[dns-operations] stealth slaving the root zone

Eric Brunner-Williams ebw at abenaki.wabanaki.net
Thu May 17 13:50:15 UTC 2012

>> FWIW I very much doubt the vanity TLD madness will continue long
>> > enough for the root zone grow to anywhere like that size: maybe a few
>> > thousand new TLDs at most.

i've already shared what little i know on that subject.

> never underestimate the greed of a bunch of lawyers, and that is what
> drives icann.

in 2003 the protocol supporting organization (pso) surrendered all
voting seats to the icann board. in 2010 the non-voting rump of the
abandoned pso, the technical advisory group, was reviewed for its
necessity and utility. the evaluation was broadly negative.

i suggest that (a) one recognizes that there was policy-based
admission to the iana root in 2001 and 2004, and this policy was
amended to include an alternative capitalization test in 2007, by the
generic policy making bylaws entity (the gnso), and that in 2008 and
subsequent, the board (see "votes" supra) abandoned the policy-based
admission alternative, and (b) one recognizes that in anglo-saxon (or
anglo-american if you prefer, but the european (ex-uk) expression is
"anglo-saxon") legal culture the post-war period has seen the near
total dominance of the "law and economics" (aka "chicago school")
critical framework -- which i'll reduce to the phrase "the market
(capitalization test) is the only possible source of policy".

so while "greed" is a reasonable individual and collective perjuritive
of practitioners, it misses the point of what is taught, in econ
courses, b-schools, j-schools (e.g., milton), and law schools, _in_
the us and its equivalent of "the pink bits" (old reference to british
empire as denoted on schools wall maps).

missing that, it misses the tension between european (ex uk)
participants in network policy and pricing, and anglo-saxon
participants. the first may have policy denominated in a currency
other than dollars (or euros), the later must not*.

so, when looking to "what drives icann", it would be, i claim, a
useful thing to start with ira magazineer's choice, under one of a
series of administrations which any good administrative law reference
(e.g., fox) will characterize as "deregulatory", to place most of the
control of "policy" in the "market", which is to say, the incumbent
monopoly operator, creating the (realized) possibility of agency capture.

having decided what to allow as a basis for policy, e.g., admission by
capitalization, admission by arms, admission by utility for a class of
persons, ... one can look to the necessity and utility of
"non-lawyers" (generally, parties not beneficiaries of the admission
by capitalization regime, which includes most civil law practitioners,
e.g., the newly appointed independent objections party, and the
"public interest" subset of common law practitioners), in particular,
the "ops community" not fatally conflicted by employer benefit under
the monopoly-or-plutocracy regime.

the policy making can be modified -- the green and white papers
imagined that monopoly conditions would be relaxed over time, a fact
not in evidence beyond the 7% of the incumbent monopolist's market
transferred, and the 7% of the market created over a decade by third
parties, and a dozen marginal, or subsidized, nominally competitive
new operators. the green and white papers imagined that "agency
capture" would not take place (viz the competition policy goal), and
that policy alternatives to capitalization as the sole admissions test
would continue to meaningfully exist, and that a property interest in
delegations (contracts renewable under non-fictive conditions) would
not arise.

i think i've written in invisible electrons long enough. i'm wicked
underwhelmed by this collection of threads.


* cornell law, where my partner just graduated from, is one of the few
"policy" (t13 for those in the trade) law schools where law and
economics is merely one framework among many. elsewhere it is received
wisdom, except where critical economic theory is still taught in econ
schools, e.g., berkeley.

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