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michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the steel-cage-match dept.

The Internet 133

c_honcho writes "Now the ACLU (and friends) is taking on the ICANN group for limiting our 'Net freedoms. I suppose it was only a matter of time." See the ACLU's letter for their concerns about ICANN's addition of new TLDs.

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Remember... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#494926)

...This is the same ACLU who thinks that E-mail spamming should not be outlawed. Granted, they seem to have done pretty well in other areas, but I'd feel a lot better about them if they'd stop putting "Frea Speach" (spammish spelling) over private property rights (as in server owners having the absolute right to say what traffic they will and will not carry).

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#494927)

If I have a gun and you don't, I have a certain degree of power over you. If the government owns guns and the people don't, the government has power over the people. If the government has power over the people, it's called Tyranny. I don't want tyranny so I'm going to vote against gun-control. That ok by you?

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#494928)

You're generally confused about Internet Protocols I see. A domain name would "map" to an IP address. Where this port number business you speak in comes from I have no idea. IP could care less what port it is sending data to or from. Individual hosts will worry about that. Good day, sir.

Re:herm... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 13 years ago | (#494929)

Yeah,then why is it that the EFF is the only one sticking up for DeCSS? Blatant assaults on fair use and decryption are far more dangerous to our liberties than ICANN.

Re:Of all the silly things to get worked up over.. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 13 years ago | (#494930)

I did.

I wasn't impressed.

Personally, I'd like to get a refund for last year's ACLU membership and give it to the EFF. The ACLU is simply behind the times. By the time they get "with it" Valenti and Sony Music will own us already.

Rogue DNS (1)

Luke (7869) | more than 13 years ago | (#494931)

c'mon people, it's time.

there is NO reason a group of well-organized ambitious net users couldn't set up an "alternative" DNS system.

then we could have .goatsex, like everyone wants around here. :-)

Re:Restructure the Root Servers (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#494933)

It's not a hierarchy if you just have a big lookup table of domainname => root server. Originally domain names were administered by a big list of IP address => hostname, but this doesn't scale very well for millions of hosts that move around daily. Hierarchical DNS allows you to only query the servers that you need to track down the IP address of the host in question. Distributing a big lookup table of "slashdot =>, kuro5hin =>, mydomain =>" runs into the same problem that distributing a big hosts file did in the first place.

Or am I totally misunderstanding what you're proposing?

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

freq (15128) | more than 13 years ago | (#494934)

whatever trollboy. even someone with decidedly non-socialist leanings would take exception to all of your arguments.

1. unborn children are a great source of protein. if you continue to make statements about unborn children being sacred and such nonsence someone might mistake you for one of those clinic-bombing pro-life wackos.

2. the rich americans SHOULD provide for the poor americans! after all that is what our democracy was founded on! (under the established premises of corporate welfare being good for all people everywhere of course and that being under the thin veil of outright COMMUNISM) The poor people get jobs and become rich as a result, and thats good for everyone!

3. racism is not a problem in our country at all! Affirmative action has been a tremendous success at helping people of color find a voice and acheive equality all across our great whitey-controlled nation! So you just shut your little pie hole while i keep dreaming of our great light brown future we are all breeding toward as we become one global and homogenous race! Your children will marry and have kids that are darker than your little aryan bowling league and i think that scares the poop out of you.

pleas try to be more coherent next time.

(posting anonymously to preserve my precious ass)

(clarifying) (1)

TheDullBlade (28998) | more than 13 years ago | (#494935)

I'm not saying they, like many other respected brand-name NPOs, haven't done great things in the past.

But this is just another sign of how every sufficiently old organization becomes infested with risk-averse bureaucrats who are more worried about keeping their paychecks rolling in than actually getting results.

For instance, the ACLU has a clear record on wanting to limit police power. To me, the obvious flip side of this is making sure that the cops can't claim sole responsibility for defending the law-abiding populace, which implies armed citizens. If the citizens aren't armed, and the criminals are (and they are now and will be for the forseeable future, police-state or not), the police need broad, sweeping power to defend the helpless citizens. But the ACLU doesn't oppose gun control. Instead they support both tying the hands of the police and disarming civilians.

Their justification? In their humble opinions, the second amendment means that the state has the right to bear arms, not civilians. [] Regardless of practical or moral implications, they don't care about whether civilians can carry guns, because the law doesn't say there's a guarantee. And the law's always right, right? Of course, these people would never lobby to change an unjust law...

An awfully thin reed, if you ask me. Perhaps a more honest answer is that their leftist contributors like gun control. Better to ignore a basic dilemma and screw everyone involved than alienate their income-source.

Canada has stronger police (1)

TheDullBlade (28998) | more than 13 years ago | (#494936)

Canada's bill of rights has a clauses that let it be set aside whenever it is inconvenient for the state. The police are very powerful. There is also a far superior, gentle brain-washing process in the prisons which mean a much lower rate of repeat offending.

Perhaps more importantly, it is cold in Canada, and it has a generous welfare policy, so nobody is truly desperate. You have to be pretty desperate to go running around in 40-below weather committing crimes. It isn't like Russia where a man might starve tomorrow if he doesn't steal today.

Japan is similar. The police there have far more "see no evil" power than American cops. Most people assume that if the cops are after someone, he is guilty, and there isn't a lot of sympathy for a criminal whose right to not get caught except by certain rules was violated.

Consider other places like Switzerland, where every household must have a weapon. Low crime rate there, too.

On the whole though, looking at all countries, you'll probably see less crime where there are fewer guns, but the causality is reversed. People buy more guns when they are more fearful, and police-states, with low "real" crime but plenty of abuse from the government itself, don't allow citizens to have guns.

Crime rates have never gone down after a mass weapon confiscation. You only get the guns from the law-abiding citizens. Burglaries shoot up, as they have in Australia and Britain.

