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Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK
Net body accused of bullying tactics
Cables crossing world map
Net administrators frustrated by Icann demands
The internet's top body has been accused of bullying European domain administrators into handing over confidential databases against their will.

Icann, which oversees the running of key parts of the net's addressing system, wants access to the databases before it makes changes to master net address books on behalf of the European groups.

Icann's actions have been condemned as "unacceptable" by the industry body representing organisations who keep European internet addresses running.

In its defence Icann says it needs to see the data to ensure the stability and reliability of the net.

Network crash

The collapse of telecommunications firm KPNQwest has given rise to the row between Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the administrators of many European country codes.


There may be more turmoil with networks that operate name servers in the near future

Kim Davis, Centr
Before it went bust, KPNQwest was looking after duplicate databases for 67 national domain administrators.

The firm's collapse meant that these duplicate databases, which are consulted when someone wants to visit a domain that has a national suffix, had to be moved.

Once moved, the master lists for the internet, overseen by Icann, had to be updated with their new net location.

However, Icann has refused to update the master lists unless it can have ongoing access to the national domain administrator's databases that list the net location of all their customers.

"We can not understand how Icann, an organisation that needs to demonstrate its legitimacy and improve its working relationship with a sceptical [country code] community, can perform in the way it has," said a statement from Centr, which represents European domain administrators.

Long wait

Some country code administrators have been waiting for weeks to have the master address lists changed.

The .gr homepage
The .gr suffix is waiting for changes to be made
Vaggelis Segredakis, administrator of Greek's ".gr" domain said it had an "ongoing issue" with Icann and had first made a request to change the master lists over a month ago.

Some domain administrators are known to have given Icann access to their customer databases until the changes were made and then closed them down again afterwards.

"We do hope Icann will place a moratorium on this requirement in order to put internet stability first," said Kim Davies, technical policy advisor director at Centr, "particularly given that there may be more turmoil with networks that operate name servers in the near future."

Nigel Roberts, operations manager for the Channel Islands domain registry, said he was shocked that Icann was trying to use the problems caused by KPNQwest to force changes on domain administrators.

Icann argues it needs to have access to the databases to make sure that the net's entire addressing scheme is reliable and stable.

It said its operating policy gave it the right to regularly inspect the databases.

But Mr Roberts said the new policy was only introduced earlier this year and had not been properly debated and ratified by Icann.

See also:

03 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
30 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
30 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
15 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
28 Nov 00 | Science/Nature
04 Jul 00 | Science/Nature
03 Jul 02 | Business
Links to more Science/Nature stories are at the foot of the page.


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