Currently scheduled for October 11, 2018, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) plans to change the cryptographic key that helps to secure the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) by performing a Root Zone Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) key signing key (KSK) rollover.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) March 14, 2014, announcement proposing the transition of its legacy Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) stewardship role has presented the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) multi-stakeholder community equal amounts of opportunity and responsibility. We have been handed a singular opportunity to define the terms of any stewardship transition and the fundamental responsibility to get it right.
Getting it right means ensuring, through a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder process, the reform of ICANN’s accountability structures to protect the community and the multi-stakeholder model prior to NTIA’s disengagement from its oversight and stewardship role. It also means acting quickly and efficiently so our window of opportunity is not missed.
Verisign posted preliminary public comments on the “Mitigating the Risk of DNS Namespace Collisions” Phase One Report released by ICANN earlier this month. JAS Global Advisors, authors of the report contracted by ICANN, have done solid work putting together a set of recommendations to address the name collisions problem, which is not an easy one, given the uncertainty for how installed systems actually interact with the global DNS. However, there is still much work to be done.
On Dec. 12, 2013, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) announced the formation of a new working group, Extensible Provisioning Protocol Extensions (eppext). The working group was formed to create an internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) registry of Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) extensions and to review specifications of extensions for inclusion in the registry. EPP is the standard domain name provisioning protocol for generic top-level domain (gTLD) name registries that operate under the auspices of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It is also used by a number of country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries.
The “E” in EPP has been both a blessing and a curse. EPP uses features of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) that provide “hooks” for protocol extensions. These hooks make it easy to specify new functionality without having to modify EPP itself. That’s the blessing. The curse has been that easy extensibility has led to multiple independent specifications that describe similar functionality. In a 2010 presentation, Patrick Mevzek (developer of the Net::DRI Perl library that implements EPP) described XML namespaces used in 68 distinct extensions. He further described three different extensions created by different registry operators to provide domain “undelete” functionality. This duplicity of effort makes implementation much more complicated for anyone developing EPP clients.
Some background information will help explain how we got here.
As much as the world has become more connected, so that people across the world can collaborate online at any hour of the day (even in the midst of weather events like Sandy), there’s still an important role for conferences that bring people together in person at a specific time and place.
I’ve been reminded of the value of this technical “networking” as I’ve attended some key events related to my own work in recent weeks.
In mid-October, I spent some time at the ICANN 45 meeting in Toronto, the triannual focal point for industry work on domain names (as well as IP “numbers”, the second “N”). Pat Kane, senior vice president and general manager of Verisign’s Naming Services, describes his experiences at this important series as exemplifying “hard work and collaboration.” Good technical consensus, as I’ve learned through my past years in industry forums in cryptography and security, starts with trust. The many introductions and conversations that I enjoyed throughout my visit built on this value.