ted byfield on Tue, 31 Mar 1998 21:22:06 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Nettime TLD compilation [1/2]

[*Here it is*: The Official Nettime Top-Level Domain Debate Greatest Hits
 Compendium, Volume 1. And--sacre bleu!!--it's *not* 100% made in the USA.
 Just 98% Amerikkkan, but c'mon, cut us some slack (we're trying...). -TB]

[1]  TBTF (30/3/98) excerpt...[30 lines]
[2]  NTKnow (27/3/98) excerpt...[41 lines]
[3]  Gordon Cook answers EFF's Stanton McCandlish...[130 lines]
[4]  TELECOM Digest (23/3/98) excerpt (R. Hauben's remarks)...[233 lines]
[5]  Phil Agre's "Red Rock Eater" compilation re the debate...[787 lines]

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[1]  TBTF (30/3/98) excerpt
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TBTF for 3/30/98: Elementary

    T a s t y   B i t s   f r o m   t h e   T e c h n o l o g y   F r o n t
..Poles of the domain-name debate

  The Green Paper fragmented and sharpened opinions

    The Electronic Freedom Foundation has registered its comments [7] on
    the Commerce Department's domain naming Green Paper. EFF weighs in
    from the side of radical Internet self governance. It wants the evo-
    lution of the domain naming system left completely in the hands of
    the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, and it wants NSI cut off
    completely from any ownership in the common property of domain
    namespace. The EFF urges balance for the rights of small companies
    and individuals against those of trademark holders.

    Gordon Cook replied [8] to the EFF comments; suffice it to say he is
    not sanguine. As Phil Agre notes in introducing Cook's comments, this
    debate has polarized almost beyond reason.

    [7]  http://www.findmail.com/listsaver/noframes/rre/764.html
    [8]  http://www.findmail.com/listsaver/noframes/rre/765.html
    TBTF home and archive at http://www.tbtf.com/ . <...>

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[2]  NTKnow (27/3/98) excerpt
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 _   _ _____ _  __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
| \ | |_   _| |/ / _ __   ____27/03/98_ o Join! Mail 'subscribe ntknow'
|  \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o  to majordomo@unfortu.net
| |\  | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ V  V /  o Website (+ archive) lives at:
|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/   o     http://www.ntk.net/

         So, whose side were you on in the Domain Name Wars? The
         time for comments on the US Government proposals, which
         attempt to foster a compromise between those battling for
         control of the top level domains, ended Tuesday. Time for
         the real punch-ups to begin. Latest casualties: the
         ELECTRONIC FREEDOM FRONTIER, who this week came down firmly
         on the side of CORE (that's the Old Guys Who Created The
         Net, Who Plan To Hand All That .Net .Com Nonsense To The A
         Neutral Swiss Body). Unremarkable, since EFF co-founder
         John Gilmore is an Honorary Old Guy and CORE buddy - but
         still an excuse for outrage from Gordon Cook, author of the
         Cook Report (not *that* Cook Report), and champion of the
         "Senile Old Men Who've Lost Touch With Reality, Who Plot to
         Give Away America's Internet To Foreign Powers" hypothesis
         [see NTK 10/10/97]. Cook described the EFF position as
         "outrageous puerile RANT", which, judging by the level of
         debate so far, should be seen as a compliment. Our
         position? If these guys want Net names to stay American,
         why don't they all push off back to the .us domain where
         they belong, and leave .com to us "international" folk?
         - "For the ... benefit of the public, the Internet users, and
                  the entire human race" (delete where not applicable)
          - "a single fallable individual" Sounds like a threat, Jon
                                 - NSI presents *World*nic? uh-oh...

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[3]  Gordon Cook answers EFF's Stanton McCandlish
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Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 18:07:20 -0500
To: mech@eff.org, com-priv@psi.com, telecomreg@relay.doit.wisc.edu,
        pagre@weber.ucsd.edu, CYBERTELECOM-L@LISTSERV.AOL.COM,
        UPFORGRABS-L@CDINET.COM, owner-nettime-l@basis.Desk.nl
From: Gordon Cook <cook@cookreport.com>
Subject: Silence of EFF Trustees on Green Paper Filing is Deafening

Stanton, your message below is a bit obscure.  It looks as though Dave
Farber wrote a response that said: This person has us confused with LPF.

