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    Core Issue Remains As VeriSign vs. ICANN Moves to State Court | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 6 comments | Search Discussion
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    clarity.
    by sforrest on Monday August 30 2004, @02:29AM (#14079)
    User #3986 Info
    Now that a federal judge has dismissed the anti-trust claim, VeriSign will refile its lawsuit in a California state court - and the focus will be squarely on the main issue: the dispute between ICANN and VeriSign over the limits of ICANN's authority under the contract between the two. The anti-trust claim always seemed like a bit of a stretch to many observers, and having it out of the way brings clarity to the issue.

    The lawsuit is not just about VeriSign and ICANN. The final resolution of the case is also important for the numerous other companies that, like VeriSign, whose business involves the infrastructure of the Internet, and who have invested millions, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars in it.

    Every one of those companies has a vested interest in making decisions and taking actions that won't undermine the stability and security of the Internet.

    Every one of those companies deserves a climate of regulatory clarity in order to make sound business decisions that also are technically sound. Every one of those companies needs to able to discern clearly - and quickly - what kinds of services and products they may or may not introduce.

    ICANN does not currently provide that clarity. Or that rapidity.

    The vast percentage of the Net's infrastructure is provided by private companies - companies that need the incentive and the regulatory climate that allows them to continue to innovate and improve the Net, to make it stronger and better and more useful for more people. But all its good intentions and high-minded philosophizing, ICANN simply does not provide the consistency of process that is necessary for companies to make decisions. Not even VeriSign's most vociferous critics on things like Site Finder and the Wait Listing Service argue that it does.

    It has been six months since VeriSign filed its lawsuit against ICANN. In that time, ICANN has not made one substantive change to improve its processes. In fact, it has demonstrated again that it is simply too slow and too muddled in its decision-making process to cope with an economy and an industry operating on Internet time.

    Just two examples: The ICANN Board approved the Wait Listing Service in June, but ICANN's staff failed to act on it for three months. It has been nearly three years since VeriSign announced the WLS, and ICANN has blocked it with three years of delay, three years of mixed signals, three years of confusion. Even now, it blocks the WLS by requiring VeriSign to agree to unacceptable conditions.

    In the three years since VeriSign first announced the WLS, and then waited for ICANN's approval ... and waited ... and waited ... a number of domain name registrars have launched competing services, grabbing market share while ICANN forces VeriSign to sit on the sidelines, undermining the future value of the WLS. The impact goes beyond VeriSign's future revenues - those secondary providers of WLS-like services bombard the .com and .net registries operated by VeriSign with a blizzard of queries to track currently-registered domain names they have promised clients to track. Meanwhile, though ICANN points to the "approval" it finally granted VeriSign to launch the WLS, the truth is ICANN's conditional approval continues to obstruct it.

    How, exactly, does that contribute to the stability of the Internet?

    And then there's Site Finder. ICANN tasked its Security and Stability Advisory Committee to draft a report on the technical aspects of adding "wildcards" to the domain name system. The SSAC's chairman promised the report would be done in a month. It took eight months, and the finished product was a rehash of the complaints that lead ICANN to demand VeriSign shut Site Finder down in the first place, followed by a condemnation of Site Finder based on political - not technical - grounds: VeriSign launched Site Finder without going through the political process that the SSAC deems to be de facto policy, though it isn't written down anywhere.

    ICANN's accomplishments since VeriSign filed the lawsuit? Proposing a near-doubling of its budget and convincing registrars around the globe to agree to pay for it.

    If ICANN was going to spend the money hiring efficiency and business-process streamlining experts - if it was going to bring in Total Quality Management or Six Sigma experts and let them help it reorganize so that decisions on things like the WLS take three months instead of three years, it would be worth the money.

    But not a dime will go for that kind of effort.

    That's no way to run the modern-day economic equivalent of the railroad.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]


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