So what would you have ICANN do about spam and other forms of
anti-social net behavior?
From what I see, about all ICANN has authority over is the DNS Roots
and the top level domains.
From: address IS Valid.
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: ICANN _does_ deal with the DNS Roots
and the top level domains, but part of that dealing includes the fact
that _all registrars_ must go through ICANN and are forced to require
of all web sites that they sign a contract turning final control of
their web sites over to ICANN. You, as a web site owner must agree
that ICANN's word is final and that disputes are to be settled by
an arbitrator ICANN chooses. If ICANN decides you are a cybersquatter
(which is to say that you have taken a name for your web site which
_they_ (ICANN, in their sole discretion) thinks would be better off
assigned to someone else, they can -- and have -- taken it away and
given it to the recipient of _their_ choice. Yes, you can demand
arbitration and go to some expense to defend your right to the web
site name, but it is a vain effort on your part. Either you as a web
site owner, or the registrar, or some other person is required to
pay a sum of money to ICANN for their 'administrative fees' for the
priviledge of being allowed to have a web site (even though they at
ICANN can take it back from you as they wish.) Nota Bene: their
'administrative fees' typically include a trans-global 'working
vacation' in some esoteric spot two or three times per year. Earlier
this year, for example, they held a conference in some remote area
of Argentina. All of their staff packs up and goes to wherever this
spot is. It wouldn't occur to them to have their 'working vacation'
in the USA.
Also, they are a bit (to say the least!) evasive about their plans for
the net over the years past. In 1994 for example, they had a meeting
at which Vint Cerf presided, in which he tslked with much pride about
how the net would become a commercial endeavor. It was like a call-in
conference; I called in as many netizens did, was pretty much ignored
in the question/answer session, but finally I was able to get a word
in edgewise, after Mr. Cerf had talked for 30-45 minutes about his
visions for the 'new net' (the one that Vice-President Al Gore spoke
so lovingly of [thus the fallacy several years ago that Al Gore had
'invented the internet']) and I asked Mr. Cerf "what about us little
guys, who run not-for-profit web sites, mailing lists, etc? What is
_our place_ on this new commercial internet you have planned?"
Mr. Cerf thought about it for a minute or so, and his reply was "that
is a good question, I do not know where or how you guys will fit into
the picture." (click, and cut me off the phone.) I still remember, to
this day, how evasive he was in answering me, given the elaborate
answers he had for all the corporate interests who were present at
that meeting, and the politicians, etc. I guess he still hasn't
figured out where we fit in, or if we do at all. Since about 1995,
after he had been given about a year or so to think on "where you guys
will fit in" I wrote him off as a simple traitor to the rest of the
net. _Yes_ he has done a lot in the history of the net. _Yes_ he is
a very intelligent person, but he is still a traitor where most of the
rest of us are concerned.
Also, in the late 1990's, there was a period of a few years where
ICANN was perpetually broke, out of cash money. Mr. Cerf somehow or
another convinced his employer at that time -- MCI, itself a bunch of
bums with its 'creative accounting' scandal a couple years ago, to
'loan' a substantial amount of money -- two or three million dollars
-- to ICANN for one of their 'working vacations'. I do not think ICANN
ever did pay it back, which I guess is neither here nor there, except
that MCI had their eyes set on taking over the commercial aspects of
the net for themselves at one time in those days, and they hired Vint
Cerf to be their mouthpiece for that endeavor, giving him some sort of
flaky title or another: vice-president of some esoteric function. He
was there for several years, tapping MCI for money to give ICANN for
their international vacations, etc, then shortly before MCI went belly
up after that accounting scandal he left there and is now at Google in
a highly placed position, more than likely to sodomize them from time
to time on ICANN's behalf. So what do Google and the late MCI both
have in common? Well they both lust after commercial control of the
net and they both have (or had) Vint Cerf in their employ on account
of his reputation, his intelligence, his history from the early years.
But I digress: what would _I_ have them do? That was your question?
Well, if ICANN is going to remain at least for the time being as the
de-facto governor of the net (and again guys, puh-leeze do not start
that whimpering about ICANN's role, no one is fooled any longer) then
I would suggest that as soon as it is administratively convenient to
do so, they begin amending their contracts which all of us have to
sign firmly denouncing and repudiating spam/scam/phishing and all that
stuff. Their contracts which we all have to sign now giving ICANN the
ultimate authority and say-so or risk being taken to arbitration and
sent afterward to burn in hell-fire can be amended or rewritten to
deal with the problem of insect abatement. Let them push it off on the
registrars if they wish; let the registrars in turn push it off on the
large ISPs; just do it. Let's hear our governor -- if it wishes to
remain our governor -- firmly renounce and repudiate all that stuff.
If they try it and it fails, well that's another matter. But now we
hear nothing from them except they are going on another vacation and
need more money and that their monthly meeting minutes will be late
getting up on their web site.
Why do I feel Vint Cerf and Esther Dyson would never go along with
this proposal? PAT