Tag Archives: Esther Dyson

New gTLDs A Money Grab And A Mistake; Whois Privacy Exists Only Because Of Criminals: Vixie

New generic Top Level Domains are a money grab and ICANN has been captured by industry are claims made by Dr Paul Vixie at a conference in Melbourne, Australia, last Sunday, according to a ZDNet report.”I think it is a money grab. My own view is that ICANN functions as a regulator, and that as a regulator it has been captured by the industry that they are regulating. I think that there was no end-user demand whatsoever for more so-called DNS extensions, [or] global generic top-level domains (gTLDs),” Vixie said in response to an audience question.Vixie went on to say that he believes the demand for new gTLDs has come from “the people who have the budget to send a lot of people to every ICANN meeting, and participate in every debate”, that is, the domain name registrars who simply want more names to sell, so they can make more money. But these new domains don’t seem to be working.”They’re gradually rolling out, and they are all commercial failures,” Vixie said.”I’m sure that there will be another 2,000 of them sold, because $185,000 to pay the application fee for each one [is] chump change to the companies who want to make money doing this.”In Vixie’s view, creating the new domains goes against ICANN’s purpose.”ICANN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity [under the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law], and their job is to serve the public, not to serve the companies… I think that until they can come up with an actual public benefit reason they should be creating more of these, they’ve got no cause to act,” Vixie said.”There should be no price at which you can buy .microsoft, but there is, and that’s a mistake. That indicates corruption, as far as I’m concerned.”Vixie’s opposition to the new gTLDs echoes those of another internet pioneer, Esther Dyson. Back in 2011 Dyson, the inaugural ICANN chair, continued her opposition to ICANN’s plans saying “this is an economic creation” as she contrasted the programme with how companies like Twitter and Amazon built value into top-level domains. “What I would like to see is real innovation. … For that, you don’t need a new TLD.”Vixie went on to say that, again according to ZDNet, that’s one reason that domain names now cost “effectively nothing”, because they can be bought with a stolen credit card, or in bulk for just pennies.”The WHOIS privacy industry would not exist if not for criminals,” Vixie said.”There are plenty of folks [who] would like to say [that] for civil society purposes we need the ability for dissidents to register a domain name and complain about their own government, and not have to worry about getting their doors kicked in. Frankly, that is not a realistic scenario, and that is not the way that WHOIS privacy gets used,” he said.”We’ve also seen through Brian Krebs’ work, there are plenty of registrars, registries, and ISPs that specialise, they cater to the criminal element. We’ve got businesses that exist for no purpose other than to enable the dark side of the economy. I hate that. And it is DNS, again, that makes all of that possible.”Vixie pointed out a clear difference between WHOIS and DNS, however.”WHOIS, you can lie. You can put in an address that is not your own, or you can pay some WHOIS privacy provider to hide the identity of your domain name registration, or your IP address registration. And so investigators, both criminal and civil, have long learned that WHOIS is probably not going to help them much. They check it, but they don’t expect any results,” he said.”DNS is not like that. If you lie in DNS, your shit doesn’t work, and that gives us some power. It gives us some leverage.”Vixie also called for “attendees to implement technologies that can improve the integrity of DNS, because right now it can’t be trusted — technologies such as the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), DNS Response Rate Limiting (DNS RRL), and DNS Response Policy Zones (DNS RPZ).”To read the ZDNet article in full, go to:

US Government Changes To IANA Won’t Happen Until Internet Security, Stability And Resiliency Protected

The US Government’s proposal to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the US government’s stewardship of the Domain Name System through its contract with ICANN to run IANA will not happen unless “any transition plan [meets] the conditions of supporting the multistakeholder process and protecting the security, stability and resiliency of the internet.”The clarification by Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling followed some criticisms that the move, which was first outlined by the US Government in 1997, could lead to unscrupulous countries getting hold of the keys to the internet.Criticisms of the move came largely from US Republicans and the right. Sarah Palin said the US was “surrendering our control of the internet” and that it “is a colossal foreign policy error with long term negative repercussions for freedom.”And writing in the Wall Street Journal, Gordon Crovitz quoted ICANN Founding Chair Esther Dyson saying “In the end, I’d rather pay a spurious tax to people who want my money than see [Icann] controlled by entities who want my silence.”Dyson goes on to say she fears UN oversight is a “fate worse than death” for the internet. Although the US is unlikely to allow the UN to take over the IANA function.Crovitz then concludes “the alternative to control over the Internet by the U.S. is not the elimination of any government involvement. It is, rather, the involvement of many other governments, some authoritarian, at the expense of the U.S. Unless the White House plan is reversed, Washington will hand the future of the Web to the majority of countries in the world already on record hoping to close the open Internet.”But it is likely these fears are unfounded in any semblance of truth. Strickling’s last three paragraphs note:
Our announcement has led to some misunderstanding about our plan with some individuals raising concern that the U.S. government is abandoning the Internet. Nothing could be further from the truth. This announcement in no way diminishes our commitment to preserving the Internet as an engine for economic growth and innovation. We will continue to advocate for U.S. interests and an open Internet through our role on ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and in other international venues including the Internet Governance Forum.We have been clear throughout this process that any transition plan must meet the conditions of supporting the multistakeholder process and protecting the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet. I have emphasized that we will not accept a proposal that replaces NTIA’s role with a government-led or an inter-governmental solution. Until the community comes together on a proposal that meets these conditions, we will continue to perform our current stewardship role.We look forward to a spirited discussion from the global multistakeholders as they begin discussions on the transition plan at the ICANN meeting in Singapore next week. I am confident that the global community will ultimately develop a thoughtful and appropriate transition plan that the U.S. Government will fully embrace.

