2.6 Review of the Framework

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The previous discussion was meant to identify a basic analytical framework for identifier resources. The coordination of unique identifiers takes places at two distinct levels: once when the address space is defined and then on an ongoing basis as specific values within the space are assigned to users. The assignment methods used by an organization can perform three essential tasks:

  • Maintain the uniqueness of identifiers by making sure that assignments are exclusive (the technical layer)

  • Prevent the resource from being consumed in an inefficient manner (the economic layer)

  • In some cases, resolve competition or disputes around particular assignments (the policy layer)

The discussion introduced an important distinction between identifiers that are publicly visible and meaningful and those that are not. The combination of public visibility and semantics makes the policy layer decisions potentially contentious. It also allows end users to acquire equity in the name or address, raising issues of portability and switching costs. Various methods that assignment authorities might use to perform economic or policy functions were surveyed, briefly noting some general performance characteristics of each. Finally, some basic features of the governance arrangements that have been used to control assignment organizations were presented.

In subsequent chapters, the comparative framework will clarify two key questions in Internet governance: What was it about the process of assigning unique values to Internet identifiers that created a major global controversy? and Why did the organizational responsibility for the assignment process become such a ferocious point of contention?

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Ruling the Root(c) Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace
Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace
ISBN: 0262134128
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 110

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