[IWAR] INTERNET rogue reconfig

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Date: Wed Feb 04 1998 - 21:06:45 PST

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    Administration says Internet reconfiguration was rogue test
      February 4, 1998
      Web posted at: 9:29 p.m. EST (0229 GMT) 
      WASHINGTON (AP) -- The
      Clinton administration said
      Wednesday it was confident a
      researcher in California won't repeat
      his rogue reconfiguration of the
      Internet -- a test that few users
      noticed but that raised concerns
      about how the worldwide network is run. 
      Jon Postel, who runs the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority at
      the University of Southern California under a Defense Department
      contract, last week redirected half the Internet's 12
      directory-information computers to his own system. 
      Normally, those so-called "root servers" help users find addresses
      on the Internet by pulling data from Network Solutions Inc., a
      private company in northern Virginia that operates under a federal
      government contract. 
      Postel, who did not return telephone or e-mail messages, told
      federal officials afterward he was running a test to see how
      smoothly such a transition could be made. 
      Under a plan released last Friday by the administration, the
      government would end its responsibility of assigning and
      maintaining Internet addresses and turn the role over to a private,
      nonprofit organization that doesn't yet exist. 
      Postel's test "was not, in effect, an attempt to hijack the Net,"
      White House policy adviser Ira Magaziner said Wednesday at a
      conference of Internet executives. 
      Magaziner, who described Postel as "a crucial player" in the future
      of the Internet, said Postel had promised not to repeat the test. But
      Magaziner also criticized its timing, coming so close to the release
      of the long-anticipated Internet plan. Groups affiliated with Postel
      have been critical of the proposal. 
      "We thought the timing was a bit dicey," Magaziner said. "He said,
      'Yeah, that wasn't the right time to do it.' ... I'd give him a bit of
      Questions about authorization for such actions can be hard to
      answer because the Internet still largely operates on an ad-hoc
      consensus among academics and researchers. Postel gave no prior
      "It's caused a good deal of uncertainty and perceived instability in
      the system," said Chris Clough, a spokesman for Network
      Solutions, which operates under a contract with the National
      Science Foundation. "It's a concern about who can authorize
      changes over the infrastructure and traffic patterns of the Internet." 
      Officials said the six directory computers still haven't been
      redirected back to Network Solutions. Becky Burr, associate
      administrator of the Commerce Department's National
      Telecommunications and Information Administration, said that was
      expected to take several more days. 
      Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
      This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or

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