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The CaveBear Thoughts and Commentary by Karl Auerbach
Locus ab auctoritate .. est infirmissimus.
(The argument from authority is the weakest.)
– Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274).

last update:

What Is A CaveBear

Who or what is CaveBear? The "where" part is easy: 37° 00’ 02 North by 122° 00’ 59 West - which just so happens to be in the City of Santa Cruz in the State of California.

CaveBear was formed by me, (Karl Auerbach) in Mid 1994.

CaveBear is an organization for research, consulting, product development, and other matters related to the internet. CaveBear explores new ways of making the Internet a more useful place for people. Projects include:

  • Tools for network diagnosis and repair.
  • The homeostatic (self-healing) internet.
  • Lifeline grade internet services.
  • Capability computer architectures and operating systems.
  • Internet governance.
  • Internet law and policy.
  • Protocol interoperability analysis and testing.
  • Internet humor.
  • The History of the Internet Project (sponsored by InterWorking Labs).

Shakespeare said - "what’s past is prologue, what to come in yours and my discharge." If CaveBear is about anything, it is about new ideas and new things.

Who Is Karl

If you are looking for a short bio then click here.

Karl - circa 1995So, I bet the first thing you want to know is what I look like. The photo on the left is nearly a decade old, but I like it. The vicissitudes of Internet politics, life at startups, and life in general have left me with a bit more gray around the edges.

Some people have said "Karl is a crock". And I’m here to say that they are right… sort of… Yes! That that is me over there to the lower right. I was understudy crocodile in a production of Peter Pan.Karl as a crocodile

It is true that I hold some strong opinions. This website is full of materials that articulate and elaborate on those opinions so I won’t go into a lot of detail here except to say that I firmly believe that modern governance - political and of the internet - is in serious trouble unless we abandon the corrosive concept of stakeholderism and return to the principles of constrained government and separation of powers, as articulated by so many of the great thinkers of the 18th century.

Redressing Excess Corporate Power

Proposed Amendment to the United States Constitution To Redress the Increasing Distortion of Elections and Political Speech by Corporations and Other Aggregate Forms

Karl Auerbach ─ October 14, 2011 ─ Version 1.04

Proposed Text:

Corporate and other aggregate forms of organization are neither Persons nor Citizens under this Constitution and shall have neither protections, rights, nor legal standing under this Constitution.

This Amendment shall not be construed to deny or disparage the power of Congress or the Several States to enact legislation that defines rights, powers, limitations, liabilities, and standing of such corporate and other aggregate forms of organization.

The Problem:

The conservative wing of the US Supreme Court has elevated several corporate rights to at least the same degree of Constitutional protection as the rights of natural (living) people.

There is little or no precedent for the creation of these rights in corporations. The idea of the modern corporation did not arise until nearly a century after the writing and adoption of the Constitution. And the 14th Amendment predates the rise of the modern corporation by at least a decade.

In other words, these corporate rights are the product of judicial legislation.


Internet Governance

Bookmarks Description
What I would say to the House Commerce Committee were I invited to testify July 17, 1999
Thoughts on the NTIA Green Paper This is a copy of the NTIA “Green” paper of January 30, 1998 with some of my comments interleaved.
The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS), and The Privacy Act of 1974 This is a collection of pages from 1998 describing the role of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the domain name system.
Suppose ICANN Had An At-Large Membership Drive Humor - Suppose ICANN hired a telemarketeer to try to get you to join. What might that be like? August 22, 1999
Structural Principles For Internet Governance Materials for the Meeting of the UN Internet Governance Forum.
Stakeholderism - The Wrong Road For Internet Governance Submitted to the the Meeting of the UN Internet Governance Forum.
Request for Independent Review After ICANN rejected my Request for Reconsideration of ICANN great giveaway to Network Solutions (now Verisign) as being in violation of ICANN’s procedures, I submitted this Request for Independent Review.
Reconsideration Request Way back in 1999 ICANN began the great giveaway of the crown jewels of the internet to Network Solutions, nee Verisign.
Questioning Authority - Searching For Stability In Internet Governance I spoke on the weakness of ICANN’s legal and technical foundations, and the potential collapse of ICANN as a result, at Signifiers in Cyberspace: Domain Names and Online Trademarks at the Center for Law, Technology, and the Arts at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, November 12-13, 2009.
Protecting the Internet’s Domain Name System The Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the few parts of the internet that can be considered a single point of failure.
My testimony before the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. June 12, 2002
My submission to the Communications subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation July 31, 2003
My Senate Testimony on ICANN of February 14, 2001
My presentation on Internet Naming to the US National Research Council The Domain Name System is often touted as a kind of global, uniform name space for the internet. It is not. This note describes various ways in which DNS lacks those properties that people and bodies of internet governance assume that it has. (Powerpoint format), July 2001
My comments to NTIA’s “mid-term review” of its ICANN “JPA” agreement. My comments on NTIA’s “The Continued Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System: Midterm Review of the Joint Project Agreement”
Internet Governance - By Whom? This is a note written not long after ICANN got started - and it reflects on how poor a start it was and how it established the pattern for the ICANN we have today. May 1, 1999
ICANN Mission Statement Generator Are you a prolix pleonast? Do mission statements amuse you?
Fragmentation of the Internet This is a presentation that I gave at the American Bar Association (ABA) National Institute on “Computing and the Law: From Steps to Strides into the New Age”. San Francisco, June 2007.
Evaluation of ICANN As my last act as a director of ICANN and during the course of a public meeting I tendered this report to ICANN’s Board of Directors. ICANN has never acknowledged this document; nor does it appear in any ICANN document collection or website. Adobe Acrobat format, 13 pages. June 2003
Decision Diary During my term on the ICANN board of directors I kept a written, public diary of my decisions. This is that diary. It spans the entire duration of my term, November 2000 through July 2003.
Contracting the Internet: Does ICANN create a barrier to small business? This is a statement made before the Committee on Small Business,
Containing the whole Science of Government This is a chapter from Charles Dickens’ book Little Dorrit (1857) The chapter describes the Circumlocution Office. It may, and should, call to mind a certain existing institution of internet governance.
Campaign Platform - Election for North American Director of ICANN This is my campaign platform for the year 2000 election for the North American seat on the ICANN board of directors. There is a fair amount of material here, much of it is still relevant today. November 10, 2000.
Boston Working Group Submission to NTIA This is the Boston Working Group (BWG) submission to NTIA on NTIA’s plan to form ICANN.  September 29, 1998
A Plan To Reform ICANN: A Functional Approach This is one of several papers that describes a way to structure bodies of internet governance, such as ICANN, into tightly constrained units that are less likely to go astray or suffer from mission bloat. April 2002
A note to NTIA for their review of their “transition” to ICANN. My submission to “The Continued Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet Domain Name and Addressing System
Review of the At‐Large Advisory Committee. My “Concurrence” (Appendix 3) contains my arguments why ICANN needs a much broader base of public representation on its controlling body, the Board of Directors. My portion begins on page 32.

Internet Governance / ITU meeting on IG (Feb 2004)

Materials presented at the ITU meeting on Internet Governance in Geneva, February 2004

Bookmarks Description
Panel presentation and speakers notes
Governing the Internet, A Functional Approach
First Law of the Internet
Deconstructing Internet Governance

Internet Technology

Bookmarks Description
On Entity Associations In A Cloud Network This is a paper I wrote in 2010 about issues that arise when naming things that exist in a cloud network. Most particularly this note deals with issues concerning persistent network relationships between entitites that exist within a cloud-net.
My presentation on Internet Naming to the US National Research Council The Domain Name System is often touted as a kind of global, uniform name space for the internet. It is not. This note describes various ways in which DNS lacks those properties that people and bodies of internet governance assume that it has. (Powerpoint format), July 2001
From Barnstorming to Boeing - Transforming the Internet Into a Lifeline Utility - Speaker’s Notes 8th IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management, Colorado Springs, Colorado, March 26, 2003
From Barnstorming to Boeing - Transforming the Internet Into a Lifeline Utility 8th IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Powerpoint format, March 26, 2003
Fast Path Characterization Protocol (FPCP) What is “proximity” on the internet and how do we measure it?


Bookmarks Description
SENATE REPORT NO. 93-1183 (Privacy Act of 1974) I scanned and OCR’ed a paper version of the Senate Report on what was to become the Privacy Act of 1974.
History of the Privacy Act of 1974 I did not write the main body of this document; I merely resurrected it from paper format.

External Links

Bookmarks Description
My Lawsuit Against ICANN During my term as a Director of ICANN ICANN’s staff (and several members of the board) obstructed me when I tried to perform my duties as a director. It became necessary to obtain a court order to compel ICANN to cease its unlawful behaviour. This link leads to the case file.

Biodiesel Stinks

Monday, 21 April 2008 16:25

It used to be that people who drive with the windows open or the top down could identify two kinds of vehicles from their smell, even at long distances: Ford diesel pickups, both old and new, and old diesel Peugeots.

The ranks of the stinkers have been supplemented by biodiesel conversions of cars and trucks that should have been scrapped long ago.

And here in Santa Cruz, there are a lot of these things.

Unanswered Questions

Sunday, 20 April 2008 17:00

So far none of the candidates for president has answered some of the questions I would like to hear answered:

  1. Will, and when, will the candidate initiate a review with the purpose of repudiating Bush’s excessive signing statements?
  2. Will the candidate promise not to use signing statements except to identify ambiguities and difficulties so that Congress may provide clarifications?
  3. Will, and when, will the candidate repudiate the concept of the “unitary executive”?
  4. Will, and when, will the candidate recognize that the Constitution of the United States not only limits the powers of the United States Federal government, including the executive, within the geographic borders of the United States, but everywhere.

Citizens or Subjects?

Saturday, 09 February 2008 16:59

It’s pretty obvious that the Republican party is going to try to paint Democratic candidates for US Federal offices (President, Senate, and House) as wimps who are going to hand the country over to “terrorists”.

That, of course, is utter and vacuous nonsense.

The real issue for fall 2008 is this:

Are we Citizens or Subjects?

The Democrats allow us, you and me, to have opinions, to differ from one another, and to disagree with the government. In other words, we would be citizens.

The Republican position, on the other hand, tries to make you and me subordinate to the government position. The Republicans want us to be subjects. If we differ on any subject from their position - whether it be on a war, on use of taxes to support “faith”, or on whether the government hand is put down our wife’s throat or down our pants - then we will be labelled as unpatriotic and un-American.

I chose to be a Citizen. I hope you join me.


Wednesday, 03 October 2007 18:36

I’m getting pretty disgusted with the way that Congress does the dance of the neutered wimps around the president’s increasingly egregious claims of executive power.

GWB is playing a game of chicken with Congress and Congress ought to call his bluff.

The House and Senate ought to begin by sanctioning those government contractors who refuse to turn over documents because the president told them not to. Perhaps the Senate ought to begin by holding some executives from Blackwater and AT&T in contempt and tossing ‘em into the clink until they recognize that Congress has at least as much authority in this country as does the president.

And Congress, even if it does not have the votes to pass veto proof legislation or to get past the Senate’s filibuster rules, most certainly has the power to refuse to pass legislation that the president needs.

Teddy Roosevelt once sent a fleet across the seas and said that it was Congress’ problem to pay to get it back home. Perhaps Congress ought turn the tables and refuse to pass the forthcoming budget, let the Federal government go into stasis, and tell the president that it’s his problem to pay for his war.

Going Solar

Sunday, 23 September 2007 18:00

I just got a new toy - We just added solar panels to our house.

Every hour or every time the sun changes I dash up to the garage to check the output and then race out to the power meter to watch it spin backwards.

It is somewhat ironic that as a result we are going to have to trim the crowns of several trees that impinge on our solar horizon.

We anticipate that this will reduce our electrical bill to zero.

However, due to a Reagan era clunker in the the Byzantine US tax code, we are going to be scrod and unable to obtain the Federal Tax credit.

A Toast to G. W. B.

Saturday, 15 September 2007 17:02

Mr. President, I offer you a toast.

May you have a long life; may your mind remain lucid.

May you live to see the nation and history repudiate everything you have done and everything you stand for.

My you live to understand how you perverted your oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

May you live to perceive how you polluted the words “freedom” and “democracy” and so dishonored the United States and its citizens that we are ashamed to say “We are Americans”.

May you live to comprehend that you cheapened religion, morality, and ethics by turning them into political tools of expediency rather than reflections of our highest aspirations.

May you live to feel shame for what you have done.