Auerbach works at
Precept Software developing
audio/video products. He runs
Cave Bear consulting and
product development. Since the
Seventies, he has worked on
interoperability. He produces
"Dr. Watson, the Network
1998 by Karl
summary [outline] of what is
happening with the NSF, NSI, and the
domain name system. A crisis in the domain
name system is at hand....
1. The domain
name system may start to float without
clear control as of April 1,
- a) April 1
may be the Internet's Black Wednesday.
b) The DNS system may not fall apart on
that exact date, but it will start to
deteriorate,balkanize, and then become
2. NSF is
abandoning all effective oversight of the
domain name database.
- a) NSF has
failed to comply with 5 USC 552a (The
Privacy Act of 1974) with regard to
selling the domain name database
(including the "WhoIs" database and
contact records.) This can cause major
litigation (billions of dollars in
statutory penalties) against NSF.
b) NSF has not given NSI clear
directions whether and how NSI should
return the DNS database to NSF at the
end of the cooperative agreement. (What
happens to registrations received by
NSI after March 31, 1998?)
c) NSF has not indicated whether, or
how, it will distribute copies of the
database once it is returned from
d) NSF has not indicated how
periods which extend beyond March 31,
1998 are to be apportioned. (Issue of
tens of millions of dollars.)
policies of NSI give trademark holders
extraordinary power over non-trademark
These powers are at odds with any
of trademark holders.
4. NSI is an
unregulated, worldwide monopoly.
- a) It has
created this monopoly, a large revenue
and profit stream, and a strong brand
name using NSF's lack of oversight.
b) When NSF allowed fees to be charged,
it was only to recover costs NSI
incurred due to the unexpected
expansion of .com, .edu, and .org. It
is patently clear that the fees being
charged go far beyond cost recovery,
yet NSF has never revived their fee
5. NSI benefits
from continued uncertainty and appears to
be actively contributing to it.
- 6. The US
Federal government is acting like a
chicken with its head cut off. It's my
feeling the NSF is acting to simply
walk away from the situation, leaving
it among the contestants, NSI being the
strongest, to duke it out, to the pain
of the network's users.
Auerbach's comments on the Green Paper: