SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCINTERNET DOMAIN NAMES, PART II
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 1997
U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Science,
Subcommittee on Basic Research,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:05 a.m., in room 2318, Rayburn House Office Building, Honorable Charles W. ''Chip'' Pickering, Acting Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.
Chairman PICKERING. If the panel would go ahead and take their seats, we'll get started.
Good morning. I'm Chip Pickering, Vice Chairman of the Basic Research Subcommittee, and I would like to welcome everyone to the second day on our Subcommittee's hearings on the domain names system. As with our first hearing last week, I would like to announce that today's hearing is being cybercast live over the Internet.
The purposes of these two hearings are: to review the history and current status of the domain names system; the relationship between the National Science Foundation and Network Solutions Inc; NSF's role in the transition of the domain names system to private sector control at the termination of the cooperative agreement with NSI in 1998; alternative proposals for the DNS transition to the private sector; and the role of the Federal Government and the future of the domain names system. Simply stated, the fundamental question we are seeking to answer is: ''What role should the Federal Government play in this transition process, if any?''
At our first hearing we learned three key things: first, that the Department of Commerce is taking the Administration lead in transition planning and will present policy recommendations by November 1, 1997; second, that NSF is reviewing extending the cooperative agreement with NSI, past the March 31, 1998, termination date; and third, NSI stated they will welcome competition in the .com domain.
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At today's hearing, we have invited witnesses from outside government to present their views on transition of the domain names system to the private sector and what role the Federal Government should play in this process. The Subcommittee is very aware that there are many groups and many individuals who believe they have the right answer on transitioning the domain names system to the private sector, and we hope to hear a wide spectrum of opinions.
Today, we have representatives from the Internet Society, World Internet Alliance, Association for Interactive Media, and the Commercial Internet Exchange.
As the Subcommittee has heard, the lack of a transition plan has created uncertainty in the Internet community. The Subcommittee believes we must have a transition plan which has a deliberate step-by-step process that facilitates the transitioning of the domain names system to the private sector. The Subcommittee's overarching goal is to assure Internet stability. We look forward to hearing the perspective of our witnesses today.
Our Ranking Member is not with us, but will soon join us, and at that point we will allow him to give his opening remarks. If there is no objection, I would like to ask unanimous consent to place in the hearing record, at this point, a letter to Chairman Schiff dated September 24, from the Information Technology Association of America; two, a letter to Chairman Schiff dated September 29, from the Association of On-line Professionals; and three, a letter to Chairman to Schiff dated September 30, from WorldCom.
Without objection, so ordered.
[The letters referred to follow:]
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Chairman PICKERING. I may start by recognizing, at this point, Mr. Don Heath, President and CEO of the Internet Society. I ask that Mr. Heath and the other witnesses summarize your testimony in 5 minutes. Your written statements in their entirety will be made part of the record.
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you. Begin.
TESTIMONY OF DONALD M. HEATH, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTERNET SOCIETY Mr. HEATH. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify at this hearing on Internet domain names. I am hopeful that this Committee hearing may stimulate quicker action by the United States government in arriving at its position regarding the resolution of issues surrounding the Internet domain names system.
The Internet Society is a non-governmental international organization for global cooperation and coordination for the Internet, and it is chartered as a 501(C)(3) non-profit corporation in the District of Columbia. The Society's individual and organizational members from over 150 countries represent a veritable Who's Who of the Internet.
We have established a set of principles upon which we define our goals and objectives, our programs and initiatives, the positions we take on issues confronting the Internet, and for our very reason for being. Our actions are governed by this set of guiding principles.
Of the many programs and initiatives of the Internet Society, the one certainly pertinent for today's discussion is our initiative on Internet Domain Names System through the creation of the International Ad Hoc Committee. The IAHC was created to define, investigate, and resolve issues resulting from international debate over a proposal to establish global registries and additional generic top-level domains or gTLDs.
Without recreating the full history of the events leading up to the creation of the IAHC, it may be useful to summarize briefly for the context it may provide in this hearing.
Domain names used to be free. In 1995, NSI was authorized to charge registrations, and they did. The Internet community was outraged. A proposal to break the monopoly was produced. That led to the creation for the IAHC for resolution. The IAHC plan as it has evolved, from thousands of submissions from the Internet community can be briefly summarized: there will be an unlimited number of truly competitive registrars; registrars will form a council of registrars or CORE and they will operate under CORE memorandum of understanding; a Policy Oversight Committee or POC formed from the Internet community using democratic processes will act as oversight to CORE. POC will be guided by the interests of the Internet community through a policy advisory body which is made up of interested bodies from the Internet community.
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A limited number of new gTLDs will be created, all of which will be shared among the registrants, and CORE will act as the central repository for the databases containing domain name registrations, and there will be on database for each gTLD. Competition is assured. Once the shared-database system has been proven secure and stable, the existing gTLDs, .com, .net, .org of NSI, will transfer into the CORE system, and NSI, if they chose, will become one of the CORE registrars. Several innovated intellectual property dispute mechanisms have been developed; none of these preclude national court systems.
This July, the process to become a registrar was open and applications have been submitted at a somewhat slower pace than we anticipated; probably due to the Department of Commerce RFC seeking comments on the issues. The historic role of the government in the evolution of the Internet is well known. Groups considering becoming a registrar, likely fear the unknown as to what the government may do. My belief is that many would-be-registrars are waiting until the government's position is simply better known.
Let me conclude. If the government would choose to endorse the IAHC plan, it would be encouraging to the Internet community and undoubtedly would facilitate a sense of confidence in the stability of the operations of the Internet. It is not necessary that they do so. What the government must do, above all else, is avoid causing the ''fud-factor'' to take hold. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt can destroy the best of plans. It is very important that the government speak out loudly and clearly, immediately, if they have any concerns about the plan's continuing implementation. A delay in either stating concerns or saying it has no concerns, coupled with the failure to endorse, is tantamount to a negative position and it will serve a dampening effectserve to have a dampening effecton the ability to introduce competition in any meaningful time period.
NSI's agreement expires next March. It has a provision for automatic extension for 6 months, during which we would be ready, willing, and able to work with NSI in ensuring a smooth transition into the IAHC plan. Even before next March, testing and development of protocols and standards for the database should be developed by NSI and CORE working cooperatively. The change over to the shared database can be made when the testing is complete.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The IAHC plan as developed by the Internet community, under the leadership of members selected from that community, is a sound plan that has been designed to evolve. It represents a solid foundation upon which a stable and secure Internet may evolve and flourish.
For the past 2 years, the Internet community has been paying a surcharge on its registrations through a monopoly registrar operating under the auspices of the U.S. government. The receiving fund designated for the purpose of reinvestment in the intellectual infrastructure of the Internet is approaching $50 million. CORE is intended to be a self-supporting organization, but until operations under the IAHC plan can begin, financial resources would be lacking. What better place to allocate a fraction of money in that fund, than the establishment of a system which meets the principles and requirements of the U.S. government as defined in the Department of Commerce RFC.