Do I have that right?  And pardon my ignorance but what is the LPF?

Next question:  If this is Dave Farber speaking why would he send it to you
to post?

Next Question: Is this Dave Farber's only public response to this
embarrassing EFF document? Not a word has been heard from him.  WHY? I have
tried to communicate with him privately and failed. Should we infer that he
feels that this is the appropriate language to use in describing this
issue? He is clearly a supporter of IANA (his former doctoral student,
Postel) as he has every right to be.  But given that he is one of six
people on IANA's Tech Advisory Group for the IANA transition, is it
appropriate for him to be a trustee of an organization - namely EFF - that
makes an attack supported by unfounded accusations against NSI, the
organization that Jon Postel has somehow found it possible to work and
cooperate with for the past five years?  Note as well that he is also a
trustee of the Internet Society another organization intensely hostile  to

Or is the attack - which Dave Farber has not repuidiated - meant to serve
as a trial balloon for the position that will be taken by the new IANA
corporation?  You may say that this is an unfair inference. But consider
the silence of Dave Farber and the other trustees of the EFF.  Consider
that the sole rejoinder from the EFF to this point in time has been that
its executive director has sent the entire filing to the lists to which I
have posted my critique - inviting list readers to read the entire document
in all its glory.  A weak response.  And one that leaves the door open wide
for the assumption that all EFF trustees are comfortable with the
document's strident, unwaranted language as a pronouncement of THEIR
organization's public policy.  I have talked to a half dozen people about
this and not one believes that any trustee (except for **possibly** John
Gilmore whose views I believe it reflects) would have allowed it to go out
had it been given them to review before hand.

So the best question: was this or was it not a "rogue" filing slipped out
behind the backs of the board members or does it reflect language they are
comfortable with?

And maybe even the *very* best question: is there operating here an
unspoken EFF objection to NSI because of its corporate parent SAIC's work
for US intelligence agencies.  Are any other the board members determined
to destroy NSI because of a misguided belief that it has given intelligence
agencies some influence over DNS?  If so then let them speak out and say so
and not carry on with what can be interpreted as a hidden agenda.

Stanton's com-priv post follows:

>This person has us confused with LPF.
>                                 ^^
>Dave Farber typed:
>> >Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:07:42 -0500
>> >Reply-To: bazyar@hypermall.com
>> >Originator: com-priv@lists.psi.com
>> >Sender: com-priv@lists.psi.com
>> >From: Jawaid Bazyar <bazyar@hypermall.com>
>> >To: Multiple recipients of list <com-priv@lists.psi.com>
>> >Subject: Re: EEF Joins Looney Extremist Fringe with Vicious Green Paper
>> >X-Comment:  Commercialization and Privatization of the Internet
>> >
>> >
>> >Gordon,
>> >
>> >EFF was founded by real live communists and is composed of info-communists
>> >("information wants to be free" - aside from ascribing a will to what is
>> >only states inside people's brains, it's the Communist Manifesto virtually
>> >idea for idea, via the "GNU Manifesto").
>> >
>> >So, what do you expect from an organization composed of utterly irrational
>> >people?
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >At 08:25 PM 3/24/98 -0500, Gordon Cook wrote:
>> >>I have just read the EFF filings on the NTIA comments.  They are
>> >shocking.
>> >>The organization reveals itself as being utterly out of touch with
>> >Internet
>> >>reality.  The release reads like a CORE/POC/ MOUvement propaganda sheet.
>> >>The Internet Society's biased out of touch filing is a model of dignity
>> >>compared to the document that Shari Steele has set her signature to.
>> >What
>> >>follows is some of the language which luminaries such as EFF board
>> >members
>> >>Dave Farber and Esther Dyson are allowing themselves to endorse.
>> >
>> >>But the deplorable quality of the filing is such that one wonders who the
>> >>current board is.
>> >
>> >--
>> > Jawaid Bazyar              |   Affordable WWW & Internet Solutions
>> > Interlink Advertising Svcs |   for Small Business
>> > bazyar@hypermall.com       |   P.O Box 641               (303) 781-3273
>> > --The Future is Now!--     |   Englewood, CO 80151-0641  (303) 789-4197
>> >fax
>> >
>Stanton McCandlish                                           mech@eff.org
>Electronic Frontier Foundation                           Program Director
>http://www.eff.org/~mech    +1 415 436 9333 x105 (v), +1 415 436 9333 (f)
>Are YOU an EFF member?                            http://www.eff.org/join

The COOK Report on Internet            New Special Report: Building Internet
431 Greenway Ave, Ewing, NJ 08618 USA  Infrastructure ($395) available. See
(609) 882-2572 (phone & fax)           http://www.cookreport.com/building.html
cook@cookreport.com                    Index to 6 years of COOK Report, how to
subscribe, exec summaries, special reports, gloss at http://www.cookreport.com

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[4]  TELECOM Digest (23/3/98) excerpt
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Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 23:12:16 -0500 (EST)
To: ptownson@massis.lcs.mit.edu
From: editor@telecom-digest.org
Subject: TELECOM Digest V18 #44

TELECOM Digest     Mon, 23 Mar 98 23:12:00 EST    Volume 18 : Issue 44

Inside This Issue:                          Editor: Patrick A. Townson

    Internet as Communications Medium and DNS Restructuring (Ronda Hauben)
Our archives are available for your review/research. The URL is:
        ftp hyperarchive.lcs.mit.edu/telecom-archives/archives
*   TELECOM Digest is partially funded by a grant from the              *
* International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland    *
* under the aegis of its Telecom Information Exchange Services (TIES)   *
* project.  Views expressed herein should not be construed as represent-*
* ing views of the ITU.                                                 *
From: rh120@columbia.edu (Ronda Hauben)
Subject: Internet as Communications Medium and DNS Restructuring
Date: 23 Mar 1998 22:10:19 GMT
Organization: Columbia University

It would be good to see comments and discussion on the issues
involved in the proposed DNS rule The following draft is intended
to encourage such discussion.

             The Internet as a Communication Medium
          and how that is not reflected in the proposal
                   to restructure the DNS

There is currently a proposal by the U.S. govt to change the way
that Internet domain (site) names are given out, and thus to
affect in an important way the future of the Internet.

The proposal is at:

March 23 is the end of the time that one can submit comments on it to
the ntia and comments up till then can be submitted electronically.

It is interesting to look at the Framework that Ira Magaziner,
the advisor to the President, has created looking at the future
of the Internet.

In the document called Framework, he fails to mention or consider
that the Internet is an important new *communication* media.
Instead he substitutes the word *commerce* for *communication*
and sets out a framework for making the Internet into an
important new means of commerce.

In two sentences at the beginning of his document he says
that "the Internet empowers citizens and democratizes societies"
and then he goes on and spends the next 24 pages describing
changes that have to come about to make the Internet into
an electronic marketplace for business.

Nowheres in the "Framework" does he discuss the fact that Netizens
are those who come on line to contribute to the growth and the
development of the Net. Instead Magaziner sees the Internet as
"being driven ... by the private sector."

If the "Framework" has *no* understanding of the ways that
the Internet and Usenet contribute to and make possible new
forms of *communication* between people, then there is no
way that the proposal he has made for changing the DNS (domain
name system) that assigns address and maintains the lookup tables
can help to facilitate the communication that is so important
as the essence of the Internet. The Proposal "Improvement of
Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses: Proposed
Rule" is listed in the February 20, 1988 Federal Register. (And
one can make comments on it till March 23. It is also online
at the ntia web site.)

Instead of examining how this *communication* has been developed
and why it is so important, Magaziner is rushing to replace
the current system (which was also developed without any analysis
of the importance of the communication aspects of the Internet)
with a "privatized" new form.

In this "privatized" new form, he has proposed creating
a "membership association" that will represent Internet users.
So Internet users are not to represent themselves, but the
U.S. government is proposing creating a rubber stamp organization
to promote its attempt to change the Internet from a media for
human-to-human communication into something that only conceives
of users as "customers" of unregulated advertisers and other
forms of business.