Conversely, when citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons, criminals become fearful.

There are plenty of studies to support these conclusions referenced by the NRA [] (it takes a bit of searching). However, there are plenty of studies which oppose these views, too. You have to get under into the methods used and judge for yourself, applying your own logic. It isn't something we're going to settle to anyone's satisfaction in a brief debate on slashdot.

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 13 years ago | (#494938)

Thats why the ACLU exists. Because people are "Innocent until PROVEN guilty" and deserve to be treated and defended as if they are indeed innocent UNTIL they are PROVEN guilty.

That is, unless you're a gun owner. Us gun owners are obviously responsible for all of the ills in society and thus we don't deserve protection. Sure, us hunters are using our guns in a legal manner now, but one day, each of us will snap and go on a killing spree so we need to be stopped before we do. The non-hunters don't have any justifiable use for guns so obviously, they're just going to use them to kill innocent people. As for the criminals using guns, they're a victim of society and should have their sentences reduced because if it weren't for the gun owners, they wouldn't be able to acquire guns to kill people. Maybe your freedom/rights defending ACLU and the ACLU I see attacking freedom/rights aren't the same people.

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 13 years ago | (#494941)

Well, perhaps less of a technical mapping and more of a heuristic mapping? and with ISP's, they name their services so they can reside on the same machine, but later separate them as one service takes over the whole box... so there's and and

DNS != speech (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 13 years ago | (#494942)

Why do people continually equate control over DNS with control over speech? They're not the same thing at all. A DNS name is merely a guide, pointing the user at a service, in an easier-to-remember form.

Re:the USA should _NOT_ decide TLD issues... (1) (56210) | more than 13 years ago | (#494945)

You're right that .xxx would be better a better choice.

But I don't understand why you think there was conspiracy?

I had no problems to sign up, got the snail mail a few weeks later...

Even one of the two canidates I thought who would be the best, was elected...:-)

Of course, I will check now if he deserves that I gave him my vote.

Perhaps, you tried to late, at the point where their servers got /.'ed. Which they could have easly avoided, but...?

What means this .ie in your mail, sorry I don't have a TLD list handy, and you know those severe hands, if you're this user with UID 0 on your job...

Re:the USA should _NOT_ decide TLD issues... (1) (56210) | more than 13 years ago | (#494946)

I think all those people who signed for ICANN membership should just decide it by their vote about new TLD's.

Not that I'm in anyway conderd about that TLD's trouble, it's just for the money much people would make from all these new TLD's, that's what it's all about.

Typing in my NS-Crashicator is no problem for me and google finds what I search, why does anyone need those TLD's the only good would be .sex, presuming it is possible to move all that p0rn in this DLT, that would allow easy filter for children who should'nt see/click those links like sometimes even on /..

This small bastard knows who I mean, I clicked on, asumming it would be something meaningfull, and I get those gay pOrn, just as my small son enters the room. Only good that a fast CTRL-ALT-F1 got me to the console, killing the netsape PID.

I don't think it's possible, so I just go my way...


Re:It's about time (1)

alprazolam (71653) | more than 13 years ago | (#494947)

that wasn't the main reason for the protest though. and they make the same point you do about limiting freedom of speech: "Any system that offers either one privileges in excess of what trademark law provides creates problems that should be avoided if possible." the point is to not give rights just to mcdonald's because they are bigger and more famous than mcdonald's farm.

Re:(clarifying) (1)

ahodgson (74077) | more than 13 years ago | (#494948)

>What proof is there that civilians carrying
>weapons reduces crime?

Who gives a shit?

It's a freedom issue. It means you have to prove that reducing law-abiding citizens' access to guns substantially decreases crime in order to justify decreasing their freedom.

Gun owners don't need to prove anything, any more than you need to prove that your right to speak is somehow beneficial to society to be guaranteed that right.

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

joblo (80175) | more than 13 years ago | (#494949)

Nonetheless, laws are necessary to preserve our freedoms and safety. Neither a draconian justice system nor a permissive one serves the people best. The ACLU focuses way too much, I think, upon making the justice system more permissive. An adequate justice system is vital to our peace and safety, just as it is vital that it not over-step it's bounds. All right-wing, Christian organizations that I know of are very pro-freedom. We want a smaller government, as well as a more orderly society that can rule itself. Harsher penalties for harsh crimes, it is felt, will make people think twice about commiting them. The point of emphasis of these right-wing groups is probably one you'd agree with - we don't commit these crimes and we wish noone else would. It's just as much to the potential criminal's benefit as to the innocent potential victim that the crime be prevented. My opinion is, we need to get the justice system in shape. It's waay too complicated for the average individual to deal with. Make the laws simpler, more available, and easier to understand. Understanding of the law should not be restricted to the few people who can spend years studying. After all, ignorance of the law is not considered a valid excuse for breaking it. Also, complex, manipulatable laws breed incredibly rich, silver-tongued persons called lawyers, who just can't resist running for public office. When the justice system is more accessible to a regular person, the possibility of an innocent person being convicted of a harsh crime will be drasticly reduced. Then, we can easily have more harsh penalties for truly harsh crimes and the criminals will have less of a chance of getting away with it. Anyway, what I'm saying is, we need a more balanced approach.

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 13 years ago | (#494951)

Well, that bookstore should be using anyway.

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 13 years ago | (#494952)

Like removing the abilitiy to truly be anonymous? so you can't hide behind an AC post?

Totally regulate the internet.. give us all a ID number totally traceable(ie pass laws making the SS number that)

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 13 years ago | (#494953)

well said :)

I live near philly (1)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 13 years ago | (#494954)

The worse thing about all of this(i'm flamebait) is that mumia has never said he did'nt kill the guy... even when he had the chance.. bothers me a bit....