Mr. Chairman, to sum up my testimony, I would like to leave the Committee with four key points. One, a sound plan exists to introduce competition into the domain names registration process and is being implemented. Two, the U.S. government must state its concerns as quickly as possible to avoid causing a chilling effect on the plan. Three, the U.S. government must request, under the terms of the NSI/NSF agreement, a final report as well as a copy of software and data, plus documentation, from NSI. And finally, number four, funding to support the development of the intellectual infrastructure under the IAHC plan should be provided from the intellectual infrastructure fund made possible by the surcharge on registrations.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement and attachments of Mr. Heath follow:]
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Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Mr. Heath.
At this point we will take the opening statement from the Ranking Member, Mr. Barcia.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARCIA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. In the interest of the time of Committee members as well as our distinguished panel, I have an opening statement which I would like to submit for the record and also be joined by my colleague from North Carolina, Mr. Etheridge, who also has an opening statement he'd like to submit.
Chairman PICKERING. And if there are any other opening statements that any member wishes to submit, we would welcome those. If not, Mr. Rutkowski?
TESTIMONY OF ANTHONY M. RUTKOWSKI, DIRECTOR, WORLD INTERNET WORKING ALLIANCE
Mr. RUTKOWSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the Committee for this opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee.
It has been an honor to appear in the past as an expert witness before this Committee and the Communications Subcommittee. My written testimony conveys an extensive analysis of important facts, issues, and recommendations; and for those accessing this on the Internet, my testimony is available at www.wia.org.
As someone who is been intimately involved in so many of the organizations and efforts in this area, let me touch on a few of the highlights; clarifying issues and providing ways to quickly move forward.
As you mentioned at the beginning of the hearing, this is a transition away from U.S. government creation and nurturing to something else. And the controversy and debate revolves around what that something else should be. It is still the essence of this DNS controversy, with all its jargon, it's really remarkably simple, there's relatively little to do with the Internet itself. The domain names system is basically a pyramid of service franchises, and the choices all revolve around four options: should there be multiple pyramids; who controls the pyramid; who gets a franchise and shares a franchise in the pyramid; and, most importantly, who is responsible for all of this? As a result, the key issues deal with public models, antitrust, and governance.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Until recently, none of this mattered because the responsibility of running the primary DNS pyramid, and its major pieces, rested with the U.S. government, its contractors, and all 196 other monopoly franchises, of which NSI is just one. Most of these have been to government-related institutions and even the U.S. domain was awarded as a monopoly. The USC awarded it to itself, as the contractor.
The first part of this hearing on this subject ended with the observation and question, ''why, if there was a tilt towards an industry plan in the NTIA proceeding, there was no substantial industry support or involvement in one of the more visible contending plans the IAHC MOU?'' The answer to your question should be evident in this part of the hearing; that industry involvement has not occurred because there are several phasal IAHC flaws. Their plan was executed as a formal intergovernmental agreement now being circulated for signature under the auspices of the ITU in Geneva as the specialized agency for telecommunications, and purports to be in effect as of April of this year. This was predicated on the transfer of authority for DNS governance, in spite of DOD's IANA contractor employee and the professional society on whose board he sits to a new Swiss-based cartel controlled by the contractor in that society. This occurred not only with no known authorization from either the U.S. government or ITU members for such action, but over the formally expressed concerns by Secretary of State Albright to the ITU. That agreement goes further to declare that domain names are a radio spectrum-like, global, public resource under the exclusive and permanent control of the cartel with no external accountability whatsoever.
This fait accompli was announced to the world in February, after the IAHC group met for 10 weeks behind close doors, with no significant involvement of industry and several weeks before the agreement purported to go into effect. Mr. Chairman, you ask why the industry has not gotten involved? If it isn't already self-evident, the IAHC arrangement requires that getting involved entails becoming a signatory to the basic tenants and construct of the agreement as a prerequisite. Fortunately, only the Administration of Albania, organizations related to the controllers of the plan, and a very few number of companies have signed.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''Okay, its the wrong model on the basis of governance and a whole bunch of other factors; what is a widely acceptable way forward?'' you ask. The underlying time-bomb of the NSI contract termination needs to be diffused by extending the contract as needed, which was explored last Thursday. NSI has been a singularly important bedrock of stability in this whole business.
Number two, the government must facilitate the transition process by creating or designating an open, balance, industry-driven DNS forum to bring together the broad cross-section of global industry users and all of the innovating parties that I listed in annex A, as a starter, who have developed potential, new DNS approaches and services.
Number three, like any arena where the technology and markets have significantly matured, there is no Internet community. There are many Internet communities as parties often relatively isolated from each other with disparate interests and directionssometimes competingdirections. And significant antitrust conspiracy is a constant serious possibility; and as a result, the government should play a continuing role in providing antitrust liability relief but in exchange for some continuing oversight of an administrative appellate nature.
Lastly, the government must also deal with predatory attempts of other governments and intergovernmental organizations who will always attempt to assert themselves in this area. And I would point out that very similar actions were taken about 12 years ago when the Nation's telephone infrastructure underwent a comparable transition.
Mindful of this Committee's special role with respect to NGI, I would also urge that some research moneys be devoted to developing NGI-DNS concepts that are also at issue here, and to assure that the arrangements that are developed are such that they can accommodate these new NGI techniques.
These are relatively simple, easily implementable steps that will not only diminish this controversy, but establish important and useful precedents when tackling other matters that will constantly emerge in the future.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to your discussion.
[The prepared statement and attachments of Mr. Rutkowski follow:]
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Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Mr. Rutkowski. Mr. Sernovitz?
TESTIMONY OF ANDY SERNOVITZ, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA
Mr. SERNOVITZ. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before this Committee on behalf of the United States Internet industry.
My name is Andy Sernovitz, and I am President of the Association for Interactive Media. I speak here today on behalf of the entrepreneurs and enterprises that have invested billions of dollars in this growing marketplace, creating tens of thousands of new Internet jobs. I can assure you that the Internet industry fully backs the efforts of this Committee and the Administration's interagency task force to transfer control of the domain names system to private-sector management. You can count on the full support of our members in effecting this transition.
Our paramount concern, as we're certain is yours, is the stability of the Internet during this transition period. Nothing is more important than ensuring that effective Internet communications is in no way disrupted, and that the Administration and this Committee take strong and steadfast action to ensure that this safe transition occurs without incident.
With that said, we call on the government to stop the rash and irresponsible activities of the International Ad Hoc Committee. The ill-considered actions of this self-interested group are a real and growing threat to the stability we all value and require. Mr. Chairman, the IAHC plan is a poorly veiled attempt to take over the domain name system by the Internet Society and Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As is well documented in my written testimony, the IAHC plan grants unprecedented authority to a puppet organization controlled by Dr. Jon Postel, Mr. Don Heath, and the technocrat trustees of the Internet Society. The IAHC plan, sets up its backers with total rule and veto power over an off-shore corporation that has complete protection from legal liability; its own kangaroo trademark courts; all set up under the protection of the Swiss civil code. This action has significant implications for the authority of the U.S. government, U.S. courts, and American businesses.
We call on this Committee to stop the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority in its unprecedented breach of trust by a federal contractor. IANA controls the central assets necessary to keep the Domain Names System working and represents a vital national resource.
Now this contractor has begun taking these assets, developed for the U.S. government, paid for by the U.S. government, and essential to the operations of the Internet and they have begun transferring them to this puppet organization in Geneva that they control. This action demands investigation by this Committee, and possibly the Government Accounting Office, of IANA; of the University of Southern California, who's received much of the funding; and Dr. Postel.
Mr. Chairman, let me provide the one example of the lack of respect with which the IAHC-backers hold the United States government. The IAHC's policy advisory body is chaired by Mr. Anthony Van Couvering, a U.S. citizen who runs a company out of New York called NetNames. This leader in the IAHC organization elected by the IAHC supporters, is also running the domain name registry for the Libyans.
There is no way that a U.S. citizen like Mr. Van Couvering could have become the registrar for Libya without first submitting an application to IANA for Dr. Postel's personal approval. IANA has also enabled a company in Richardson, Texas to operate the Iraqi domain.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a federal contractor, IANA should be investigated for enabling deals in contravention to U.S. foreign policy. Even more interesting, NetNames has used their control of registry in Libya to set up a list of Libyan web addresses for U.S. trademark owners including: Intel, Goodyear, Netscape, Phizer, Estee Lauder and more. This is surprisingly similar to the techniques that are used by companies that intend to use domain names registries to greenmail trademark owners.
My final point today is that the IAHC, and the Internet Society, and IANA are actively working to subvert the efforts of this committee and the Administration's task force. They intend to take control of the Domain Names System in the next 120 days, intentionally preempting the U.S. government. They do this without regard to the wishes of the United States or risks to the stability of the Internet created by such ill-considered action. They have been accepting and empowering domain names registrars; they have a bid out there that closes this Friday to purchase software to run their own registry system; and they have announced that they will be operating a full-domain names system by January 15. They are likely to attempt to delay your investigation with promises to change, but remember that their intent to take control over the Domain Names System was established in November of 1995 is clear and it is well documented. They are playing a stalling game, attempting to distract this Committee while they secure control over the domain names system.
Mr. Chairman, please hold them accountable by demanding a sign of good faith. Ask them to stop the implementation of their plan until this Committee completes its work; ask them to give up their total veto power over the IAHC governance structure. If they refuse to do these two simple actions, we should have grave concerns about their intentions.
There is an apt line in the movie, ''The Usual Suspects,'' ''The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn't exist.'' We in the Internet industry ask that this Committee and the Administration to take immediate action to secure the stability of the Internet by proactively stopping the illicit implementation of IAHC's takeover of the domain name system. We also ask that immediate measures be taken to secure control of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority before its functionoperationsare transferred outside of U.S. jurisdiction. This will enable us to take the time necessary to follow the original, well-considered plan of action of this committee. Congress, the Administration, and the Internet Industry can work together to implement the safe, stable modification of the domain names system without risk and without danger.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
[The prepared statement and attachments of Mr. Sernovitz follow:]
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Chairman PICKERING. Thank you for your testimony raising very critical issues. Ms. Dooley?
TESTIMONY OF BARBARA A. DOOLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMERCIAL INTERNET EXCHANGE
Ms. DOOLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee.
My name is Barbara Dooley. I am Executive Director of the Commercial Internet Exchange Association, the largest and oldest trade association of Internet service providers and Internet-related businesses in the world. CIX is an international association with almost half of its member companies headquartered outside the United States.
I appreciate this opportunity to share with you the views of ISPs on the Domain Names System controversy. The Subcommittee invitation specifically asked the CIX's views on the role of the U.S. government and the Science Committee in ensuring a smooth transition to a privately administered domain names system.
The role of Internet service providers in registering and administering the DNS is crucial to the Internet's operations and commercial success. ISPs work with their customers to obtain domain names, apply for registration, and renew these names. In some countries they help manage the national registry and set the rules for registration. Registration rules and models for national top-level domain names differ widely from country to country.
ISPs, backbone carriers, and global service providers together construct the global information infrastructure that constitutes the Internet. This network of network relies on accurate Internet addressing information to route data packets to and from users. Domain names are a critical Internet resource. In retrospect, the creation of the DNS helped popularize the Internet since such names simplified addressing and locating content. Domain names are the most widely known attribute of the Internet and have enormous brand value, especially in the United States. However, as technology evolves, they may be superseded as a locational tool for addressing.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While the controversy over name registration is important, it has far-reaching implications beyond simply the control of naming. Indeed it affects the governance of the Internet itself. Internet resources, such as names-space, Internet addresses, and standards vary and evolve. Changes in such things as Internet standards have been made only after open debated discussions and after consensus has been reached.
Chairman PICKERING. Please continue. We try not to pay too much attention to those bells.
Ms. DOOLEY. The Internet has traditionally stressed decentralization, cooperation, coordination, choice, inclusiveness, and openness. When decision-making encountered problems, the U.S. government has acted as a stabilizing force, encouraging discussion and even helping to fund meetings at which discussion and debates could occur. As the U.S. government minimizes its role, new administrative institutions must replace traditional processes and institutions. In a sense, what we need now is the kind of succession planning that the private sector often successfully employs to promote institutional stability. CIX believes these new structures can be consistent with the traditional organization and values of the Internet.
As I note in my written testimony, this is actually the second phase of the transition in this private networking. The first occurrence began in the early 1990's and ended in 1995 in the move to commercial backbone infrastructure. It succeeded, and brilliantly, only after extensive discussion, planning, and management. In other words, what is now required is a managed transition, not simply a change in domain name registration and Administration.
The U.S. government should draw on the experiences of this first transition in planning in the DNS changes.
Second, the transition's goals should be network stability. With so many stakeholders, the economic stakes are incomparably higher than in 1995. Accordingly, no artificial time-limits should be established, rather the transition should be based on the availability and deployment of reliable database technology and protocol and acceptable policy models.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I was interested to hear during last week's testimony that there are shared registries. To my knowledge, shared registries on the model proposed by the IAHC do not exist at this time and the technology to support such a registry is a significant development project.
Third, the private sector must take a lead in the transition. But governments, especially the U.S. government, have a legitimate management role during the transition. After it is complete, however, the reasonable, but still important role for government, will consist of oversight, stabilization, and if necessary, promotion of infrastructure. An important issue to be resolved is the matter of legal authority which originated in the Defense Department and NSF.
