The DNS and emerging identifiers (including DOA)

17 Dec 2017 16:30h - 18:00h

Event report

The session moderated by Mr Ron da Silva, ICANN, focused on emerging identifier technologies and how these may play a role in development of the Internet and proliferation of the Internet of Things (IOT). The speakers presented some different types of identifiers and their possible interaction with existing systems such as the Domain Name System (DNS).

The first speaker, Mr Christophe Blanchi, DONA Foundation, talked about the Handle System which is used in administration, as an implementation of the identifier/resolution component of Digital Object Architecture (DO Architecture). Blanchi briefly explained the main features of DO Architecture and how such a system works. He then gave more details on the role of the DONA Foundation in this process and provided examples of Handle System applications in real world use. These include document management systems, supply chain tracking, financial security, data set identification in big data processing, and resolution systems in blockchain technology.

Mr Benoît Ampeau, Afnic labs, emphasised that a major concern in the IoT is making things identifiable and showed the landscape of the current IoT ecosystem. He distinguished two types of ecosystems, a hierarchal one and a flat one, and showed concrete examples in the supply chain industry. Ampeau explained that his organisation supports the evolutionary approach when implementing emerging technology of identifiers by facilitating the current system of DNS. This is because it is scalable, works with legacy and new naming conventions, and works with both hierarchical as well as flat identifiers.

The third speaker, Mr Nick Johnson, Ethereum, introduced the ENS project (Ethereum Name Service) which serves as a secure and decentralised way to address resources both on and off the blockchain, using simple, human-readable names. Johnson described the architecture, status and future plans of the project.

The last speaker, Mr Alain Durand, ICANN, presented ICANN’s work in the field of emerging identifiers, mentioning workshops at the ICANN58 and ICANN60 meetings, and observations identified from technologies mentioned in previous presentations. Because of DO Architecture and the Handle System, Durand pointed out possible risks if the DONA Foundation ceases to exist, since the organisation is not transparent and there is insufficient documentation. Regarding blockchain technology, Durand talked about the growing character of blockchains, complexity of the proof-of-work, fixed rate of adding blocks, recovery limitations, and over-transparency where there is no right to forget. In the second part of his presentation Durand described ICANN’s research project ‘OX’.

The audience discussion tackled questions about the extent to which end users are required to interact with such complex systems; the trade-offs of transparent technology versus privacy and security; and when it is the right time to interact with emerging technology at a policy level in order not to interfere too early, or be too late.

By Radek Bejdak