December 29, 2005

An Analogy: Europe is to the US controlled GPS as Europe is to the US controlled DNS root?

An Analogy: Europe is to the US controlled GPS as Europe is to the US controlled DNS root?

That's not a very good title is it?  But it does express the point I want to make.

This week the European Union launched the first satellite of its own global positioning system, Galileo.

One has to wonder why the Europeans feel they need to do this.  Isn't the GPS system run by the United States a perfectly good system?  Perhaps the European's have reason to fear that the US might use it's control over GPS in ways that promote the US interest but which ignore the needs of Europeans users?  Or might the Europeans simply have a better technology or feel that they can partake of the revenue to be generated by selling position services?

It does not take any particular leap of imagination to see the European position with respect to GPS as a foreshadow of its position with respect to the internet's domain name system.

Why should we continue to think that Europe (or China or any other large bloc) is going to adhere to the US controlled DNS root?

Europeans, and others, have good reason to look on the US role over DNS with suspicion, particularly after the US tantrum over .xxx and the arm twisting by the US at the recent UN WSIS meeting in Tunisia.

The shadow of uncertainty over the continuous, unbiased, and accurate provision of GPS services also falls over the DNS root.  To the degree that there is concern that the US might manipulate, or even partially disable GPS, there is equal reason to be concerned that the US might manipulate, or even disable parts of the domain name root, or make it less function (or give distorted results) to some users who are ill favored in the eyes of the US government.

Equally, the opportunity to innovate and to derive revenue from a European GPS also exists with regard to the provision of DNS root services, the licensing (for a fee) of top level domains, the generation and sale of marketing (or intelligence) data from the query stream, and the sale of preferential response rates.

Posted by karl at December 29, 2005 1:27 AM