NAIPR Message

Important News from Don Telage about ARIN

The bottom line of this message is that, in a phone conversation with me
earlier this evening, NSI Senior Vice President Don Telage said he would
be happy to permit Kim Hubbard to make her own *independent* and
*unreviewed* progress reports regarding the progress of the American
Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) weekly or as often as she felt it to
be necessary. These progress reports could be placed on the ARIN web site
and sent by Kim to appropriate mail lists.

Here is what happened to lead up to this unexpected phone conversation.
Dave Farber is a senior member of the Internet community who has run, at
least since 1990, a mail list that he calls Interesting People. I have
been on this list since 1991. Sometime in 1992 Dave goofed and a message
went out that contained the identities of the list members. Less than 200
at the time, but a very impressive collection of high ranking folk from
the media, government, education and the corporate world. My understanding
is that since then the list, which is private, has grown in size to
several thousand - that it has a very international flavor, and agAin very
influential subscribers.

Now one problem with the list is that it is moderated by Dave such that
communication is one way. People send him stuff and ask him to
redistribute. This means that the signal to noise ratio is generally quite
high. But it also means that from time to time some real zingers slip out.
Rebutting them is difficult and usually requires some extended negotiation
with Dave who - with this list - effectively acts as "gate keeper" to the
internet for many many influential people. Such negotiation is something
that, not wanting to take the time, I usually don't do. It is much easier
to publish my rebuttal elsewhere.

Last night Dave published a real zinger. He did this when he took what I
regard as a scurrilous attack on the American Registry for Internet
Numbers by Dave McClure <dpmcc at bellatlantic.net> and published it to his
list with the heading "Domain names and "The Network $olution",  from  The
Netly News." [What he piece had to do with the netly news escapes me.] As
far as I can figure out, McClure is the executive director of something
called the Association of on Line Professionals. (AOP). He has had, what
looks like, a vendetta going against ARIN for most of 1997. McClure's AOP
has no standing what so ever in the internet industry that I am aware of.
(Something confirmed by more than a dozen responses that I have received
to a public query I made earlier today.) And yet Dave apparently took text
from Sky Dayton, the Earthlink CEO, that Sky had received from McClure and
posted it without comment to his Interesting Persons list. In my opinion
from 6 years of reading Dave's list that action means Dave endorses the
comment. When he posts something he doesn't agree with he says so.

I have watched a wide variety of people try to crucify ARIN since February
of this year. Seeing McClure's unsubstantiated accusations go out to a one
way list of influential people largely without independent means of
verifying the data, was a hit below the belt that I felt that ARIN ill
deserved. I let Dave know my displeasure and he said he'd publish a
reasoned rebuttal to his IP list. I hope he finds that this meets those
criteria.

I then made phone calls and sent a bunch of private mail and found out
some very interesting and *totally unexpected* information. There had been
relatively little response from John Curran, Scott Bradner or Randy Bush
on any of the relevant mail lists in answer to many many attacks on ARIN.
Today there was also no great rush to write a rebuttal of the McClure
piece that Dave Farber had posted. Suddenly I got a phone call explaining
why.

I took the information that I was given and called Don Telage at NSI. In a
half hour phone conversation Don told me the following. (1.) The three
CURRENT members of the ARIN board are himself, Kim Hubbard, and Phil
Sbarbaro, outside legal counsel to NSI. (2.) This is the "incorporation
board". As soon as legal insurance for the Board is put into place the
incorporation board would meet and select the seven person *proposed*
board listed on the Arin web pages. (3.) This had not yet happened because
they had not yet managed to nail down the necessary legal insurance. As
soon as the policy was in place the new board would be chosen. He thought
thi would happen in less than two weeks but he could not name an exact
date.

I pointed out that the ARIN board was getting nibbled to death on the net
and felt unable to defend itself until legally it was indeed the ARIN
Board. I mentioned that I had found out that article 8 of the By-laws said
that within one year of the date of the incorporation the board was
obligated to have procedures in place for the immediate election of the
advisory council members by the ARIN membership - thus letting the air out
of the argument that the ARIN board would be a self perpetuating monopoly.
But I complained that the by-laws were not yet on the web site. Why not?
Because they are still being revised. I replied that, in view of the
situation, if ARIN is to have a chance at being successful, it would sure
as heck help to get the current version up there with a statement that
there might be subsequent revisions.

But what is the urgency? We are doing the right thing, Don said. I
responded that such may be very true but that damned few people on the net
believed it and I emphasized that they were using NSI's apparent
unwillingness to supply information to destroy ARIN's credibility - that
NSI's "good intentions" would be meaningless in another month or two
because, if Kim and the ARIN Board could not be PROACTIVE, their
credibility would soon be gone. (I mentioned Farber's publication of
McClure's accusations as a case in point.)  If Don Telage couldn't get the
word out himself, he needed to find some other way to do it. 

For example letting Kim Hubbard, who would be leaving NSI employment and
becoming the ARIN president, KNOW that she had his full approval to make a
weekly progress report on the ARIN web page and naipr mail list as to what
had and had NOT been accomplished - during the week just finished - within
NSI and within ARIN. Well it might not have to be every week but could be
as often as she feels necessary, Don replied. Fine, I answered.
Absolutely. But let Kim understand that it is *her prerogative* what to
write and that it does not have to be cleared in advance within NSI before
she puts it out. Make a repeat of today's situation where I had to be
bugging Don about something that looked reasonable to him but that looked
like one helluva nasty problem to the outside world impossible. Impossible
because Kim would keep everyone adequately informed. OK sounds reasonable,
I can agree to that, said Don.

I went over my notes of the discussion with Don, asked if he agreed to
them and if I had his permission to go public with a write up this evening
on the net. He agreed. So here it is Don, and I thank you for taking the
time to hear my message.

PS -- let me re-emphasize one more thing. ARIN's goal is to achieve
complete financial independence from NSI as soon as possible and in any
case before next April. That its goal is not to take in more money than is
necessary to cover its expenses. That its members will see the balance
sheets and that it fully expects its members to tell it to lower its
rates, if it appears that income is exceeding expenses by too unhealthy an
amount. ARIN will be an entity that will become independent from NSI as
soon as its fees can cover the costs of its operation. It will be an
entity controlled by and run for the benefit of its members. I personally
hope that one of Kim's earliest progress reports will be the announcement
that ARIN is accepting members. I am convinced that she is totally
committed to the integrity of the IP number process, and that if any group
of "nasty big boys" every tried to pervert things so that they held a
knife to the throats of smaller ISPs, that she'd blow the whistle damned
quick and resign if need be to see that it didn't happen. As Avi Freedman
said today on inet-access: "Rule number 1. NEVER EVER LIE TO KIM."

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