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Root server operator says he'd ignore Bush administration overreaching on domains

Following is excerpted from a Q&A with Axel Pawlik, a very interesting 
fellow who is a managing director at RIPE. It's a regional address 
registry and operates the "K" root server, which along with the other 
root servers maintains the list of top-level domains.

Axel's views are noteworthy because the root servers effectively serve 
as a check on the power of the Bush administration, which said this 
summer that it wants to be the only one to "authoriz[e] changes or 
modifications" to the list of top-level domains:





Q: What would happen if the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and 
Numbers (ICANN) decided to approve a new top-level domain--say .xxx--and 
the Bush administration decided to veto it?

Axel Pawlik: In that case, I don't know what the root server operators 
would do. Likely they would publish whatever is approved by ICANN. There 
is a difference between the content and the publication. We're only 
publishers of the root zone file. We take it from IANA (a function of 
ICANN) and we publish it.

Q: Let's say the Bush administration accuses Syria of fostering 
terrorism and decides to invade. And it demands that ICANN remove 
Syria's .sy domain from the Internet. What would you do?

Axel Pawlik: I don't believe that the U.S. government would be that 
stupid. Seriously, this has never come up. But I am quite certain that 
the Internet community at large would not like that decision and I'm not 
sure it would be carried through.


Posted by Declan McCullagh on Nov 29, 2005 in category economics

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