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IANA needs to be dot-FIRED.


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IANA needs to be dot-FIRED.
Topic: Philosophy 3:30 pm EDT, Jun  1, 2012

I think perhaps it's time for the Internet as a whole to just go ahead and declare the IANA to be dot-fired. They are no longer deserving of the mandate they were given.

Originally, the IANA just didn't actually have a whole lot of power. Mainly they were run by some really obsessive people who put a rather boring face on what would otherwise likely be viewed as "a pack of lunatic engineers making up solutions on the spot". Over time, their attention to detail and obsessive care for the future became more trusted and most people just followed their hyper-detailed suggestions as if they were the laws of physics and all was well with the Internet. If the IANA said it, you could usually bank on that it was well thought out and would be in everyone's benefit to follow it to the letter.
They defined which netblocks people should use for what, managed a whole bunch of boring adminstrative functions, declared what domain names made sense and which ones didn't, and just generally handled things from a 10,000 foot and 1,000 year perspective. This type of planning is needed for a large network, because an inflexible step in the wrong direction not only can but will eventually turn into a serious roadblock.

During the 90's, some shrewd politicians started leaning on them, because here were these guys who "controlled" this massively global communications network and no one (that the politicians cared about) had actually given them the right to do so. There was quite a bit of posturing and hand-waving in front of the media about how these people who were controlled by no one (or were entirely controlled by the US, or the DoD depending on who was doing the wailing) were in turn in "complete control of the internet" and oh my what chaos that could cause if they weren't brought under someone else's oversight immediately. Usually these claims were made by people who very transparently did want that type of control over the entire internet.

What the people even pretending to listen to the power-grabbing politicians failed to take into account was that the IANA's primary source of authority (far above and beyond any old grants lying around) was that we trusted their decisions. When all was said and done, IANA nearly always made fairly reasonable decisions that put the health of the Internet first and foremost (and when they weren't quite there you could at least tell they were trying). They would spend a long time worrying about something, and then eventually come back with some proposals, and we (the people of the Internet) gradually came to trust that they had the best interest of the Internet in mind and would never fall prey to temptations posed by petty local political arguments. So, rather obviously attempts to
wrest "control of the internet" away from IANA fell flat when it came time to talk to engineers who were actively adding to the Internet and generally trusted IANA to be above petty motivations. The main "oversight" the IANA was subject to was that if they weren't working at keeping the internet developing in a sane manner, they'd certainly be getting privately tarred and feathered for it in the virtual backrooms where most of the engineers discussed such things. Confidence in them would lapse, and people would stop following their rules and fragmentation would occur.

However, it appears that people driven by greed and power didn't give up. Over time, IANA has essentially been restocked with people who do not have the best interests of the Internet in mind. They have their own political agendas and monetary benefits in mind, above all else. The DNS system in the US has now been rather thoroughly backdoored, allowing law enforcement agencies who aren't as careful as they should be to basically hijack domains at will with little to no oversight. The allocation system for addressing is rather completely out of control now that we're officially running low on IPv4 addresses, and instead of being on the stick about migrating over to IPv6, there's every sign that what's gone wrong with DNS is starting to spread to IPv4 with a resource that's supposed to be entirely alien to the concept of scarcity having "value" added to it by first creating the problem of "scarcity" by not repeatedly, obsessively, and continually telling people 'USE IPv6' until they start listening and do it.

Did you know at one point they even told people you have to have your own rwhois server serving updated records for who is using your IPs before you could be allocated more netblocks? Yeah, that didn't last long at all. They stopped trying to enforce proper adminstration a long while back. Now, as far as I can tell, no one's even bothering to enforce functional whois records, let alone rwhois (which was a more correct solution). There's not even minor nagging taking place about it anymore.

Last year or so we had what I thought was going to be the last wholly-manufactured "gold rush" in the form of the .xxx TLD. Not even the industry you'd think would be using such a TLD wanted it, and since it wasn't adding anything useful to the internet, it was promptly shot down as the big waste of time that it was. Jump ahead a year and the forces of greed apparently won out, with a large sum of money changing hands in order to get the new gold rush moving despite it's uselessness--with the entire thing broken down neatly into several periods of time which can be summarized like so:

1. For the first period, people who are doing porno should...
2. For the second period, people who are probably doing porno or were thinking about doing porno should...
3. For the third period, people who hadn't contacted us yet because they aren't doing porno should...
4. ...and now in the fourth period, people who think they might be thinking about doing porno in the future should...
5. ...and for the last period, just because we can't ever have enough of it, everyone who hasn't already yet should...

Very neatly broken down into groups, they'd outlined how practically the entire internet should give them money because they'd gotten their TLD approval from the IANA, and if you didn't give them money, someone else would register the name of your virgin daughter and stick ".xxx" on the end of it and that would just be a terrible shame now wouldn't it? The somewhat semi-recent reservations against cybersquatting on domains (a force which creates scarcity out of nothing) has now been entirely abandoned, with the registrar actually encouraging irrelevant registrations, because basically, more money for them!.

If an exterminating company came to your door and made a similar proposal to this, telling you that they're now spraying the neighborhood with a pesticide that doesn't actually kill bugs, but just chases them out of the home and makes them move into neighboring homes as well as breed at a 20% higher rate, your perfectly reasonable response would likely to be to tell them to leave your bug-free property immediately, and there might even be a shotgun waved about for emphasis.

...and now we come to the present dilemma that makes this so painfully obvious that it's time to say something. The IANA has failed, completely, and with the new "." registry land-grab kicking into gear, they have literally sold out the DNS system to the highest bidders, pillaging the entire thing right down to the bone. They are no longer working in the best interest of the internet, but instead working in the best interests of backdoor power-mongers, greedy financiers, and other forms of snake-oil salesmen.

The IANA has lost the mandate of the Internet, and become tools of forces of oligarchy, totalitariansim, and censorship, and it is time for them to be dot-fired. Let's everyone be thinking about how as we transition to IPv6 we develop a decentralized, non-partisan, decidedly uncontrollable replacement for the IANA which operates via the mandate of the engineers who actually make sure all this crap stays running and never let jackasses whose sole focus is making a buck take control of such an important aspect of human cultural evolution again.

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