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.us Domain und die US Post...


Kristian Koehntopp, Wassilystrasse 30, 24113 Kiel, +49 431 688897
"It was Penguin lust... at its ugliest."
        -- /usr/games/fortune (on Linux 2.2?)

>From cook@cookreport.com Fri Jun 19 08:41:48 1998
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 01:01:38 -0400
From: Gordon Cook <cook@cookreport.com>
Subject: Encouraged by IANA while behind closed doors, USPS floats plan to take over the .us TLD
Kahin and IANA support US Postal Service's attempt to offer all Americans
an electronic mailbox in the context of continued secrecy by Burr's Task
Force and the ITAG
Leaking to the ITU what you don't tell your own citizens.
When on returning from a month in Russia I read the remarkable exchange
below between Nick Lordi at Bellcore and Robert Shaw.  On June 16th, on
DOMAIN-POLICY@lists.internic.net Lordi complained about IANA handling of
.dot us: "Why haven't the Administration or IANA shown leadership in
addressing the one domain they clearly have under their control, the .US

Remarkably also on June 16 the ITU's Robert Shaw answered: There is a draft
circulating in USG (from a USG person who's working on it) on revamping
.us. Whether this draft will be put up for comment by NTIA is not known.
How could it be, I wondered, that Shaw, a non US citizen and agent of the
ITU in its announced intention to take over Internet governance, would know
about this proposal before the American government told its own citizens?
I started to call my sources from east coast to west.  I struck pay dirt in
California.  The result is a copy published below of the USPS's intentions
(with Postel's blessing} to take over the administration of .us.  We  must
ask who in the administration decided to pass out this example of the post
office's inane plan to the treaty agency (ITU) which is most hostile to the
idea of a self governing Internet and do it before it was shared with US

Look once more at Shaw's words: There is a draft circulating in USG (from a
USG person who's working on it) .  .  .  Could it be any one else other
that Brian Kahin whom the Clinton Gore administration brought to washington
more than a year ago to "fix" things up?  In mid winter Brian was removed
from the co-equal role he used to enjoy with Becky Burr and given .us to
fix.  Well god help us all now that we can see his solution.  Further more
the pattern of closed door operation that Jon Postel has followed with IAHC
and CORE seems to have proved captivating to Kahin.
As I have repeatedly charged, since at least last September Brian and Becky
have seemed to think the MOUvement, CORE, Postel etc should be the real
leaders of internet governance!!  So it would make perfect sense for Brian
to leak to Shaw.  Because, my goodness, from Brian's legalistic point of
view, all the USPS is wanting to do is bring us in line with ITU standards
and surely there is nothing wrong with that?
Where is the vaunted openess of the white paper?
In this context, would like to ask what the ITAG is doing?  When will it
deliver ex cathedra Jon's design for the new IANA Corp?  Why has Jon been
silent on the white paper proposals that ALL stake holders should sit down
and work out their differences.  I have seen credible leaks that Jon wishes
his followers to boycott the GIAW meeting July 1 & 2.  The white paper
calls for an open process.  Where is ITAG's openness?  With the exception
of POSSIBLY Steve Wolff, Jon chose old friends and allies who thought as he
does about the governance issue. How is such an attitude to bring the
necessary change and open up the process?
As has been said on another list, we may consider the white paper a request
for a proposal from DOC, DARPA and NSF for a new Internet governance
system.  In the presence of silence from ITAG we must surmise that the
three agencies will get a proposal for a cooperative agreement with IANA
bis and will fund it.  Such action would repeat the blunder of IAHC.  No
matter for the Harvard lawyer who, I assert thinks the Internet belongs to
the international bureaucrats of the ITU.
The USPS proposal
The USPS power grab is currently under review by the Inter agency DNS task
force which unfortunately has declined so far to grant it the open air
hearing that they advocate for the IANA corp design.  I think that the rest
of the net should have the same data that I believe Kahin to have given to
the ITU.  Therefore I publish it below in all its half baked and ill
thought out glory.
monopoly, the proposal makes perfect sense. But gentle readers who among
you is ready to give the USPS a key to your electronic mail box?  The
question becomes who and how the security of traffic is guaranteed. The
question is not answered in the draft below.
Perhaps the key question is will use of the USPS dot us addresses to be
VOLUNTARY or mandatory?  If voluntary will many will use it? .. If
mandatory there will be a firestorm of opposition....
But even if use is to be voluntary.....many questions remain and much cost
and copmplexity for little return......  I will NOT as a matter of policy
give the US Gov't the key to my email box, even if so called security
assurances are there.
Who ever has the use of the us domain we must all ask what will the checks
and balances of the use of the domain will be.  With the proper safe guards
to ensure security and political tampering, the availability of a postal
service alternative to commercial service might not be totally absurd.  On
the other hand movement into electronic commerce has never been a key role
for the postal service.  And the service states its role with the .us
domain as being one of establishing the INFRASTRUCTURE of electronic
commerce for the nations.  Read the draft and decide for yourselves and