CIX believes that intergovernmental organizations like the ITU and WIPO should have no governance role in the Administration of the Internet. While WIPO may have a role in dispute settlement of trademark-related matters, neither organization has a justifiable role in DNS management.
The U.S. government has recognized the importance of stability and has encouraged public comment on defining policy options. The second step will consist of the actual planning with the participation of key expert stakeholders, including ISPs and commercial users. Among the tasks to be addressed should be the institutionalization of IANA's functions. Governments should continue to play a role in the planning and implementation phase. The executives interagency committee has made a good start by inviting public participation, it must now proceed to planning. CIX and its members are willing and eager to help in the planning phase.
The Subcommittee has made a significant contribution to the debate by holding these hearings. We look forward to working with the members and staff as the Subcommittee works on these transition issues.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning, and I'm looking forward to answering your questions.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement and attachments of Ms. Dooley follow:]
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Chairman PICKERING. Thank you. What we will doMr. Gutknecht has gone to vote, he will return, hopefully shortlyand that way we continue the hearing without interruption. We will try to work it that way so that we can get all the questions necessary on the record.
Let me start the panel with the following question: not only is the substance of the transition plan important, but the process that we use to get to our shared objectivesin that regard, let me ask the panel, what steps, in your view, should the government take to facilitate this process? How formal should it be? What procedures should be used? For example, should it consist of soliciting public comments on a plan written by the government, or should it be written by the private sector operating through a forum convened by the government? In essence, what is the best approach that we should take?
Some very serious questions have been raised this morning in the hearing, and the question is, what process can best address those and come up with a plan that is acceptable, that maintains integrity, and reaches our shared objective.
With that, Mr. Heath, if you could lead off
Mr. HEATH. I think there are two approaches: one could be very formal by the U.S. government, and one could be very informal. I think even the informal one would require some formal action by the government. Informally, however, the government can participate, and probably should participate, in the process, the ongoing process, the IAHC started. And I would sort of say, if you have concerns, speak about them, work the process that's there for the development of a plan to make a transition into a competitive system, and on a more formal basis, I think to compel the terms of the cooperative agreement that NSF and NSI have that says when the contract comes to an end that there will be a transition, and literally invoke that part of the contract to make it happen.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. In that process, would you want to start from theas I understand your testimonythat you would want to use the IAHC plan as the starting point?
Mr. HEATH. Yes. The IAHC plan, I think, forms a good foundation and is a process in place that can be used to allow input from everybody, and in fact, that's what we have been encouraging. It says that it's using the basis of the Internet from its beginnings, that's the foundation that the plan is set uponthat is to say the DNS system itself. We're not creating a new system, we're enhancing the existing one. We're bringing competition to it.
As you say it's substance and process. The substance says let's have competitive registrars and let's have a governance process that's not controlled by any one set of people or group, but that in fact is true Internet self-governance. The Internet Society believes that if the Internet is ever going to reach its fullest potential, then it will require self-governance. And that if any one government or anybody tries to rule it, others will over-rule it; and it can't happen. It does require self-governance.
So, the process has built in self-governance as a part of it. The substance says that it is competitive and all-inclusive. I think it's a good foundation to start from.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you. Mr Rutkowski?
Mr. RUTKOWSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think there are ample precedents in past history for similar transitions. I mentioned one of them, the North American numbering plan transition which was very similar.
The one obvious tool is to create an industry advisory committee. It would be open; it could do this very effectively, very quickly. You could concurrently, at the same time, or it could be a result of the advisory committee process, also create a public corporation for the industry to meet. Antitrust issues are really key in this, as are oversight, and those inevitably sort of point to those two kinds of mechanisms. And lastly, there has to be additional research done. I would point out, again, and emphasize: there are many parties over the last year, 2 years, that have developed alternative technologies, implementationssome of them are running right now. And, all those parties need to be brought together to look at what the options are and work together.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The IAHC plan as it should be patently obvious, is fundamentally flawed; it already is an agreement that's held by the ITU and is being circulated and involves two intergovernmental agencies already. It is just inconceivableand it's set up as a Swiss cartel. I mean it is just absolutely inconceivable that could be any kind of an avenue.
Chairman PICKERING. Thank you. I have just been informed that we have two recorded votes. We will not be able to maintain the continuity without some brief recess. So, without objection, we will recess for a brief period of time. We hope to return within 10 minutes and restart where we left off, with Mr. Sernovitz.
Again, thank you; and at this point we are recessed for about 10 minutes.
Mr. GUTKNECHT (presiding). I'm going to call the meeting back to order. We may have more votes and Mr. Pickering is on his way back. I have another meeting to go to. We've got meetings going on, but we were in the middle of some comments when the bells when off. I apologize for that. That's the nature of thethe business here in Washington and I believe Mr. Sernovitz was in the middle of his response and, as soon as he finishes his drink of water, I hope he will proceed.
Mr. SERNOVITZ. Thanks. I believe the question was steps should we take and how formal should this be and what kind of process are we looking for. The most important messages we look for a process here is that there is absolutely no crisis right now. There is no sudden shortage of domain names. There is no reason why, overnight, we need to come up with a new system. We have the time to do this correctly. We have the time to do it right. The only people declaring an emergency are the IAHC proponents. It'swe would recommend, as I believe Mr. Rutkowski said, some sort of industry advisory committee with extremely broad participation. Ourthe membership of our organization includes everybody from universities to movie studios to accounting firms to everybody in the middle. The Internet affects businesses that aren't traditionally technology businesses and there's a chance to bring everybody together. I think government should call this meeting, supervise it and make sure it happens because it's not going to happen spontaneously on the industry side. I think that weI guess the clearest way to say this is wewhen looking at IAHC plan as a starting point, while there is some good work that's been done, while important discussions have happened regarding the domain name process and how we could come up with new solutions, their structure is fundamentally inappropriate.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is surprising to me that Mr. Heath neglects to mention that when we use the IAHC plan, he gets through the Internet Society a personal veto power over decisions. This is not the sort of democratic organization that we normally look for to build this kind of consensus. Mr. Heath forgets to mention that their idea of public input on the original gTLD-MoU was a press release that went out December 19, 6 days before Christmas, where you could email your comments to them for review by January. He forgets to mention his own corporate members don't vote in their own organization. Thesetheir concepts of democracy are a little strange, and our members are extremely concerned that any sort of authority will be handed to this group.
Chairman PICKERING. Mrs. Dooley.