Gah Bless da ACLU (1)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 13 years ago | (#494955)

I'm a card carrying member and proud of it.. I love these guys, they are doing the perfect thing. Lets hope they actually make some progress with it, i think we all agree that the approved new names are horrible.. .aero ??? but not .xxx or not .union ???? great....

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 13 years ago | (#494956)

Yer a fool, ACLU is one of the few orginazations in this country that fights for rights of the people.. if they screw up once in a while its ok in my book when you consider all the good they've done.

Proud to be a member (1)

blackage (92956) | more than 13 years ago | (#494957)

The ACLU is a great organization. Hearing that they are taking an interest in ICANN makes me even more proud to be a card holding member.

Now where is the EFF?

Re:About time (1)

Cire (96846) | more than 13 years ago | (#494960)

And not only are they pandering to corporate money, but they're dragging their feet about it too. There's been talk about new TLDs for years, but where has it gotten us?

The process for starting new TLDs should be an open one where everyone gets a vote. I suppose they tried to do that with the ICANN-at-large deal, but it doesnt seem to be working.

Re:It's about time! (1)

Cire (96846) | more than 13 years ago | (#494961)

I agree with you. I was surprised when really useful TLDs weren't passed, like xxx and sex. Seriously. There are so many of those types of sites that they truly do deserve their own TLD.

Not that I dislike .museum, but it seems like it's not going to be as widely used as some of the others.

What I can never figure out is why no one uses a .us domain. Aren't they free? Maybe no one knows where to register them!

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

Bushwacker (101443) | more than 13 years ago | (#494962)

My thoughts exactly. While I am kind of partial to ICANN as I am a member, I do think that the ACLU is going about this the right way. Instead of making a hughe legal mess of this, they should instead go directly to ICANN itself and try to negotiate a compromize that benifits both organazations as well as the Intenet community. Yes, ICANN has a near monopoly on Domain Names, but it's not like they take the M$ course of action. The only reason that they are so powerful is that they are so well organized. Also, there is little competition.
------------------------------------ -----

Cool... (1)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#494963)

The ACLU is great at defending internet freedoms against monopolists like M$, the gov, and ICANN. Now if they only processed mail fast enough to get my membership card to me before 2002 =)

Restructure the Root Servers (1)

ResHippie (105522) | more than 13 years ago | (#494964)

Here's a thought, since you are already limited to what characters a-z, 0-9, and - I think, so how about you arrange the root servers based on the name of the site, ie Slashdot, Kuro5hin, etc. That way it doesn't matter what your TLD is, DNS will still work.

Am I missing something, or is Occam right once again.

Re:Rogue DNS (1)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 13 years ago | (#494966)

I submitted a story about this very subject the other day. There *are* a number of rogue Root DNS servers already in existance, and *lot's* of rogue TLD's served by them.

May they will post it now? (hint hint).

I want to see my first posted submission!
(shameless begging)

Going on means going far
Going far means returning

Re:(clarifying) (1)

MrGrendel (119863) | more than 13 years ago | (#494967)

Perhaps a more honest answer is that their leftist contributors like gun control.

Before you get too deep into stereotypes (and red herings), many of us (the leftist ACLU supporters) are not in favor of gun control. I personally think gun control is poor social policy in America -- it can't be enforced and is not consistent with the culture of large portions of the country. But I do not believe gun ownership is a civil right, so it is not an issue for the ACLU to take up. The NRA covers that department sufficiently.

Free speech, unlike gun ownership, is a civil right. The ACLU should get involved any time the government or a government-sponsored organization (i.e. ICANN) starts coming up with policies that limit that right. It is not for you, ICANN, the Greys, or anyone else to decide who should or should not be granted a domain name. You may not care about having your own domain for non-commercial purposes, but I do. I want to be able to run my own web server off of my own box and say whatever the hell I want to say without risking some hypersensitive sysadmin wiping out my site because someone sent him a nastygram. I can't do that without my own domain name. TLDs have value beyond commercial value, but ICANN is refusing to acknowledge that.

Re:Rogue DNS (1)

ekidder (121911) | more than 13 years ago | (#494968)

Well, there ARE other servers. The problem comes up when you have two different servers assigning different addresses to the same name. It's hard to 'touch base' with your friends when your leads here and their leads to rowdy muppet porn.

An alternate root (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#494969)

your bag over your shoulder and get on board with an alternate root.

OpenNIC [] , where D in DNS stands for "Democratic," is your alternate root. Its TLDs include .oss (free software) and .parody (self-explanatory). And it runs just fine alongside ICANN's root.

Or you could just use some BIND exploit to root the root nameserver :-)

Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []

That's great logic (1)

JiveDonut (135491) | more than 13 years ago | (#494972)

until YOU are the innocent man put away.

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

wfaulk (135736) | more than 13 years ago | (#494973)

They're nothing more than a label for a TCP/IP address & port number.
The last time I checked, port numbers were not included in FQDNs. It'd be a great feature, don't get me wrong, but it simply doesn't exist.

Re:Of all the silly things to get worked up over.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 13 years ago | (#494974)

Let them know.
I would like to see the EFF become part of the ACLU.
The ACLU has "name recognition" and money. The EFF has a good focus on what going on in the Tech side of things. They could make a powerfull team.

Re:Of all the silly things to get worked up over.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 13 years ago | (#494975)

How about going to and looking under cyber rights?
while your there, why don't you look around at what there doing? I think you may change your mind about the ACLU avoiding the "real problems".
Please don't jump to these kind of conclusions without doing a little research yourself, you only make yourself look lazy,ignorant, and foolish.
Again, go to there site and lok around. Maybe you won't change your mind, but at least you should be able to state your opinion without looking stoopid.

