Voices .from the Committees of Correspondence
. Read their words to know their visions.

Eugene Kashpureff

Eugene Kaspureff learned 8080 assembler language at age ten in 1975. Now acknowledged as a top Internet programmer, he established the alternative DNS registry Alter.NIC to counter the NSI monopoly. As a prank hack (or an act of civil disobedience?) in 1997 he diverted NSI Internic root inquiries to Alter.Nic. This produced in November 1997 his arrest in Canada on U.S wire fraud charges. He awaits trial. Are these charges political?

The following has been edited from a speech by Kashpereff
at the ISP Con in August 1997, published here in Media Visions with his permission (
March 1998).

Eugene Kashpureff
Internet Consultant,
At your name service.
Elizabeth, NJ
(c) 1998 by Eugene Kashpureff.
Used with permission.



The Internet is a revolutionary communications tool, and freedoms on the Internet are freedoms of communication. The freedom to express our ideas is the basis for all other human rights... I have four children. The Internet I work for is not the Internet of today. I work for the Internet of tomorrow that my children will use, and the cyber space that their children will use.... The responsibility we have today is to developing an independent, democratic Internet governance for those who will use the Internet over future generations, and to protecting their freedoms.

Current laws attempt to govern aspects of the Internet in various countries around the world. But the Internet spans over those borders, and all of the Internet's problems span across those borders.... Most of the real power to govern the Internet still lies with the United States government, which first started the ARPA computer network in the 1960s. The U.S. government still administers the true authority of the Internet, through the National Science Foundation, and its various grants and contracts, most notably to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, (IANA) which we're told is not an entity but a 'function' performed by the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California.

Jon Postel of the IANA at ISI worked hard to come up with an equitable solution for the top level domain name problem. Then he wrote "draft-postel," which created in fall of 1996 the Internet International Ad-Hoc Committee, the IAHC. Unfortunately, the first thing the committee did was throw out the basic framework for which Jon Postel of the IANA had worked so hard to develop a community consensus. Despite wide objection from the Internet public during the comment period last winter, the IAHC finalized its new TLD plan last spring as the "Generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of Understanding," gTLD- MOU.

The future of domain name allocation, as well as IP address allocation, are central to the power of the root
of the Internet, and are the primary issues of Internet governance facing us today. Alter.NIC advocates the expression of freedom in the domain name space by primarying the root zone for yourself. That is, if you
are operating your own name service, you should be running a local primary copy of the root zone file, whether it be the IANA version of the root zone, the eDNS version, the uDNS version, the AURSC version,
or the Alter.NIC version of the root zone file.

The top level domain name issue and the implications of its solution are very central issues to the evolution of Internet governance. If there is a time to start caring
about these issues, it is now. What can you do to promote Internet governance? Be active. Be informed. Follow the issues. Find organizations whose ideas you believe in, and support them. Write to your politicians. Join some of the mailing lists where these issues are discussed. Take time
to be active, take time to care.

The Internet needs its own governance, independent of the geopolitical governments of our planet -- a democratic governance with true representation for every Internet user. A governance with a legislative branch to make fair rules for all Internet users, as well as an executive branch to enforce those rules, and a judiciary branch to ensure that those rules are fairly applied to all users, everywhere.

There are those who say that the Internet is not yet mature enough for its own governance. But the path to maturity for cyberspace and society is through an awareness of the need to protect our rights to free communication in this new frontier. Democratic Internet governance will come as the users of the Internet become aware of the need for it, and demand it. The future of the top level domain issue, and the future of the Internet, is in your hands.

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