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Judge: Bomb victims can't seize Iran's domain name as compensation (theregister.co.uk)
45 points by mnw21cam on Nov 13, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 36 comments

Interesting comment in the article - someone said that it would instructive to see what would happen if the court had handed the domain over. The rest of the world would view the update as a global attack on the integrity of the DNS system and start ignoring DNS updates from the US.

While I am not 100% convinced that this would actually happen (it might, but might not), it would at least be technically possible to change what everyone in the US sees when they look a .ir domain. Could have been a popcorn moment.

I absolutely think they would.

This is related to why DNSSEC detractors think it is equivalent of handing the ICANN your key pair, by way of acquiring the TLD.

Turns out it's not that easy in practice.

The most important bit in this ruling, I think:

> Since these are ongoing services, the judge then argues that because a ccTLD is being constantly changed and updated it can be viewed as an "ongoing contractual arrangement that necessarily requires continued work or services to have value". Because of this it cannot be "attached" to a lawsuit under Washington DC law.

Nine people injured and they ask for millions while families in Afghanistan are compensated with $5000 per collateral fatality (and if I remember correctly there was at least one case where it was $200 per killed and $75 per wounded). This doesn't sound like justice to me. Yes, it is a bit apples and oranges, but then again the people were just civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Addendum: I am aware that this is quite a bit off-topic, but I just had that thought how kind of ridiculous it is, to go to such lengths to get financial compensations while the state will just hand you a couple hundred or thousand dollars and case closed.

Is "Nine people injured and they ask for millions" problematic because of " families in Afghanistan are compensated with $5000 per collateral fatality"? Or is "families in Afghanistan are compensated with $5000 per collateral fatality" problematic? Are we trying to drag the value of a human life down, or are we trying to pull it up?

We can treat everyone equally by treating everyone like shit, or we can treat everyone equally by treating everyone well. I'm sure you didn't intend it, but your comment reads as though you are you are upset that the former are asking for so much, not that the later got so little.

I wanted to include a line about that but finally decided against it. I like neither option. Would it really be any better if way paid a million for every fatality? Yea, we killed your children...but hey, you are a dollar millionaire now, buy some nice stuff to cheer you up! Maybe the money would be spent better trying to avoid such incidents in the first place instead of attaching a price tag to accidentally killed people. In the end I am really unsure what the best option would be.

Family members are a part of the support network that people have. This includes emotional support, as well as more tangible support such as financial or residential, as well as informational support (family members teaching each other about society and life) and social support (for instance family members refering each other to friends or professionals (lawyers, doctors, carpenters, etc)).

When somebodies family member is killed, their support network is reduced. Financial compensation can help to offset the damage done to their support network. It's not just about making people feel better.

>We can treat everyone equally by treating everyone like shit, or we can treat everyone equally by treating everyone well.

Either are better than valuing American lives as multiple orders of magnitude of the value of Afghan lives.

Does Iran even own the .ir TLD in the legal sense? I thought ICANN owned all TLDs and just assigned custodial administrators for registration, etc.

That's a good question. As I understand it, taking control of the .ir domain from Iran would make as much sense as taking control of the street address of their embassy. Not the embassy or the property it sits on, mind you, but the address itself. If my interpretation is correct, then the absurdity of the plaintiff's request is obvious.

Is three any legal precedent for owning a street address?

Isn't the postal service or municipality at liberty to renumber things as they see fit? I know several people that have had to "move", file change of address forms, even though they're in the same physical structure.

The latter makes sense. At the same time, neither the postal service or municipalities have the liberty to say that Best Buy is at a given address when you'll actually find a Fry's. Well, they can claim it, but no one's going to believe them after they make the trip.

I think that's the big difference: The Iran TLD isn't just "owned" by the country, the TLD is supposed to factually represent the location of the country's IPs. It's similar to how only government agencies or the like are supposed to have .gov domains.

I'm not sure the analogy holds up since a TLD is separable from the IP it points to and, thus, can have separate commercial value. There is really no way to do this (that I am aware of) with street addresses.

Someone else (perhaps the EFF) made the point that the TLD's whole value is derived from how it points to Iran's IP addresses instead of anywhere else. Does this comparison make more sense? TLDs as a combination of a street address and the name of the business at the address; if either one is out of sync (e.g. the store moved), then the combination is worthless.

The relevant authority is IANA.


And I don't think there is a 'clawback procedure'. I'm very curious what would have happened if this judge had actually sided with the plaintiffs.

Possibly a re-run of January 28, 1998, but this time with teeth.

What would that even mean? You can't own a database record. Nevertheless, a US court can certainly rule how ICANN has to operate. Most other national courts feel similar for "their" ccTLD and since the respective NIC is usually in the same country as the court they have to obey those rulings.

Simply, ICANN defines the content of a database and it has self-imposed rules how it delegates part of that work to others. The rest of the world currently mirrors the database, but this might change if ICANN does something very stupid or is required to do so by others.

In other words, it's about perceived power of various courts in what is actually a process based on global consensus.

> You can't own a database record.

Well not when you put it that way. But you certainly can have a property interest in a database record's being updated or not updated in a certain way. Think of it this way: your money on deposit at the bank is "just" a database record -- either at the band itself or, less directly, at the Federal Reserve. And this is just one example. Plenty of assets ultimately reduce to a database entry on a computer somewhere.

how much can the rest of the world practically do though?

only 3 of 13 root servers are outside of America's direct jurisdiction, and those servers splitting off would only cause confusing disarray, while America continues to be the main authority in the western world

> only 3 of 13 root servers are outside of America's direct jurisdiction

Time to change that?

And yet the risk of the opposite verdict is the reason why domains must be managed by the United Nations and not by an American organization.

The UN is one of the most self serving and corrupt entities on the planet. They are the last organization that should be managing something this important.

ICANN needs to be managed by people who have no other professional priorities than keeping the internet running and free from corporate, governmental and political interference.

Maybe I'm a bit naive, would this be something EFF could handle or perhaps FSF?

I agree that this should be under the control of an international organization, but the UN is unlikely to be an impartial or intelligent arbiter.

The UN is broadly as impartial and 'intelligent' as its voting members, which is kinda by design. The happy reality is that the UN is successful at most of the almost unimaginably diverse myriad of thing it's has to do. It seems to me to be a great choice for the role.

> voting members

Except 5, other countries don't have a permanent say in the system. The 5 can veto any resolution. The sad reality is that UN has been successful on various issues (while still failing on very many) despite being an utterly undemocratic establishment and that is constantly being used as an excuse to continue with the current system.

Five is the number of permanent members of the UN Security Concil which has nothing to do with things like managing internet.

Some kind of iana.int, perhaps?

It's really an unresolved question at the moment.

I agree that this should be under control of an international organization as long as this organization includes all countries and isn't a closed club of America's lapdogs.

it's only as impartial and intelligent as its members are.

The vast majority of UN nations are ruled by undemocratic and corrupt regimes. Why should they have any say over who runs my DNS?

Yes, we should let the control of the Internet stay in the hands of the regime which has invaded dozens of countries and was first to use a computer virus (Stuxnet) as a tool of war.

The UN is basically an american organization.

That's essentially correct. Funny thing is, people outside the US consider the UN a Trojan horse for US hegemony; many living inside the US consider the UN a Trojan horse for destroying US sovereignty.

why can't it be both?

The logic behind the demand seems a logical extension of what happened to Germany after WW2 - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_reparations_for_World...

Given the fact that the US would owe Iran literally trillions of dollars for overthrowing their democracy, giving their oil to the British, and giving Iraq weapons to attack them, I somehow doubt that's a road the US is going to want to go down.

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