Possession of the keys, known as DNSSec, would let the U.S. government spoof IP addresses and prevent citizens of any other nation from doing so. It’s a sign of just how distrusted the U.S. has become under President Bush that ICANN might do this. It’s a sign of just how real those suspicions are that I would support it.
While observers like ICANNWatch see this as an attempt to avoid legal responsibility, it would also help sidestep a recent Department of Homeland Security demand that it turn over the master key for the DNS root zone, which controls the network.
Heisse Online, a German site, seems to be the only organization reporting correctly on what is going on, although their report couches all this in technical terms.
DNSsec is a set of technologies designed to prevent attacks
on the DNS by governments. The idea is that Verisign would retain the
DNS, while ICANN would control the DNSsec. By becoming an international
body like the IOC, ICANN would keep this crucial database from coming
under the control of a single government.
That’s just what the Bush Administration wants, to be that single government. And to wield that power over the Internet as an instrument of its foreign policy.
Most stories on the Lisbon ICANN meetings concern the final rejection of the .XXX domain, legal fall-out from the collapse of RegisterFly, a domain registrar, and Verisign’s increase in .com and .net fees.
But commentaries like this one from former Bush FCC commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth,
and even this one from Declan McCullough,
deliberately obscure the real issue. Because of the Bush
Administration, no one trusts the U.S. with anything important anymore.
Nor, unfortunately, should they. The government which lost Iraq, which
is losing Afghanistan, which politicized Justice and shredded the
Constitution, can now add the loss of the Internet to its legacy.
ICANN is allowing discussions of this and other issues at its new public participation site.