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

clary (141424) | more than 13 years ago | (#494977)

URL's are somewhat like phone numbers, especially since one can dial a letter string. Yet, we don't see companies suiing each other over 1-800-4-AMAZON or 1-800-PHONE-SEX. Why not? URLs are more tied to brand image than a phone number is? IP litigation has only now become the rage? Are URLs somehow more legally protected than phone numbers?
I can think of several reasons...

It is annoying to have to dial a letter string. I don't have the letter to number mappings memorized.

Company/organizations often don't naturally map to a fixed length string. In 1-800-4-AMAZON, you still have to remember the 4.

Many phones have a phone book within spitting distance. If not, directory assistance is available. This is DNS for phones, but without fighting over anything other than the real-world name already belonging to the company.

Re:It's about time (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 13 years ago | (#494979)

You must have missed the slashdot about the ham radio operator you was issued a ceas and desist from QVC networks because his web site (call sign) had the letters QVC in them. You must also have missed the etoy / etoys article.

Large corporations will abuse trademarks to all extents possible. Individuals and smaller entities need protection from that. The ICANN domain name dispute policy is anti individual and pro corporate. It is really a violation of our free speach rights AND our right to use common english words / names in domain names.

ICANN has also artificially limited new TLD's to only a few mega corporations - Why? There is NO techincal reason why we can't have thousands / millions of TLD's. There is nothing special about Top level versus second level.

Re:It's about time! (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 13 years ago | (#494980)

"What I can never figure out is why no one uses a .us domain."

The .us domain is geography based. I'm suposed to register my domain in for example. What happens if I move? If I'm a business and have stores in new york, san francisco, and chicago, which location do I register in? all of them? Just one?

There are only a few entities that make sense to use the .us domain. Local governments, schools, etc.

The .us domain is also NOT well managed. The registrar for san jose is actually in santa cruz. Some cities registrars in different states. Some charge (!) but most don't. It's anarchy.

Re:Smack NSI around a bit as well (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#494981)

Why not get her a decent present instead?

Re:It's about time! (1)

Another AC (151302) | more than 13 years ago | (#494982)

In practice though, it's pretty much impossible for you to actually get a .us domain, even My friend and I applied for one about a year ago and never heard a word from them since. We tried to get (for lovett,indiana) because we thought that things like would make for good porn!
we also tried gateway, Colorado ( They never wrote back. It's pretty shady!

Re:What about the MPAA (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 13 years ago | (#494983)

All you have to do is remember that ACLU stands for Asinine Constipated Liberals Union.

Fairness in DNS is nice but... (1)

JCCyC (179760) | more than 13 years ago | (#494985)

...what I REALLY want to see is when are they going to bitchslap the DMCA.

Re:(clarifying) (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 13 years ago | (#494986)

Well, why not jump into this. Perhaps we can have a lucid discussion regarding gun control. :) My basic question is this: What proof is there that civilians carrying weapons reduces crime? Do we have studies to show this? If so, what are the rates of gun-related deaths by comparison (accidental and crime-related). The reason I ask is that it's a common argument of anti-gun-control advocates that we must protect ourselves from criminals (and the state). BUT, there's never any proof laid on the table showing that civilian weapons possession actually achieves these goals. In fact, in other countries (such as Canada), where there is stricter gun control, the crime rates are actually lower, and gun-related death rates are *much* lower (again, I wish I had the numbers to prove this, but this is my understanding... correct me if I'm wrong). Granted, this can be attributed to cultural differences as well, but it is interesting to point out.

Now, how is any of this relevant? Well, if you can't prove that gun control increases crime, you can't prove that the ACLU's stance on gun control is inconsistent, thus the ACLU may in fact be a decent organization. How's that for getting back to the topic? ;)

Re:Of all the silly things to get worked up over.. (1)

fantom_winter (194762) | more than 13 years ago | (#494987)

Are you kidding? The ACLU has been behind quite a few of important movements and court decisions in the past.

If you don't think that TLDs are important, I suggest you, one, read the article, and two, think for a moment about the money wrapped up in things like registering domain names.

It may not be what you are thinking about ATM but I assure you, it is important.

Not everyone loves the ACLU, but give them some credit. At times, they have been one of the only organizations to stand behind the ideals of protection of human rights.

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

stubob (204064) | more than 13 years ago | (#494988)

"Innocent until proven guilty" I have no problem with. But where I do dislike the ACLU is their propensity to attempt to get convicted criminals (people proven guilty) released because of technicalities in the process of their trial. Case in point: Mumia Abu-Jamal. Note: I will not argue whether or not he is guilty/whatever, so do not reply about it. I just chose him as an example of a well-known case.

I had a feeling you were going to say that.

Re:Cool... (1)

kurioszyn (212894) | more than 13 years ago | (#494989)

Yeah, the way they approach matter, pretty soon you will not be able to do anything because it might offend somebody.
ACLU is a highway to slavery.

Oops.. (1)

TheFlu (213162) | more than 13 years ago | (#494990)

I clicked on reply for the wrong story...this is perfectly on topic for this story [] , which is just below this one. That'll teach me to use several computers at once :O)

About time (1)

rabtech (223758) | more than 13 years ago | (#494991)

it is about time someone with the power to do so is taking on ICANN. For all their fluff about being open and listening to the people, they are really pandering to the corporations with the biggest pocketbooks.
The IHA Forums []

Re:It's about time (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 13 years ago | (#494994)

Hasn't the ACLU always been good friends with the EFF? I believe they were involved in fighting the CDA too.

"Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto"
(I am a man: nothing human is alien to me)


gwizah (236406) | more than 13 years ago | (#494997)

Read here [] to see just how far the ACLU has come since its humble beginnings.


nurikochan (247910) | more than 13 years ago | (#494998)

Ummm. That link is broken. try here [] .