To: DOMAIN-POLICY@lists.internic.net
Subject: .US domain - a no confidence vote for the incumbents
Reply-To: nlj@bellcore.com
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 14:53:40 -0400
From: "Nicholas Lordi Jr" <nlj@bellcore.com>
Why haven't the Administration or IANA shown leadership in addressing the
one domain they clearly have under their control, the .US domain ?
Are others also disappointed that .US hasn't yet been addressed by IANA
or the US governement, even after repeated requests and suggestions ?
Why hasn't IANA publicly commented on the IAHC's final recommendations
regarding .US ?
If the powers in charge can't reinvent .US to make it more workable, what
makes us think they can lead us in sorting out the myriad of issues
raised in the white paper ?
Yes, I know there are more important and pressing problems than the
.US domain but recall that the .US domain has been under the control and
direction of IANA / ISI and the US government for years without any
proactive action being taken to address issues raised regarding
the .US domain.
This does not, in my opinion, instill confidence in a new non-profit
organization which takes its roots from IANA to effectively take on the
business and stakeholder issues raised in the white paper regarding gTLDs.
And lets not forget the US government, which has the ultimate
responsibility for ensuring we have a useable .US domain.


(speaking only on behalf of myself)

In the Administration's June 5, 1998 Statement of Policy regarding the
Management of Internet Names and Addresses, item 13 addresses the .US
domain, to which the Administration's response was:
    Clearly, there is much opportunity for enhancing the .US domain
    space, and .US could be expanded in many ways without displacing
    the current structure. Over the next few months, the U.S. Government
    will work with the private sector and state and local governments
    to determine how best to make the .US domain more attractive to
    commercial users. Accordingly, the Department of Commerce will
    seek public input on this important issue
Three sentences, thats it ?
[big snip]
FWIW, something's wrong here when I can say Jim Fleming takes the time
and comes up with discussable options regarding the .US domain
while IANA and the US government haven't proposed anything.
<big snip>
Date:    Tue, 16 Jun 1998 15:25:17 +0200
Subject: Re: .US domain - a no confidence vote for the incumbents
From:    Robert Shaw <robert.shaw@itu.int>
To:      nlj@bellcore.com
cc:      DOMAIN-POLICY@lists.internic.net
Nicholas Lordi Jr wrote:


> Why haven't the Administration or IANA shown leadership in addressing the
> one domain they clearly have under their control, the .US domain ?
There is a draft circulating in USG (from a USG person who's working on it)
on revamping .us. Whether this draft will be put up for comment by NTIA is
not known.


