Syrian Arab Republic
Contribution to the WTPF
It should be recalled that convening the current WTPF was first proposed to the Plenipotentiary
Conference by the Syria, in PP06 – 43. This proposal was supported by many countries, in particular the Arab group.
Syria has carefully studied the online resources and background material provided for the WTPF,
and both drafts of the Secretary-General’s Report. Syria regrets that, with respect to Internet Governance, this Report and in particular the second
draft is not reflecting the proposals that were repeatedly submitted by Syria to various ITU
groups (see for example Part 1 of C05/43 and COM 2 – D 22). It is disappointing that no
reference was made to those proposals despite the fact that, as requested by Syria, a reference to
those proposals is included in the WTPF background materials (see WG-WSIS-10/19, referenced
under “Contributions to Council Working Group on WSIS”). In order to ensure that there will be a full substantive discussion of those proposals at the WTPF,
Syria is now submitting them again, formally, to the WTPF. What follows is an updated version
of Annex 2 of WG-WSIS-10/19.
Considerations on Internet Governance
There is at present a very serious issue regarding Coordination and Management of the Internet
Domain Name and Addressing System: some countries, including Syria, believe that the current
system is not consistent with their national sovereignty and this because:
a) ICANN is a US entity, that is, it is under the jurisdiction, laws, and courts of the USA.
b) ICANN collects yearly revenues from the registration of domain names. These revenues
are not based on ICANN’s actual costs for services rendered.
c) ICANN and its subdivision IANA operate under formal agreement with the US
d) ICANN chooses gTLDs and sets rules regarding prices, services, and dispute resolution
with respect to gTLDs, whereas this is a matter of interest to all Member States.
e) ICANN determines who operates a particular ccTLD, whereas this is supposed to be a
f) ICANN is ultimately responsible for IP address allocation, a matter that is of interest to
g) The authoritative root server is operated by a US company (VeriSign) under a contract
with the US government.
h) Three root servers are operated by agencies of the US government.
i) The current coordination and management of the Internet have proven unable to
implement effective security measures, as seen by the continuing growth of spam and the
proliferation of even more dangerous threats such as malware, phishing, etc. These departures from national sovereignty have practical consequences, they are not just
theoretical problems. The practical consequences include:
1. The assignment of an operator for a country code top level domain names such as “.iq”
for Iraq can be tied in US courts for US domestic reasons.
2. The process by which a country re-assigns its ccTLD to a different operator is not purely
a national process.
3. IP address allocation is unbalanced, and favors Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in certain
countries who then use this to obtain favourable arrangements with respect to Internet
interconnections, to the disadvantage of developing countries.
4. The historical imbalance of IP addresses, which favored a few countries, is having the
effect of economically penalizing developing countries who cannot easily obtain IPv4
addresses and must envisage migration to IPv6, even though this migration is expensive
and has disadvantages from an operational point of view.
5. Formal recommendations from a body such as WIPO (concerning protection of country
names in the domain name system) are not implemented.
6. Domain names such as “.tel” or “.mobi” could be delegated to anybody, with
unpredictable consequences for the integrity of the E.164 numbering plan (contrary to
Plenipotentiary Resolution 133), if the operator decides to implement its own variety of
ENUM, ignoring relevant IETF standards and ITU-T Recommendations.
7. The US courts will decide to what and extent ICANN can or should regulate Versign, the
operator of “.com”, with respect to new services.
8. Unilateral changes can be made to the rules regarding the domain name “.int”, even
though that domain name is reserved for intergovernmental organizations. E-Mail, electronic commerce, and Internet access in general are suffering, because of spam,
malware, phishing, etc. These problems are due to insufficient security and insufficient security
is due to the fact that governments did not require adequate security, unlike the situation with
respect to other telecommunications technologies, in which governments were properly involved
in order to ensure that the public interest is well protected (for example, by requirements for
security, quality of service, emergency services, legal intercept, etc. which apply to equipment
and operations). The private sector will provide only the level of security that it needs for its own
purposes, which is typically less than the level needed for public safety.
It has been proposed that ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) could be a way to
address some, if not all, of these issues. Syria is not convinced that this is the case, for many
reasons, including the fact that it is absurd to embed a strong government structure within a private sector company. Those who believe in private sector leadership surely cannot argue in favour of a strong GAC. But a weak, purely advisory, GAC cannot handle the issues outlined above.
