rs79.vrx.palo-alto.ca.us

I WAS A TEENAGE SHILL FOR NETWORK SOLUTIONS


I WAS A TEENAGE SHILL FOR NETWORK SOLUTIONS


Craig Simon wrote about me in his PhD dissertation on the DNS Wars. He also credits me for coining the phrase "DNS Wars", and that and $3 will get you a coffee at Starbucks.

http://www.rkey.com/essays/diss.pdf
http://www.vrx.net/docs/simondiss.pdf

"Therefore, given the loose projections someone might be able to make in late 1995 about the real cost of processing a domain name registration three years later, leaving room for profit, a $10 or $15 annual fee would have been a safe estimate. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we know that the wholesale price of a domain name was finally set at $6 per year. Consequently, it is clear that the $35 fee set by Mitchell, Strawn and Graves was unduly generous to NSI.

Of course, their projections also had to leave space for several unknown factors, most importantly the cost of litigation. The fee had to be large enough to build a fund that would cover what their press release described as ďreasonably foreseeable contingencies.Ē The estimates turned out to be overinflated; NSI did pay handsomely to hire some tough lawyers over the years. A raft of Washington lobbyists were hired as well." "The company even paid the way of a few agents provocateurs when less scrupulous tactics came in handy." (ref 302) .
.
.
302: NSI funded travel for IAHC critics such as Richard Sexton, Einar Stefferud, and Adam Todd, among others. .
.
.

Here's what Wikipedia says:

    Traditionally, an agent provocateur (plural: agents provocateur, French for "inciting agent") is a person employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act. More generally, the term may refer to a person or group that seeks to discredit or harm another by provoking them to commit a wrong or rash action.

Here's the deal. There were about 200 people involved in the discussion, maybe 100 lurkers. Of the remaining 100 half were pro CORE/IAHC people and half were for a system where no one entity had aegis over every name; it's a choke point and lawyers will gravitate to it as the seat of internet power. (which is of course what happened).

During the IFWP conference - 3 meetings held all over the world: Virginia, Geneva and then Singapore - people were meeting to discuss where the consensus points were and a draft would be submitted per the governments request of what the replacement for IANA should be.

When nobody but CORE and the couple of scattered lurkers showed up the discussion was very one sided.

So about 3 weeks before the next one in Geneva I got a call from Chuck Gomes who was manager of support at the Internic. He asked if I was going to Geneva.

"No" I said, "that's kind of out of my snack bracket to be going to Geneva" and before I could go on about how these sorts of things should be done on the net he quicky asked if I'd like to go.

"What's the catch?" I asked. NSI paying for me to go? That's cool as hell going to Geneva on the internics dime but the halcyon years of a bunch of geeks in room 6b processing all of the internet's domain creation and modification any more this was the NSI evil empire days. I was nervous all of a sudden and before I could say "Im not going to advance some Agenda for NSI I don't believe in" Chuck said that they didn't want me as a mouthpiece to point out any particular view, they just felt discussion had been awfully one sided and that there were some poeple who thet thought articulated principles they had common ground with - like a voting membership of ICANN. So, the deal was they pay for airfare and room and no more and I was free to have a good time at the IFWP meeting. I'd love to say there were lavish dinners with NSI but no.

When Don Mitchell was instructed by the FNCAC to tell their contractor, NSI, to begin charging for domain names, Don put aside 15% of that for an "intellectual infrastructure fund". This was he said "to keep the IETF process pure, by funding things like travel expenses and workshops"

In the end the head of the CORE people managed to get an act of congress to take the IIF money, all of it, and put it towards his pet project - Internet2 - which was absolutely not what it had been intended for.

So. Did I take money from NSI? No. They sent me plane tickets twice, and I had a free room.

About a year later they asked me to write diagnostics for the shared registry system ("SRS") which I did, it's what's in use today.


Accusations raged during the DNS Wars of people being "shills". Despite Craig's odd characterization of me as an "agent provocateur", Jim Fleming also experienced the same treatment, being suspected of being the same for AT&T as Jim was under contract to them at the time (pers. comms.). But he was working on the 800 system code, that is the software that made the free 1-800 numbers work. He was the only person that work on the sofware and upgrade it while the machines were running, and was asked to come out of retirement to repair this, and he wasn't an intellectual property type, he was a computer programmer who just happens to have run the computer "IHNPSS" that handled a majority of east coast email in the pre-Internet UUCP days, as it was the machine that replaced the venerable "IHNP4" which became, Fleming says (pers. comms.) unable to cope with the load.

Marilyn Cade is AT&T's point (wo)man for trademark and domain issues, not Jim fleming she has been involved with ICANN from its inception to time of writing over a decade later. Fleming dropped out of "the ICANN process" over nine and a half years ago.


ICANN later passed a rule that prohibited anyone having anything to do with is in the DNS industry which Prof. Michael Froomkin at Miama school of Law wrote about in the Illinois Law Review, Page 64:

    In summary, it is unclear whether the desire for DNS uniformity justifies ICANNís exclusion of alternate roots from the list of potential registries. Certainly, the antitrust cases suggest that ICANNís asserted justifications will be subject to searching scrutiny on their merits.

    To the extent ICANN can convincingly present a technical need to consolidate the DNS in a single root, the law will likely defer to that technical justification.

    By contrast, if someone could demonstrate that consolidation is not necessary for technical reasons, ICANNís insistence on excluding alternate roots would be problematic under the antitrust laws.

    Even if ICANNís technical arguments are warranted, they do not justify exclusion of anyone who deals with an alternate root unless there is reason to believe that those applicants will use their position to undermine the stability of the legacy root.

Fortunately for us they set limits on professional association only, we still get to hang out as long as they don't notice we evil alt.root people fraternize with IANA staff. Simon Higgs wrote draft-higgs and he and I represent rather strongly the alt.root crowd. Bill Manning seemed to me #2 man at IANA back in the day. Of course we don't talk about DNS any more, the same way that Stef and Dave Crocker are great friends but won't talk about DNS or the way Brian Reid and Paul Vixie won't talk about "source of authority" to each other any more. Besides the anti-trust and fiscal damages this has also diminished the camaraderie that once was on the net, and for no good reason.