This is hostile to the whole nature and development of the Internet.
Magaziner claims that the "marketplace, not governments should
determine technical standards." What he seems to have no knowledge
of is how the government support for a standards process that
wouldn't be dominated by the most powerful corporations, is some
of how helpful standards have been developed. Instead Magaziner
is trying to recast the standards development process to mirror
the unhealthy situation that develops when the supposed "marketplace"
is allowed to set standards.

Magaziner is proposing creating a supposed "not for profit" corporation
to take over the domain name system functions currently being administered
by IANA (the root system and the appropriate databases). This
new corporation he proposes will have a board of directors which
will be made up of 5 members who are commercial users. There
are proposed two directors from "a membership association of regional
number registries", two members designated by the Internet Architecture
Board (IAB) and two members from an association he is proposing be
created representing domain name registeries and registrars, and
7 members from the membership organization he is creating. (Of which
he says at least one of those board seats could be designated
for an individual or entity engaged in non-commercial, not-for-profit
use of the Internet, and one for individual end users. The remaining
seats could be filled by commercial users, including trademark holders."

Thus he is basing his proposal on to-be-created associations
that will not be based on the Internet, but created to provide for
commercial control of the domain naming system.

The proposal is an effort to change the nature and character
of the Internet from a means of communication to a means of "commerce."
It is almost like claiming that the advertisers in a newspaper
should have an organization that will assure their control of the
newspaper, and ignoring the fact that the newspaper exists to
present the news, editorials, etc.

The Internet has been developed and continues to be for most of
its users, a place where one can communicate with others, whether
by email, posting to Usenet newsgroups, putting up a www site, etc.
As such it is the nature of this communication that has to be
understood and protected in any proposals to change key aspects
of how the Internet is adminstered.

Also the Internet makes possible communication with people around the
world. Thus creating a board where commercial businesses are the main
controlling interests is hostile to facilitating this communication.

While Magaziner's proposal is being distributed electronically, it gives
no indication of where it came from, and why it fails to be
based on the most essential aspects of the Internet. Why doesn't
the advisor making up such a proposal ask for discussion on line
and participate in the discussion so as to be able to create
a proposal that will reflect the needs and interests of those
who are online rather than a narrow group of commercial interests.

The Judges in the Federal District Court in Philadelphia
hearing the CDA case (the Communications Decency Act) and the
Supreme Court Judges affirming their decision recognized that
the Internet is an important new means of mass communication.
The Judges in the Federal District Court case wrote:
"The Internet is...a unique and wholly new medium of worldwide

Judge Dalzell, in his opinion, wrote explaining how

  "The Intenet is a far more speech-enhancing medium than
   print, the village green, or the mails....We should also
   protect the autonomy that such a medium confers to
   ordinary people as well as media magnates....There is
   also a compelling need for public education about the
   benefits and dangers of this new medium and Government
   can fill that role as well."

   However, there is no indication in either of Magaziner's
proposals, the longer "Framework" proposal, or the specific
proposal to restructure the DNS, that he is interested in or
has considered the benefits of the Internet for the public of
the U.S. or elsewhere around the world. Instead he is only
putting forward the wishes of certain commercial entities
who want to grab hold of the Internet for their own narrow
purposes. By restructuring the domain naming system in
a way that can put it up for control by a few commercial
interests, Magaziner's proposal is failing to protect the
autonomy that the medium confers to ordinary people, as the
court decision in the CDA case directed U.S. government

   The ARPANET and Internet (up till 1995) developed because
of an Acceptible Use Policy encouraging and supporting communication
and limiting and restricting what commercial interests were
allowed to do. As such it developed as an important means of
people being able to utilize the regenerative power of
communication to create something very new and important
for our times.

  Pioneers with a vision of the future of the Internet called
for it to be made available to all as a powerful education
medium, not for it to be turned into something that would mimic
the worst features of a so called "democratic nation" which
reduces the rights and abilities of its citizens to those of so
called "customers" of unregulated and unaccountable commercial

  The Internet and the Netizens who populate the Internet
have created something much more important than the so called
commercial online "marketplace" that the Framework is trying to
create. Netizens have created an online international marketplace
of ideas and discussion which is need to solve the complex
problems of our times. The process of "privatizing" what is
a public trust will only result in more problems and fights
among the commercial entities that are vying for their own
self interest, rather than having any regard for the important
communications that the Internet makes possible.

