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ICANN (New IANA) as a Pawn in an Economic Struggle Between US and




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Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 17:42:56 -0400
Reply-To: [email protected]
Originator: [email protected]
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From: Gordon Cook <[email protected]>
To: Multiple recipients of list <[email protected]>
Subject: ICANN (New IANA) as a Pawn in an Economic Struggle Between US and
X-Comment:  Commercialization and Privatization of the Internet

I asked the question a few days ago: what could justify Ira's heavy handed
tactics.  What stakes could be large enough to risk the stability of the
net?  Here is an informed hypothesis based on a 90 minutes conversation
with an expert source in these areas who has a heavy international
background.  (I have also reality checked this hypothesis with several
knowledgable observers.)

I am beginning to get an idea of what is at stake in the larger sense.
Ira, I fear, is using the internet as a pawn in a far bigger game.

The game is is inextricably linked with the privacy statutes of the OECD
and the coming October 23th deadline for American companies doing business
in Europe and data mining on European citizens as part of their ordinary
activities.  It is also inextricably linked with the international
encryption debate.

I have heard credible allegations that the US government is at such
loggerheads with the OECD countries over the use of key recovery encryption
and over the unwillingness of american big business to change its ways of
gathering data on employees, customers, contractors etc that we are coming
to the October 23th deadline with billions of dollars at stake and no
solution.

At the same time Ira has for the past three years focused on his mission
with Tom Kalil and working through the National Economic and Security
Council to setting up the internet as a mechanism for global economic
commerce.....   touting the net as a means on which, in a few year's time,
the majority of the world's economy will depend.

It looks as though Ira's agenda is to do this in such a way that the
internet can be controlled by an American based, incorporated, non profit
public authority set up under American law with a Board, purposefully
established without fiscal restraints and without any oversight or
accountability. And with board members who with a smattering of
international representation can be made as subserviant as possible to the
interests of the large American Corporations.  These Board members, through
the GIP, will be passing the cup to pay for the expenses of establishing
ICANN.  Consider Bill Burrington Director of Law and Public Policy and
Assistant General Counsel at AOL, a company which huge data holdings.  He
is the chair of the Washington DC Internetactive Services Association which
went on to form the Internet Alliance with membership very simalr to GIP.
Burrington is manning the barricades of the companies involved in the
privacy dispute with the oecd.  (Why should Burrington care? Consider AOL's
electronic profiles on its 12 million members) Consider also Andy Sernovitz
of AIM whose members have the same general interests and who helped Barb
Dooley of the CIX sell out the IFWP process.  Did Jon Postel really refuse
to attend the Harvard wrap up meeting or did Ira order him not to?

So even if Ira looks heavy handed -- for this agenda to be used as the
White House intends-- Ira needs to have his ducks in order in time for the
OECD meeting in Canada that begins next week.  He needs to demonstrate that
he has enough power to have rammed through a solution at home.   That is
why things have turned nasty during the last week and why the iron fist is
becoming seen with the incorporation of ICANN even though, by Ira's own
allegedly free process, ICANN should not yet be seen as the winner.

Ira is determined to confront the OECD next week with an Internet that *HE*
and the White House clearly controls and to do so as a bargaining chip to
use in getting our way against the Europeans and Asians and Canadians.....
on the issues of encryption and privacy statutes.  It would be instructive
to see the legal basis of the governments arguments being used to get NSI
to cave.  Could it be that their content might be embarrising?

If SAIC doesn't order NSI to sign Ira's demands by the seventh then Ira and
the white house will not be as in control of the internet, as they need to
demonstrate themselves to be, in order to use the internet as an american
dominated global commerce weapon against the other OECD governments.  The
American view is that with the internet firmly in command of the White
House on American corportate terms, the Asians and Europeans will have no
choice but to back off their privacy and the American encryption demands.

Remember also that Europe is trying to launch the Euro in such a way that
it becomes the world's reserve currency. One would like to know whether the
White House orders are do what ever is necessary to see that this effort
fails.

The Europeans and Asians understand perfectly well the power play that Ira
is engaged in.  They are not surprisingly seething with anger.  American
arrogance could be doing dangerous things.  If we drive Europe and Asia
into an economic and political alliance against us, we all will lose.
Privacy, and the freedom to live our lives without government and corporate
political or economic interference are at stake.

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-----------------
Robert A. Hettinga <mailto: [email protected]>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'