Re:Why even have TLDs? (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 13 years ago | (#495000)

Exactly. Why is this an issue in the first place? Unless there is a technical reason for limiting the content of the last part of a TLD, I'm sure both ICANN and the ACLU have more interesting things to do with their time.

Re:It's about time (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 13 years ago | (#495001)

Before cheering for the ACLU as the default good guy, try actually reading their wordy and convoluted letter [] explaining why they are protesting. In a specific example in the letter, they contend that McDonalds Farm of Scotland and McDonalds Restaurants would somehow have more equal freedom of speech if the farm could use a domain name like instead of, I suppose, something like You could just as well argue that the burger company's freedom of speech is being limited in exactly the same way by the lack of a McDonalds.Burgers domain. As much as I agree with more variety in TLDs, I just don't find the ACLU's arguments compelling, or even rational.

Why even have TLDs? (1)

ziplux (261840) | more than 13 years ago | (#495002)

Why not just allow a person to register blahblah.blah and not have ICANN control the TLDs?

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 13 years ago | (#495003)

You'll love ACLU until they insist on getting a murderer who killed your sister free on a basis of some ridiculous technicality.

But what if he was the murderer who killed his sister? Then I think he'd be pretty happy about it.

Re:You'll love ACLU... (1)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 13 years ago | (#495004)

Isn't having George W Bush as president punishment enough for all of us?

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

Schnedt Microne (264752) | more than 13 years ago | (#495005)

Actually, should be able to keep their domain, but they should have to be called "Joe's Bait Shop" or some other trademark that they didn't steal.

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

Schnedt Microne (264752) | more than 13 years ago | (#495006)

Or the user might have been looking for The Amazon Bookstore, a small but influencial feminist bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that's been in business since the 70's (one of the oldest Feminist bookstores in the country.) Who were basically ripped off by

Re:You don't guess URLs? (1)

Schnedt Microne (264752) | more than 13 years ago | (#495007)

The IP address to my favorite Linux site is It's a Pentium 233 box, hostname 'Copper' running Slack down in my basement. It has lots of important stuff shared over NFS to other machines on my home network.

It was trivial to memorize the IP address for it. And since I use static host tables it won't be changing.

Re:Generally sillyness... (1)

popular (301484) | more than 13 years ago | (#495008)

Remember what happened when 800 got crowded? They added 888, then 877 shortly after that. The TLD space is overcrowded, so shouldn't the same thing be happening?

WRT vanity 8xx numbers: Have you been to PhoneSpell [] ? A phone number that spells one thing usually spells several others. My company's customer service number (software sales) spells the company name, although it can also spell several other things that could be construed as sexist/misogynist statements...


i gues we only needed a hollywood movie ... (1)

ender's_shadow (302302) | more than 13 years ago | (#495009)

actually, this is pretty great. and if you haven't heard of neutral milk hotel, get one of their albums(by your preferred method, of course -- speaking of online freedoms).

Re:Remember... (2)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#495011)

It makes sense that they should take that side on spam. I just don't think they have a _case_ there. They can back the 'spam == speech' side all they like and still be wrong, and still lose. Just because they are sometimes right doesn't require them to _always_ be right. It's good to see them getting involved in situations where they _DO_ have a case, because they're a terrific opponent for ICANN. In that area, their concerns are exactly addressing the problem, and there's no gaping hole in their argument.

Re:About time (2)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#495012)

This was flamebait? Maybe (-1, Obvious Already). Hardly flamebait.

Re:Why even have TLDs? (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#495013)

There is a technical reason, it's called "knowing which root server to go to for that domain name". DNS is hierarchical; you can't just add things at random spots in the hierarchy without considering what that will do for the performance of the whole system. If you add the .blah TLD without sufficient preparation, DNS lookups for blahblah.blah will go nowhere, and may clog up the system for those of us just looking for /. or porn :)

Re:Why even have TLDs? (2)

Royster (16042) | more than 13 years ago | (#495014)

Yeah, why not, that worked just great with .alt

The answer is that the root servers don't hold all of the DNS entries, they point you at other servers that either have the information you need or will refer you to another server that does.

If you request the .ca domain, the root server tells you which server to go to look up a .ca. That server will tell you where to get the domain and that server will do the rest of the work pointing you to

If you request a .uk, the root server will send you off in another direction.

real free speech impediments (2)

TheDullBlade (28998) | more than 13 years ago | (#495017)

Yeah, let's show those phonies by getting our own real free speech impediments!


Re:It's about time! (2)

Tower (37395) | more than 13 years ago | (#495019)

The US Domain []
Here you go. There are links to each individual spot from this page. The registries are controlled in a strong hierarchy for the .us - you usually end up at your local city.

At this page [] you can find most of the local contacts.

Re:Generally sillyness... (2)

interiot (50685) | more than 13 years ago | (#495020)

No, but isn't the complete description of the store. The complete description is more accurately and uniquely something like Amazon-USBased-Online-Bookstore. **

Since is still a representation and not a globally unique mark, it seems as ludicrous to litigate over as it seems to litigate over

Actually, it's now more accurately Amazon-USBased-Online-Bookstore-cum-Electronics-To ys-Music-DVD-Auction-Used-Store, but I didn't want to get into that above.

Re:Generally sillyness... (2)

interiot (50685) | more than 13 years ago | (#495021)

Many phones have a phone book within spitting distance. This is DNS for phones...

Actually, I'd say that Google is more analogous to a phone book.

A phone book allows you to search by some name you remember, and then if there are several that match, to use the the information attached to each entry to figure out which one you want. DNS does not allow for this.

As such, Amazon-the-Bookstore finds it necessary to be THE even though the user might have really been looking for Amazon-rainforest-trinkets or something else.

the USA should _NOT_ decide TLD issues... (2)

Nivag (69989) | more than 13 years ago | (#495022)

The assignment of Top Level Domain names affects the whole world, not just America. They impact me, though I've never been to America. The United Nations is probably the only "Judicial" body that has the appropriate juridiction.

It is in the long term interests of America to make the process truly international, before China eclipses it on the world economic stage. The rest of the world is growing increasingly impatient with the arrogance of the USA in deciding global issues.

I'm not saying the United Nations is appropriate to decide on all global issues, but it would be better for the USA to cooperate in setting up a truly international body to adminster TLD's.

The world should not be held to ransom by changes in the government of the USA and associated commercial interests.

Remember, more internet activity takes place outside of the USA, and the USA component is decreasing in percentage terms.

Congressional hearings offer a forum for debate (2)

andyo (109338) | more than 13 years ago | (#495026)

Trust in ICANN is not enough to permit debate within the confines of its own structures. North America and Europe elected strong critics to the ICANN board, and the board stalled on giving them seats; it has taken numerous other steps to perpetuate its nontransparent reign. So the next natural step is back to the U.S. government, which, like it or not, created ICANN and still has oversight. That is the significance of this ACLU initiative. (CPSR, which I support, also signed on.)

Re:the USA should _NOT_ decide TLD issues... (2)

bfree (113420) | more than 13 years ago | (#495027)

I think all those people who signed for ICANN membership should just decide it by their vote about new TLD's.

That would be ok if it wasn't for the fact that the sign up was useless! I suggested before that it was possible that the entire process was rigged, and unless and until someone proves otherwise that conspiracy theory will stay alive with me anyway. The number of successful applicants were very few, and the reasons why people failed to sign up? I don't know, do you? Could it be possible that the signup was controlled to provide an unbalanced membership?

Having read the ACLU piece I have to say that I am dissappointed but not surprised that they continued tha arrogance of assuming that the fact that these domains are controlled by the U.S. is fine! /. is not the place I know to voice these sorts of opinions as /. itself is a U.S. centric forum. Even your suggestion that .sex should be used shows problems, .sex is english, .xxx would be international however wouldn't it? Come on people, do we want a net where the US has it's choice to make as many TLDs as it likes while the rest of the world can divy up their own TLD alone, or do we want an internet where each country has a TLD and the remaining potential name space is controlled by some international authority who decides on a world basis whether or not extra domains are appropriate (forget the issue of whether the entire TLD idea is right or wrong as unless you think that the root servers should be open for anyone to add their own domain someone must control it)?

You don't guess URLs? (2)

clary (141424) | more than 13 years ago | (#495032)

I'm sorry, but you are way off base here. Domain names are EXTREMELY important for any company or organization that needs to be reached over the net.

I don't know about everyone else, but I jump from machine to machine, browser to browser, OS to OS, all the time. I can never count on having bookmarks handy when I want to find information. I use two strategies to find what I want.

First, I remember a few key URLs:,,, and a few others. (Of course, falls into this category. ;-)

Second, I guess! Some URLs I have guessed recently are, (Bridge Information Systems),, and

Try remembering the IP address for your favorite Linux site! Then prepare to track it down when they move the site to another IP address.

Offtopic: What URLs should I add to my memorized list? ( no one has any opinions on that!)

Re:Generally sillyness... (2)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 13 years ago | (#495033)

Remember that names and numbers are NOT a one to one relationship. and
could point to the SAME IP address, but totally different web sites. This is one of the things HTTP 1.1 did for us. It helps conserve IP addresses that are in short supply. can also map to many different IP addresses too.

Of course some of the REASONS that IP addresses are in short supply are stupid - large corps hogging class A's & B's that don't need them... But I digress.

But don't worry Simon, soon you will have lots of IPv6 numbers to remember!!!

ICANN badness (2)

bricriu (184334) | more than 13 years ago | (#495034)

I have to admit, I'm glad someone's going after ICANN, even if it's too little, too late. $50,000 for ".museum"?? Apparently, ICANN isn't too familiar with existing museum nomenclenture. Taken from the .us doman page ( [] ):

e. MUS - Museums
This branch is used for museums. For example:
<museum-name>.MUS.<stat e-code>.US.

If this wasn't a scheme to bilk people and honest (if not very clued-in) groups out of a bunch of cash, I don't know what would be. I say let the ACLU sue 'em until the cows come home.

Re:Generally sillyness... (2)

benshutman (202482) | more than 13 years ago | (#495035)

"I may be the only person who feels this way...but I still think that URL's (and top-level domains) are basically a hack. They're nothing more than a label for a TCP/IP address & port number. People take this stuff WAY too seriously. " that idea is great for techs, but what "average person" would hear "" and remember it, let alone be inspired to visit it? imagine a store that could only put its phone number on its sign, have no advertising outside the store, no windows... would you be inclined to call them and see what they do? didnt think so.

NEWS: cloning, genome, privacy, surveillance, and more! []

Re:Generally sillyness... (2)

stubob (204064) | more than 13 years ago | (#495036)

"So shouldn't the same thing be happening?"

But just because they added 888, whatever, Amazon (to keep the example going) didn't also get issued 1-888-4-AMAZON, nor would they sue someone who registered 1-888-426-2066. This is what ICANN was trying to provide from the start with .com, etc., but the registrars allowed companies to register whatever they wanted just to make money.

BTW, did I get the phone number right? I seem to have no Z on my phone at work.

I had a feeling you were going to say that.

Re:It's about time! (2)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 13 years ago | (#495038)

What I can never figure out is why no one uses a .us domain.

I can tell you why I don't: I do not want to tell every nut-case on the net where I live.

