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Governing the DNS Commons


Governing the Commons:

The Future of Global Internet Administration

Ralph Nader, Keynote Speaker

September 24-25
(Friday Afternoon and Saturday)
Alexandria, Virginia

Last updated September 22, 1999

Conference Themes Program Register
Sponsors Program Committee Join CPSR
Proceedings  Speaker Bios CPSR Home Page
Hotel Reservations and
Travel Directions
Telecommunications Policy
Research Conference (TPRC)


The implementation of a global institution for Internet administration continues to raise vexing policy questions.
As the new Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) completes its first year of existence, supporters and critics have differed sharply in their assessments.  Is ICANN "out of control"?   Or are ICANN's critics themselves undermining the public good?  Disagreements have emerged between individuals, firms, and  countries -- and even between different branches of the U.S. government.

This conference will provide a forum that allows parties to articulate their positions in public, to engage in moderated debate with other parties, and to educate an audience of policymakers and stakeholders.
Speakers will address the following topics:
    1. Introduction to the Issues
    2. Competition in the Domain Name System
    3. New Technologies Impacting Institutions
    4. The Big Picture: The Emerging Institutional Order
    5. Stakeholder discussion


Friday Afternoon, Sept. 24

Registration and Light Lunch   (Friday, 12-1 PM)

1. Introduction to the Issues    (Friday, 1-2:45 PM)
This session will open the conference and provide background on the issues.  The major technology and policy issues will be described and analyzed.  Today's events will be placed in the historical perspective of a ten-year process to design governing institutions for cyberspace.

    Session Chair:  Theresa Amato, Consumer Project on Technology &
                                                      Executive  Director, Citizen Advocacy Center
    Hans Klein, Chairman of the Board, CPSR and
                          Assistant Prof., Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy
    Tamar Frankel, Professor, Boston University School of Law and Faculty Fellow, Berkman Center
    Jean Camp, New England Regional Director, CPSR and
                                Assistant Prof., Harvard University Kennedy School of Government

Coffee Break

2. Competition in the Domain Name System  (Friday, 3-5 PM)
A long accepted goal in DNS policy making has been to achieve efficient domain name administration through competition.  The appropriate degree of competition, however, remains a disputed issue. Some parties advocate a registry system composed of hundreds or even thousands of independent businesses, each controlling proprietary top level domains.  ICANN is currently implementing a shared registry system based on collective administration with competition limited to name registration. This session will feature supporters of today's collective registry, advocates for competing registries, and name registration service providers.

        Session Chair: Milton Mueller, Assoc. Prof., Syracuse University School of Information Studies
        Mike Vita, Federal Trade Commission
        Richard Forman, Chief Executive Officer and President,
        Paul Garrin, Founder and CEO, Name.Space, Inc. & CPSR member
        Chris Ambler, Image Online Design, Inc.

Reception   5:30 PM - 7:30 PM    (Reception keynote speaker to be announced)

BOF meetings (topical groups)

Saturday Morning, Sept. 25

Registration and light breakfast   (8:00-8:30 AM)

3.  New Technologies Impacting Institutions   (Saturday, 8:30-10:15 AM)
Institutions designed for fast changing technology risk becoming prematurely obsolete.  This session will examine possible near term developments in IP address structure, root server operation, and domain name "findability" that could affect institutional design.  The long running policy debate over DNS administration has its origin in hierarchical features of the Internet technology.  It is widely assumed that the existence of an authoritative root (at the technical level) creates the need for an authoritative administrative entity (at the institutional level.)  This poses challenges of institutional design:  the administrative entity would possess considerable power, because it would have a determining voice in making rules for the assignment or denial of all domain names and IP addresses in cyberspace.  Most policy processes of recent years have sought to design the "right" set of checks and balances for this entity.  Technical change might render these design issues moot.  Innovations that reduce technical hierarchy would lessen the need for administrative centralization.  In this session technologists and organizational experts discuss possible near term technical changes that could affect institutional design.

    Session Chair, Rick Barry, Mid-Atlantic Director, CPSR
    Karl Auerbach, Individual Domain Name Owners Constituency (IDNO)
    Peter Deutsch, President, Shophound Inc.
    Nico Popp, Chief Technical Officer, RealNames Corporation and CPSR Member
    Scott Bradner, Senior Technical Consultant, Harvard University; VP for Standards, Internet Society

Coffee Break

4.  The Big Picture: The Emerging Institutional Order   (Saturday, 10:30AM-12:15 PM)
This session steps back from the details of today's debates to assess the significance of recent developments.  Are we establishing the institutional framework for global communications in the 21st Century?  Is a new regulatory structure being implemented in cyberspace without broad public awareness?  Is ICANN a new global guarantor of free speech and civil liberties in cyberspace?  Panelists will provide their interpretations of where we stand.