As a way forward, Syria proposes that the split of responsibilities outlined below. 1. Administration of Internet names and IP addresses
1.1 Country code top level domain names
At present, the authoritative source of the correspondence between country code top level domain names (ccTLDs) and the organization operating the ccTLD is maintained in the so-called “hidden” root server operated by Verisign under an agreement with the US Department of Commerce (DoC). Changes to the entries in the “hidden” root server are proposed by the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA), an activity housed within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), approved by DoC, implemented by Verisign, and then automatically replicated to the 13 root servers and their various slaves and copies around the world. IANA/ICANN has its own consultative processes for approving changes prior to submission to DoC, involving various concerned constituencies. (See Annex A below.) This arrangement is not consistent with national sovereignty, for many countries, in that a sovereign country who wishes to change the operator of its national ccTLD must first agree the change with IANA (a unit of a US corporation), and then wait until it is approved by DoC and implemented by Versisign (also a US corporation).
Given the differing views on this topic ITU should maintain, at the request of specific countries, and as early as possible, the list of authoritative ccTLD operators for those specific countries. The operator of the “hidden” root server should rely on the list published by ITU for those specific countries and this should be recorded in a formal agreement between the US government and the ITU and/or the operator in question (Verisign) and the ITU. The mechanisms for ITU’s maintaining such a list should be specified in a appropriate Resolutions and/or ITU-T Recommendation; pending approval of these, an interim procedure should be used. Other countries may continue to rely on the present arrangement.
1.2 IP address allocation
At present, IP addresses are allocated to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and large end-users by regional private-sector organizations called Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). RIRs sub-allocate addresses to Local Internet Registries (LIRs). There are no “hard” geographic constraints, in that any organization can request addresses from any RIR, independently of its geographic location.
The current arrangement is an evolution of a historical allocation scheme that had not been designed to cope with the growth of the Internet and that had resulted in what are widely considered to be sub-optimal allocations (for example, excessively large blocks of addresses allocated to early adopters in one country). Many administrations believe that the historical allocation favors large ISPs in developed countries, who use this (in addition to other factors) to negotiate Internet interconnection agreements that are not related to costs and that result is a net transfer of revenue from developing countries to developed countries.
Syria has documented these issues in a contribution to ITU-T Study Group 3, see in particular
Add. 1 of COM 3 – C 30. That contribution presents data showing that a few developed
countries hold a disproportionate amount of the allocated IP addresses. Further, that data is
consistent with the position that the growth of Internet usage in developing countries is hindered
by a shortage of IP addresses, shortage that is due to the continued excessive allocation of IP
addresses to developed countries.
In the future, IP version 6 address space should be reserved for allocation by national authorities,
thus allowing small national operators to obtain addresses at low cost from a public national
source. We recognize that it has been stated that any such national allocation scheme might
result in excessive growth of routing tables and eventually create significant technical problems
that could adversely affect inter-operability. We disagree with that position.
It has been argued that national allocation of IP addresses would necessarily result in national 1monopolies for international interconnection gateways. We disagree. National regulatory
authorities could intervene as appropriate to ensure adequate competition for international
Internet connectivity, just as they do for International telephone connectivity. The telephony
equivalent of IP addresses (the Q.708 ISPCs) are assigned by the ITU to countries and then by
countries to operators. There are competing international telephony gateway providers in many
countries. The same would hold for Internet gateways, even if IP addresses were allocated in
blocks to countries, and then to operators within countries.
In Syria’s view, the time has come for governments to assert their proper role with respect to
allocation of these critical resources. Indeed, even the OECD concedes that something must be 2done by governments. Given the costs of transitioning to IPv6, capacity-building alone will not be sufficient for
developing countries. Indeed, the key to removing the IP address bottleneck, and to enable rapid
growth of the Internet in developing countries, is multilateral cooperation at the global level.
What body can better implement that cooperation than ITU?
And what body other than ITU could better address the following issues raised in the OECD
report referenced above:
a. Maintaining accurate records of address assignments (page 9 of the Report).
b. Equitable mechanisms for transferring unused IPv4 addresses from one party to another
(pages 9, 25, 26 and 29).
c. Legal frameworks for reclamation of legacy blocks (page 24).
d. Global rules to avoid the development of markets for IP addresses outside of any national
regulatory frameworks (page 27). Such markets would favor existing holders and
penalize developing countries (page 25).
e. Global allocation policies that will ensure equitable distribution, cost-based pricing, and
minimize routing table growth (pages 28 and 29).
