Re: [DNS] Nomination as auDA Director

Re: [DNS] Nomination as auDA Director

From: Ian Smith <smithi§nimnet.asn.au>
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 18:21:29 +1100 (EST)
On Thu, 15 Nov 2001, Patrick Corliss wrote:

 > ********* auDA Director Speaking Personally *******
 > 
 > On Wed, 14 Nov 2001 04:36:06 +1100 (EST), Ian Smith wrote:
 > 
 > > Naturally I wouldn't envy anyone from the 'community sector' in such an
 > > environment, I'm sure it would be frustrating, hard work.  The way the
 > > APANA tender - a terrific effort given the time available I must say -
 > > was rejected for being a few hours late . . .
 > 
 > Hi Ian
 > 
 > I am sure it was a fine effort but, nevertheless, I am surprised to hear
 > comments of this nature.  The terms were quite explicit.  I'll make a few
 > comparisons and comments on my own behalf.
 > 
 > The other day I went to a house auction.  It was advertised at 2:00 pm.  The
 > bidding was brisk and the house was sold within 10 to 15 minutes, max.  I
 > did not buy the house myself.  After the sale concluded, a prospective buyer
 > turned up late.  They were shocked that the sale was over.  Pity but there
 > was no chance of starting over.  Put yourself in the auctioneer's position.

Hi Patrick.

Well I don't see the Australian DNS as anyone's private property to be
auctioned off to the highest bidder (though probably I'm in a minority
on that by now) and considering mooted 'flexibility' to the status quo
and supposedly to less than highly-resourced bidders, perhaps less of a
hardline commercial decision may have been expected, at least till now. 

Once determined to proceed upon this path of fully commercialising .au,
such tactics and lack of regard and flexibility towards those who've
helped build this wonderful gift horse for a few well-heeled mobs to now
come in and clean right up on, is not in any way surprising; still I
find it lamentable just how easily and quickly it's come into force. 

 > I've seen similar situations reported with prospective Parliamentary
 > candidates who fail to lodge their application by the specified time.  And
 > everyone knows a tender closes exactly at the time stated.  It really is a
 > sensitive commercial transaction.
 > 
 > Formerly I was a University student then later worked as a lecturer.  I
 > learned the lesson about submitting late assignments as a student and
 > applied the same rules as a lecturer.  The rule was publicised widely and
 > applied strictly.
 > 
 > I have been criticised on this list for favouring compliance with "the
 > rules".  But I assure you that, as an auDA director, I would be unforgiving
 > if the CEO relaxed the rules and, as a result, created a threat of legal
 > action from the other tenderers.

I'm taking Don's point .. once the culture has been taken entirely in
this direction, then sure these rules have been locked in, mostly by
those standing to gain the most from their establishment.  Big money
wins again, as it is supposed to by current government policies.

 > > . . . and AuDA's quoted response to
 > > Robert Elz' refusal to be so far forced out of his org.au and id.au
 > > delegations shows clearly just what sort of front body AuDA has become.
 > 
 > The DNS is a hierarchical system.  The holder of DOT allocates the Top Level
 > Domain AU to auDA who then allocates the Second Level Domains at its
 > discretion.  Robert Elz knows that quite well.  However, I'll refrain from
 > further comment at this time.

Lower level domains are delegated (in the nameservers), but operation of
subdomains is not 'controlled' by the parent nameserver organisation;
that is not what delegation means.  As Robert Elz has also pointed out,
if delegation of .au implies control of the policies of eachdomain.au,
then your delegation of your.com.au no longer means you are free to
create yoursubdomain.your.com.au, and that the com.au registrar will now
'control' your domain.  This is a drastic departure from prior policy. 

Further, if some new registrar takes over com.au (for example) then they
are free to redelegate your.com.au as well, by the argument AuDA states. 

And if grandfathering provisions apply, why do they not apply to org.au?

 > > The similarities with recent, not dissimilar, political and commercial
 > > interference with the board and management of the ABC are obvious, as
 > > are the likely consequences to the non-commercial internet community.
 > 
 > Huh ??  Is that drawing a long bow, or what ?  There's no comparison and I'd
 > ask you not to make such generalisations.  I for one have every confidence
 > in our CEO unlike the ABC who got rid of Shier.  As well, the Australian
 > government has never interfered with the activities of the auDA Board while
 > I have been a director.  Never.

The government began setting up the decimation of the ABC when first
appointing MacDonald and Kroger to the board; Shier was only the person
they picked to implement the destruction.  That they have failed so far
to complete this task was hardly from want of trying, but in the face of
huge opposition from the huge public support that the ABC still enjoys,
even in its present largely emasculated state.

So was Tony Staley, ex-president of the Liberal Party, appointed to the
AuDA board for his deep understandings of how the Australian DNS worked?

 > There is no doubt the government maintains a "watching brief" but their
 > view, as far as I can tell, is to allow true industry self regulation.  I
 > strongly support that approach. As well, I am particularly cautious to
 > ensure a proper balance is maintained, in the decision making process,
 > between "supply" and "demand" as well as "organisations".

'True industry self regulation' and 'competition policy' has brought us
nothing but our industries being taken over by increasingly fewer major
players.  Qantas, Woolworths, Telstra, bank cartels, whatever you like.

In which instances have these policies ensured that smaller players can
compete fairly with the monsters that will, in this ongoing scenario,
shortly themselves be taken over by ever larger overseas companies? 
What's to stop VeriSign taking the lot now, for enough money?

The only 'proper balance' in such an environment is 'get big or get out'
as Doug Anthony was wont to tell small farmers 20 years ago.  I'm tired
of these pretenses at community consultation and so forth; it's now just
something big companies need to (and can afford to) add a couple of
staff to 'deal with', like Environmental Impact Statements for the next
rounds of forest devastation are mass-generated by expensive software.

 > <snip>
 > 
 > > I expect to Don, but meanwhile do hope you will reconsider withdrawing.

Since reading Don's later postings, I now better understand why he feels
that his time can be more effectively used elsewhere; he's analysed and
mirrored back the clearly operating culture of AuDA as a whole, likely
correctly seeing it's too late to suggest or assist a change of course.

 > Don is welcome to stand as a member of the Board as is anyone who meets the
 > relevant criteria.  I say that sincerely.  Personally, I came on the Board
 > quite independently and, whilst I knew the then CEO from the DNS mailing
 > list, I knew nobody on the then Board.
 > 
 > Believe me, it is truly a worthwhile and interesting endeavour.
 > 
 > Best regards
 > Patrick Corliss
 > Speaking Personally

I hope neither you nor other well-meaning board members, nor the CEO,
take anything I've said personally; it's certainly not meant that way.

However if you believe that this culture isn't being orchestrated by
present government policy towards more effective longterm control of the
internet in Australia, and assuming you don't necessarily favour such an
outcome, then I ask you to carefully examine the processes used to get
to this point over especially the last months, and ask just how much
weight has been allocated to opinions based on the financial backing of
those whose staff have been most present and vocal in presenting them,
here and on the panels.

The change to EPP for the registry technical specs is one case in point; 
I must admit I was delighted to see the APANA folks rising to that and
other challenges that I thought would likely exclude smaller bidders.

It wouldn't have hurt AuDA to look at what can be done by those with a
long demonstrated commitment to the once-only non-commercial internet; 
sure, bigger bids by cashed-up crews would have succeeded anyway in the
present culture, but at least some semblance of 'balance' might be seen. 

Cheers, Ian

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Received on Sat Nov 17 2001 - 07:32:02 UTC

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