Re:Generally sillyness... (2)

popular (301484) | more than 13 years ago | (#495039)

Yeah, DNS is such a waste of time. God forbid we use anything other than 32bit numbers or conserve the limited number of IPv4 addresses with HTTP 1.1 host headers (aka virtual hosting). I liked the olden days of Compuserve, when everybody was 7112313,342423413. user@ works just fine for email... do you know how many things depend on DNS?

People need DNS, and they want their own TLD's. I don't think it's unfair to ask for them. All the dictionary and Latinesque TLD's are taken, and considering how much went for, a sufficiently descriptive TLD would cost even more than lobbying ICANN to get off their fat fucking asses, anyway.


Sorry, am not allowed to follow the link (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#495040)

My employer does not allow the employees to see the ACLU [] link. The net nanny software displays a message that threatens with termination if I don't stop trying to violate the company policy.

Is this message off topic?

Marko [mailto]

Re:It's about time! (3)

double_h (21284) | more than 13 years ago | (#495042)

What I can never figure out is why no one uses a .us domain. Aren't they free? Maybe no one knows where to register them!

You're not supposed to register "", but only "". And "" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

More info on .us domains (including how to register them) can be found straight from the horse's mouth [] .

Of all the silly things to get worked up over... (3)

TheDullBlade (28998) | more than 13 years ago | (#495043)

This is the least important thing they could possibly be putting their efforts into.

How about legal bullying to steal or silence websites? How about legislation supporting such legal bullying?

Domain names are really not important. I know plenty of great sites without their own domain. Easily-remembered domains are only really important for people who advertise on TV.

The ACLU is just another money-sucking "cause" which makes noise to attract cash, and carefully avoids actually affecting the real problems that justify its funding.

ICANN doing away with publicly-elected members? (3)

Slimbob (35316) | more than 13 years ago | (#495044)

NPR was interviewing some ICANN members the other morning. One of the callers reported that there is currently a measure being debated within ICANN to do away with publicly-elected seats. Karl Auerbach and Esther Dyson, who were guests on the show, confirmed this. (Side note: apparently Vint Cerf couldn't/wouldn't come unless his company was allowed to oversee the format and content of the interview!)

This dissolution of public representation is just plain wrong. The public votes in a member of the Chaos Computer Club and suddenly the corporate board of ICANN has the gall to discuss the removal of public representation?

what about newsgroup style names? (3)

Jafa (75430) | more than 13 years ago | (#495045)

Just brainstorming here, but what about newsgroup like names, such as comp.os.etc etc? Only reversed. Or whatever works.

That seemed to work for a large number of groups because the individual control was not at such a high level in tree. What I mean is, all we have is .com. From there, everyone fights about what comes before that. Why not split that into several groups? For instance, Then the resturaunts can fight over just that level.

It's kinda like a b-tree. It's time for a split.


ACLU neglected good examples (3)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 13 years ago | (#495046)

About halfway into the letter, the ACLU discusses some generalities and then provides some specific examples. Unfortunately, the examples are not compelling and do not address the most onerous of possible outcomes that the generalities imply. Here is their generalities paragraph:

We believe that there are several major issues at stake in addition to which gTLDs are selected and who gets to run them. Many will emerge from the fine print of contracts currently being negotiated between ICANN and the prospective registry operators. These contracts may impact free speech rights and property rights by either extending ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and/or providing additional pre-emptive rights to trademark holders or holders of existing domain names at the expense of the public at large. We believe that it would be a violation of federal law, and of due process, for NTIA to consent to any plan that required individuals to consent to the UDRP as a condition of enjoying a government benefit such as registration in a new gTLD. Each of these issues will require careful consideration in a public process before any decision is made.
The subjection to UDRP means that a popular web site that espouses non-mainstream views could be taken down by simply finding a close name that happens to be trademarked and pressing the case pro bono on behalf of the company or organization with the trademark. I am thinking specifically, of course, of the Corinthians [] case, but more nefarious than the facts in that case. In that case, there was no legitimate web site at, and there was no intent to specifically squash free speech.

The ACLU should have provided a fictional example along those lines to illustrate the Sword of Damocles the UDRP is.

Do away with DNS... (3)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 13 years ago | (#495047)

...and leave the internet to those of us who don't mind using dotted quads. :) I'm only half-kidding.

Here's an idea. How about we remove top-level domains entirely? Why not have a system where instead of browsing to "", I just go to "http://slashdot"? One obvious problem is what do you do about all the situations where there's,, etc. Well, the answer is, they all stay as they are, but we stop using TLDs for all new domains. So you could be just slashdot.

This means that your web browser would go to the A.root servers for the old TLDs, and instead of having a top-level server for each TLD, we'd have one for each letter of the alphabet (or whatever other characters in whatever other languages can start words, so that the language you're using is irrelevant and it isn't US-centric). Then we have a big ole distributed system of servers, each one of which serves a particular letter (or even group of letters, I dunno how fast those big-ass servers are).

So you've got a box that serves 'A' and 'B', one that serves 'C' and 'D', etc. That way, TLDs are a thing of the past.

The biggest problem of course is, who decides who gets which domains. And what about domain speculators (or people who are just rich jerks) who buy up hundreds or thousands of domain names?

How about a system where any given entity can only register one name per day? And it would cost something small, or maybe it would just be free.

Obviously this has a lot of work to go into it, but it certainly would be an improvement. Hierarchy is nice, but is it necessary? You could still of course register a name like "cia.usgovt" if the "usgovt" name wasn't already taken.

Maybe I'm just rambling. Oh well.

Making .us domains more attractive (3)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#495048)

"". And "" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

If Colorado (, Nebraska (, and Oregon ( would take the "city" field out of their domain patterns, they could get some business that would have otherwise gone to .com, .net, and .org, respectively. (Compare and

Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []

Re:Libre Internet (3)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 13 years ago | (#495049)

For those Americans who will remind me that the 'Internet' used to be a DARPA project (etc etc): Whats your point?

