ISOCNZ and its registry business, Domainz, have joined a chorus of protest at the Clinton's government's green paper for the reform of Internet governance.
The paper, which was released by the US Commerce Department with the back of Clinton's Internet tsar Ira Magaziner, is regarded outside the US as being too US-centric and focused almost exclusively on US problems. It arguably leaves the delegation of the world's 241 country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) - such as .nz - in a legal limbo.
The Internet Society's own submission on the green paper is the more forthright of the two. It demands the authority of a new Internet Assigned Numbers Authority be "clearly defined and continuity maintained" through any transition to a new system and says there is "insufficient attention being paid to non-US participants."
ISOCNZ chairman Jim Higgins says his body was not consulted before the release of the green paper and "it beats me who they have consulted with, but it would appeared to be a very small group. CORE [the Council of Internet Registrars, which presented its own proposal for new generic Top Level Domains, or gTLDs, last year] isn't mentioned, they haven't talked to Europe, they haven't talked to us - who have they talked to?"
Both organisations are critical of the paper's strong emphasis on trademark issues in Internet domain names, which the ISOCNZ paper describes as "a red herring [that] draws attention away from the overriding management issues."
Patrick O'Brien, manager of Domainz, which has deliberately steered clear of making intellectual property judgements, compares the Internet to "the telephone industry, which doesn't have a trademarks forum. Their job is to provide the infrastructure. Infrastructure should also be the focus of any new IANA.
Putting intellectual property specialists at the helm of an infrastructure body is, says O'Brien, a "business model which would be considered unusual around the world. We'd like to think it will be altered."
Trademark issues are a relatively minor concern for almost all the bodies administering the world ccTLDs, and O'Brien says the green paper's authors appear to have had trouble grasping the different scale of operations in other countries in, for example, their proposal that all registries should post 24-hour guards outside their premises.
O'Brien also supports ISOCNZ's call for "the .us domain to be promoted agressively with the US for US-only companies,"leaving gTLDs such as .com for "to organisations with genuine international presence".
On the other hand, says O'Brien, "he US administration rightly feels it has invested a lot in the development of the Internet and has a right to a say" and it is good that the paper "at least includes mention of the country registries" - unlike the earlier CORE proposal.
Some will no doubt be arguing that the green paper as it stands simply could not be implemented as workable policy - yet the US administration has declared that it will be implemented within a month of the deadline for submissions.
"It's a bit strong to say the policy couldn't be applied as it stands," says Higgins. "But it will soon become unworkable if it goes through. They'd be creating a big problem for themselves and they'll have to go back and fix things."
Links to both submissions and other related material can be found at: