North American Network Operators Group

Date Prev | Date Next | Date Index | Thread Index | Author Index | Historical

RE: FW: OIG Investigates the NSF (revised)

  • From: Jim Fleming
  • Date: Wed Feb 05 15:18:12 1997
  • Encoding: 344 TEXT

On Wednesday, February 05, 1997 10:47 AM, William L. Schrader[SMTP:[email protected]] wrote:
@ Jim,
@ Thank you for your summary.  I don't know you or your company, but as a member 
@ of the Internet community for many years, it is not often that I find people 
@ who see how truly biased the NSF has been, and are willing say what they think 
@ openly.  You kindly gave the NSF the benefit of doubt.  I disagree with that 
@ assessment.  


Thanks for your comments. I am glad that you took the time to draft
a response to my comments. It is nice to see that the leader of one of the
major Internet Service Providers (PSINet) is willing to use the Internet
to openly discuss these important issues.

You may not know me or my companies because I have been at this
a long time. Since 1976 I have been designing on-line information systems.
I was fortunate to work at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the early days of Videotex
and I hold some of the patents on the early protocols, including the ANSI
Standard NAPLPS used to launch Prodigy.

I have given the NSF the benefit of the doubt because I have worked closely
with governments and the private sector for many years. I truely believe that
government administrators want to do the right thing, but they often get stuck
serving a group with a short-sighted, and monopolistic agenda. Fortunately,
most government systems have built in checks and balances which do not
allow one group to dominate for a long period of time. It is interesting that
the Internet has not yet matured to discover the wisdom of "term limits",
it is still in a Wild West stage of development.

@ The NSF not only allowed this monopoly architecture to develop, but encouraged 
@ its development by the original contract design.  While members of NSF's 
@ former management (which set this up) may claim plausible deniability, I 
@ believe that it was their ultimate intent to have a monopoly (a monopoly is 
@ much easier for the government to control).  The same approach was used a few 
@ years earlier by the same NSF managers when the NSFNet was transferred from 
@ NSF ownership to ANS (IBM&MCI) with neither payment nor open debate.  
@ Fortunately for both the U.S. taxpayers and the Internet industry worldwide, 
@ the NSFNet was shut down.  

I agree, but we have to be careful to treat the disease and not the symptoms.
In my opinion, the disease is "rooted" in the Internet administration which is
controlled by a tight circle of Internet Politicians who are trying to slowly expand
their ranks while at the same time developing what amounts to a parallel
form of world-wide government complete with taxes and corruption.

For some reason, these largely socialistic Internet Politicians think that they
will be able to create this government on the fly without the governments
that represent the people taking note or taking control. They have skillfully
used the existing governments when convenient, they hide behind university
administrators for protection, and they hold their hands out for more federal
grants to pay for servers, routers, and jet setting around the world.

The National Science Foundation has been an obvious agency to use.
Many of the NSF administrators float in and out of academic circles and
the average tax payer does not feel a direct impact of their programs or the
$250 million they disperse each year. As the Internet grows, and as more
people use it in various aspects of their lives, this will change and
government funding of Internet/Intranet and "GoverNet" projects will become
more clear to people.

In my opinion, the disease has to be treated in three ways:

	1. More government officials need to become educated about the
		technology, the costs, the potential, and the need to fund
		a broad cross-section of their constituencies as opposed
		to the same old circle of friends that live off the NSF. They
		are not going to get this education from the Internet Politicians
		and therefore companies and indpendent people will have
		to help.
	2. Companies need to provide a stronger presence in the R&D
		community and the Internet Infrastructure arena via the
		dedication of people, servers, routers and networks
		to help support the transition of the Internet FROM the
		small group of Internet Politicians TO the real politicians
		of the world and the real governments.
	3. Taxpayers need to become better educated that the continued
		funding of Internet Politicians is not in the best interest
		of the taxpayers, because the Internet Politicians are
		attempting to use that money to duplicate many of the
		same government structures that already exist and the
		taxpayers are going to end up paying twice for the same

@ Given the government's interest in controlling the destiny of the Internet, I 
@ doubt very much that the OIG has much influence in the government's actions.  
@ The White House and now the FCC appear to have very clear agendas.  It is my 
@ hope that ISOC might become independent of its government ties and listen to 
@ that portion of the Internet industry which is NOT beholden to the U.S. 
@ government for their clout and financing.     

In my opinion, the ISOC is moving "off-shore" with respect to the U.S.
and I do not see any trend that the ISOC is addressing #1, #2, or #3.
Based on the results of the IAHC/IANA activity <>,
the ISOC is rapidly being absorbed by much larger international bodies
that have very little experience with the Internet such as the ITU, WIPO, etc.

The ISOC derives its funding from corporate sponsors and from the
enormous demand from developing countries hungry to learn more about
the early stages of the Internet as opposed to the more mature stages
the U.S. now faces. In my opinion, the ISOC will have very little to say
about how U.S. networking evolves.

Because the U.S. has a strong government (#1), a huge base of
corporations (#2) and educated and vocal taxpayers (#3), I do not think
that a generic "international template" can be placed on the U.S. by
the ISOC/ITU/WIPO group. It will not fit. As was seen in the IAHC
deliberations, Network Solutions, Inc. skillfully avoided becoming
subject to ISOC governance. That would be 10 steps backward for them.

In my opinion, the U.S. now has the advantage of "going it alone".
A close cooperation of the government, corporations, and taxpayers
is all that is now required to really accelerate progress in the U.S.
In essence, the IPv4 "experimental" Internet can be viewed as an
academic prototype and now the serious money will step into the
picture to move the playing field to a different level.

@ Many of the lambs have been silent while great but insidious activity has been 
@ undertaken over several years by our government.  We have a chance to force 
@ the government to once again back away from selecting and promoting winners 
@ and losers.  Lets get NSI's monopoly removed gracefully, thank the NSF for 
@ their "assistance" over the years, and let industry take the lead.
@ Bill Schrader
@ Chairman, President, CEO and Founder
@ PSINet Inc.  

Yes, industry needs to take the lead. In my opnion, industry
needs to lead government. U.S. companies need to get together
to make specific proposals to the U.S. government to "assist"
the NSF out of the picture and as a replacement better more
reliable systems and services need to fill the void.

I have written many suggestions with specific steps that can
be taken by the industry to get this ball rolling. One area which
needs immediate attention is the area of Root Name Server
deployment and organization. Many companies have been working
for years on testing and deploying experimental servers in
anticipation of the need to replace the 9 popular Root Name
Servers controlled by the National Science Foundation.

The NSF needs to recognize those efforts and to step forward
with proactive programs to phase out their servers in favor of
solid, stable, secure, servers. If the NSF continues to operate
their Root Name Server collection with closed policies and
allowing only certain companies to participate, then they are
actively making a statement that they do not intend to accept
the help of the industry in "gracefully" bowing out of the picture.

The ball is clearly in the NSF's court. The current investigation
of the NSF by the Office of the Inspector General will hopefully
help to show that the NSF (and the FNCAC) have been giving
indications for years of wanting to get out of the hot seat with
regard to control of the Root Name Servers, but they have not
taken any steps to accept people's offers to assist them.
Instead, they continue to bow to the pressure of the Internet
Politicians who keep a tight lock on the keys to those servers.