    Session Chair:  William Drake, Senior Associate, and Director of the Project on the Information Revolution
                            and World Politics, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace & CPSR Member
    Esther Dyson, Interim Chair, ICANN
    Michael Froomkin, University of Miami School of Law
    Milton Mueller, Assoc. Prof., Syracuse University School of Information Studies
    Tony Rutkowski, President, NGI Associates

Lunch  Break (12:15-1:15)

Keynote Speaker:  Ralph Nader, Consumer Project on Technology
Introduced by Coralee Whitcomb, President, CPSR

5. Stakeholder Discussion   (Saturday, 1:15-3:45 PM)
Designing an institutional framework for cyberspace presents challenges -- on this all parties can agree.  This session will allow stakeholders and analysts of Internet administration to assess ICANN and to discuss their different perspectives. The session will promote a frank exchange of views between representatives of ICANN, Network Solutions, Inc. (today's leading domain name registrar), the House Commerce Committee (that recently held investigatory hearings), leading academics and policy activists, and others.

   Moderator:  Hans Klein, Chairman of the Board, CPSR and
                                      Assistant Prof., Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy
   Don Telage, Senior Vice President, Network Solutions, Inc.
   Esther Dyson, Interim Chair, ICANN
   David Post, Associate Professor, Temple University School of Law, and CPSR Member
   Jamie Love, Consumer Project on Technology
   Paul Scolese, Professional Staff Member, House Committee on Commerce
   Tod Cohen, Vice President & Counsel, New Media, Motion Picture Association of America

Conference Ends at 4 PM


Morino Institute

Open Society Institute


Consumer Project on Technology
School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
Syracuse University School of Information Studies

Ivan Allen College, Georgia Institute of Technology

School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology

Name.Space, Inc.

Cyberspace Policy Institute, George Washington University

Communication, Culture and Technology Program, Georgetown University

NGI Associates

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society



The Internet Public Policy Network

Regular Registration $150
CPSR Member Registration
$ 70  
Regular Registration & Join CPSR
$  50
$ 30  
Low-income/Student & Join CPSR $  60 $ 45  

A note from the Conference Chair on registration fees (9/21/99):
CPSR's primary mission is, first and foremost, to educate the public.  This is more important than keeping our books balanced for all events.  Some potential attendees have said that the fees may prevent them from attending this event;  if this is the case with you, you may select to pay the low-income fee.  We are operating on the honor system, so please do what is right.  But please take advantage of this opportunity to educate yourself about these important issues by attending the conference.
Hans Klein
Chairman of the Board, CPSR,

To register, click on one of the links below:

        Secure On-line Registration.

      Mail-In Registration.

Please book your accommodations directly with the hotel.

Conference-Related Links

CPSR Cyber Rights Page on DNS

New York Times Archive on Internet Governance

ICANN:  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers


The Domain Name Handbook



Select this to join CPSR or change your address. This is for people who do not want to register for the conference using the discounted rates.


To volunteer, contact Hans Klein:

Hotel Reservations and Travel:

Please book your room directly with the hotel:

                   HILTON HOTEL AT MARK CENTER
                   (formerly Radisson Plaza)
                   5000 SEMINARY ROAD
                   ALEXANDRIA, VA 22311

On Friday and Saturday nights (9/24 & 9/25) a special nightly rate is available of $103.
This rate became effective on 9/10/99 and may not be available right up to the event.
You must request a room for: "Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility."

The Hilton Hotel is about 7 miles south of National/Reagan Airport and about 25 miles south of  Dulles Airport.
This is the same hotel as the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference.


Complimentary Shuttle:  The hotel provides free transportation between the hotel and National Airport, the Pentagon Metro and the Pentagon City Mall Metro during the hours of 6am to 11pm.  For pick-up please call (703)845-1010.

By Car from National Airport or Downtown Washington, DC: Take I-395 South towards Richmond. Follow for seven miles. Exit at #4 Seminary Road West. Continue One Block. At the light make a left and the Hilton is located on the left. Parking is available at the back of the hotel for $4.00 per day.

From Dulles Airport: The Washington Flyer is available to shuttle you to National Airport where you can call for the complimentary shuttle to the Hilton. If you wish to drive, take Dulles Access Road to I-495 South towards Richmond. Take I-395 North towards Washington, DC - Exit Left. Stay on I-395 North - Exit #4 Seminary Road West. Continue one Block. Make a left at the light. The Hilton is located on the left. Parking is available at the back of the hotel for $4.00 per day.

From Baltimore: Take I-95 South to Virginia for approximately thirty miles. Take Exit I-395 North towards Washington, DC. Exit #4 Seminary Road West. Continue one block. Make a left at the light. The Hilton is located on the left. Parking is available at the back of the hotel for $4.00 per day.

Program Committee

Rick Barry, CPSR
Jean Camp, CPSR
Marcy Gordon, CPSR
Harry Hochheiser, CPSR
Craig Johnson, CPSR
Hans Klein, CPSR
Greg Laudeman, CPSR
Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University
Jamie Love, Consumer Project on Technology
Glenn Manishin, CPSR
Milton Mueller, Syracuse University
Andy Oram, CPSR
Tony Rutkowski, General Magic
Coralee Whitcomb, CPSR

Conference Chair

Hans Klein, Chairman of the Board, CPSR

Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC)

The CPSR conference is held immediately before, and in the same hotel as, the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC).  For more information, go to TPRC.

For questions, contact CPSR at 650-322-3778.

This page last updated on 17 September 1999 - hk

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