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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    Security SSAC releases Sitefinder report
    posted by michael on Saturday July 10 2004, @09:34AM

    GeorgeK writes "As reported in the Washington Post, ICANN's SSAC has released their Wildcard report which pans the Sitefinder offering."

    "This is a good thing, and no surprise given how much the service was resoundingly loathed by the Internet community, save for a few VeriSign shills."

    [Editor's note: For a rather different view, see Karl Auerbach's comments.

    My own first impression is less negative than Karl's. I see the report as an excellent statement of the IETF orthodoxy. It gives due regard to the fact that Sitefinder did not in fact violate any of the RFC's, which are ambiguous on key points, and that wildcarding works well in different settings -- which the report does not say must be abolished. It even makes a coherent and sensible distinction between the large, mass wildcarding of .com and the small targeted wildcarding of .museum]. And it leans heavily on the harmful nature of suprise changes in the deployment of basic protocols on which so many applications rely -- even if those changes are within the letter of the rules. Those all seem to me like really good things to say.

    So, within its own terms of reference, the report seems a model of its kind.

    The deep question, though, is the one posed by Karl in his comment noted above: are the terms of reference the authors set for themselves the right ones, or is the IETF creating an ossified orthodoxy like that of the Bell system? Is it better to engineer for very small incremental change, internal revolution, or just wait for the next disruptive technology to come along? -mf]

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      Related Links  
    · IETF
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    · Also by michael
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    SSAC releases Sitefinder report | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 8 comments | Search Discussion
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    Report misses the point: Verisign hijacked names
    by odonnell (michael_odonnell@acm.org) on Sunday July 11 2004, @12:41AM (#13914)
    User #3447 Info | http://people.cs.uchicago.edu/~odonnell/
    I think the report misses the main point of the SiteFinder exercise. The main point has nothing to do with network architecture nor with wild cards, although the first is at least a secondary relevant point.

    Main point: The power to route a domain name to a chosen address is a valuable power. Verisign's whole DNS business is lucrative because it has been made co-steward in the assignment of that power. Any other corporation or individual must pay and sometimes defend legally in order to determine the resolution of a particular domain name. Verisign has a perfect right to route domain names to SiteFinder as long as it pays the same price. I'm even willing to consider a bulk discount, if similar discount is available publicly. Absent such a payment, Verisign was hijacking all of the otherwise unassigned domain names.

    Perhaps the fallacy of the ICANN report is clearest when it refers to "nonexistent" domain names. All names exist. Some resolve to addresses, some don't. The power to make one resolve to a particular address is a valuable power, with a commercial value.

    Mike O'Donnell
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