jurisdictional concentration of authorities

Scott Bennett bennett at cs.niu.edu
Mon Jun 22 21:04:30 UTC 2009

     On Mon, 22 Jun 2009 12:05:20 -0700 (PDT) Martin Fick <mogulguy at yahoo.com>
>--- On Mon, 6/22/09, Denis Dimick <dgdimick at gmail.com> wrote:
>> If I understand this correctly, as
>> long as ICANN is "owned" by the US, they have the
>> ability to shutdown anyone they don't like.

     [Note to Denis Dimick <dgdimick at gmail.com>:  it is not
necessary to post your messages twice to this list.  Once is
enough to get it distributed, although it may take a few minutes.]
>While this is certainly a threat, it is not as all emcompassing 
>as it sounds.  ICANN may control the currently agreed upon IPs
>and subnets of the internet, but they do not control the internet 
>backbones which actually route to these agreed upon subnets, do 
>So, if we imagine that ICANN goes completely beserk and decides
>to revoke all the subnets in use in Germany, what would happen?
>If the ISPs of Germany just keep using them then there is nothing
>ICANN can do to stop anyone within Germany from communicating to
>each other with them is there?  And, of course, any country with
>ISPs that have direct links to Germany and decides to continue to 
>route to Germany for those subnets because they think ICANN is
>nuts, well then anyone in those countries will still be able
>to communicate with Germany right?
>Ultimately, the internet it really is just a bunch of 
>people/organizations communicating voluntarily with each other
>and following certain voluntary guidelines which cannot be 
>imposed by any single organization.  A very nice free market 
>real world implementation of cooperation with agreed upon
>(not forced upon) authorities (mostly).  Seems almost like a
>libertarian anarchist's dream really. :)

     This, BTW, was also the point about RFCs and reserved port
numbers in the earlier thread on suspected bogus use of port 43
exits.  Having a standard means programmers can make defaults
that generally work, while still allowing a site to deviate from
the standard for its own users.  That is quite different, though,
from someone harassing sites all over the planet that offer the
standard whois service on port 43.  The former doesn't bother me
at all, while the latter is something to which I do not care to
dedicate the vast majority of exit service used at my tor exit
>Again this is not to say that ICANN cannot reak havok, 
>particularly to individuals, just that if they do badly 
>enough, the world will just switch to some other agreed upon 
>authority(ies) and ICANN will become meaningless.  They truly 
>can only govern because the governed consent to their 
>governing, they have no physical pull, they are not backed by 
>But, since ICANN does have the power to potentially affect 
>individuals, it might make directory servers owned by other
>non US governments much harder to foil (by ICANN) than those 
>owned by individuals.  I surmise this because I think that if 
>ICANN decided to attack the server owned by a government 
>instead of an individual it would likely be seen as ICANN 
>attacking the entire country.  The country has more power and
>influence with those who follow ICANN than most individuals do.  
>Just a thought...

     Quite so.  Those who remember the early '90s will recall a
very public dispute over the restrictions then imposed upon
domain names, which resulted in a sizable group of participants
establishing an entire, alternative domain name space with its
own root servers.  I haven't heard anything about it for many
years now, so I suspect it may have fallen out of use, but the
point is that such things can be, and have been, done already.

                                  Scott Bennett, Comm. ASMELG, CFIAG
* Internet:       bennett at cs.niu.edu                              *
* "A well regulated and disciplined militia, is at all times a good  *
* objection to the introduction of that bane of all free governments *
* -- a standing army."                                               *
*    -- Gov. John Hancock, New York Journal, 28 January 1790         *

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