the Internet Architecture Board, on behalf of both those organizations, designate a couple of people to this board.
Similarly, we recommended the creation of an organization of registries and an organization of registrars that would nominate people, and then we recommended the creation of user-based organizations to nominate seven user members to the board as well. So the thought was to try to create a stakeholder-based set of nominees that could form a broadly representative private sector board. Now I suspectI haven't read the commentsbut I suspect that we'll get comments from virtually every group saying we're not full enough represented, but I think the notion is to try to get a broad-based private sector representation.
The final point I wanted to make is that
Chairman PICKERING. And would you also have international representation?
Mr. MAGAZINER. Yes, of course, because, for example, on the number side, RIPE, which is European-based, or APNIC, which is Asian-based, would nominate. On the user side, in all likelihood, you'd have also regional-based user organizations from around the world nominating people. So you'd have an international representation, which I think is important.
The other point I just wanted to make is thatand this is one of our concernsI think when we first went out for comment last summer, it was an open set of comments to sort of get views from the public. And there were concerns raised then which were from a variety of different points of view. The CORE proposal talkedand CORE, which I said earlier, we think was a very heroic effort and produced a lot of very good workhad one set of views on the way this should proceed, and there were a whole series of other views that we heard from hundreds, literally hundreds, or organizations, some of whom were quite angry at the POC/CORE process, some of whom had points of view in entirely different places. So there are a very broad number of constituency groups here and broad number of points of view, and I wish that it were as simple as us sitting down with the gentleman to my left and sort of, let's cut a deal between the two of us. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we're trying to do is to take in comments from a very broad-based set of constituencies with different points of view, and then try to forage that broad consensus. Of course, the POC/CORE effort is part of that, but there are many other constituencies as well.
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Gordon, I don't know if you have any questions for the panel? I want to make sure you have the opportunity.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you. Unfortunately, I have been tied up with a Commerce Committee reauthorization with those Commissioners, and sorry I missed this. This is a very important meeting, and I want to give my compliments to Mr. Ira Magaziner for, really, the approach you've taken, the thoughtful approach, to developing this Green Paper in the right way. It's going to be very helpful for us.
One concern I had is that the testimony of the Commercial Internet Exchange stressed the importance of quickly establishing a more formal set of arrangements for control of the root server system to assure stability and to improve physical security and reliability. I want to see whether you concur with that. It should be one of the first steps. And if so, how this should go forward?
Mr. MAGAZINER. The answer is, yes, absolutely. I think there is a broad consensus that there is a need to professionalize, if you will, and make more secure and more redundant and more accountable the root server system and its management. That is something which needs to be done soon, and we have initiated an internal study and we're going to try to extend that study out to a broader representation, so that we can get some of these issues addressed as soon as possible, and not wait for the creation of a new organization. Because the security of the system really does need to be beefed-up as soon as possible.
Chairman PICKERING. Do you have some preliminary thoughts on how this should be accomplished?
Mr. MAGAZINER. I think it's too early to say. I think we have called together different agencies within the U.S. Government that have some expertise with respect to making networks secure, and so on. There's a tremendous amount of expertise in the private sector on this from telephone companies and computer companies and others, software companies, who work in these areas. It's our intention to draw upon that expertise as soon as possible, so that we can broaden the discussion.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I think that's something that, as we end our stewardship of this, I think we need to be sure that we're turning over a system that is secure. But it would be premature for me to say what the ideas are yet. We're working on that intensively now.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Mr. Gordon.
Let me ask one other question, and then we have a vote on, and then we'll make a closing comment. And this goes back to the competitive structure, where I've spent most of my time today.
This addresses the concern that any new for-profit gTLD registry could be another monopoly. For example, the company that owns the .law gTLD would have a truly valuable registry. Every law firm in the country would want to register under .law.
Would it make sense to agree that all future gTLDs should be innocuous, such as .aaa or .xyz? Would that ease some of the fears of a monopoly for-profit registries? Or, at the same time, would it lose some of the value?
Mr. COURTER. If I can just jump inI know others will probably want to have a comment, and I know you have a vote. You know, I think you're solving the problem the wrong way. I think the way to solve it is to allow law firms to have ''.law,'' but have competition so they can go to whom they want.
Chairman PICKERING. Not a proposal, just a questionDr. Kahn?
Mr. KAHN. If I could make a commentI think one of the things that we would clearly do differently about the Internet, if we could start all over, is to keep the semantic problems more hidden than they currently are. I think it is a very big mistake for the future of the Internet to have all the mechanisms having to do with searching try to be embedded in names. I mean, it's every possible product under the sun is going to want to be that product .com or whatever. Every movie is of that form, which isn't to say that this can't be made to work. It would be very unwieldy, and I think that the reality is that we want to get into searching mechanisms and we want to get into mechanisms that let us find what we want without having to also require that they be embedded in all the names that we use for identifiers.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are some other examples that I could give this Committee, if you're interested, that are purely numeric. You were talking .aaa. How about just dumb numbers or, better yet, secure strings that have no semantic content whatsoever, and yet can be used exactly as effectively? This is not out there today, but this is one of the things that's likely to show up in the future.
