Ronda Hauben on Fri, 16 Apr 1999 18:44:58 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Openlaw Experiment vrs Berkman Center and ICANN

Robert Hettinga <> wrote:

>The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School has
>begun a novel research project called Openlaw.

The Berkman Center has also been the entity that has been helping the U.S.
government to give away the Internet public assets and control which
giving away the IP number, root server system. domain name system and
control over Internet protocols to ICANN (the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers) will represent. 

The Berkman Center has helped to create phony input processes where they
invite people to participate in their discussions, and they choose how to
create sound bits out of what people say and then send around the sound
bits rather than encouraging open discussion. 

They have also had meetings for ICANN at the Berkman Center where the
genuine topics such as "Should the essential functions of the Internet be
privatized or protected in a public manner" are *never* allowed to be
discussed. Instead they create a phony phrasing of the issues such as "How
can a membership organization keep ICANN from being captured?" When people
point out that ICANN is already "captured", that is that it is being run
by who knows who behind the scenes, or that a private corporation is an
illegitimate form for ownership, control, and policy making over the
concentration of public Internet assets such as the IP numbers, domain
name system, etc, then the Berkman Center people cut off the discussion. 

The Berkman Center is supposed to be functioning as lawyers.

That carries with it a legal obligation not to support the U.S. government
in doing something that is illegitimate and contrary to what there is
legal authority to do. 

The U.S. government doesn't have any legal authority to give away the IP
numbers, domain name system, protocol organization, and root server system
of the Internet to a private entity that will thereby gain tremendous
control over the Internet and over Internet users. 

The assets being given to ICANN are public assets that have been
administered in the past in a cooperative way. There is *no* way that any
so called "private sector corporation" can protect them from the
commercial and political pressure that is out to grab control of them. And
already those who are on the Interim Board of ICANN have demonstrated that
they have no real interest in the Internet and its millions of users but
only in converting the Internet into their new region of commercial sprawl
and so called place to carry out their "transactions." When one tries to
raise the issue that the essential aspect of the Internet is as a means of
communication, they cut one off from speaking. 

The Internet has grown up through public ownership and cooperative
processes and efforts. 

The Berkman Center needs to answer for how it has become the entity to
facilitate a very serious and illegitimate attack on the Internet
community by supporting and trying to facilitate one of the biggest
giveaways of public resources ever. 

There cannot be any democratic processes when the public is being fleeced
and their property and policy making rights stolen. 

And a legal center who helps to facilitate such activity cannot be
offering folks on the Internet any democratic strategy. 

>Openlaw is an innovative litigation strategy that uses the >Internet as a
public commons for developing legal arguments. 

The Berkman Center is helping U.S. government officials to carry out a
hijacking of the public contol and ownership of the Internet and so there
is no way that they can be using the "Internet as a public commons". If
they were they would help to find out who and what is behind the creation
of ICANN. 

If the Berkman Center had any respect for the Internet as a "public
commons" they wouldn't be helping to privatize the essential functions of
the Internet, but would be helping to stop the privatization and instead
help to find a way to have public and cooperative means of administering
and protecting these essential aspects of the Internet. 

My proposal for a public process for dealing with the Internet names and
numbers as well as testimony submitted to Congress in this situation, and
several other related articles are in the current issue of the Amateur
Computerist. The URL is


                 Netizens: On the History and Impact
                     of Usenet and the Internet
                      ISBN # 0-8186-7706-6

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