Robert Shaw <robert.shaw@itu.int>
Advisor, Global Information Infrastructure
International Telecommunication Union <http://www.itu.int>
Place des Nations, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland

>From our California source.
USPS Coordination of the .us Domain
May 8, 1998
Building on its legislative mandate to offer universal delivery while
promoting commercial infrastructure development, the United States Postal
Service (USPS) proposes to coordinate the development of the .us domain as
a national addressing infrastructure. This coordinated framework for
addressing will efficiently link physical and virtual space and accelerate
and universalize the growth of electronic commerce.
The Postal Service is working with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
(IANA) on the mapping of .us locality addresses to the postal address
database. These street-level addresses under .us will provide a
privacy-protected space which will allow US residents to define their own
terms for electronic communications. In the interest of initiating
widespread personal and commercial use of .us, the Postal Service is
willing to commit additional resources to: _ engage the private sector in
the development of credentialed, commerce-enabling space under .us _
promote classified business addressing under .us at local, state, and
national levels as an open reference for public and private delivery
systems and competing directory services _ manage an open policy process to
develop policies for expanding the .us domain _ work toward the
establishment of a governance structure that will represent the diversity
of stakeholder interests - private, nonprofit, and public - in a fully
developed .us domain space
To these ends, the Postal Service specifically proposes to support the
following functions:
Current registry operations: Initially, provide funding for the IANA to
continue its current operation of the .us TLD under contract to the USPS.
With IANA, develop a transition plan that ensures a seamless and
transparent continuation of existing DNS services within the .us TLD.
Geopolitical addressing system: Refine conventions for Internet addressing
of public agencies at the federal, state and local levels. Reassess the
present system of private registrars.
Second-level domain name structures: Seek input from Internet users
regarding the creation of additional second-level domain name structures
within the .us space, such as industry-sector/trademark-oriented structures
or affinity group names. Explore options for delegating second-level
domains to appropriate private-sector organizations.
Policy development: Observe federal formalities to ensure that all
stakeholders have an opportunity to participate. Establish advisory
committees and work towards participatory governance.
A National Addressing Infrastructure
Unique among national Top-Level Domains, the geopolitical structure of .us
has been populated largely by public agencies rather than private users.
Ironically, the absence of unstructured commercial space under .us has
preserved an opportunity to develop and exploit an ordered and secure space
quite distinct from the flat, unstructured space of .com and other TLDs.
Instead of simply serving as a mnemonic link to a company or product,
domain names can serve a range of functions. A mail or server address in
.us can provide assurance that a user is in fact physically within the
United States. An address can represent that the site sells cars. It can be
used to certify that its owner is a doctor, lawyer, or accountant in good
standing. It can signify membership in the Better Business Bureau or
warrant adherence to a code of privacy practice. It can bind the identity
of a person with a certain level of confidence or subject to specified

While the Postal Service is uniquely positioned to perform some of these
functions, it is also uniquely able to initiate an addressing
infrastructure open to development and use by a wide variety of
private-sector companies, associations, and nonprofit organizations. As it
is, the .us space lacks recognition as a commercial domain. The Postal
Service can serve as an administrator for .us, bringing legitimacy,
leverage, and scale to elicit investment by others and achieve critical

The Postal Service can brand .us as the universal domain for the United
States by linking physical addresses and electronic addresses through
residential and business .us addresses. Services designed to link
electronic input to physical mail delivery are already being tested by the
Postal Service. The Postal Service can combine legal protections and
technology to ensure that users will be able to control the flow of
commercial communications through a protected address. Having a secure
address space will ease customers' concerns about privacy and security thus
promoting more rapid acceptance of electronic commerce.
The Postal Service processes 40 million requests for change of address from
individuals, households, and businesses each year. This forwarding service
has been expanded through a web site, MoversNet
(http://www.usps.gov/moversnet/). Once security features have been added,
the MoversNet site will enable customers to receive a .us address
equivalent to their new physical address and choose among a variety of
options for personal identification and attribution, controlled forwarding
of information (from the .us address to existing email accounts) from
government agencies and businesses at the new location, and new services
offered by private sector firms such as electronic bill presentation and

The Postal Service could also assist in the development of classified
domains into which businesses would voluntarily register and help make sure
that similar classification practices apply at local, state, national, and
international levels. Such classified domains could help mitigate the
trademark problems that have been experienced in generic top- level
domains. The Postal Service does not intend to enter the directory business
but would be willing to engage the private sector in developing the
classification system as well as policies for usage, delegation, and
self-governance. Private directory publishers would have access to the
classification system and associated databases and would build value-added
directories on top of them.
USPS Capabilities
The US Postal Service is uniquely suited to coordinate the development of
.us by virtue of its scale, universal reach and international
relationships, its experience in policy formulation and implementation
under public scrutiny, and its historic role in stimulating infrastructure
investment. Its mandate to provide secure, private and universal access to
personal and business correspondences and transactions enables it to
administer a secure universal electronic address system within the .us
space tied to the universal physical address system it maintains for all
households, businesses, non-profit organizations and government entities in
the U.S.
Historical Role
The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 defines the mission of the USPS "to
bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and
business correspondence of the people." The Act further requires that the
Postal Service offer services to every patron and every community within
the United States. Throughout its history, the Postal Service has played a
pivotal role in supporting the development of the infrastructure required
to ensure universal delivery - from the development of post roads in the
18th Century to support for the aviation industry in this Century. Today,
the Postal Service is the only organization that regularly serves every
individual and business in the country by delivering 190 billion
correspondences each year to every household and business in America.
Trusted Public Agent
As an independent establishment of the federal government, the USPS is
owned by the people of the United States. It operates on a break-even
basis, not for profit. It is subject to sunshine laws that require that its
policies and strategies be shared with its stakeholders, the American
public. The Federal Register Notice process provides an official vehicle
for seeking comment from stakeholders regarding proposed USPS activities.
Policies refined through this process have the force of law, publicly and
legally binding the Postal Service to perform the activities defined in the


As its mandate requires, the Postal Service has, throughout its history,
vigilantly protected both the privacy of correspondences sent through the
mail and the security of the mailboxes and post office boxes where these
correspondences are delivered. As a federal entity, the Postal Service is
also subject to the Privacy Act which requires that all customer records
held by the institution be kept secure and private.
Role of the Inspection Service
The Postal Inspection Service investigates crimes under a variety of
criminal statutes. This dedicated group of law enforcement personnel
provides an important practical advantage in the investigation of crimes
designed to undermine the integrity of postal systems. The Postal
Inspection Service has an active and experienced computer forensic group to
investigate and prosecute computer crimes. This technical expertise has
been used extensively in investigations in which computers were used,
including investigations involving activities on the Internet.
Address Management Expertise
The Postal Service's address management group manages the largest and most
accurate physical address database in the world, maintaining 137 million
addresses and processing address changes for 40 million households and
businesses each year. The Postal Service works with the mailing industry to
offer a number of electronic address information services to its customers.
These systems, such as the Coding Accuracy Support System and the POSTNET
Barcode Quality Certification process, allow the Postal Service to work
with certified private sector providers to extend the reach of its address
services. This certification process will be a valuable mechanism for
ensuring broad involvement of private sector firms in the management of the
.us domain space. Coordinating the physical address system and the .us
domain space will enable the Postal Service to cross-link physical and
electronic addresses in a manner that ensures the privacy of the parties

Information Systems Expertise
The Postal Service currently manages a large information systems network.
The USPS manages a class A license for IP addresses (56.X.X.X). Within the
internal USPS network are 15 autonomous systems, with 16 areas each, which
provide service to up to 34,000 local area networks. When fully deployed,
the USPS internal network will provide TCP/IP connectivity to over 150,000
individual networked devices. Within the usps.gov second level domain, the
USPS has one primary and sixteen secondary domain name servers which
currently handle over 125,000 individual host names. Because of the high
bandwidth demands of the digital image traffic used in mail sorting, USPS
networks have a total capacity equivalent to over 700 T1 lines. Firewalls
between the USPS intranet and the public Internet handle 1.5 million
transactions per day at a peak rate of 140,000 transactions per hour,
exchanging 14 GB of data in the form of web pages and files. In addition,
the USPS, as a non-profit government enterprise, is able to obtain the best
technical expertise available from private industry through consulting and
contracting arrangements. The USPS organizational structure and supplier
sourcing agreements currently in place can provide services within the
existing .us TLD, and will scale readily to handle any growth in future

The United States Postal Service, the world's largest address manager and a
public agency sensitive to policy concerns, is prepared to commit
substantial resources to accelerate the development of .us as an enabling
framework for electronic commerce.

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