ICANN Critics Complain Over New gTLDs to Senate, But Little Any Can Do

Some of the critics of ICANN’s plan to introduce new generic Top Level Domains vented at the organisation’s plans at a US Senate hearing Thursday, but there is little any of the hearing participants can do to stop.The introduction of new gTLDs received cautious support from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with the committee’s opening statement saying:
If ICANN is determined to move forward, it should do so slowly and cautiously. The potential for fraud, consumer confusion, and cybersquatting is massive and argues for a phased in implementation. Scaling back the initial round of new top level domains introduced in 2013 may be a prudent approach. Companies, non-profit organizations, and others are rightly concerned that this new landscape will require them to spend money to protect their online identity. It’s my hope that we can phase this expansion in over time and not be regretful after the fact that it was done too hastily. That said, there are exciting new possibilities out there.But participants lined up to give ICANN a whack without much success. One exchange reported by Ad Age between Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and ICANN Senior VP-Stakeholder Relations Kurt Pritz went:
“I’m hopeful you will listen to these concerns,” said Ms. Klobuchar. “Will you listen to these concerns as we go forward?””I certainly will,” Mr. Pritz replied.Another critic, Dan Jaffe, exec VP-government relations for the Association of National Advertisers, wants ICANN to delay commencing accepting applications for gTLDs in January saying “there is not a consensus. There is nothing sacrosanct about this January 12 date.” The ANA continued with its claims that creating hundreds of new generic TLDs will burden businesses of all sizes, forcing them to defensively purchase numerous domains with different iterations of their brand names reported Ad Age, something supported by Angela Williams, general counsel for the YMCA of the USA who said the YMCA “can’t afford to keep trying to do this to protect our brand.” But Williams is a stooge for the part of the intellectual property lobby that is vociferously opposing the introduction of new gTLDs, and as Kieren McCarthy recently pointed out, the YMCA has never been involved in ICANN’s activities until the Dakar meeting in October this year.In his testimony to the committee according to Ad Age, Kurt Pritz said “studies indicate that corporations and other parties will not need to defensively register as many domains as they think, because many of the new TLDs will not be large enough to attract cybersquatters and ‘typosquatters.’ He also pointed to trademark protections built into the expansion strategy. But his reassurances did not seem to move the opponents.””Now is the time for launching the program,” Pritz went on to say reported PC World. “It is the proceed of well-thought-out, thoroughly debated polices that are designed to benefit the billions of Internet users through increased competition, choice and innovation.”The new domains will create competition in the domain-name market and will mitigate the market power of the current TLDs, including .com, he said.Meanwhile the inaugural ICANN chair Esther Dyson continued her opposition to ICANN’s plans saying “this is an economic creation” as she contrasted the programme with how companies like Twitter and Amazon built value into top-level domains. “What I would like to see is real innovation. … For that, you don’t need a new TLD.”

Q. What Unites Esther Dyson And YMCA? A. Opposition To New gTLDs

A representative of the Young Men’s Christian Association of the United States of America (YMCA) and Esther Dyson will appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation a full committee hearing on ICANN’s expansion of top level domains today (Thursday).Others who will be appearing include ICANN’s Kurt Pritz, Fiona Alexander from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Dan Jaffe from the Association of National Advertisers and the Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight.While it is predictable that Jaffe will rant against the introduction of new gTLDs, it is to be hoped the committee will ask why the organisation has only belatedly come to the party in opposing new gTLDs.The proposal for new gTLDs has been around since the mid-2000s and the ANA has even submitted comments on the proposal around 2008. Something Robert Liodice, the organisation’s president and CEO, forgot when writing his ill-informed letter to ICANN’s CEO and president in August 2011. Embarrassingly for the ANA and Liodice, Beckstrom refuted many of the issues noted in their letter and outlined how comments including the ANA’s had been taken into account when formulating new gTLD policy.Esther Dyson is an oddity. She was ICANN’s inaugural chair and has become a vocal opponent of new gTLDs, in an article she wrote for the Project Syndicate in August that new gTLDs do not “actually create any new value.””The value is in people’s heads – in the meanings of the words and the brand associations – not in the expanded namespace. In fact, the new approach carves up the namespace: the value formerly associated with Apple could now be divided into Apple.computers, apple.phone, ipod.apple, and so on.”Dyson believes “this sounds confusing [and] that is because it is.”Possibly, on the face of it, strangest appearance will be from Angela Williams, the General Counsel of the YMCA in the US. Kieren McCarthy on his dotNXT blog has dug a little deeper. McCarthy notes that the reason they are appearing is solely because of the intellectual property lobby.”The YMCA turned up for the first time at an ICANN meeting at the most recent meeting in Dakar just over a month ago,” wrote McCarthy. “Incredibly its representative, Michael Carson, immediately became the person in charge of both communication and membership for the newly formed Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns Constituency (NPOC).””Michael’s sudden elevation is thanks to the NPOC’s chair, Debra Hughes. Debra represents the Red Cross but is viewed by some in the ICANN constituency she represents – the non-commercial stakeholders group – as a Trojan Horse for intellectual property interests.”

Former ICANN Chair Dyson Says New gTLDs “Will Create Jobs, But Little Extra Value”

Esther Dyson, the inaugural ICANN chair from October 1998 to November 200, has come out again against new generic Top Level Domains saying in an article for the Project Syndicate that new gTLDs do not “actually create any new value.””The value is in people’s heads – in the meanings of the words and the brand associations – not in the expanded namespace. In fact, the new approach carves up the namespace: the value formerly associated with Apple could now be divided into Apple.computers, apple.phone, ipod.apple, and so on.”Dyson believes “this sounds confusing [and] that is because it is.”However one has to wonder why is this any more confusing than the 230 or so ccTLDs around the world, most of which the vast majority of internet users would almost never encounter. The same could be said for many of the proposed gTLDs. On city or regional gTLDs, if I am living outside of Germany it is likely I will only encounter a TLD such as .BERLIN or .PARIS unless I actually am seeking information on the city.But Dyson believes “all of this will create jobs, but little extra value. To me, useless jobs are, well, useless. And, while redundant domain names are not evil, I do think that they are a waste of resources.”But it is easy to say they are useless jobs. There are plenty of useless jobs in the world if you personally do not get any benefit from what is being done or produced.There are also plenty of useless products. Stephen Colbert in February parodied the number of toothpaste varieties available in the US – there were 412 of them and that there were now only 352. Colbert expressed mock outrage that “the plummeting number of toothpaste varieties [infringed on his] right to brush each of his 32 teeth with its own individual toothpaste!”The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cEra of American Dental Exceptionalism Is Overwww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo ArchiveBut we do not limit the number of toothpaste varieties available when surely ten would be plenty to give everyone choice. And people cope with such variety of toothpaste – they do not go home confused without any toothpaste because there were too many varieties.Personally I think there will be successful and unsuccessful gLTD applications, and even those that get online. There will also be others that are neither, that get by and make enough money to continue.Dyson goes on to say that “when ICANN started more than ten years ago, we were accused of commercializing the Internet. In fact, we were building an orderly market, setting policies for how much registries could charge, fostering competition among registrars, and making sure that we served the public interest.””Unfortunately, we failed to deliver on that promise. Most of the people active in setting ICANN’s policies are involved somehow in the domain-name business, and they would be in control of the new TLDs as well. It’s worth it to them to spend their time at ICANN meetings (or to send staffers), whereas domain names are just a small part of customers’ and user’ lives. And that means that the new TLDs are likely to create money for ICANN’s primary constituents, but only add costs and confusion for companies and the public at large.”Dyson concludes saying “the DNS will lose its value over time, and most people will get to Web sites and content via social networks and apps, or via Google (or whatever supersedes it in the competitive marketplace). The bad news is that there could well be much superfluous expense and effort in the meantime.”But maybe these changes, if Dyson is right, are all part of evolution. There will be change and it is likely the vast majority of predictions for 20, even ten, years time will be wrong.Esther Dyson’s article is widely reproduced online, but originally appeared on the Project Syndicate website at www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/dyson35/English.

Esther Dyson Says New gTLDs Will Not Add To “Sum Of Human Happiness”

Esther Dyson, the founding chair of ICANN, has voiced her disapproval of new generic Top Level Domains, telling TechCrunch.TV she does not think new gTLDs will “add to the sum of human happiness.”Dyson opposes the new gTLDs for a number of reasons. She says we are not running out of domain names “but we are running out of space in people’s heads” and that while it is not a way for ICANN to make money, it is a “way for registries and registrars to make money.”Originally Dyson said that she thought it would be a good idea to have extra TLDs such as .FIN for financial services but now she says you do not need that, you just need a good brand name.In the interview Dyson says “there are huge trademark issues” and that “it is offensive. If I own a trademark now I have to go register it in 2800 different domains” and it will create lots of litigation.Dyson says that it will cost $185,000, but in reality it will cost a lot more to operate the registry behind the gTLD as well as the annual ICANN fee of $25,000.