[ih] Re: anyone remember when the root servers were hi-jacked? (fwd)

Joe Touch touch at ISI.EDU
Fri Nov 1 08:13:58 PST 2002

interenet-history at postel.org would be a fine place to discuss this 
further, as it is (by definition) about (albeit recent) Internet history ;-)


Craig Simon wrote:
> I've got a lot of information on this which I'd be happy to share and 
> exchange, but I still need and want more details. I'm not sure the IETF 
> list is the best place to discuss this matter, however, and if anyone 
> can suggest an alternative site, I'd gladly participate there.
> Please be aware that I got it partly wrong in my 1998 paper that Michael 
> Froomkin cited regarding that incident. I apologize for a misstatement 
> which may have been widely propagated. To clarify, the server operators 
> who complied with the redirection request were pulling the root zone 
> from a separate machine at ISI -- DNSROOT.IANA.ORG -- not B.
> The research I've done on this is a central part of my Ph.D. 
> dissertation. Anyone who has been holding their breath waiting to read 
> it is long dead by now, but I am advancing. It's interesting stuff.
> I don't have any after-the-fact explanation from Jon Postel himself 
> regarding his motivation, but I disagree with the statement that his 
> goal was to "embarrass" the USG.
> Though it's fair to say that he was acting partly in reaction to 
> pressures from members of CORE, I think his primary rationale was a 
> deeply held conception of loyalty to the Internet community and its 
> processes.  I argue that he put that sense of loyalty ahead of loyalty 
> to the officers of the US Government and their clearly stated wishes, as 
> expressed by Ira Magaziner. It took a plain threat of coercion from the 
> USG to make him bow and reverse the move.
> The problem of divided loyalty and authority in the Internet community 
> stretches back to RFC 1174, and was tested in the redirection incident.
> Also, while John Gilmore was evidently an important agent leading the 
> call for the redirection -- at that particular time -- Paul Vixie 
> evidently was not -- at that particular time. Vixie had urged such a 
> move in the past, when the atmosphere was not so charged, but his role 
> in the Jan 1998 episode seems to have been similar to that of the other 
> operators who complied with the request. They went along, even with 
> raised eyebrows, but they trusted Postel's judgment and acted with 
> loyalty to him and the processes he represented.
> Again, I'd be willing to engage this further, and I'd be thrilled to be 
> set straight if I've got any other flat facts wrong.  Right now I'm most 
> interested in getting nitty gritty details about the negotiations 
> between CORE and Ira Magaziner in late 97 early 98, if anyone here can 
> help me with that. I'm even more interested in the September 1995 
> discussion that ultimately allowed NSI to begin charging for names, but 
> Don Mitchell hasn't answered my emails.
> Craig Simon
> Michael Froomkin - U.Miami School of Law wrote:
>> http://www.law.miami.edu/~froomkin/articles/icann-body.htm#B170
>> tells the story as best I could reconstruct it.  There are footnotes to
>> the documents I could find.
>> On Thu, 31 Oct 2002 lordb at nomad.tallship.net wrote:
>>> I'm looking for sources of information on the hi-jacking of the usg root
>>> servers by Postel, Gilmore and Vixie.
>>> Anyone remember this?  It was on Jan 27 1998 when postel convenced a
>>> number of the root operators to switch the primary from a root to f root
>>> (paul vixie).  This seems to have been done to embarrase the federal
>>> government - Ira magaziner the presidential science advisor took a birdy
>>> and treatened postel with a visit from the men in black.
>>> I can understand magaziners disposition at the time.  The postel "test"
>>> was a day prior to the Jan 28 release of the presidential green paper 
>>> and
>>> left magaziner holding the eggs so to speak.
>>> thanks in advance for any links you may have in your archives.
> -
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