The DNS is very narrow, and what it does is it resolves to an IP address. Most of the things that people are going to want to do in the future will want a lot more state identification for identifying lots of other things as well. And if the Committee were interested, I'd be happy to give you a peak at a completely independent kind of a system that does this whole thing without semantics.
Chairman PICKERING. No, that's something I'm very interested in.
One particular interest: Is the model that we're now setting up flexible enough to evolve into either a number-driven system or a directory approach? Ms. Dooley, some of your comments talked about a unified network directory. Is that something that you see evolving in the future?
Ms. DOOLEY. The evolution will happen, but it will not be in the next 6-month timeframe
Chairman PICKERING. Sure.
Ms. DOOLEY. To solve the transition into private sector governance. And I think that I agree that this is one of the issues we have to address now.
Chairman PICKERING. Will both models, proposals, be flexible enough to accommodate that when it gets to that point?
Ms. DOOLEY. I believe so.
Chairman PICKERING. Okay. Any other comments before we close?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [No response.]
Let me say this: This has been very helpful, educational, information, and I hope that we can, as we have passed the mark today of when the NSF/NSI agreement expires, at the point in time where we had hoped to have this transition complete, that we rededicate ourselves to completing this by September 30. I share Mr. Courter's urgency. I think we need to do this. It means being able to have a mechanism that brings people to the table, that allows us to go forward on a consensus basis.
I do want to maximize competition. I want to maximize international cooperation and participation. The Internet is a truly international network, and we should do everything we can with our international partners to bring them in, and that involves the governing board and dispute mechanisms.
I have said in the past, and continue to believe, that this is something symbolic of America, symbolic of freedom, and that I do think, for symbolic reasons, that we should maintain the governing body in-country. If there is a registry or multiple registries we look at where we incorporate that. But have the governing body and dispute mechanisms in process, one that encourages the full faith of our international partners. I will be glad to work with you all, everyone on the panel and in the community, the stakeholders, to see that we achieve all of these objectives.
I do hope that we will have another hearing when we return from the recess, and that today's hearing will be a catalyst to resolve what differences may have developed over time; that can reduce the conflict in the nuclear wars, that we can make peace, and we can move forward with something that has been in the government to a truly private-sector-driven, nongovernmental-controlled Internet, and I think that we're close. We just need to focus and concentrate over the next few months and get it done.
I thank you all, and I look forward to seeing you back soon.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Whereupon, at 4:10 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]
[The following material was received for the record:]
Insert offset folios 88-100
THE DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON BASIC RESEARCH
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TECHNOLOGY
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFIRST SESSION
MARCH 31, 1998
Printed for the use of the Committee on Science
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HARRIS W. FAWELL, Illinois
CONSTANCE A. MORELLA, Maryland
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
JOE BARTON, Texas
KEN CALVERT, California
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan**
DAVE WELDON, Florida
MATT SALMON, Arizona
THOMAS M. DAVIS, Virginia
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMARK FOLEY, Florida
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Mississippi
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
MERRILL COOK, Utah
PHIL ENGLISH, Pennsylvania
GEORGE R. NETHERCUTT, JR., Washington
TOM A. COBURN, Oklahoma
PETE SESSIONS, Texas
GEORGE E. BROWN, Jr., California RMM*
RALPH M. HALL, Texas
BART GORDON, Tennessee
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
TIM ROEMER, Indiana
ROBERT E. ''BUD'' CRAMER, Jr., Alabama
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
PAUL McHALE, Pennsylvania
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
LYNN N. RIVERS, Michigan
ZOE LOFGREN, Califomia
LLOYD DOGGETT, Texas
MICHAEL F. DOYLE, Pennsylvania
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
WALTER H. CAPPS, California
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
DARLENE HOOLEY, Oregon
TODD R. SCHULTZ, Chief of Staff
BARRY C. BERINGER, Chief Counsel
PATRICIA S. SCHWARTZ, Chief Clerk/Administrator
VIVIAN A. TESSIERI, Legislative Clerk
ROBERT E. PALMER, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Basic Research
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico, Chairman
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
CONSTANCE A. MORELLA, Maryland
JOE BARTON, Texas
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Mississippi
PETE SESSIONS, Texas
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
LYNN N. RIVERS, Michigan
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
WALTER H. CAPPS, California
*Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Technology
CONSTANCE A. MORELLA, Maryland, Chairwoman
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
THOMAS M. DAVIS, Virginia
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
MERRILL COOK, Utah
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BART GORDON, Tennessee
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLYNN N. RIVERS, Michigan
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan
PAUL McHALE, Pennsylvania
MICHAEL F. DOYLE, Pennsylvania
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
*Ranking Minority Member
C O N T E N T S
March 31, 1998:
Ira Magaziner, Senior Advisor to the President for Policy Development, Department of Commerce
Jim Courter, President, IDT Corporation, Spokesman for Council of Registrar
Barbara Dooley, Executive Director, Commercial Internet Exchange Association
Robert E. Kahn, President and CEO, Corporation for National Research Initiatives
David Farber, The Alfred Filter Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems, Director of Distributed Computer Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania