PAB report

Kent Crispin (
Tue, 19 May 1998 15:51:55 -0700

Folks, here's a long-overdue report on the state of things.
I apologize for not being more verbal in the past two months.

CORE held its Plenary Meeting May 14-15. In addition to a sizable
contingent of registrar representatives, David Maher, Robert Shaw, Dan
Busarow, and I made appearances. I sat in on part of the meeting,
and attended the dinner Friday evening. After dinner the incoming
and outgoing CORE excoms (CORE just held elections), David Maher, Bob
Shaw, Dan Busarow, and I met and talked into the night.

David Maher gave a brilliant summary of the political situation at the
dinner on Friday night -- I will steal some of his comments in what

I didn't have any idea what to expect at this meeting -- I have very
little knowledge about what goes on in CORE, and I had heard rumors
that it was contentious, full of strife, disorganized, and liable to
fragment at any moment.

I am happy to report, therefore, that I was very pleasantly surprised.
Indeed, CORE is contentious, full of strife, and disorganized. But it
is a great deal stronger than I expected. There is a clear
realization that it is probable that the CORE names will not go in the
root real soon, but that there is little doubt that CORE will survive,
and will be here for the long haul. The stress brought about by the
green paper has actually made a stronger organization, in my opinion.

I am also happy to report that the late night meeting with CORE, POC,
and PAB reps was very productive. There is a lot of uncertainty about the
future, there are areas of controversey, but there is a lot of common
purpose, as well. There was clear support for stronger communication
between CORE, POC, and PAB, and you will be seeing the result of that


POC activity:

Lobbying about the green paper has been the basic activity of POC
over the last three months, and it has met with some significant
successes. We will see how successful when the white paper comes
out in the next few days.

Two items of business with direct impact on PAB have been

1) the new election procedure, whereby PAB would elect almost half
of the POC membership. The proposal has been out for comment for
some time, some comments were received and incorporated, and we
should expect the final result within the next couple of weeks.

2) the second item is related: it is the creation of a "Statement
of Principles", which will also allow membership in PAB. It is a
distillation of the philosophical content of the MoU, and updated
somewhat to to deal with the impending realities of the new IANA

Depending on two things, the white paper, and the work of Jon Postel
to form a new IANA, these two items may be quite important, as I will
discuss a bit below.

But before that, I will take a moment to summarize the results of the
POC and CORE lobbying efforts. What follows is my interpretation and
opinion -- I base it on what I have heard from many sources, and on my
intuition about the operation of the US Gov, and no one else is
responsible for these strictly personal opinions:

[begin speculative interlude]

The most important result has been that foreign governments have
made their opinions known, and those opinions have not been
favorable. This feedback achieved visibility at very high levels in
the US Government. Al Gore is running for president; he wants to be
known as a leader in tune with internet technology, and a serious
international imbroglio over the internet would not fit in with his
plans at all.

Magaziner came on the scene with a serious strike against him -- he
badly botched the Clinton health care initiative, and, apparently,
he still has legal problems over that (or maybe it's just that
because of his legal problems he owes a lot of money -- I'm a little
fuzzy on this), and his reputation suffered a great deal -- rumor
has it that he has many enemies on Capitol Hill, and
psychologically, he was hoping to redeem his reputation by making a
big decisive splash in the internet.

Given the controversy surrounding the MoU, Magaziner did not see any
strength there, or anywhere else for that matter. So this looked
like an opportunity to put his stamp on things with a "Magaziner
Plan", which was the Green Paper. [Many people believe that
Magaziner thought that CORE would fold up shop, the MoU would
disappear, and the "Magaziner Plan" would carry the day. The fact
that POC and CORE did not just fold up and blow away is a real
tribute to the strength, will, and hard work of many people. The US
Government can be a very formidible opponent.]

The negative international response made Magaziner realize that
there was a serious downside risk -- that of being known as the "man
who screwed up the internet". For a person with a weak reputation
already this is a serious problem. Rumor has it that Gore is aware
of this, and that he (Gore) is worried that Magaziner will screw
things up. Serious political maneuvering internal to the White
House is taking place.

Further maneuvering is apparently taking place between SAIC (NSI's
parent company, which has *tremendous* influence in Washington) and
the Department of Justice, which has some interest in NSI's monopoly
position. SAIC is probably now aware that it simply cannot maintain
NSI's monopoloy, but it will try to strike the best deal it can.
[Note DOJ's actions against Microsoft, and contrast that with NSI's

[end speculative interlude]

In any case, and all psychological and political speculation aside,
there has been a decided change in Magaziner's tone reported by those
who speak with him -- a change from the early green paper days. There
is no concrete information about what will be in the white paper, but
there is reason for cautious optimism.

Best guess is that the white paper will basically hand responsibility
over to IANA, and charter IANA with the task of forming its own
replacement, with just a little oversight from the USG. It is also
thought that the new IANA will be the one to decide on all new TLDs --
that is, *no* new gTLDs will be created until after the new IANA is
formed. Part of the process of forming the new IANA will be creation
of a fair and unbiased process for adding new TLDs... It is also
expected that there will be an interim board of directors for the new
IANA that will help get things off the ground -- this interim board of
directors may or may not authorize new TLDs.

But there is little point in speculating about the white paper at
this time, since it is supposed to be out next week. More
interesting is speculating about the composition of the new IANA, and
the relationship it will have with POC, CORE and PAB.

It is expected that the new IANA will have a board of directors. And
it is also anticipated that there will be a subsidiary body that will
be responsible for dns matters -- this body has been called the "Names

The relationship between the Names Council and the MoU structure is
unknown. It is unlikely in the extreme that the current members of
POC will populate the NC, but, OTOH, it is likely that the NC will have
a composition something like the POCs -- that is, members appointed
from organizations like WIPO, ISOC, INTA, and so on. Most
interesting from the PAB perspective is that there has been talk of a
body like PAB being involved as well.

Likewise, the fate of the current PAB and POC is unknown, because the
Names Council and perhaps a new representative organization will
provide oversight over registries and registrars. CORE and POC are
bound to each other by contracts (the gTLD MoU, the CORE MoU, and the
CORE Articles of Association), and those contracts will have to be
amended or replaced in the new IANA structure.

PAB, on the other hand, is a very loosely defined group. The only tie
to the MoU is that signatories of the MoU are allowed to become
members of PAB. PAB could, for example, vote to allow other
membership criteria (the new "Statement of Principles", incidentally,
is not tied to the MoU, but rather is tied to IANA).

In the midst of all this uncertainty the question is what to do? The
answer almost universally agreed upon at the CORE meeting was to
simply proceed. The fact is that the MoU is the only coherent plan on
the table, and, while it is unlikely in the extreme that it will be
adopted as is, it is quite possible that it will be adopted in
significant part. The green paper borrowed heavily from the MoU, and
if a more sympathetic alternative is adopted, a great deal of the
substance of the MoU may be incorporated.

With that in mind, therefore, I believe we should proceed with the
adoption of the "Statement of Principles" as membership criteria, and
with the POC plan for elections. Please comment on this -- I hope to
circulate a formal announcement very soon


Other News:

I produced a document which I submitted to the hearings held by the
House Science Committee. I also cc'd those comments to Becky Burr --
you can see them at

if you haven't already.

Interestingly enough, though the formal close of comments on the
green paper was March 23, there are many, many documents that have
been presented after that time, including a *very* large number of
email messages from Jay Fenello.

Vivian worked on a revamp of the PAB web pages. I have put her work
on Songbird, and expanded upon it -- you can see the result at

Please check this out -- it's not in the same league as Bob Shaw's
revamp of the MoU web pages, but it's at least reasonably up-to-date.

If this new format is acceptable to the membership I will propose that
it be accepted as the official web site, and that the
"" domain name be pointed to it instead of the old
one. Any comments?

Kent Crispin, PAB Chair			"No reason to get excited",			the thief he kindly spoke...
PGP fingerprint:   B1 8B 72 ED 55 21 5E 44  61 F4 58 0F 72 10 65 55