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nettime: Expanding the Internet Namespace

>Sender: owner-nettime-l@Desk.nl
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>Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 02:52:27 -0500
>To: nettime-l@desk.nl, list@rhizome.com
>From: mf@MediaFilter.org (MediaFilter)
>Subject: nettime: Expanding the Internet Namespace
>Sender: owner-nettime-l@Desk.nl
>Precedence: bulk
>Expanding the Internet Namespace
>The overcrowding of the "com." domain on the internet
>has led to much speculation, name piracy, ransom and
>blackmail.  From pirates who registered McDonalds.com
>to blackmailers who hijacked Tiger Woods and
>snatched up "tigerwoods.com" then attempted to ransom
>it back to Mr. Woods...by insisting on creating
>and hosting his website!
>The current Domain Name System is an arcane and obsolete
>legacy of the cold war, when the identity and purpose
>of a network was reflected in its name.  Now that the
>internet has commercialized, the nature of the Domain
>Name System has reached its limits and can no longer
>sustain the demands of commercial and personal users.
>The arbitrary designation of "com" has created the problem
>of how a company can express its identity by their network
>address.  IBM, Inc. becomes IBM.com....that's fine when there
>is only one "Big Blue", but what happens when companies
>in other states or countries (the net is international!)
>have similar names? If Widgets, Inc., Widgets, Ltd.,
>Widgets Bros., or Widgets Corp. had to face this today,
>only one of them could prevail under the current system....
>and whomever was first to register 'widgets.com" would
>hold the prized net address.
>Now, thanks to Media Artist Paul Garrin, and an
>international network of artists and friendly hackers,
>all of the names can be had....widgets.inc, widgets.ltd,
>widgets.bros and widgets.corp are all possible under a
>new internet address naming scheme Garrin calls
>"name.space".  His new company, Name.Space, Inc. has
>put in place a network of root nameserver computers
>in several countries throughout Europe, with it's home
>base in the USA.  Name.Space is the new competition for
>the newly privatized and de-facto monopoly on Domain
>Name Service now held by Network Solutions, Inc. of
>Herndon, Va.  Network Solutions, Inc. was granted the
>contract to run the InterNIC (Internet Network Information
>Center) which was formerly run by the National Science
>Foundation (NSF) who, as a US taxpayer supported entity,
>registered domain names for free on a first come, first
>served basis.  Since NSI took over InterNIC, they began
>charging $100 per name for new registrations, which recently
>hit a high of 50,000 per month, richly lining the pockets
>of this de-facto monopoly that dominates the deregulated
>internet marketplace.
>Although privatization should have upgraded the InterNIC
>to a free-market business, it has instead continued the
>bureaucratic nature of its predecessors--and not surprisingly--
>for NSI, although on the surface is a private comapny, their
>ties to inside the D.C. beltway are apparent. The parent
>company of NSI, Scientific Applications International Corp.
>(SAIC) is a $2billion employee-owned company of about
>20,000 with offices located internationally.  SAIC is the
>number one private consulting firm to the Pentagon, NSA and
>CIA, and were responsible for the strategy of c3i (Command,
>Control, Communications, Intelligence) in the Gulf War.  In
>1995, SAIC (spelled backwards reads "CIAs") billed and collected
>$975 million from the Pentagon alone.  SAIC bought NSI in
>March, 1995--just weeks before the NSI announced the intention
>to charge for domain names, which until then was a free
>process, paid for by US tax dollars.
>Registering a name with NSI can be painful and delayed...
>and the request for new top level domains is a long, painful
>process with no guarantees.  Enter the free market....
>Companies such as Name.Space. are now offering new top
>level domains, or rootnames, on demand.  Registrations
>take place over an automated web interface which upon
>completion, renders the newly registered names active
>immediately.  Users have the option of having unpublished
>addresses (much like unpublished phone numbers), an option
>that InterNIC/NSI/SAIC does not allow. Garrin's new scheme
>all but puts the name "prospectors" out of business.
>He suggests dozens of new possible domain names,
>and even invites you to think of your own.
>As Paul Garrin stated, "The InterNIC/NSI command economy
>of artificial shortages has ended...the free market has
>stepped in and is ready to satisfy client demand by
>expanding the internet namespace to accomodate all."
>Author Douglass Rushkoff (Media Virus, Cyberia) adds,
>"What had been a fairly limited range of .coms and
>.edus now becomes as diverse as language itself,
>transforming a limited resource into an inexhaustible one."
>While Garrin certainly hopes to make a few bucks off his
>ingenuity, he also hopes that others around the world will
>create their own alternate nameservers, and has developed a
>system through which everyone -- even InterNIC -- can update
>one another on all their new names.  To him this is
>much more than a business.  It's an appropriation of an
>essentially public space by the public who truly deserve it.
>"We're shifting the naming paradigm from militarism to
>democracy, and fulfilling the ideal nature of the Internet,
>which is virtual space with no borders.
>name.space is located at:
>http://name.space.              if you're already there
>http://namespace.autono.net.    if you're not
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