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    NTIA to unmask anon .USians | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 4 comments | Search Discussion
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    NTIA intervention shows why US oversight is wrong
    by Richard_Henderson on Sunday March 06 2005, @03:30AM (#14665)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/
    Here in the UK with .uk you have to give a registrant name (either individual or company)but you can request that all contact details are withheld from publication. If you're doing something bad through your website the law can be invoked to obtain the contact information from Nominet (the registry).

    Seems simple enough.

    As someone who has been stalked in the past, and the unnerving impact that has on your own life and your family's, not to mention personal safety, I personally take the view that the NTIA / DOC decision is over the top and intrusive. Nobody needs to know my address, unless I choose to share it with them, or I have done something wrong. But I can understand why a registry may reserve the right to store the info securely if I want the right to a domain name registered through them.

    Thankfully, the stalker issue has been dealt with completely, and I don't have too many worries about sharing my contact info as a rule. However, we should respect other people's right to, or need of, privacy.

    Government should back off.

    Then there is the issue of who has decided this policy change? NTIA/DOC or the .us policy council, using due process to discuss and develop policy in consultation with all involved parties?

    In short, if NTIA can just intervene at any time and decide policy and impose it on .us, then that suggests that NTIA can just intervene at any time and decide policy and impose it on ICANN, on TLDs, on the worldwide internet community.

    The precedent is clearly unacceptable if it has been imposed without due process and consultation.

    At the moment WSIS and other interested parties are questioning why ICANN should be accountable (and therefore subordinate to) NTIA/DOC. They argue that all the other countries in the world should have the same powers of oversight or influence as the US.

    While it can be argued that .us is an internal US matter, it nevertheless appears to demonstrate that the US through NTIA are prepared to override due process and impose solutions, without the agreed framework for policy formulation and consultation. This is disturbing for the rest of the world.

    So, where is the evidence that the Policy Council has adhered to a visible, transparent and consultative process for changing policy? Where is the process, or was it just ignored?

    If the US's NTIA can just override due process and impose its own solutions, then it is not fit to oversee ICANN or any alternative agencies that may have oversight of the DNS in the future.

    The world's internet - a vital world resource for the whole world - is too precious to be entrusted to rogue agencies that may, at their own discretion, abandon proper process and do their own thing in defiance of other parties.

    Moreover, the action taken, in this case against privacy rights of .us domain registrants, seems illogical. If I am a terrorist, it is highly unlikely that such a measure will stop me at all, because I will simply "do whatever bad thing I am doing online" through one of the hundreds of other TLDs to which these measures have not (yet) been extended.

    Is the US Govt going to check the contact addresses of every single domain in the world? Is the US Govt going to phone up every telephone and mobile phone in the world? And check the addresses of the users (or those who
    borrow or later dispose of the devices)? And listen to every single message? And understand the agreed significance of every coded message in billions of obscure calls (or sentences on hundreds of billions of webpages)?

    No, the action is intrusive without any productive rationale to it.

    Unless the NTIA insists on (and imposes) a new policy for *all* domains operating through *all* registries then their action against .us registrants is futile and smacks of a political gesture and gross political interference.

    It is for reasons such as these that government and politicians should be kept out of DNS oversight; and it is exactly for these reasons that ICANN should attempt to legitimise its mandate by breaking loose of NTIA/DOC and
    seeking instead to build a structure based on open consultation and the worldwide endorsement of internet users.

    In the end, you can't control the minds and actions of 6 billion people.

    The Internet is merely a reflection of that fact.

    Unless you 'switch it off', or control access via ISPs, then people are going to use it as they choose to use it, the vast majority for good
    purposes. Those who choose to use it for 'bad' purposes are not going to be stopped just because NTIA chooses to blow the privacy of all its .us

    This action demonstrates the sad mindset of elements inside the US political establishment, and illustrates exactly why its oversight of the world's DNS resources and the Internet is wrong.


    Richard H
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