Exploiting a national tragedy
Date: Thursday September 27 2001, @12:40PM
Topic: ICANN Meetings

Mueller writes "As an American living in New York State and working at a University that draws a large portion of its student body from New York City (several known casualties among alumni and student families so far) the World Trade Center attacks had an enormous impact on my psyche and my sense of well being.

Our commitment here is to carry on. Lower Manhattan will be cleared and rebuilt. The dead will be recovered, buried and mourned. We know of course that important adjustments need to be made in security practices, especially in the airlines, and in our country's foreign policy. But on the whole we all look forward to getting on with our lives and healing the wounds.

ICANN's announcement today that it was shoving aside its entire agenda for its annual meeting and ordering all its participants to redirect their thoughts toward "security" was exactly the wrong response to the tragedy."

It is neither warranted nor wise to allow the destructive actions of a small number of criminals to completely divert the Internet community from its ongoing agenda. I can understand why the staff might add a discussion of security to its agenda. But to pre-empt all other controversial issues on these grounds is just a bit too convenient. It seems to this observer like a conscious attempt to avoid the real issues facing the organization.

One needs to think carefully about the sweeping scope of Stuart Lynn's announcement. He is not asking us to add a discussion of security to the agenda, he is stating unequivocally that the meeting will "focus exclusively" on it. According to the announcement, "Every constituency and supporting organization will be asked to report on its efforts to ensure the stability of the Internet's naming and addressing systems and what additional steps it proposes to take to improve that stability and security among its member organizations. Agenda items will be assessed for inclusion by what they contribute to the overall focus of the meeting."

The effect of such requests will be to crowd out entirely numerous unresolved policy issues that have been on ICANN's DNSO agenda for some time:

* Representational structure

* New TLDs

* UDRP reform

* ORG divestiture

* Multilingual names

* Registrar-registry relations

Indeed, the effect will be to give ICANN's self-appointed management total control over the agenda of this alleged bottom-up policy making apparatus.

Where did ICANN's staff get the authority to set the agenda for every SO and SO constituency? No advance consultation with the DNSO Names Council or constituencies was conducted. Lynn seems to have lost sight of the fact that supporting organizations and constituencies are autonomous entities that are supposed to define their own agendas.

One might excuse this behavior if there were good cause for it. But there is only the slightest connection between the Internet naming and addressing system and the decade-long war between Bin Laden's international terrorist network and the United States government. ICANN is primarily a policy making and regulatory organization for the DNS. There is very little it can do about attempts by murderers to blow things up; such problems are in the hands of international alliances, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and military forces. The pretext for completely revamping ICANN's agenda is so patently thin one can only draw the most cynical conclusion about why the proposal was made.

Once again, ICANN's management has made us all feel manipulated. In this painful context, it is truly hard to bear, even for those of us with the lowest of expectations.

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Re: Exploiting a national tragedy
by ldg on Thursday September 27 2001, @02:47PM (#2594)
User #2935 Info | http://example.com/
If that is the case, it should have been announced as such. ICANN is a private corporation. The USG can request that ICANN study possible security issues. ICANN should then present the issue to the SO's, etc. This is not the case here. Lynn has announced that the entire focus of the MDR meeting will change on a few days notice.

There goes the at-large and/or any hope of representation for users and individual domain name holders.
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Re: Exploiting a national tragedy - nipc.gov
by joannalane on Thursday September 27 2001, @05:43PM (#2604)
User #2769 Info
It is inconceivable that the US National Infrastructure Protection Centre (NIPC) http://www.nipc.gov would not have established a relationship with ICANN prior to September 11th. The question is with whom. Is IANA an ISAC? If not, why is the ICANN MdR meeting being coordinated to protect national security interests, as if it is part of the intelligence community?

"The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) is the national focal point for gathering information on threats to critical infrastructures. It is the principal means of facilitating and coordinating the federal government's response to an incident, mitigating attacks, investigating threats, and monitoring reconstitution efforts.

The NIPC includes investigators and analysts experienced in computer crimes and infrastructure protection. It is linked electronically to the rest of the federal government, including other warning and operation centers, as well as private sector Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISAC)."

"The NIPC provides law enforcement and intelligence information and reports to relevant federal, state, and local agencies, private sector ISACs. Before disseminating such information, the NIPC coordinates with the intelligence community to protect national security interests."

The NIPC issues attack warnings to increase in threat conditions to private sector ISACs and the owners and operators along with appropriate guidance on additional protection measures to be taken.

End quote.

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