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ISOC News titbits

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
(ICANN) announced last month that, upon completion of the
ongoing testbed programs, 15 additional companies will be
accredited to compete as registrars in the .com, .net, and
.org domains. Until June of this year, these domains were
provided solely by Network Solutions Inc., who won exclusive
rights to registration under a 1992 Cooperative Agreement
with the U.S. government.

The 15 companies named join 5 already accredited testbed
registrars and 37 post-testbed registrars announced by ICANN
since April, 1999. "These 15 companies are a powerful
testament to the energy, commitment, and determination which
have marked the Internet community's ongoing efforts to
bring the benefits of open competition to the market for
domain name registration services in the .com, .net, and
.org domains," says Mike Roberts, President and CEO of
ICANN. For a list of the 15 companies named see the ICANN
website, http://www.icann.org/registrats/accreditation.html.

In a 23 July letter to Network Solutions Inc., U.S. Commerce
Department General Counsel Andrew Pincus expressed dismay
over the company's refusal to share its listing of more than
five million Internet addresses and their owners. "We
strongly object to NSI's restrictive policy," wrote Pincus.
"Nothing in the cooperative agreement, nor in existing law
gives NSI the right to restrict access to this information."
An NSI spokesperson said the company continued to believe it
was acting within its rights. NSI chief executive officer
James Rutt asserted the week before that his company owned
the data and could not be required to share it. Pincus
countered that the information was gathered under government
authority and had to be made available to other companies
seeking to compete with NSI. (Reuters 26 July 1999)

In its 1999 Human Development Report, the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) examines global access to new
technologies. The report finds the Internet community to be
elitist by nature, with income, education, gender, and
geography as the major dividing lines. The result is a two-
tier technology society: one segment enjoying access to
plentiful information at low cost and high speed, the other
impeded by time, cost, uncertainty of connection and
outdated information.

The report outlines seven goals that must be reached to
achieve an information society. In addition, it provides
estimates of the percentage of various global populations
currently using the Internet. This highlights the United
States as having the majority of Internet users, with 26.3%
of its population online.  You may read the full report in
PDF format at the UNDP Web site

A Judge from the Ontario Superior Court ruled in favor of
Internet Service Provider (ISP), Nexx, and against a former
Nexx subscriber who had been sending almost 200,000
unsolicited commercial email messages daily. After Nexx
terminated service, the subscriber sued Nexx for breach of
contract. The judge, however, found the customer's spamming
practices to be a clear violation of Netiquette, and Nexx's
own anti-spam policy.  Her ruling will likely help to
empower ISP's to protect themselves against customers who
act in ways that cause damage or bring them ill-repute. The
judge's decision is available at
http://www.digitaldesk.com/stuff/netiquette.htm. (CNET
News.com 8 July 1999)

A decision by American Online to prevent users from
accessing AOL's AIM instant messaging service through any
mechanism other than AOL's proprietary AIM client software
has brought complaints from competitors, including Prodigy,
which has developed its own instant messaging product --
Prodigy Instant Messaging (PIM). PIM is able to communicate
on multiple platforms, including AOL's AIM, IRC, and ICQ. A
July 29 letter to AOL's Steve Case signed by Excite@Home's
Joe Kraus, Prodigy's Bill Kirkner, and representatives of
Microsoft, Activerse, Tribal voice, Yahoo!, AT&T, and
Infoseek asks AOL to participate in a meeting aimed at
developing an industry standard to ensure interoperability
between instant messaging services of AOL and other vendors.
For more information, see http://www.prodigy.net.

There has been much progress in forming the constituency in
the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) of Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Voting
procedures have been established and we expect to have a
final charter, select an advisory committee for the
constituency, and vote on representatives for the DNSO Names
Council before the ICANN public meeting in Chile on 22-27
August 1999. See http://www.ncdnhc.org for details.

6. Standards
by Scott Bradner, Vice President for Standards,

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on July 14
between the IETF, W3C, ITU, ETSI and ICANN to create the
Protocol Support Organization (PSO) within the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The MoU
was developed by representatives of the IETF, ITU, W3C,
ETSI, and ICANN with the help of Jorge Contreras of Hale and
Dorr. For more information see http://www.icann.org.

Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
Laboratoire de Cristallographie               Phone: 41 (22) 702 62 49
24 quai Ernest-Ansermet             mailto:Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch
CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland                   Fax: 41 (22) 702 61 08

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