1 http://www.potaroo.net/ispcol/2004-12/ 2 See the paper Internet Address Space: Economic Considerations in the Management of IPv4 and in the
Deployment of IPv6 (DSTI/ICCP(2007)20/FINAL at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/7/1/40605942.pdf
Syria, with the support of many developing countries, and some developed countries, was able to gather support, at ITU-T Study Group 2 and 3 meetings, for a workshop whose purpose will be to discuss the economic impacts of IP address allocation and the transition to IPv6. That workshop should take into consideration recent trends regarding commercialization of IP address allocation, as documented in the cited OECD report. Syria proposes to develop ways and means to prevent such commercialization, which cannot be an optimal way to allocate naming, numbering, and routing resources.
Syria requests that the relevant outputs of that workshop be input to the WTPF, taking into consideration also any discussions that might take place at WTSA.
1.3 Generic and Special top-level domain names
Generic top level domain names (gTLD) are those such as “.com” that are used generically. Sponsored top-level domain names (sTLD) are those that have a special purpose such as “.aero”.
At present, ICANN develops the rules for allocating new gTLDs and sTLDs, chooses the operators for gTLDs and sTLDs, and sets the rules (including fees paid to ICANN, wholesale prices, service limitations, etc.) that apply to operators of gTLDs and sTLDs.
All gTLDs and sTLDs are of interest to all countries. Furthermore, in certain cases, some proposed new sTLDs would appear to have a potential to interact with telecommunication technologies that have been subject to national regulation and to international coordination through ITU, for example “.mobi” and “.tel”, for example by using ITU-T Recommendation
E.164 numbers in conjunction with Internet domain names.
ITU should be involved, for the time being, in conjunction with ICANN and other relevant bodies, in the approval of the rules related to gTLDs and sTLDs.
1.4 Administration of root server system
At present, there are 13 root servers, each independently operated. Each of these 13 systems has various slaves or duplicate copies around the world. Each of these 13 systems obtains its data from an authoritative source, called the “hidden” root server. The “hidden” root server is operated by Verisign under an agreement with the US Department of Commerce (DoC). Changes to the entries in the “hidden” server are made only with the approval of DoC. Three of
the servers are operated by agencies of the US government.
In particular, ITU should act as repository for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing agreements between concerned parties with respect to administration of the root server system, which parties might include those governments, who wish to be involved in the administration of such systems. See Figure B.1 of this paper.
Syria looks forward to a substantive discussion of the content of this contribution and its annexes A an B, as well as the inclusion of appropriate parts of this contribution into the next draft of the Secretary-General’s report for the WTPF.
Annex A: Relations amongst various DNS administration bodies
Administration of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) comprises two types of activities:
agreeing policies for the assignment of certain resources, and administering a database or other
record of the assignments made. We will refer to these two different activities as the Policy
Function (PF) and the Administration Function (AF).
The resources in question are entries in the source (or master) root file (RF), IP addresses (IP),
and protocol parameters (PP).
In addition, administration of the DNS comprises developing policies related to operation of root
servers (RS) and administration of those policies (that is, ensuring that the actual operations are
carried out in accordance with the agreed policies).
And it comprises developing policies related to the operation of gTLDs and ccTLDs and
administration of those policies.
In the figures that follow, NRO refers to Numbering Resource Organization, which comprises the
Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).
Figures A.1 and A.2 represent the present relations amongst various bodies.
1: refers to root servers operated by agencies of the US government
2: refers to contract with Verisign
3: only for some ccTLDs
4: only for some ccTLDs
Fig A.1: Present Policy Function
2: refers to contract with Verisign
3: only for some ccTLDs
4: only for some ccTLDs
Fig A.2: Present Administration Function
Annex B: Possible alternatives for Relations amongst various DNS administration bodies
Figure B.1 shows the proposed alternative to the current situation.
IPRSPPRFgTLDccTLD4: only for some ccTLDs
5: MoUsbetween ITU and ICANN and ITU and root server
operators and/or alternative equivalent arrangements
Fig B.1: Alternative Policy Function