[DNS] Singapore AP-IFWP meeting

[DNS] Singapore AP-IFWP meeting

From: Kate Lance <clance§connect.com.au>
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 22:48:19 +1000
Below are some of the relevant bits from a report on last week's
Singapore AP-IFWP and associated meetings of ccTLD bodies, for anyone
interested in how it went.  My thanks to Connect for paying for me to
go the conference - it was a fantastic experience and has really opened
my eyes to some of the Asia-Pacific region Internet issues.

Kate Lance

Report on Asia-Pacific International Forum on the White Paper,
Singapore, 11-13 August 1998

The Meetings

(a) Asia-Pacific Country-Code Top-Level Domains, 11 August
(b) World-Wide Alliance of Top-Level Domains, 11 August
(c) Asia-Pacific International Forum on the White Paper, 11-13 August

(a) Asia-Pacific Country-Code Top-Level Domains, 11 August

The ccTLDs have until recently operated individually, but have this
year started to build regional representative bodies.  In Europe,
RIPE ccTLDs set up CENTR, and now the Asian-Pacific ccTLDs are becoming
organised in order to provide: support to new regional registries,
dispute resolution, policy advice, an information forum, and liason with
other relevant organisations.  Further information may be found at:

The Terms of Reference and organisational matters were discussed.  Full
voting-right members will be the ccTLD representatives, one per
country-code domain.  Registries and other interest groups may become
non-voting associate members.  The group decided to call the organisation
APTLD, Asia-Pacific Top-Level Domains, because the generic TLDs may also
wish to join at some later stage.  

The mood of the 3-hour meeting was positive.  The Asia-Pacific region
had ccTLDs in countries that range from very wealthy to extremely poor.  
Assisting developing countries with their Internet issues was seen as
a high priority for the organisation.  

One extraordinary and moving moment arose in a later session when Noel
Mobiha, the DNS administrator for Papua-New Guinea, described how the
first news of the tsunami disaster was sent out in email by a local 
Catholic priest.  This highlights how important Internet services can
be, especially for the undeveloped countries.  Incidently, PNG has
connectivity to the Internet only through a 2Mbps link to Melbourne
University, courtesy of Robert Elz.

(b) World-Wide Alliance of Top-Level Domains, 11 August

This was the meeting to start bringing together the members of the
regional ccTLDs into a global body, for the reasons listed above
for regional ccTLDs, and also at the moment in order to have input and
representation on the new IANA.  Further information may be found at:

The WWTLD group had released a Position Paper on the new IANA a week
before that was fairly controversial, in which they made a claim to
actually become the proposed IANA Names Council, rather than just be
represented on it along with the many other interested bodies.  After
discussion they sensibly backed away from this approach.  It was
pointed out that a need to formalise (i.e. set up contracts) between the
new IANA and existing and future ccTLDs is an important issue.  They
will be working on future direction via their mailing-lists.

(c) Asia-Pacific International Forum on the White Paper, 11-13 August

This conference covered much ground, some of it recapping of the
previous two meetings and some seeking consensus on models for the new
IANA.  Dr Jon Postel, head of the current IANA, has proposed a set of
by-laws for the new body, which must be ready to start operating by October 
this year with an interim Board.  Further information may be found at:
http://www.iana.org/newiana.html and http://www.ifwp.org/.

NSI state publically that they support the changeover and will cooperate
with the transfer of their lucrative monopoly into a competitive system.
Privately they appear, not surprisingly, to be doing everything they can
to create confusion and delay the formation of the new IANA.

They appear to have formed an alliance with a group called the Root
Server Confederation, who have been trying for some years to set up an
"alternative root server system" so that they can gain entry to NSI's
market.  The most extraordinary thing about the alliance between NSI
and RSC is that for four days in July 1997, the RSC's ex-leader, Eugene
Kashpureff, diverted access from NSI's InterNIC (which does the actual
name registrations) to his own site called AlterNIC, in order to
"protest" NSI's ownership of gTLD administration.

He was arrested by the FBI and pleaded guilty to wire fraud earlier
this year.  For NSI to now be actively working with RSC, who hacked the
code used world-wide for essential DNS activity, publically humiliated
the company and prevented their commercial activity for four days, is
very odd.  The most obvious explanation is that they hope to profit
from the confusion the RSC group generate.

The problem facing the Forum is that the White Paper proposes that a
new body be in existence to take over responsibility for the gTLD
system by the start of October.  The four meetings are supposed to gather
world-wide opinion on the structure of the body.  During the 2.5 days
of the Singapore Forum a number of workshops and discussions took
place.  By the end of the meeting, various models for the Board and the
Councils (for Names, Addresses and Protocols) seemed to be reasonably
in accordance, and also in accordance with Jon Postel's proposed
By-Laws for the new IANA.

It was remarked a number of times how civilised and polite this meeting
was compared to the two previous ones, in Reston and Geneva.  This was
largely due to the diplomatic moderation of members of the Asian
organising committee.  Most people felt that they had learned from
meeting such a wide variety of people who are deeply involved in the
Internet (over 130 attendees from 32 different countries).  

A better understanding of regional issues also arose from the meeting -
for instance the proposed By-Laws would prevent appointees of
governments from sitting on the Board, but in many regions of the world
the government or its appointee actually runs the ccTLD, and should not
be excluded on this basis.

Overall, a level of consensus appears to be growing, and hopefully this 
will continue in the final meeting, next week in Buenos Aires.  There is 
a quietly optimistic sense that the task may be achieved in time,
particularly after the success of this Forum, so long as the attempts
by NSI to delay the process do not succeed.
Received on Tue Aug 18 1998 - 20:48:22 UTC

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