Potential Domain Name System Governance Changes

As you know, ICANN and the Internet have been in the news lately. It seems that there is a move within the Obama administration to transfer responsibility for the domain name system from ICANN to some as-yet unnamed international body.

I personally do not think this is a good idea. While our own Congress is not currently a very good model of democracy in action, and the administration seems to be stuck in neutral, I doubt that some UN-type group is going to do a better job governing the domain name system. In fact, it may do far worse.

Of course, there are no guarantees either way, because ICANN has its own problems. As Esther Dyson, founding chairperson of ICANN, said in an interview for our book, Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions, “We over-regulated some stuff, and we under-regulated other stuff. We got everybody to despise us. We didn’t listen. And, unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten much better since.”

Mike Daniels, my coauthor on Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions, has been busy being interviewed in the media because of this possible shift in Internet governance. As the book describes, we were very much involved in the evolution of the domain name system and the development of ICANN and other Internet organizations, so Mike is a valuable source of information about this time in the Internet’s history.

Mike was interviewed on March 27 about governance of the domain name system by Jim Blasingame on Small Business Radio. Here are links to the three interviews:

, Bob