Ms. DOOLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I agree that we need some kind of formal input and industry advisory counsel or formal industry input into a plan or a transition plan and to work with the government in devising such a transition plan and also to devise an operational plan for implementation. I think that for the U.S. government toto set up a structure to allow that to happen is good and I know that many of my members in CIX would participate inin such an effort. In addition, I know that there are initiatives already underway, different industry initiatives, to look at different aspects of this problem to give feedback. Oneone thing that is often asked of us is why there wasn't industry participation up to now. And one of the reasons is that this issue is actually policy and technical and actually fairly complex and many, many, many stakeholders knew nothing about it. Thisdeveloped, in a sense, very rapidly into a much broader environment and it's only beenand I think that we owe a thanks to the efforts of the IAHC, that we actually have a lot greater knowledge of many aspects of the problem, and that wouldn't have happened if we hadn't had this process.
On the other hand, there are many companiesmany ISPs who, actually, when the process began had no idea that it was even going on or what it meant for themselves or their businesses. And now that we have a level of knowledge that we can build on I think that it's time to have a more formal process and a way to develop really workable policy and technical plans.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. At this point, Mr. Gutknecht, do you have any questions?
Mr. GUTKNECHT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed to be asking questions about the Internet because I am just learning to crawl myself. But, this is a very important topic. And I guess the question I would ask, and I wonder if all the panelists would mind responding to the question, is there support to maintain the status quo for a significant period? While we're trying to work out new arrangements for the domain name system? For example, it took 3 years for the NSF to withdraw from the NSFNET. Would any of you, or all of you, care to respond to whether or not, during this transition period, we should maintain the status quo? In no particular order.
Mr. SERNOVITZ. Corporate America would be thrilled. There's no problem right now. You send in 100 bucks, 20 minutes later you get a domain name. Sometimes someone else has got the name you want, and maybe you go toyou know, you put your lawyers on it and you fight in U.S. courts. But wewe live here and U.S. courts are good. No reason to rock the boat until we've got a good solid solution.
Ms. DOOLEY. I can answer on two different aspects. There's no question, at least from some anecdotal evidence from my members, thatthat their customers want greater choice. However, neither their customers nor the ISPs want that greater choice to happen at the risk of stability and that they want something that also will not be so complex to create confusion in the marketplace, that these are very important principles. So, we have user groups who, indeed, want more choice but under certain conditions which aren't so clear right now. The second is that still 85 percent of the users in thethese .com registrations are still in the United States. So, we have, essentially, still a problem that we need to solve here. As far as can we maintain the status quo for a while, I think thatthat from my members' perspective, that the stability issue and having a solution thatthat is stabile for a long period of time is more important than any hasty short-term solution. Finally, I think that the question is more about competition amongst registrars and they're the community that has the most interest in changing the system and we have a stable situation of many, in a way, monopoly registrars around the world who have these top-level domains or commercial domains underneath a country domain and then the situation with NSI. But there are many potential competitors who, I think, probably would not want to see this drawn out beyond a reasonable length of time because they see business opportunities and we believe competition is a good thing.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What I did say in my written comments was that we don't see any need to continue taxing by this infrastructure tax on NSI's fees. They already have, if you take that away, one of the lowest registration fees in the world right now.
Mr. RUTKOWSKI. I wouldI would just take one exception to what Andy said. I just recently registered ngi.org and I got a response in 3 minutes that I had it. So, there's like, incredible level of current stabile service. Short answer is that I haven't seen any evidence that there would be any objection whatsoever or virtually any party, even internationally, the internationalthe so-called international concern
Chairman PICKERING. Pardon me, pardon me. Are what you suggesting, though, is if the Federal Government took over, it might take more than 3 minutes?
Mr. RUTKOWSKI. Probably. In fact, actually, that's an issue now in Japan because this IAHC promulgated this notion of it being a public resource and some of the ministries in Japan said, okay, this is public government stuff and took it over from the private sector and it now, I think, costs a couple hundred dollars in 2 weeks. That's the sort of dynamics you want to avoid having ripple around the world. But, there'sI don't think there's any problem whatsoever; it would be very much welcomed.
Mr. HEATH. Well, if you think I'm going to agree with everybody who's at this table, you are probably wrong. I don't disagree with what Barbara said relative to thethe stability and so on and that there are some very sound reasons why corporations want to have more flexibility in the assignment of names. It's true that under aunder a top-level domain .com, let's say, you can have virtually close to an infinite number, whatever that might mean, of names. But a name like X.$G437Q is not real interesting. And, as time goes on, the real interesting and useful names are being taken up. People want a vanity name. And with more top-level domains, you free that up. You can have, in trademark law, acme this, acme that, united this, united that. The domain name system you can have but one under .com. With more top-level domains, obviously, you can do that.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Should we proceed rapidly or should we keep status quo? Well, we are keeping the status quo, of course. But we are looking for an alternative to introduce real competition in the generic top-level domains, not the national registries, but in the generic top-level domains that can across the globe. The quicker we can do that, we feel, the better. We feel the Internet community will be better served, and yes, it is true that we did say that the top-level domains are, in fact, an international resource subject to the public trust, that no one should own one, that if anyone owned one itor controlled a top-level domain then everyone could. And if everyone could, you would have chaos. So, you would then the options of creating some sort of regulation. If anybody can own a top-level domain and use it in their own monopoly for that domain, two things happen. They can bilk the public, if you like, because competition is not at work, unless you want to change your name and go to a different top-level domain name.
Forget all that you might have spent onon proliferating or moving that name amongst marketing literature and so on, now you've got to change it. It's like changing a telephone number, an area code. You have to change your letterhead. The system that we're talking about putting in place, in fact, provides portability of domain names while preserving the vanity, and, in fact, opening it up, the vanity plate concept.
I think that corporate America, in fact, contrary to what I heard in testimony here, isis, in fact, clamoring for more possibilities and more opportunities. Thethe fact that AIM purports to represent corporate America would be in somewhat dispute. I mean, we've got a track record that's like an open book in the IAHC process of thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of emails that would tend to indicate quite the contrary. That's a matter of archived record. So, there's definitely room for some debate on this topic.
The IAHC plan, by the way, is a very solid foundation into which people who have not heard about this before, as Ms. Dooley said, to participate. Every day somebody new comes onto the Internet. I think you said, Mr. Gutknecht, yourself that you are fairly beginning to crawl. This is more typical. We have a fellow by the name of Jay Fenello from Iperdome who has been very loud lately and I have said, publicly, this is a guy we ought to be listening to because he's been in the Internet for 9 months. The people on the IAHC have been in it for 30 years. Who should we listen to? Someone who's from the old school or someone from the new? Who's got the right perspective. So, they've got to be listened to. The IAHC process says that anybody at any time should come in and make their views known and participate. That's the democratic process.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. Thank you, Mr. Gutknecht. Mr. Heath, you've mentioned the public health andin relation to the IAHC. There's a story out today following Mr. Sernovitz's comments concerning a possible investigation of a U.S.A.-based company Netnames that have registered under Libya's domain. Now, some pretty impressive clients, NetScape, Intel, Goodyear, just some of those. Now, in the plan that you are supporting, it is my understanding that the registry would be moved to Switzerland. Under that proposal, what would Swiss laws say about dealing with a country that is illegal for a U.S. company now to conduct business with?
Mr. HEATH. Oh, there's a couple of things. One, Netnames and this is indicative of the democratic process that the IAHC has put forth, they have not been associated with the IAHC process other than as an Internet stakeholder. In the democratic process of providing a policy advisory body, which includes literally anybody from the community and currently it's those who would sign the gTLD. These people signed the gTLD Netnames and in the democratic process Mr. Anthony Van Couvering was, in fact, elected the chair, I believe, of the policy advisory body. So, in that sense, he has, from the Internet community that is interested to participate actively, he has that role. Nowsoand that's as official as it gets. That's the democratic process of participating.
As far as laws being broke, I don't know. In fact, we will find that out and you can rest assured that input will come back if, in fact, American lawU.S. law was broken. The IAHC, obviously, can't do anything with it, U.S. law will. But we may make some changes relative to, or at least recommend some changes, but as far as
Chairman PICKERING. Mymy question is specifically if the registry was in Switzerland, what would U.S.
Mr. HEATH. Right. And that was my next point. The onethe registries and the concept of it being a Swiss cartel is, of course, foolishness. We chose Swiss law to incorporate CORE because of its history in international organizations.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. Again, Mr. Heath, what would happen if under Swiss law, if a Libyan domain was used to register a U.S. company and it violated U.S. law?
Mr. HEATH. And I don't know the answer specifically but I'm trying to make the point that the registry will not necessarily be in Swiss. They would subject to the laws of the country that they're in. They probably will not be in Switzerland. CORE will probably be not be in Switzerland, even though it may bethat part of it may be incorporated under Swiss law. But every registry is incorporated under the state or the country in which they're in. And those are the laws by which they would apply, not Swiss law. This is not a Swiss cartel nor is it turned over to Switzerland.
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Sernovitz, do you have any comments on that?
Mr. SERNOVITZ. Mr. Chairman, I'll try to be as polite as possible in saying what I have to say because Mr. Heath has an ability to say things that differ from the very charters of the organization that he represents, from the charters of the IAHC plan, information they write down and they've distributed and they've now asked this Committee to provide federal funding for. If there'saccording to the planaccording to the documentation that'sthat charters the IAHC plan, when there's a dispute over tradeover trademarks, you submit yourself to a arbitration panel under the World Intellectual Property Organization. Now, they say that youthey respect national courts, except for the fact that every registrar, all the root servers, have to sign a memorandum agreeing to support the WIPO court decisions.
So, if a United States court says, let's say NBC gets challenged by the National Bolivian Company. If United States court says NBC gets NBC.com, Bolivian courts says NBC gets NBC.com and the WIPO panel decides something different, the servers, the registrars, the people who run the Internet are going to take the WIPO decision and put it in those servers and they have to according to the MoUs, according to the terms of this proposal, and they're going to put this U.N. spinoff decision and execute it in contravention to the decisions of U.S. courts. That's what it says in their document. I didn't make it up. I can'tI can't believe it's true.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEATH. May I?
Chairman PICKERING. Mr. Heath?
Mr. HEATH. He's making it up. It is a matter of record and it can be looked at and I think it should be done. One, WIPO has no role in the adjudication of disputes other than administrative, that the judges come from anywhere in the world, they could not supersede any kind of national law and will not and any national law willcan be invoked at any time and it will hold. And that's pure and simple, the truth.
Mr. SERNOVITZ. All I can hope to submit is the charter of the administrative challenge panels that the IAHC process detailing the powers of the WIPO panels, submit the terms of how you get to be a registrar, requiring you to follow the WIPO panels, and this is their words.
Chairman PICKERING. Yes, Mr. Rutkowski.
Mr. RUTKOWSKI. Mr. Chairman, to answer your question, I believe there are no provisions in Swiss law that would, in any way, implement the U.N. resolution that would call for sanctions or any other kind of actions against Libya. And I can say that a former counselor to the ITU that was based in Geneva for many years. And I'm actually aton one of those cartels but it's a benign one that deals with the World Wide Web conferences. Thank you.
Chairman PICKERING. I would like to say, regardless of the legal questions in this issueor this particular issue, I do think that there is a larger public trust issue. American taxpayers have helped build the Internet as well as many of the U.S. companies, and private sector investors. To now go into a transition plan which would symbolically move that to another country, off-shore, whether Switzerland or any other country, I think, will raise a fundamental question among American taxpayers, the American public. This is something that is uniquely American, that we have led on, and we need to maintain that leadership to maintain, I believe, the registry in our country and to do otherwise, I think, would be unfair to the American taxpayers and the investors who have helped build this and made this great opportunity possible. So, we may haveagain, we want to get the right process but I do think that, from members on this Committee, that part of the IAHC plan is not going to sell very well, not here and not on Main Street and not anywhere that I can imagine.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, let me go to a second round of questions. And that is, as we go to a competitive policy, one of the important questions is the software necessary to have a database that will be open and competitive. Mr. Heath, how much do you think that software will cost? Do you believe the software can be developed, tested and on-line by March 31, 1998? And how does the IAHC plan expect to pay for this software development?
Mr. HEATH. The software to do a shared database operation is fairly well-known. Technically, it's done everyday through airline travel agents selling the same seats or different seats, one hopes. There are travel agents all around the world that are, in fact, trying to sell seats on the same airplane and there has to be a resolution process to do that. It's similar to that. Also, in the 800 and 888 databases there's a similar precedence. So, the technology is fairly well-known and off-the-shelf.
The issue is, one, it hasn't been done in the domain name system yet and my concern and, I think, among many is that the scalability of the Internet isI mean, it's tremendous. It's worldwide. It is not confined to one country and it's very important, therefore, to ensureassure that the system would be stable. So, yes, it could be answeredcould be produced by March 31. Indeed, I believe it will be. It should be in testing far before that because it is off-the-shelf software but it must be tailored and fit to the DNS system. So, the real issue is the amount of testing and time it will take to make us all feel comfortable with the stability and security of the Internet which is foremost in our minds.