The point is that it was funded at the expense of the taxpaying United States' citizens. Instead of thanking the U.S. for opening up access to the net, you (as a Canadian) want all countries to be equal partners with no compensation to the U.S.

The U.S. invested the money and took the initiative (and risk of failure) to build the Internet. Why don't you try telling Microsoft, Netscape, and AOL that you want to be an equal partner in their now successful net ventures and see how they react?

ACLU and ICANN are both wrong (4)

rw2 (17419) | more than 13 years ago | (#495050)

ICANN is wrong for thinking that they have the right to define the standards.

ACLU is wrong for thinking the ICANN can define the standards.

The internet community is also wrong. Throw your bag over your shoulder and get on board with an alternate root. Better yet, if you have the skills, propose a more open standard so that rooting doesn't need to be done in the homogenous way that it is.


Lack of more TLD's != free speech impediment (4)

Ded Bob (67043) | more than 13 years ago | (#495051)

The letter from the ACLU and its allies, addressed to outgoing Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta, argued that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) placed artificial limitations on the number of generic top-level domains that threaten freedom of expression for individual Internet users and noncommercial organizations.

What are they talking about? Just because a TLD does not exist places NO RESTRICTIONS on what a person wants to say. Freedom of expression is NOT threatened by not having a TLD for a specific purpose. If no new TLD's were made, would they also sue?

I am sorry if this offends people, but I really think the ACLU should calm down and focus.

Re:You'll love ACLU... (4)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#495052)

So what your saying is....

"You will love the ACLU, until something happens which effects you in a way that causes your emotional feelings to overrule your logical judgement"

The ACLU is pro-freedom. There is a very simple concept here. "It is better to let 100 guilty men go free, than to convict one innocent man".

I firmly believe that this is true. 100, nay even 1 million convicted criminals does not undo the harm of putting an innocent man in prison.

To go even farther, forget about conviction. If a practice of law enforcement or other arms of the government has the potential to infringe upon the rights of an innocent party...then that practice DESERVES to be attacked, even if it means a guilty person going free.

You can catch a criminal the next time they commit a crime, you can't undo their crime, nor can you undo the damage that can be done by unchecked government.

Thats why the ACLU exists. Because people are "Innocent until PROVEN guilty" and deserve to be treated and defended as if they are indeed innocent UNTIL they are PROVEN guilty.


Libre Internet (4)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 13 years ago | (#495053)

The internet needs to be seperated from the American government. Every country in the world should be able to 'share' the ability to add TLDs. Every country (I mean all countries - not just the ones the American Government likes) should be given the right to add as many TLD as they like... the present system is ridiculous what the hell does the US Dept. of Commerce have to do with the Internet..

For those Americans who will remind me that the 'Internet' used to be a DARPA project (etc etc): Whats your point? Times change. Only hubris and selfishness would keep you from putting yourselves on equal footing as the rest of the planet...

Is there free speech when all the places are malls (4)

themashby (203334) | more than 13 years ago | (#495054)

You're an're not thinking clearly. Controlling DNS' is like telling you what street you can stand on to give your speech. All that will be left if corporate America gets its way will be alleys and swamps. If all the good streets (recognized and traveled by most people) are owned by major corporations then your right to speech is effectively denied. Think of it this way, how much free speech is there in a mall? No, there is no free speech in a mall. Its not a public space. People may falsly beleive they are public but they are not. There are no homeless in a mall. Malls are great places to feel safe and to consume while ignoring the truth of our society. And that's what corporations would wish to do to the internet. They don't want those pesky people gathering to discuss why GM cars are unsafe at

Generally sillyness... (4)

S1mon_Jester (223331) | more than 13 years ago | (#495055)

I may be the only person who feels this way...but I still think that URL's (and top-level domains) are basically a hack. They're nothing more than a label for a TCP/IP address & port number. People take this stuff WAY too seriously.

That said, I think there's a LOT more room for anarchy (a good thing, in this instance) with regard to top-level domains and URL's. The ICANN is imposing artificial limitations (which is their right) that don't need to exist.

If the ACLU wants to fight them...go for it. But it's sillyness in the extreme. What happens if someone where to take the 'standard TLD' from ICANN and add additional TLD's at the 2nd level? (In effect, adding additional TLD to the TLD that ICANN registers)

Re:Generally sillyness... (5)

interiot (50685) | more than 13 years ago | (#495056)

Yes, I've been thinking about this a lot recently.

URL's are somewhat like phone numbers, especially since one can dial a letter string. Yet, we don't see companies suiing each other over 1-800-4-AMAZON or 1-800-PHONE-SEX.

Why not? URLs are more tied to brand image than a phone number is? IP litigation has only now become the rage? Are URLs somehow more legally protected than phone numbers?

I wonder if URLs would have had arbitrary limitations put on them... such as being 6 characters long at maximum, and 2 of the characters have to be numeric... if companies wouldn't have become so attached to a string of letters that they find it necessary to spend tremendous amounts of money to purchase or litigate.

It's about time (5)

Walter Wart (181556) | more than 13 years ago | (#495057)

As electronic communications become more regulated and "more like" other aspects of life it was inevitable that the ACLU would become concerned with them. High time. We could use an experienced and effective advocate like them

It's about time! (5)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 13 years ago | (#495058)

When the ICANN extorts $50,000 from an "applicant" just to consider a 3-7 letter long TLD, something is very wrong. When the users of the Internet are excluded from the TLD selection process, there is something very wrong. When ICANN releases TLDs like .coop and .museum, I think that something very crooked has taken place behind closed doors.

I applaud the ACLU for getting involved.

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