  Both the government processes and purposes in proposing the DNS
restructuring do not ground themselves on the important and
unique nature of the Internet. Proposals and practices to serve
the future of the Internet and the Netizens who contribute to
that future, can only be crafted through a much more democratic
process than that which led to the current proposal.
There is a need to examine the processes that have actually
given birth to and helped the Net to grow and flourish, and to
build on those processes in creating the ways to solve the
problems of the further development of the Net. Sadly Magaziner's
proposal has ignored that process, and thus we are left with a
proposal that doesn't reflect the democratic and communicative
nature of the Internet and so can only do harm to its further
development and cause ever more problems.

Ronda Hauben

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[5]  Phil Agre's "Red Rock Eater" compilation re the TLD debate
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[posted to RRE Weds 25/3/98, lost by TB, then found at www.findmail.com,
 <http://www.findmail.com/listsaver/noframes/rre/766.html>, which seems
 to munge email addresses embdedded in the mailing lists it archives. I
 have had to do some formatting fixups here and there. --T]

 Phil Agre's "Red Rock Eater" compilation of remarks on the TLD debate

[I have enclosed Dave Crocker's reply to Gordon Cook, along with the
comments on domain naming that Tony Rutkowski submitted to the NTIA. I have
taken the liberty of reformatting both messages to 70 columns. See also
http://www.flywheel.com/ircw/gpsubmit.html ]

This message was forwarded through the Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE).
Send any replies to the original author, listed in the From: field below.
You are welcome to send the message along to others but please do not use
the "redirect" command. For information on RRE, including instructions for
(un)subscribing, send an empty message to @weber.ucsd.edu

Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 08:49:22 -0800
From: Dave Crocker <@brandenburg.com>
Subject: Re: Gordon Cook reply to EFF on domain names

(My own comments submitted on the Green Paper are located at

With respect to Gordon Cooks's note forcefully criticizing the EFF's
evaluation of the US government's Green Paper on Internet administration, we
see an excellent exemplar of the pattern that has tended to dominate this
topic. As in any debate, an important requirement is to assess the
competencies and goals of those taking the different sides.

With respect to Internet administration, we tend to see those with
significant, hands-on experience believing that the existing administrative
authority (IANA) has and does work well, only needing continuing evolution
to match changes in the Internet. Hence they believe that such evolution
should be performed by and through IANA, rather than through US government
intervention. Those making such comments usually have enough operations
background to discern the considerable deficiencies in NSI's performance
over the course of its contract and, therefore, consider it an excellent
demonstration of the need to prevent for-profit registry (data base)

Claims that IANA has lost the confidence of the Internet community has no
operational basis, since those administering the Internet continue to work
under the authority and guidance of IANA.

Concerning the detail of Gordon's comments:

At 10:58 PM 3/24/98 -0800, Gordon Cook wrote:

  Cook: Anyone who expends the intellectual effort to read the Green Paper
  and various other filings should realize that this is a false statement.
  NSI is having a permanent monopoly over nothing. If EFF means complain
  that the US government will not expropriate the business that NSI built

In fact the GP does permit NSI to retain permanent, unregulated control over
the com/net/org data base and to operate it on a for-profit basis. The idea
that separating the data base operations into one part of the corporation
and the front-end sales and service (competing) registrar function into
another will somehow prevent NSI from using its special leverage sits
somewhere between silly and absurd. The strongly dominant view is that data
base operations need to rest in the hands of NOT-for-profit entities that
are subject to meaningful public oversight.

I should also note the rather strange view that NSI somehow "built up" its
business. Yes, the rate of registrations grew, but is this really due to
NSI? We need to remember that NSI did not create the business, did not fund
it and did not market it. All they did was administer it under a US
government contract and at the direction of IANA. The appeal of com/net/org
is not predominantly the excellence (or lack) of NSI's administration but
the fact that those top-level domains have the cachet of "global
citizenship". I've seen billboards in Italy and Malaysia for companies using
domain names from these gTLDs, yet the companies were clearly and only doing
local business. NSI is in no way responsible for this phenomenon. It is part
and parcel with the Internet's growth and its culture.

  in .com - that is correct. But is NSI allows others to register into .com
  that is in no way a permanent monopoly!

Since this point is confused so frequently by so many, it is worth repeating
the nature of the misunderstanding and the nature of the GP proposal.

Registration can distinguish a front-end sales and service function,
performed by a registrar, and a back-end, data-base registry function. For
the Domain Name Service, the back-end registry function must be performed by
a single entity, for each "level" in the DNS hierarchy. For each top-level
domain name, there must be a single mechanism in charge of doing the actual
data base updates, in order to ensure uniqueness and arbitrate competition.
When those vying for names are competing in terms of business, the single
mechanism must be a single, separate organization. In other words,
competition among those doing the vying needs a neutral third-party to
enforce fairness and ensure uniqueness. It is widely accepted that there can
and should be multiple, competing registrars for the generic top-level

If one of the registrars has a special, inside track to the operator of the
registry, they are certain to exploit it, since their goal is to maximize
profits. The Green Paper permits exactly this unfortunate opportunity for
NSI/SAIC. It permits the com/net/org registry to be owned and operated by
the same corporate tree that will be a registrar for com/net/org. No amount
of theoretical separation within the tree can guarantee fair treatment for
the other registrars. The only way to ensure fairness is to establish the
registry operations with an entity that has no ties to NSI/SAIC. The one
exception to this requirement is if the entity has equal ties to all its
registrars. An example of this is the Council of Registrars registry defined
for the gTLD Memorandum of Understanding, which operates as a consortium of
the registrars, and with public oversight from the POC (and PAB).

  EFF: EFF believes that the National Science Foundation (NSF) made a
  mistake by failing to control this for-profit company to protect the
  public interest.
  Cook: Anyone who reads the public record will see that the NSF acted
  perfectly properly. EFF had better make clear what its definition of the

Quite the contrary. NSI has been operating without any meaningful oversight.
Their charging scheme included a $15/year surcharge which is increasingly
being viewed as an illegal tax. Further, the $35/year service fee is
repeatedly evaluated as being between 5 and 35 times higher than necessary
to recover operating costs. For registration renewal, the fee may be as much
or more than 70 times too high. NSI claims otherwise, of course, but then
NSI started doing this job when it had none of the relevant technical or
operational skills and it has been learning as it has been developing.

With respect to NSF, the error they made was in having a small, closed
review process for the charging and the reviewing was done by people who
also lacked the relevant technical and operational expertise.

  extended to them in the future management of the domain name system. They
  made a deliberate, intentional and ongoing attempt to steal from the
  public the resource they had a five-year stewardship contract to manage
  and protect.

  Cook: An absolutely outrageous statementS.especially the last sentence.

Strong, yes, but not outrageous. NSI has claimed ownership over a data base
it did not create and whose development and operation it did not fund. It
has billing practises which include providing its customers with no
verification or correlation of payment. It is known to double-bill with some
regularity and to suspend entries erroneously with some regularity. It has a
dispute policy which makes NSI an evaluator of the dispute and is widely
acknowledged to be not simply unfair but astonishingly unfair. And so on...

Independent of all of these historical negatives is the simple and
compelling fact that for-profit control of a DNS top-level registry is
entirely contrary to the best interests of Internet users. It will result in
their being captive to the operator of the registry. As is the goal of all
for-profit organizations, the registry will seek to maximize profits;
control over the customer will permit doing that to excess.

  Only the MOUvement, which I believe has now discredited itself in front
  of a majority of Internet users, uses language designed to give Internet

On the contrary, the list of supporting signatories continues to grow. One
registrar has backed out, considerably after the USG government's
intervention clouded the process and ensured substantial delays. (What is
amazing to me is that only one has backed out.) The list of statements
supporting the gTLD MoU, submitted in response to the Green Paper has been
substantial. Best of all is the amount of material the Green Paper, itself,
took from the gTLD MoU work, although of course it made no such attribution.

  management to the contol of the International Telecommunication Union.

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