As far as cost, I don't have a good handle on that but I think it would be far less than most start-up companies in Silicon Valley would take to get going, and you canyou can start up a pretty good software company out there, having done it myself, for certainly under a million, my rough guess would be in the neighborhood of, say, a half a million, to actually produce the software. Now, depending upon the labor it would take to really test this, that could go up.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC How do we fund this? The idea was that the number of registrars who would apply would put in a fee that would go towards the development of CORE. The funding, therefore, for CORE, which would be responsible for producing this database-sharing software, wouldwould come from the registrars themselves. CORE, by the way, is the vehicle by which the databases are shared. It is a council of registrars but it's essentially a little company that does the centralized databases, one for each gTLD to allow sharing. CORE is the entity that would be chartered under Swiss law. Pick it. You could have done it under any law. We picked Swiss because of its international thing. CORE may reside in New York; it may reside in Washington, DC. No other entity in the IAHC plan will be any other laws except the country in which they're incorporated. I want to make that perfectly clear. If I'm a registrar in New York, odds are I'm going to be a New York corporation. I could be a Delaware corporation. If I'm in France, odds are I'm going to be a French corporation. I will adhere to the laws of France. CORE, wherever they're going to be located, is probably going to have to obey the laws of that State but they are chartered under Swiss articles of association because it's an international entity.
Mr GUTKNECHT (presiding). Let me move on here. And you've all touched on this, I think, a bit. But I want to get more specific. And the postulate is this. If we believe that the private sector should manage the Domains Name System, then how best do we establish a governance body? First part of the question is, how would you establishhow do you establish who would sit on the Policy Oversight Committee or its equivalent? And secondly, who should be members of the governance body? And I wonder if you would all take a whack at that, whether or not you agree with the postulate.
Mr. SERNOVITZ. I think there's a veryit'sin a non-scientific manner, in terms of who gets seats on some sort of governing body, it's a fairly straight forward process to look at the different types of companies, consumer groups and organizations that have a stake in the Internet and, if we want to go with the most democratic option, we can have a seat for the Internet service providers, a seat for newspapers, a seat for content companies. We could just as easily go with a seat for core infrastructure-type organizations. But, as broadly distributed as possible is what we would advocate. It'sthe step we think is necessary to establish this body is Congress or the U.S. government convening the organization and requesting industryformally requesting industry participation.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. DOOLEY. I would like to look at it in 2 parts. And one is how you get industry participation and what you don't want to see. And what I wouldwould not like to see is a mixture ofin this oversight body of intergovernmental, governmental and then private sector voting, governing members. We don't believe that there's a governance administrative role for intergovernmental bodies. That for governments or intergovernmental bodies to have an interest in an oversight role and to participate as we, as private sector often do, at intergovernmental bodies, you know, in other words, to have an observer status is perfectly appropriate, but that it should be the private sector who actually forms the body itself, who makes these policy decisions. The stakeholder groups, I think, can easily be identified in broad terms, and one thought that we had had, and what we had tried to do within the ISP industry, was we've already started forming a coalition of, for example, the ISP trade associations, where we have been looking at this issue now since January.
And CIX is also carried this through aby talking to the existing state associations in the United States and those in which there are Internet service providers so that we as, in a way, an industry can look at how we're affected by it and be able to give substantive input into any kind of policy or technical body. And I think that it is also possible for similar stakeholder groups to identify their issues and, perhaps, then work through and come to consensus about how they would like to give input into such bodies.
Mr. BARCIA (presiding). Excuse me. Any other panelist care to add to what's been said?
Mr. HEATH. Please. Yes, I think, one, it is a very difficult process. It sounds simple to say, well, we can pick an ISP representative, we'll pick an industry representative, we'll do this, we'll do that. We tried it and look what it's done. We've got people arguing, why wasn't I picked to be on the IAHC? We tried very carefully to get a very strong international consensus because the Internet has become international. When wewhen the United States first proposed a plan to break the quote, ''monopoly,'' unquote, there was an outrage from the international community. That's one of the reasons that the IAHC was formed. And we tried to pick a group that would be very broadly based representation. Now, why is it difficult? That's the answer. Because you can't please everybody. So, you have to find a way to try and please the most. In the Internet, when they talk about rough consensus, if you get 30 percent of people agreeing, it's a miracle. You'll have 70 percent who don't unify in their disagreement but you'll have maybe 1 percent each disagreeing in some form or another. So, rough consensus is a very difficult process to produce.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As far as forming an oversight committee, which I think you have to have in any of this, and that is self-governance, you have to be careful that you don't stack it with an 800-pound gorilla. And that could be the U.S. government, although I think the U.S. government should be involved as well as other governments. But they can't be an 800-pound gorilla. Otherwise, you don't have self-governance. It can't be some huge industry coalition that has too much clout, either. The situation that's in place is not all that bad. I know this sounds self-serving, but the Internet Society is there to serve the Internet community and has a great record for doing that. The Internet Society takes its fruit from 30 years of the IETF. It is the people that built the Internet. There are other organizationsthere are U.N. treaty organizations that are involved not as an organization, and I have letters from Dr. Arped Bachscht who is head of WIPO, saying exactly that, he will put a representative on but that will be an individual and WIPO will not be involved. The samethe same thing from Dr. Pekka Tarjanni. ITU cannot be involved. But, we did have the views of a huge international membership from both WIPO and from ITU. So, this is sort of the purview I think you've got to have on an oversight committee. You can't have the 800-pound gorilla.
Last, thethe problem, when I say it's very difficult, is to do a truly democratic process. I've been really thinking about this, as have the IAHC or the iPOC people now. We have currently two people who have sort of collective veto over any changes that could be made to the original gTLD-MoU and that's ISOC and IANA, or, myself and John Postel, one could argue. We intend to give that up and have always intended to give that up. This is called bootstrap. When do you do this? Now, as far as I'm concerned. I don't care. But we have to find a process that will work. How do you do that? We've been thinking, let's vote on it because it's democratic. How do you handle voting? How do you make sure that one person doesn't vote 50 times electronically? Well, we do this in the Internet Society because we have an elected board and we have our members vote. We do it electronically and we've got it handled.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But we can pick nominees. How do you pick nominees for thefor the oversight committee? Let meI'm going on simply to illustrate that it is a very complex and difficult process to do Internet self-governance. This is a learning process. The IAHC process is intended to evolve. Let's not kill it and start over with some cartel, or with some heavy-oriented industry group or with a strong-arm of some government. Let's work it.
Mr. BARCIA. Mr. Rutkowski?
Mr. RUTKOWSKI. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I would point out, I think, as you're well aware, there are industries that are dealt with in town here, everyday, that are far more complex and difficult with very contentious constituencies. And there's well-established processes for establishing committees and who should participate on them and, I think, it's just a matter of doing that. I wanted to specifically address the so-called quote, ''international outrage,'' unquote. I think the record will reveal it's essentially one staff member at the ITU who's devoted all of his time over the last year and a half to demonstrate outrage in every meeting, in every discussion list. There is palpably very little else.
Mr. BARCIA. Yes, Mr. Sernovitz.
Mr. SERNOVITZ. Mr. Heath described his view of democracy as the IAHC is the only group that's tried to put together an international coalition. It's interesting to look at their view of how you construct a representative body. The IAHC's Policy Oversight Committee was written with veto power for Mr. Heath and Dr. Postel. The IAHC comes out of a plan published by the Internet Society in November of 1995 to give them total control of the Domain Names System. When they constructed their 12 vote policy oversight committee, the Internet Society gave itself 2 votes, the Internet Architecture Board, a committee of the Internet Society, got 2 votes, and the Internet Assign Numbers Authority, the affiliate of the Internet Society who sits on ISOC's board, got 2 votes. Their idea of creating a representative panel includes a majority vote for themselves and veto power over all future changes. Thisthis is interesting.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARCIA. I'd like to ask a question of each panelist. And that would be, given the testimony of the Administration at the September 25 hearing which was indicated that the transition plan may involve working with the global Internet community to develop an organization to take over the functions now associated with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Can such an organization, in your opinions, be free-standing or does it require support of some kind by one or more intergovernmental organizations? And could you imagine a feasible structure for this organization? If you would each care to respond to that.
Ms. DOOLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think we already have some indication of possibilities. In the IP address area, as you may know, the InterNic assigned addresses until the first of September of this year when a new body, called ARIN, a private sector ISP-supported organization, took over as it not-for-profit to do that. That organization parallels what is currently going on in the European and Asia-Pacific region. That has no connections, currently, with any sort of government or intergovernmental bodies. It is a private sector-funded effort toto work with the infrastructure needs of our industry. Theit isit is my opinion that the policy-making aspects that are needed to coordinate IP addresses can also evolve from that body, away from the current IANA into an institutionalized policy-making body that would go on top, for example, of the structure that is ARIN, RIPE, APNIC and future registries.
I see no reasons why the functions that IANA performs today which happen to be centered, essentially, in a very small organization, in ain the United States, cannot be divided according to the function and appropriate policy-making institutions have developed with their attendant committees and technical implementations. There's no reason that something that was efficient in NSF in ARPA days for a small bodyand we could coordinate everything in one very small institution, in a commercialized world, needs to be seen in that form.
Mr. BARCIA. Thank you. Anyone else care to respond? Yes, Mr. Heath?
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEATH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do think that it is time that the functions of IANA which can number about four do become institutionalized and internationalized. The Internet, one could argue, is a happening today, a very good happening that resulted because the initial participants were virtually ignored, left in an uncontrolled environment with a lot of support from the U.S. government to, in fact, experiment and develop, make their own rules, and so on. They had, granted, a very brilliant protocol called TCPIP, the scaled worldwide, but, by and large, it developed on its own. Jon Postel, the head of IANA, essentially took over a function because nobody else wanted to do it. And it was a matter of keeping track of numbers and correlating them with names and so on. And as time has gone on, he, in fact, who has worked selflessly on this thing, of course, and is highly respected for it, has produced some of the institutions that, in fact, have come up, including, of course, ARIN, as Ms. Dooley discussed.
So, I do think, however, that the Internet, now that it has really become international, and that it is been turned over to commercial interests, those things must be internationalized and institutionalized and I mean by that the IP registration, the Domain Names, the national registries, and IANA itself. And I think that should be done very much in line with the U.S. government's involvement, heavy involvement, as essentially the contractor and the funder for IANA. But I also think it should involve a very elaborate process of other people with stakeholding interests in the Internet internationally.
Mr. BARCIA. I have one more question. Thank you very much for those responses and I apologize if some of you have spoken to this issue in my absence with our frequent votes on the Floor, we couldn't be here the full time. But in your testimony, Mrs.Ms. Dooley, excuse me, suggests the need to consider the desirability and feasibility of full-time professional maintenance of the Domain Names System root servers. Is there general agreement thisthis morning on the panel that this should be done? And secondly, what kind of an organization would be most suitable for maintaining and updating the root servers? Should it be an organization that it is not also a registrar of domain names? Anyone care to respond?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. DOOLEY. Absolutely should not be also a registrar of domain names. What we see is possible, and I said in my testimony, that the root servers are rather like the air traffic control of the Internet. And just as we wouldn't want a volunteer force manning those towers any more and we wouldn't want them tocompletely in control of the airlines, we need a professional and commercial root server infrastructure. Oneone possibility would be that the funding and management of them would come through, for example, this ARIN, RIPE, APNIC because it's the Internet service providers that need those root servers and point to them. And they are organized in that way, in a private sector way, to be able to fund them. It's not the funding of them, it's not very expensive, it's the decisions about where they need to be, and the implementation plan for that. That is one practical place to start looking at such a proposal but that will also be something wherewhere some kind of oversight will definitely be needed.
Mr. BARCIA. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HEATH. If I may second that I think it's very important that the Committee recognize that the group who has been doing the maintenance and the handling the operation of the root name servers, in fact, have done an outstanding job. No one will argue with that. They probably may be the most professional we can have. However, I completely agree with Ms. Dooley. It is time to institutionalize those things, primarily because of the maturity of the Internet is going to require it. People who will do electronic commerce are going to want to know that thethat the people are in good hands and not just volunteers. I say just volunteers, and I have to say, again, they're very professional and they're doing a great job, but it is time to make a change.
Mr. RUTKOWSKI. I would add that that's one area where, I think, oversight will be critical because there isthere are criticalthere are significant antitrust issues and, indeed, there is a lawsuit already pending in U.S. District Court dealing specifically with that issue. And I would also add as a postscript to your previous remark, being international doesn't require being under internationalintergovernmental organizations, and it doesn't require being in Geneva. That can happen right here.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman PICKERING. I want to thank each of the witnesses. I think this has been a productive hearing today. At this point, we will go ahead and close on this part. We will maintain the record. We will continue to, having the record open, to submit any additional questions to any member on the panel that we may have. I would ask for your response to those questions. Again, at this point, I thank you and the hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:54 a.m., the hearing was adjourned.]
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
Insert offset folios 198-199
INTERNET DOMAIN NAMES, PARTS I AND II
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON BASIC RESEARCH
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 25 and 30, 1997
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
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTHOMAS M. DAVIS, Virginia
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
MARK 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
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLLOYD DOGGETT, Texas
MICHAEL F. DOYLE, Pennsylvania
SHEILA 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
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
LYNN N. RIVERS, Michigan
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
WALTER H. CAPPS, California
*Ranking Minority Member
C O N T E N T S
September 25, 1997:
Joseph Bordogna, Acting Deputy Director, National Science Foundation
Hon. Larry Irving, Assistant Secretary for Communication and Information, U.S. Department of Commerce
Jonathan B. Postel, Director, Computer Networks Division, University of Southern California
Gabriel A. Battista, Chief Executive Officer, Network Solutions Inc.
September 30, 1997:
Donald M. Heath, President and CEO, Internet Society
Anthony M. Rutkowski, Director, World Internet Working Alliance
Andy Sernovitz, President, Association for Interactive Media
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBarbara A. Dooley, Executive Director, Commercial Internet Exchange