@ >  
@ >  
@ > ---------- 
@ > From: 	Jim Fleming[SMTP:[email protected]] 
@ > Sent: 	Tuesday, February 04, 1997 11:26 AM To: 	'New 
@ > Newdom' 
@ > Cc: 	'[email protected]'; '[email protected]' Subject: 	
@ > OIG Investigates the NSF (revised) 
@ >  
@ >  
@ > The United States of America is a great nation that has been one of 
@ > the primary leaders in the development of information technology. 
@ > The Internet is largely derived from government funded projects 
@ > and without the security, stability, and staying power of the 
@ > U.S. Government the large number of Internet users around the world 
@ > would not be jumping on board the Information Superhighway. 
@ >  
@ > Many people and companies have placed trust in the U.S. Government. 
@ > The U.S. Government places trust in God. (According to the back of a 
@ > one dollar bill). 
@ > Despite the fact that many people on the Internet place trust in the 
@ > IANA, the IETF, the IAHC, the IAB, the IESG and other I* 
@ > organizations, the fact remains that the U.S. Government backs 
@ > the Internet. 
@ >  
@ > Within the U.S. Government various agencies and organizations have 
@ > helped to move the Internet forward and to provide the 
@ > representative government needed on the Internet for people to safely 
@ > make investments in time and money with the knowledge that a 
@ > democractic and capitalistic group of people are in control. One of 
@ > the primary agencies helping to fund the Internet has been the 
@ > U.S. Government funded National Science Foundation (NSF). 
@ > <> 
@ >  
@ > The NSF has been the primary agency helping to fund and provide the 
@ > clout for the cooperative acitivity commonly called the InterNIC. 
@ > The InterNIC was originally made up of three companies, General 
@ > Atomics, AT&T, and Network Solutions, Inc. These three companies 
@ > were supposed to work together in various capacities to provide a 
@ > variety of services including the important clerical duties 
@ > commonly called "registrations". 
@ >  
@ > In the original plan, General Atomics was supposed to be the NIC of 
@ > NICs and coordinate the activities of the other two companies. The NSF 
@ > was supposed to oversee the entire activity. If managed properly, 
@ > many NICs would have been developed through education programs and 
@ > the Internet Infrastructure would have been expanded beyond the State 
@ > of Virginia and the few companies originally contracted to be part of 
@ > the cooperative agreement. That has not occurred. 
@ >  
@ > The history of the evolution of the InterNIC has been well-documented 
@ > and is very clear. In their original proposal to the NSF, 
@ > Network Solutions, Inc. 
@ > suggested that they should do the entire job. Jon Postel and 
@ > Joyce Reynolds of the IANA, are listed on the original Network 
@ > Solutions, Inc. bid as subcontractors to Network Solutions, Inc. 
@ > As history has shown, the IANA, working in conjunction with the 
@ > "InterNIC" (Network Solutions, Inc.) has helped to continue to 
@ > promote Network Solutions, Inc. to a point where most people consider 
@ > NSI to be the InterNIC. 
@ >  
@ > Throughout the evolution of the InterNIC from a three-company 
@ > cooperative to a one company monopoly, the NSF has apparently been 
@ > caught like a deer in the headlights of a car, frozen in indecision 
@ > but providing mass when needed to allow a few individuals and companies 
@ > to leverage themselves into positions of great wealth. The NSF has 
@ > been skillfully used to provide the U.S. Government seal of 
@ > approval, while policies are enacted by private parties who openly 
@ > claim that the NSF is "backing" their agendas. 
@ >  
@ > Many companies operating within the United States under Federal and 
@ > State laws, have been shocked over the past few years at how their 
@ > tax dollars are used to fund the NSF which in turn funds 
@ > Internet infrastructure with apparently no control over the 
@ > outcome. Furthermore, despite repeated efforts for other companies 
@ > to participate in and make investments in the Internet infrastructure, 
@ > the NSF has stood by and allowed plans and systems to be developed 
@ > which lock certain companies out while others are given a free pass and 
@ > in some cases millions of dollars to jump start their business. 
@ >  
@ > The recent IAHC <> activity is an excellent example 
@ > of how a private company (ISOC) <>, with less 
@ > members than many ISPs, is provided an NSF representative, Dr. 
@ > George Strawn, <> 
@ > for credibility, while they develop a plan to sell what amounts 
@ > to Internet Domain Registration Franchises to companies willing to 
@ > pay large fees to fund the private ISOC. 
@ >  
@ > Another example is the recently proposed ARIN <http://
@ >> organization which claims to have strong support from 
@ > the NSF to charge fees for IP addresses. The proposed Board of Direcors 
@ > of ARIN are mostly people funded directly, or indirectly, by the 
@ > National Science Foundation. 
@ > <> 
@ >  
@ > @@@@@ <>  @@@@@@@@@ "Network Solutions 
@ > is leading the ARIN proposal based on a mandate from the 
@ > Internet community reached in rough consensus with strong support from 
@ > the National Science Foundation and the Internet Assigned 
@ > Numbers Authority (IANA)." 
@ > @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 
@ >  
@ > Fortunately, the U.S. Government had the wisdom to set up an agency 
@ > within the NSF to provide some of the checks and balances needed 
@ > to regulate the NSF. That agency is the Office of Inspector General 
@ > (OIG) <>. OIG is headed by the 
@ > Inspector General (IG), who reports directly to the President (via the 
@ > NSB) and to Congress. 
@ >  
@ > ---- Inspector General ------- 
@ >  
@ > name: Sundro, Linda G. 
@ > email: [email protected] 
@ > directorate: Office of Inspector General 
@ > phone: (703)306-2100 
@ > office_phone: (703) 
@ > fax: (703)306-0649 
@ > address: 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 1135S 
@ > : Arlington, VA  22230 
@ >  
@ > -------------------------------------- 
@ >  
@ > In a recent discussion with Ms. Sundro, she indicated that the NSF 
@ > Office of Inspector General has been investigating the matters 
@ > surrounding the InterNIC and a Report to the Deputy Director is about 
@ > to be published. 
@ > Ms. Sundro indicated that Ms. Clara Kuehn, a physicist AND ATTORNEY, 
@ > has been assigned to handle the investigations and can provide 
@ > information on the status of the report. 
@ >  
@ > -------------------------------------- 
@ >  
@ > name: Kuehn, Clara 
@ > email: [email protected] 
@ > directorate: Office of Inspector General 
@ > phone: (703)306-2001 
@ > office_phone: (703)306-2001 x 1505 
@ > fax: (703)306-0649 
@ > address: 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 1135S 
@ > : Arlington, VA  22230 
@ >  
@ > ------------------------------------------ 
@ >  
@ > Ms. Sundro also noted that the e-mail address ([email protected]) listed on 
@ > the Office of Inspector General as an "Electonic Mail Hotline" is 
@ > not useful in contacting her office. She indicated that Ms. Kuehn 
@ > will welcome input from people on all topics related to these matters 
@ > and that the above e-mail address ([email protected]) should be used. 
@ >  
@ > In summary, I think that U.S. citizens should be proud that their 
@ > great country developed much of the technology and infrastructure for 
@ > the Internet. I also think that the world population should be aware 
@ > that the hundreds of years of government development in the U.S. 
@ > has resulted in a system that has the proper agencies to not only help 
@ > to foster increased growth of the Internet but also to help ensure 
@ > that citizens around the world are able to compete in this 
@ > marvelous advancement on a playing field that is fair and level. 
@ >  
@ >  
@ > -- 
@ > Jim Fleming 
@ > Unir Corporation 
@ >  
@ > e-mail: 
@ > [email protected] 
@ > [email protected] (EDNS/IPv8) 
@ >  
@ >  
@ >  
@ >  

Jim Fleming
Unir Corporation

[email protected]
[email protected] (EDNS/IPv8)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -